Knock off Cronut

I’m not usually one for blatant knock offs —the only thing you’ll find me buying in Chinatown are dumplings and noodles (aaand egg custard tarts and pork buns and egg rolls and wontons and, well, you get it!)— but I made an exception this week when I found myself at Dunkin Donuts ordering a Croissant Donut i.e. the not-so-cleverly named Cronut knock off.

Like a Cronut... kinda

Like a Cronut… kinda

I’m at DD a lot because in my mostly cash-only Brooklyn neighborhood, it’s the only place where I can pay for a morning coffee with a credit card. At first I scoffed at the Croissant Donut— after all, I’m a BIG fan of the original Cronut— but each time I saw it, I got a little more curious. It was only a couple bucks and at the ungodly hour that I’m usually there each morning, there was none of the infamous Cronut line, so I thought why not, let’s see what this knock off has to offer.

DD’s Croissant Donut is basically the Cronut’s less attractive, slightly messy second cousin. Instead of the elegant gold box there’s a square, white Dunkin box with a cellophane window. The pastry itself lacks the glittery dusting of sugar, the rich, seasonal flavors, which change monthly for the Cronut, and the overall air of a fancy pants pastry you might want spend two hours waiting in line for.

Not quite a Cronut, but not bad either

Not quite a Cronut, but not bad either

That being said though, it’s not that bad. The glaze on the outside is maybe a bit too thick, and sweet to the point that it almost makes your teeth hurt, but gluttonously good in the same way as say, Twinkies or fried Oreos. The inside, layered in croissant-like layers similar to the Cronut but not as delicate, is thick and moist (sorry, gross word, I know, but the most appropriate) like the whole thing had been injected with cream.

It’s an over the top, low brow counterpart to the Cronut, something that like a fake Louis or Gucci, wouldn’t be out of place at a county fair.  But really, I’m ok with the knock off this time.

 

 

Soup dumplings will make everything ok

A feast to say screw you, cold weather!

A feast to say screw you, cold weather!

Ok, no one freak out buuuuut, yes, winter is indeed coming. But as long as there are soup dumplings to be had, winter can go on and make itself right at home cause I, for one, will be just fine.

Yesterday, a day so ugly, drizzly and cold that it really should have been declared a city wide “Stay in bed” Day, marked the first soup dumpling outing of the season for me. I had the winning combo of not wearing a warm enough coat and then getting stuck in the rain, so when I showed up at Shanghai Café, I was shivering and wet. My good hair day from earlier in the day? Gone.

But let me tell you, even just rattling off menu items to the waitress made me feel better. “Ok, right, so, uhm we’ll have the soup dumplings, the steamed pork dumplings, an order of scallion pancakes, the beef tendon noodle soup, pork fried rice, fish ball noodle soup, and uhm, yea I think that’s it. Oh wait, an some lo mein.” Insert sheepish smile that you hope conveys “I’m not a fat ass, I swear. It’s just cold outside.”

One bite into those steaming hot soup dumplings and it didn’t matter one bit what was happening outside. Tons of hot, delicious food, a few good friends, and enough hearty laughs over terrible dating stories, and it could have been a full blown blizzard for all I cared. Winter, I’m ready for ya.

 

 

 

 

When carbs collide

I’m the worst sometimes. I really am.

I talk all this big talk about changing my neglectful blogger ways, I put up a couple of posts, and then… I go off the grid.

So, uhm, sorry about that, if you care. It’s just that I’ve been kinda busy recently, not with any one thing in particular,  but just the usual business of living: working, running, forgetting, laughing, coping, traveling, turning 30 (!!!), rinsing and repeating.

But rest assured, mixed throughout I’ve had some great food. Some healthy, some not, some bizarre, some more normal, and then hybrids like this guy: the ramenritto from the somewhat random West Village cafe, Press Tea.

The ramenritto: a burrito stuffed with ramen.

The ramenritto: a burrito stuffed with ramen.

Ramen burgers (a burger sandwiched between ramen instead of buns) have been have been having a moment in New York recently, but the ramenritto is, as the name might suggest, a burrito stuffed with ramen. Along with a ton of noodles, each ramenritto is stuffed with saucy, flavorful veggies including corn, onions and greens, and a meat, in my case pork.

I’ve been trying to watch my carb intake recently (you know, now that I am a woman of a certain age) so this is definitely not something I can say I’ll be eating frequently but for the novelty that it is, I rather enjoyed it. The whole thing had a sort of mushy consistency to it, but if that’s not a problem for you, the ramenritto could be a good time.

If nothing else, I could see myself getting stoned and absolutely loving the ramenritto. Now, what was that I was saying about turning 30?

 

See ya!

IMG_4735-4As someone who has aaaalways believed in the restorative powers of autumn, I’m ok waving goodbye to summer while everyone else mourns the end of the season.

And what better way to say “till next year” than a drink called “See You in September?” The New York Distilling Company, one of my now new favorite neighborhood spots was where I found this tasty gem, a delicious mix of tequila, apple brandy, Luxardo Aperitivo, apricot, and lemon over a big cube of ice. On one of the unofficial last days of summer, a day that was muggy as all hell, sticky and unbearable, this drink was cold and soothing and everything I needed.

