Frozen: Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, Kyotofu, Sundaes & Cones, Chickalicious, Yogurtland, ‘wichcraft, and Shake Shack

As the weather in the city starts to cool, I find myself dreaming frequently of ice cream, gelato, and soft-serve. My penchant for frozen treats extends throughout the year, but reaches a peak come fall and the dark days of winter. Ice cream in summer is classic, but the rush for quick consumption before it turns into milky puddles down your black dress is far too nerve-wracking.

Like that time Shann, Steph, and I made way to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory for a pre-Grimaldi’s snack.

As though the outside air were not hot enough, they neglected to open windows inside the little shop, providing a steaming sauna experience as we waited in line for cones filled with scoops of the classic Vanilla Chocolate Chip…

…and Coffee ice cream. Delicious? Why, of course. But the cones were downed in less than a minute, for if we dared to stretch the enjoyment a second longer, we’d encounter nothing more than lukewarm liquid. Shann remarked, “that was incredibly stressful.”

On a cooler afternoon, we headed to Kyotofu for twists of Chocolate-Black Soybean and Tahitian Vanilla. Each serving comes with your topping of choice: kuromitsu whipped cream, fresh fruits, mixed berry compote, or mochi. Steph went for the Matcha Mochi…

…while I found favor with Kinako Mochi, fine compliments to the subtly sweet soft-serve. The “soy” element was not pronounced as I had hoped for, but the lush, smooth and easy texture was made this easily likable.

Sundaes & Cones, with a full line of Asian inspired flavours (I’m still hoping for Durian to come on the menu) is our go-to ice creamery. Close proximity to our apartment, ample seating and magazines galore make it an ideal location to close off a lazy evening…tucking away scoops of black sesame…

…Corn & Green Tea…

…and a very lovely Guava. The wispy tropical flavours and pale pink shade never fails to make me smile as I am reminded Hawai’i.

A couple blocks east of Sundaes & Cones is Chickalicious Dessert Club. Here, $5 buys a dainty sundae of vanilla soft serve with brownies chunks, toasted pistachio, and shredded kafti. It’s presented in a plastic cup, swirled high, and completed with a luscious pour of hot fudge.

Cookies don’t quite fit in the ‘frozen treats’ theme of this post, but add a trio of their chocolate chip cookies to your order, and this sundae will be elevated to levels of deliciousness previously unknown. They’re priced well at 3/$1.95, and besides, they sit so close to the register…how could you resist?

I stopped in at Yogurtland the other week after learning that they had Taro on the menu.

Green Tea on the left and Taro on the right. A small serving of each ran $2.50 for this cup. The Green Tea was terrible . And while the Taro was indeed full on fake tasting, it had that slight likeability factor…you know that same oomph you get when you order taro boba drinks? The it’s clear that this is not real taro, yet it is strangely addicting? Something to that extent!

Following lunch at Soba Totto the other week, Lauren and I had dessert at the Bryant Park ‘wichcraft stand. For myself: coffee ice cream with toffee sauce and chocolate cookie crumbles.

And for Lauren: hazelnut and coffee ice cream, crumbled peanut butter and chocolate cookies.

And while the fall days are cool enough to enjoy the outside, but not so cold that the notion of frozen custard induces shivers, I very often find myself in the “B” Line at Shake Shack. Noon, late afternoon, or 10pm, custard is perfectly appropriate for every time and meal of the day. Last Friday I decided a sundae would be most suitable for the 6pm hour – peanut butter and concord grape jelly custard, vanilla custard, bananas, whipped cream, and a single cherry. Whimsical! Steph had the same sundae, with shortbread cookies in place of bananas.

I was back two days later, this time with Lauren who had a chocolate custard concrete with almonds and peanut butter sauce.

