Going Nuts For Doughnuts!

doughnutplant

I don’t like donuts. I don’t know, maybe its because they can be cloyingly sweet at times, the powdered ones make such a mess or possibly because I feel like crap after I eat them. Nonetheless, I usually try to avoid them. However, the Doughnut Plant is the exception to the rule. They’re sophisticated bites with really out-of-the-box flavor combinations.

For my birthday, my friends created a food tour for me with all my favorite spots (including some new ones) and the DP was on the list. The best thing about my college friends is that we’re expert share-ers. So everyone in my party each tried a different flavor both from the cake side and the yeast side.

For the Yeast flavors – the Valrhona Chocolate, PB&J Square
Cake flavors – Tres Leches, Green Tea, Carrot Cake

My favorites were… the Tres Leches which was such an unexpected taste. This “three milks cake” was soft, buttery and had that nice milk-sweetness from the glaze. The Valrhona packed a punch in chocolate goodness and was super rich. And lastly, the PB&J Square… I mean, what’s not to love? Turning a classic childhood memory into a decadent dessert. And a donut nonetheless! Genius.

Yeah they’re a bit pricey. But can you really put a price on sugar-y happiness? (Wow, that was horrible.) But in all seriousness. Take all that change in your piggy bank, head to the DP and try something new…. Be adventurous. You won’t regret it, they’re the best in the area.

379 Grand St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 505-3700
doughnutplant.com

 

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Shake Shack Attack

Shake-Shack-New-York-007

I have been found guilty… of never trying Shake Shack until recently.
Seriously. Where have you been all my life?!

This SS is located right in the middle of Madison Square Park. The perfect place to grab a burger and a shake. Here’s some of my first impressions:
-They serve dog treats? Interesting!
-They give you the buzzers that you use in restaurants to know when your food is ready. Aka you can walk around the park and still get your food piping hot!
-Such cute to-go food containers.
-Reasonable prices? Sweet flavors? Heck yes.

I loved the organization of it. The staff was super friendly. One guy came around with free samples of the custard which was a nice surprise. Like many other places, I’ve heard so much hype… and this 100% matched it! I tried a vanilla shake which was fantastic… it brought me right back to my childhood — getting milkshakes right off the ice cream truck. The burgers are juicy and overflowing with LTO love which is what I (and hopefully everyone) look for in a burger. The fries are crisp, crunchy and pillow-y on the inside. Shall I go on? They also have a cute stand on the side of the kiosk where you can get free water, condiments, utensils/cutlery, etc. Super convenient. Super unhealthy. And SO WORTH IT.

shake-shack-shake-burger*Not to mention… not only was it beautiful weather at the time, but there was a jazz festival going on yesterday so I think that added to the overall ambiance/AMAZINGNESS that is SS. Smooth Jazz, Sweet Shakes and Sunny Weather…. first experience was a positive one! This is definitely my favorite location of all the shacks in Manhattan.

Madison Square Park
E 23rd St & Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-6600
shakeshack.com

Well Done, Bien Cuit!

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

After visiting Bien Cuit, you’ll never look at pastries the same way again. Is it possible to love something without even trying it yet? That’s how I felt about this little bakery.

To preface this review, I have a short story…
As most of my family/friends know, I hardly ever watch TV. But when I do it’s usually a show about food of some sorts. This brings me to my next point: “Unique Sweets” featured Bien Cuit on one of their episodes and whenever I watch these shows, I make sure to make a mental note to visit ESPECIALLY when it’s close by. Just from the images and descriptions, I knew I had to visit. Their featured item was the elusive Chocolate Almond Croissant… double baked in brandy. I’m such a visual person and was immediately enticed when watching the show. More or less, I was sold.

Bien Cuit, meaning “well done” is certainly appropriate. All of the desserts here are carefully crafted down to the very last bite. Upon arrival, the storefront is simple/minimalist and reflects the rustic nature of the inside. Although its spacious, there isn’t much seating to go around. I was there on a mission. My friend was cooking me dinner that night and I can never go empty-handed. So I asked the girl at the counter for suggestions (she was very helpful) and I ended up deciding on three pastries:

-Huckleberry Danish with Yuzu Curd, Huckleberry Jam: Flaky, tart and very flavorful. Those berries certainly packed a punch. This was my wildcard if you will. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t had this fruit before, so take a chance on it. It’s good.