Cheers to summer and cheers to it being over. On this eve of September, I raise my delicious New York Distilling drink to everything that’s to come.

Beach bum tacos

The beach was nice, but I was there just as much for the tacos as the fun-in-the-sun.

The beach was nice, but I was there just as much for the tacos as the fun-in-the-sun.

I’ve lived in New York over five years now and have spent six summers in this city, and in all of that time, never once, up until last week, had I gone to the beach here. Crazy, right?

This year though, I finally decided to get my act together, throw on a bathing suit, and head to Rockaway Beach, the official beach of Brooklyn hipsters and cool kids alike.

However, dear reader, I have to tell you I’d be lying if I said I was entirely motivated by any desire to feel the sun baking my already brown skin while damn near naked in public. A stronger motivating factor was tacos. Delicious, summery tacos from Rockaway Taco, the small, whitewashed stand just a few blocks away from the beach that draws crowds just as much as the ocean does.

So, yes, I went to the beach and did the whole sun-and-sand thing but once that was done and crossed off the bucket list, I went and had tacos. After roasting in the sun for a few hours, first on my list was something cold, in the form of a fruity, refreshing pineapple and mint juice.  It took everything in me not to guzzle it in big, greedy gulps.

Pineapple-mint juice and tacos: perfection on a summer day.

Pineapple-mint juice and tacos: perfection on a summer day.

To go with it, I had two tacos, one fish and one chorizo.  The  fish taco had a plump, perfectly-golden-on-the-outside and tender-on-the-inside hunk of fried fish and a delicious spicy mayo type sauce that I licked off my fingers like a gross little animal. The chorizo taco, topped with thinly sliced radish and zesty cilantro like the fish taco, was juicy and flavorful, and consequently gone in just a few bites.

Rockaway Taco was the perfect end to a fun, relaxing summer beach day that I should’ve had dozens of times already and not just once. Guess that means that as the summer quickly starts to wind down, I’ll have to make up for lost time and squeeze in as many trips as I can to Rockaway Taco… and the beach, of course.

Cheese and whine

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with summers. On top of absolutely loathing the hot, sticky weather that comes with the season, it’s always seemed to be the time when crappy things happened in my life.

As a kid, summer was when my best friend went away to her family’s beach house and my other friends took off for vacations, summer camps and fun things. Some years, I was stuck miserably at home, and others I was forced by my dad to go to summer school, an experience which plunged me into all new levels of awful.

In more recent years, my worst heartbreaks have been during summer and with them my ugliest hangovers. Un-airconditioned apartments, steamy subway platforms, and the disgusting cockroaches that come out to terrorize me haven’t helped either.

So why all the whining and complaining? Well, basically to explain that this summer, while it’s had its very high highs, has also brought its share of blues. I’ve been in a funk and haven’t really felt like dishing about what I’ve been eating. I’m moody, don’t hold it against me. But I realize it’s silly and dumb to act this way, so I’m getting over it, especially since New York has had one of the coolest summers on record (definitely the most pleasant weather-wise in the five years I’ve lived here) and that’s reason enough for me to be happy.

So yea, sorry I’ve been away. I’m retiring my Lana Del Rey summer anthem and instead going back to bombarding you all with stories of ridiculous things eaten and a million and one popsicles made. I promise. You wait and see.

Love and happiness… and goat

Here’s a little fun fact about me: I love weddings.

Another fun fact: I loooove vacations.

And you know what I really, really love? Destination weddings! Cause BAM! You get a two in one combo of things I love!

So when my good friend/coworker Vilmarie announced she was  getting married in the Dominican Republic, where her family is from, I verbally RSVP’d monts before she even sent out her save-the-dates. Wedding, out-of-town trip, friends, fun, DONE. I’m there.

And as I expected, it was loads of fun. We went rafting, saw waterfalls, ate mangoes straight off the tree, laughed till we cried,  made new friends and cemented old friendships, danced like fools (or maybe that was just me), got misty-eyed during the ceremony, and for the purposes of this blog: ate a ton of delicious Dominican food.

But of all the tasty eats I had, without a doubt my absolute favorite was the traditional plate of chivo con tostones I devoured at the beautiful Jamaca de Dios, a restaurant nestled high up in the hills, overlooking lush Jarabacoa.

hgfhgf

Weddings are about love, and I love this goat.

Chivo, or goat, might not sound appealing to some, and the three other people at my table looked at me with that slightly skeptical look I should be used to by now, but let me tell you, when everything came out and everyone’s dishes were tasted, mine was the one to garner all of the food envy. The goat, similar in texture to stewed beef, was cooked in a rich, red wine sauce with peas and red peppers, and was so unbelievable soft and tender that each bite was a little cloud of meaty deliciousness. The tostones, crunchy, salty golden plantains, fried and flattened, were a great complement in texture and taste.

I’ll always remember Vil’s wedding as the beautiful celebration of love, family and friendship that it was, but in the back of my mind I’ll also think fondly of that delicious goat.