Cannoli was the custard of the day, my favourite Shack Shack flavour and one I’d never turn down. Creamy ricotta custard with sharp hints of lemon and…oh man, get this…crushed cannoli shells! Now how wonderful is that? I am absolutely in love :)

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
1 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

705 Ninth Avenue
New York, NY 10019
(212) 974-6012

Sundaes & Cones
95 E 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 979-9398

Chickalicious Dessert Club
204 E. 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 475-0929

267 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 206-1824

11 west 40th Street @ 6th Avenue
Bryant Park

Shake Shack
Madison Square Park
23rd St and Madison Ave
New York, NY 10010
(212) 889-6600

In The Neighborhood…

…is Redhead, a restaurant delivering instant invitation of warmth in a cozy atmosphere. Lovely for dinners on a whim with one or two close friends. Or sometimes, better yet, alone in the company of strangers. Below, a few snapshots of some of my favourite dishes at this hospitable East Village newcomer. Check Ed’s article on Serious Eats for a full review.

Buttermilk fried chicken, crisp and on the salty side (that’s a good thing! :) with meat so moist, the juices positively drip down your wrists. The entree comes with a wedge of warm cornbread – made complete with generous pats of butter, and a light pecan salad. On previous visits the salad featured Tristar strawberries, but none were seen on this time around. No matters, it was still delicious.

I’d be delighted to call two or three orders of the one-eyed Caesar my dinner. With a taste rivaling that of its appearance, the salad demands a double take for the one-eyed Susan alone, a perfectly cooked egg nestled within brioche and scatterings of crisp capers.

The market risotto, savoury light and satisfying, owes rhythm to daily Greenmarket offerings – I found a bounty of crimini mushrooms and fennel in yesterday’s meal.

Lauren was quite pleased with the artic char on our visit a few weeks past…

…and while we both agreed that while the rich Anson Mills antebellum grits were indeed a work of art (with a shimmering pool of slow melting butter dolloped over the surface just seconds before ), it did a terrible number on our arteries.

But ooh, it would be terribly difficult to ignore Erica’s offering of those same grits coupled with low country shrimp and sausages.

For dessert? Figgy pudding and salted caramel hobos answer calls of comfort, but I’m quite delighted with the excellent Chocolate-Oat Cookie that accompanies the check.

The Redhead
349 E 13th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-6212

Bus Rides

Each weekday morning, I walk three avenues west to the bus stop. I catch the bus to work. No more subways. Not since the middle of June – sticky summer. Fall came to us this week, and though the weather verges on chilly, I think my bus habit will continue through winter.

Summer, though wonderful at times, was dominated by heat rare encountered in Hawai’i where it always warm, but more importantly, full of breezy trade winds. There was something awful in waking to a slight tinge of sweat, piling on business attire, lugging a heavy briefcase down five flights of stairs, and then down two more to the train. To wait at the subway platform with glistening beads of summer heat trailing down your skin.

In the tangle of heat, the bus, with chilly air conditioning, and no need to go underground, is glorious. Granted it is much slower than the subway, but waking early enough to account for lost time is a fair trade-off. After taking the same route at the same time for enough days you run into the same people over again. Some you see on Monday and Thursday, others only on Friday, but one individual I see every single morning.

On certain days he waits at my bus stop, and yet on others I find him in the very back, already seated, quite comfortably, by the time I get on. I’m guessing he lives somewhere between my stop and the stop before. My stop is second on the bus route.

He is burly with one pierced ear and a ring on his left hand. A gold ring with a purple stone. Today it was purple. Yesterday was green. The day before, black. I do not recall colours of days prior, but I feel justified to concluded that it surely not purple, green, nor black.

We somehow end up sitting next to each other in the back of the bus. I used to sit in the middle of the bus. But one day, when I boarded with a friend, he led me to the very back even though the bus was completely empty that evening. I inquired, “why the very back?” And he said it was polite, and that one, if young and in relatively good health, should leave not just the front, but also the middle for others.

Now I always sit in the back of the bus. Ingrained habit, I suppose.

Well, tomorrow is Saturday, and the day after is Sunday. On Monday morning I must check for the colour of his ring. I hope it will be blue.

