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
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Sweet, Sweet Levian

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

Oh, my childhood.

I have very vivid memories of coming home from school to the sweet, sweet smell of freshly baked cookies coming right out of the oven. I remember running up the stairs, so excited that I almost didn’t want to wait for them to cool. There’s something about your olfactory nerves — it can trigger the most vivid moments. Levain did just that.

This place has been on my “to-try” list for practically forever. I don’t make it to the UWS often, but since I was seeing a show at Beacon Theatre, naturally I had to go! From what I heard, there’s always a line… the inside is tiny… and it’s 100% worth it. At $4 a cookie, it’s not cheap but you’re paying for the king of all that is cookies.* From looking at the small selection, the obvious choice was the Chocolate Chip Walnut. Decent size, very pillow-y looking and that smell was heavenly. I just hoped it would taste as good.

One word: PERFECTION.
The best moment is when you take that first bite. Cookies have a serious power over people** and immediately transport them to their happy place. It’s a beautiful thing, really. Slightly crunchy on the outside but OOEY-GOOEY almost half-baked goodness on the inside. There is some serious magic going on in that kitchen.*** We were lucky enough to get a uber-fresh batch out of the oven. I was so surprised my cookie was strong enough to hold together. My experience there was everything that I thought it would be.

PC: Yelp

PC: Yelp

I don’t know if you’re the type to travel for food. But if you had to pick a place, THIS IS IT. You bet I’ll be back. No doubt about it.
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*Levain=Heisenberg of cookies.
**Instant smiles/positive mood. Cookies should be the solution to all our problems.
***I bet you there’s Keebler elves working in the wayy, wayy back of that tiny store. Wouldn’t be surprised.

167 W 74th St
New York, NY 10023

b/t Columbus Ave & Amsterdam Ave inUpper West Side

(212) 874-6080

levainbakery.com

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.

Lemon Raspberry Cream Cheese Cookies

rasp

Sorry I have not posted in a few days! Life has been flying by, but I want to make sure I keep up with my blog. I figured these would be perfect for a sunny warm day like today. Lately, the weather has been a bit on and off. Rain here, clouds there. But this weekend with Mother’s Day coming up… is nice a bright. This cookie is not only refreshing but tasty too. This is the kind of recipe that uses fresh ingredients and it’s a twist on a regular cookie. I hope you enjoy.

 
1/2 C butter
1/2 C cream cheese
1/2 C sugar
zest of  lemon (1/2 of a big lemon)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 C flour
1 C raspberries (fresh, preferably not frozen)
 
Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar until it is fluffy and smooth. Blend in the lemon zest, lemon juice and egg. Gradually incorporate the dry into the cream cheese mixture. Once all the dry is incorporated, fold the berries into the dough. Place the dough in the fridge for a few minutes. After the dough is chilled, place drops of cookies onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes. They will puff slightly and start to almost crack. Alas, they are nonetheless very tasty, light and fruity!