-Apple Cardamom Danish with Pureed Apple and Cardamom Strudel: Second favorite of the night. I’m a HUGE fan of apple desserts so this was a win-win. The unique pairing of flavors certainly works.

-(The true star of Bien Cuit) Chocolate Almond Croissant/Twice-baked with Brandy: If you have to pick an item, CHOOSE THIS. You can thank me later. It’s everything a croissant should be — flaky, soft, buttery, nutty (from the almond paste)… you get the idea. And the fact that its baked in brandy? Say no more. It’s a true showstopper.

Bien Cuit-Assortment

Yes, Bien Cuit may be a tad bit on the pricier side. But I can guarantee the quality is there within every single bite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

120 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

(718) 852-0200

biencuit.com

Govinda’s

Govindas-meal

 

 

I feel like I’ve just hit the jackpot.

And by jackpot, I mean I’ve discovered delicious, cheap, fresh food in the most unexpected place imaginable. Yes, I’m talking about in the basement of a hare krishna temple. Don’t you just love that?

You can wander past this place without doing a double take. There’s no large neon sign. No flyers. No people advertising outside. It’s good ol’ fashioned word-of-mouth marketing and of course many thanks to all of you. When you walk in, look past the man that sits by the door and past the temple services and to your right you will find Govinda’s. Picture this: Walk down a flight of stairs into what looks like a much-needed-rennovation space that reminds me of an older catering hall/cafeteria. The walls are a interesting shade of green and it’s a veryyyy casual atmosphere. And….. I love all of it.

The staff here is incredibly friendly and always have a smile on their faces. If you look at the sign on the wall (see picture) it’ll tell you the price breakdown. Everything is made that day (buffet style) and fresh out of the kitchen. Their desserts for the most part are vegan so if you have dietary restrictions, always ask! They’re very accommodating.

As for the food. Holy cow (irony, I know) this stuff is GOOD. No GREAT. They offer vegetarian/vegan options without sacrificing any flavor. I’ve been able to each lunch here (Mon-Fri 12:00-3:30pm) a few times and their star dish IMO has to be the eggplant parm. It’s not your traditional eggplant parm by any means in that there’s a underlying hint of curry with every bite. Super “meaty” and cheesy. I’ve also had their: pumpkin soup, quinoa salad, curry chickpeas, roasted curry potatoes/veggies, vegan cookies and cupcakes. Their meals come with their own homemade multigrain bread which is pretty stellar like everything else.

Not only are the portions pretty hefty (I have yet to finish my full lunch), but they’re very reasonably priced. Everything I’ve had here has been nothing short of amazing. I’m looking forward to becoming one of their “regulars”.

305 Schermerhorn St
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 855-6714
https://www.facebook.com/govindaslunch

 

Pies, Pies, Pies!

pie2

Ever hear of that phrase “little slice of heaven”?
Ever experience perfection in a pie?
No? Okay. Hop on a bus, temporarily kidnap your friends car, take a hot air balloon, … whatever you need to do… to get to Briermere Farms in Riverhead.

All jokes aside, I would drive all the way out from Seaford to Riverhead just for these treasures. They’re that amazing. The little store/shack is open your typical 9am-5pm* hours with an extended 1/2 an hour on the weekends till 5:30pm. All of the pies are baked right on the farm from scratch. There’s no pre-prepped ingredients or fillings. All the fruit is grown on site. Could you ask for more? Talk about fresh and local.

How can anyone doc a star from here? Okay, yes they may be a bit pricey… ranging from $15-$22 per pie. But the quality speaks for itself. It’s lip smacking good. Briermere’s flavors range from the common apple, blueberry, cherry, peach… to strawberry rhubarb, boysenberry, apricot and coconut meringue! Every pie I’ve ever had was nothing short of delicious.

pie1

My typical experience visiting Briermere’s: **
I’m driving along Sound Ave, counting down the minutes until I reach the farm. I manage to find a spot somewhere on the grass (probably by someone’s corn field) and dodge traffic like a pro. I usually arrive mid-day, so by this point all the popular flavors are slowly dwindling. As I reach the front, there’s one Apple Crisp left. I see from the corner of my eye… someone trying to cut ahead. The next thing you know we’re in an all out brawl. Fruits are flying everywhere, people are cheering, and there’s just no going back.