Back In The City…

Darien U-Haul’s us back after 12 hours at Ikea

…our new apartment is nearly put together! It’s quite different living with three instead of one apartment-mate, but I’d say different for the better ^_^ Shann took a peek into all four rooms yesterday and pointed out that each room fit perfectly into a season. Steph is Spring with a plushy green & white bed and pastel clothing hung on an adorable coat rack. Darien (who created a remarkable amount of storage space from little room) covers Fall with a cozy warm ambiance in shades of deep red. With cheerful bright solids and photos of our home island, Shann is doubtlessly Summer. That leaves me at Winter, much appropriate with a golden mirror and icy tones. I’m quick to admit the whole ‘seasons’ thing is cheesy, but I thought it was cute how at all was completely unplanned.

The living room is currently a work in progress. We have a red sofa stretching across the white wall and a homey brown leather rocking chair along the brick walls. There’s some confusion as to where to put the coffee table/do we need a coffee table, but I’m sure that will be figured out soon enough. We are still without internet, spending nights at wifi friendly spots nearby – Oko, Veselka, Gramstand, and Vinny Vincenz. We occasionally catch signal from the neighbor’s internet, though it goes on and off. Some network names around us are pretty hilarious, but the one that we get the strongest signal from is, “the panty burglars.” Darien’s reaction to the name, which coupled fear with sarcasm, sent us in peals of laughter while we briefly considered titling out network, “the boxer burglars.”

Steph and I, 10am, Ikea water ferry…we didn’t look nearly this refreshed on the 10pm ferry back…

All four of us took at loooong trip to the Red Hook Ikea last week. We were on the very first ferry out and, sure enough, on the very last ferry back. Having spent a total of 12 hours at Ikea, we naturally consumed all of breakfast, lunch, and dinner within the confines of this home furnishing warehouse.

Sweedish meatballs for lunch, cinnamon buns for an afternoon snack, hot dogs for dinner, and soft serve for dessert I kid you not! Instead of having the furniture delivered as originally planned, Darien suggested rented a U-Haul and bravely volunteered to drive us back to the city. You must understand, this was a very impressive feat given the fact that we’ve never ever ever driven a car, much less U-Haul van, outside of the Aloha State. We got a bit lost in the beginning, the BQE was nothing short of nerve-racking…but we made it home in good time AND managed to take all out furniture, assembly line style up to the apartment. Two friendly neighbor boys carried up the sofa, saving us a good deal of sweat – we’ll be sure to bake them cookies in return.

I’ve been getting into the habit of cooking more, which not only allows me to better control what I eat and how much I eat, but also provides a great sense of satisfaction and serenity.

I’ve dilly dallyed away a fair amount of time at the Greenmarket over the last few weeks, eating up the last of summer berries and drinking by morning hours with chocolate and coffee milk from Ronnybrook Dairy.

For a solid three nights in a row last week, I made Panzanella for dinner using this recipe found on Serious Eats. Aside from a simple burrata, tomato, and pesto concoction, I couldn’t imagine a better way to feature gorgeous summer heirlooms but to chop and toss with garlic infused cubes of Balthazar baguettes and a touch of balsamic and Maldon. The few extra grates of Parmesan might have been a tad more than most would recommend, but oh man was it delicious.

Other days I’ll throw together a simple pasta composed of flavours I crave – last night it was garlic, spinach and plenty of anchovies. Nothing like snuggling up with a warm bowl of pasta and a good novel.

Thanks Shann, for climbing up on the walls (spiderman style!) to store all our suitcases the other night :)

Weekend in DC: Day III

After a late Saturday night in Adams Morgan, we woke up the next morning to rejuvenate at the Dupont location of Teaism. My first experience with Teaism took place two months past, when Darien brought along a bag of Salty Oats on one of her weekend visits to the city. The crumbly oat cookies generously speckled with sea salt, proved so memorable that we made sure to include Teaism in our weekend agenda.

Moroccan mint green tea

The restaurant was quite lively in the morning with crowds of hungry customers, though luckily enough the lines move efficiently and we were able to find a seating for our group of seven with no issue. A few of us had the Moroccan mint green tea featured above, slightly sweetened and heavy on the mint.

