Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Taste of 7th St. plus another Gem worth noting...

READ: Click the names of places for links!

Brian and I split the Taste of 7th St. food tour offered by Scoop St. It was 18 dollars and included the following:

1. An Arepa from Caracas Arepa Bar . They gave everyone a regular sized "De Pabellón" Arepa which is a doughy disc thing stuffed with shredded beef, queso fresco-y cheese, sweet plantains and some black beans. It comes with spicy creamy sauce. Honestly, kids, this is about as ridiculously great as great can be. If this makes you hot, check out the end of my post, where I dote on the Pupusa (Salvadoran), which I bought for much cheaper (normally) in Brooklyn, and is basically the same thing.

2. A giant smoothie from Xoom. We chose the "Paint It Blackberry", but could have opted for something more interesting and fun. I would recommend that. Our choice was perfect for the Arepa, but if you're there only for a smoothie mission there were some crazy options on the menu that would probably be more fun. However, I still assert that anyone can make good smoothies at home.

3. 2 Butter Lane Cupcakes. Butter Lane seems to think their cupcakes aren't as "sweet" as others, according to their website. This is entirely untrue. The icing was so sweet is was almost TOO sweet. From me, this is even surprising. The cake itself wasn't anything to speak for, either, although it certainly was enjoyable. It's a cupcake, after all. Again, I would say that this establishment wins for fun-factor. The "Elvis" cupcake is a banana variety with peanut butter frosting.

4. Luke's Lobster Roll. This was the most visually disappointing, and therefore the most rewarding in the end. When we went to Luke's, we had been granted giant portions of the afore-mentioned items, and so when the palm-sized half-roll with a bit of pink and white falling out of it came into our hands, it was a bit of a let down. That is, until we tried it. EAT THIS LOBSTER ROLL! It was light, buttery, super juicy, and really really yummy. This guy is crave-worthy. So great. I want another one right now.

5. And finally, the 7th St. pig maker we all know and love, Porchetta. My secret? This was my first taste of Porchetta! Brian's description of "Roast Pork that tastes like Stuffing" is entirely accurate. There's a sage disposition here, and the meat is so tender that it really does have a stuffing-like quality. Brian was sad there were no crispy bits on our sandwich, but I enjoyed it VERY much even just being melty and tender. Better yet, they serve it on a Sullivan St. Ciabatta. YOM.

So there was the food tour. So worth it. I'd never heard of Scoop St. until I did this, and now they are offering some 160 buck Yoga crap that I would never buy, but maybe one day they will bring me a Flushing Queens food tour or something else that I'd fall to my knees for.

As an ender, I'd like to introduce everyone to Bahia Restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a Salvadoran establishment which specializes in the "Pupusa", which is basically the same thing as an "Arepa", although I'm sure there are differences that I don't feel like looking up. Basically, if you're in to a corn/wheat flour dough stuffed with Latin American Things, this is your place.

For two, that's right, TWO DOLLARS, you can get one. My group ordered... well, a lot more than one. Luckily a time constraint prevented all of us from hurting ourselves. I'll save a long discussion and just tell you what to order there now:

Jalapeno con Queso Pupusa (Pupusas come with a cabbage slaw you eat on top)
Queso con Loroco Pupusa
Revueltas Pupusa
Fried Sweet Plantains con Crema
Sweet Empanada de Leche

Thank me later. Also try the ten thousand other things on the menu that all look delicious and incredible. Cheap beers.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Healthy Whole Wheat and Flax Scone Recipe

from the original post at

Makes 2 Large Scones, Serves 1

1/2 cup White Whole Wheat Flour (essential! This is a whole wheat flour ground from a White Wheat, rather than Red, so it is lighter and has the mouth feel of processed white flour, but IS WHOLE GRAIN)
2 Tablespoons Golden Ground Flax Seed (optional? You don't have to, and I don't think it will affect the recipe, but I've never left them out, so be wary)
1 Tablespoon Aluminum Free Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons good cold unsalted Butter
1/3 Cup cold Buttermilk OR regular Milk with a few splashes of light (rice, white, apple cider) vinegar mixed in
A splash of Vanilla Extract
Large Crystal Sugar to top (quite optional)

*Be sure to keep many of these ingredients on hand for quick tweaking before baking. The dough texture and dryness are what make a good scone.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare yourself for the best breakfast experience ever. Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Have cold buttermilk or milk/vinegar mixture prepared and in the fridge. You can add the vanilla to the milk to make everything quicker. Add cold butter to the bowl. With a long pronged fork, smash the butter into the dry ingredients, until the bowl is filled with little flakes of butter. To be honest, I never measure the butter, I just take a few huge chunks and start going at it. (By the way, butter is good for you. These scones are still healthy.)To scrape fork while mixing, use a knife, not your hands. This does not have to be precise, and while it should be incorporated, bigger flakes of butter mean a flakier scone. After this is completed, quickly make a well in the center of the flour/butter, and add the milk and vanilla. Use fork to gently combine ingredients. The dough should be quite dry, and getting the last bits of flour to pull together should be a small battle. Give the dough a few pushes and squeezes with your hand just to smooth it out and place on the center of a quickly buttered sheet pan. Make a square-ish shape, and then cut in half with a pastry cutter (great investment), or knife to make a classic scone triangle. Top with the sugar if desired, and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until just golden brown all over the top. Enjoy warm with clotted Devonshire cream (or lightly sweetened whipped cream) and jam, or just jam, but definitely include coffee or tea.

I've been enjoying these every morning. They make a really great breakfast, and can be spiced up any way. The ones above have added cinnamon, and I've recently been doing them with tons of huge frozen blueberries. Make them as savory or sweet as you like, but either way it's really fruity jam that gets them going. Just make them. Okay?