The fruits are juicy&tart and the crust is a perfect foundation of flaky&buttery goodness. This is a true gem of Long Island. Been coming here for years and I’ve never been disappointed. I hope you love them as much as I do.
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*Yeah they SAY 5pm, but you better get your butt there sooner because they run out fasttttt.
**Okay this never really happened. But I’d like to think I’d go to these lengths for a Briermere pie. Dramatic license people.

SkyIce-Ice Baby!

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

Where else can you get ice cream in flavors like: Durian, Black Sesame Seaweed, White Miso and Almond & Thai Tea? One word my friends: SkyIce.

What an adorable part of Park Slope! My college friend suggested this place and when I looked at the menu as well as the reviews, I was pretty excited to check this eatery out. At a glance, SkyIce is undoubtedly cozy, casual and a decent size. During the warmer weather they open up the windows and you can people watch to your hearts content. The decor is very charming with their wooden benches and tables, hardwood floors and exposed brick. We sat down right away and glanced at the menu…. It was selective but covered all the basics of a Thai establishment.

I ordered the Spicy Noodle (extra spicy of course) with chicken. It was just the right amount of heat. As well as with the addition of egg, bell pepper, onion and carrot balanced out the dish pretty well. (For $9.75- good portion too.)

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

drunken noodle-skyice

Spicy Noodle With Chicken

Yes the dinner was good but what we REALLY came for was that “ice, ice baby!”* I have to say, choosing two flavors was a difficult feat. However, I rose above and made my mind: Thai Tea and White Miso Almond. I tried a safe and a unsafe flavor. Luckily I loved both. The Thai Tea tasted like the drink itself in ice cream form. I could eat that every day, for real. As for the White Miso Almond… totally unexpected combination of flavors, but they WORKED. And well I might add. If you’re feeling a bit risky, go for that one. I was tempted to convince my friend to go for the sampler, but we were too full. Next time, we’ll just go straight for the ice cream.

SkyIce may be advertise sweet and savory, but in a battle between the both… I think the sweet takes the gold in this case. Can’t wait to come back on a nice hot summer day.

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*Stuck in my head the ENTIRE time I wrote this review. Damn you Vanilla Ice.

Spice It Up!

 

 

 

 

Curry Puffs Dumplings-Pure Thai

Sorry it’s been a while folks! Been super busy with work and made my way towards Boston this past weekend. But here’s a post for ya! Thanks for reading!

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Spicy foods and I have a love-love relationship. They keep things interesting. They know how to add “spice to your life”. They know how to keep their “cool” and let’s face it… they’re hot.

Horrible puns aside, I’ve been meaning to hit up Pure Thai Cookhouse for quite some time now. Luckily a few friends of mine were up for a authentic Thai experience. Inside looks as what they like to call a “shophouse”. With wood paneling, industrial decor and a modern flair… this place is right up my alley. It’s also built with a vertically oriented layout. How they fit so much seating in such little space?* I’ll never know.

We arrived at about 6pm on a Friday and were lucky enough to get the last seat right in the front. They brought us a nice sized carafe of water and kept our glasses full. And I now know why. I ended up ordering the Wok Basil with Chicken. Now I see that you can customize your spice level and I’ve never eaten there before… I’ll settle on medium**. That way I can gauge for next time whether to amp it up or not. All I can say is, wow. The ground chicken and string beans were a killer. I think that chili garlic puree and holy basil sauce did a number on me. The only thing to tame the heat was that jasmine rice. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious and I’d order it again. But no 3 stars for me. I’ll stick to a happy 2.

Spicy Wok Chicken-Pure Thai
We also ordered:
-The Chicken Curry Puffs: super flaky/crispy with a moist center. (With sweet potato, onion and a cucumber relish.)

-Steamed Veggie Dumplings:My favorite app. From the looks of it, I had no idea how it was going to taste as well as texture-wise. The peanut flavor was strong which I enjoyed. Pillow-y and flavorful bites.

I received a fairly amount of hype for PTC and was happily surprised to see that it’s completely justified and warranted here. Service was great and we didn’t feel rushed despite the incoming crowds. I appreciated the atmosphere that transported me across the world and the bold flavors that took my taste buds there as well.

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*Welcome to the magic and glory that is NYC.
**As mentioned in my tip, if medium was so true to level… then I wonder what “hot” is.

766 9th Ave
New YorkNY 10019

 

b/t 51st St & 52nd St in Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West, Theater District

(212) 581-0999

purethaicookhouse.com