Birchermuesli with homemade yogurt & fruit

I spotted Muesli on the breakfast menu and immediately settled upon that. I’ve always had a soft spot for museli, be it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There’s something oddly comforting and very satisfying in yoghurt soaked cereal, often with a handful of dried cranberries and raisins. The best muesli is doubtlessly found at Kahala Resort’s breakfast buffet in Honolulu, but with that said, it’s pretty hard to go wrong with concocting your own muesli. Up until last year I used to prepare muesli for breakfast right before going to sleep. I’d mix cereal (either store bought or a personal mix) and dried fruits with plain yoghurt and a swirl of honey then store in the fridge till breakfast when I’d top it off with blueberries, bananas, and strawberries. The only hard part (for me at least) was resisting the temptation of waking up in the middle of the night to polish off the muesli – it was too good to leave till morning! Thai Chicken Curry

Shann went with Thai curry over brown rice (it automatically come with brown, not white :), while Chrissy had the Palak Paneer, and Kelly, a sort of assemble your own roll set, complete with tea cured salmon, miso mayo, nori, braised cabbage, and brown rice.

Cilantro Scrambled Eggs with Tea Cured Salmon

Pictured above is Nat’s dish of eggs and salmon…click here for a photo of Darien’s veggie burger on wheat focaccia. The variety of menu options is vast, and thus either impressive or disappointing depending on the eyes through which you view restaurants. There are places which you patronize with the sole purpose of eating, and eating well. And then there are other in which you do want good food (one should never desire otherwise!), but company and the need to please the taste buds of all involved becomes a greater desire. Teaism falls in the latter, and there on a lazy Sunday morning, with good company in the sunlight drenched second floor of Teaism, there was no place else I’d rather be at that very moment.

We followed the morning meal with a walk through the Washington DC Farmer’s Market which rivaled that of NYC’s Greenmarket in both size and variety of vendors. Prices were right on par with the city…am I the only one who finds paying $4/pound for peaches absurd? There’s no arguing that they’re ridiculously delicious, but its hurts my wallet to the same extent it pleases my taste buds.

We spotted everything from steamed clams to a Dolcezza stand with more of yesterday’s gelato…and of course, seemingly endless bounty of heirloom tomatoes, and summer corn.

I thought this little watermelon chart was adorable :)
We spent the afternoon in the city of Georgetown, a large chuck of it within the safe haven of Baked & Wired with sweet and cups of coffee and.

The bakery layout was charming, if not confusing to navigate. You enter on the left, but need to walk to the right side (there’s a wall dividing the two sides) to order drinks first. You then have to take the drinks back to the left where you select baked goods of desire, and then pay for them all at the end counter. It’s a bit disorganized, but the sight of sweets calms all.

Each product is outfitted in a glass cake, a la these carrot cupcakes seen above, with a bright “name” tag. Very, “awww, so kyoot” inducing.

Shann’s chocolate hazelnut biscotti was the sure winner of our selections for the day, chocolatey and crumbly just right with generous hazelnut chunks. Perfect for dunking in a warm latte.

My “Jolt Brownie” on the other hand…

…was some sort of oddness more akin to a chunk of fudge as opposed to a brownie. Toothachingly sweet and dense…I don’t mean fudgy brownie, but just plain fudge ^_^ The “jolt” of espresso was bright and clear, the single satisfying element in the brownie.

It was late afternoon before we realized it, and Shann and I were soon due on our bus back headed to NYC. The estimated five hour ride ended up taking seven hours, and we were glad to heed Darien’s advice of taking along dinner from Granja De Oro Chicken A La Braza for the bus ride.

1/4 chicken with fries and salad – most enjoyable meal I’ve had on a bus to date! I feared the smell of fries and chicken might have upset neighboring bus riders, but when others whipped out a plethora of burritos, pizza and doughnuts, I knew everything would be just dandy.

2009 R street NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-3827

Baked & Wired
1052 Thomas Jefferson St NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-2500

Granja De Oro Chicken A La Braza
1801 Adams Mill Rd NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 232-8888