Why can’t bodegas ever make a good fruit salad? I won’t name names but yesterday I ordered a fruit salad from my local bagel shop/bodega. Now this store does a phenomenal job on bagels and offers quality sandwiches, soups and salads. There’s always a long line to get to the counter and generally everything’s quite good until yesterday when I ordered their fruit salad. From past experience at similar establishments I’ve learned to avoid fruit salads.
Normally, I know better but yesterday I was lured in by those pithy chucks of melon because I wanted something light and fresh to accompany the mac & cheese with greens leftovers that I’ve been having for lunch for the past three days (by the way its still delicious and reheats wonderfully). Three days in and I still love it.
As I see it, the main problem with commercially produced fruit salad is that the honeydew and cantaloupe, which comprise 80% of the salad, are never ripe. They’re so far from being ripe that they’re crunchy and flavorless. The two slices of strawberry and three blueberries that round out the salad just can’t compete against that much bland melon. The other problem is that the chunks of fruit are too big so you can only savior one tasteless piece on melon at a time.
Last summer I moved from Prospect Heights, Brooklyn to Park Slope, Brooklyn. Even though Prospect Heights is only a few blocks away I don’t spend much time there anymore. One of the main things I miss from the old neighborhood, aside from my lovely duplex with a backyard, is Joyce Bakeshop. It’s a neighborhood café/bakery that’s always packed with freelancers working on their MacBooks, kids stopping in for a cookie, and commuters getting their morning coffee. Their macaroons are top notch and they’ve never failed me for great cupcakes, coffee, and baguettes.
When my sweet tooth reared its ugly head the other day I decided to walk over to Joyce Bakeshop. I opted for their lemon tart. I love fruit curds (such an awful name for something so delicious). Generally, I only find lemon curd (think lemon bars and lemon tarts) which is good stuff available commercially but there are many other exciting curd options that you can explore if you make your own. My favorite is passion fruit curd which makes a lovely bright yellow passion fruit tart.
When Lauren sent me a text asking if I could meet her at the Chocolate Room, I knew she’d had a rough day. For some people comfort food is mac n’ cheese but for Lauren it was chocolate cake. Not fluffy little cupcakes that are fun & celebratory, but the comforting, melt-in-your mouth richness of flourless chocolate cake.
My friend Lauren was breaking up with her boyfriend of two years, the guy she was engaged to and she needed moral support before doing the deed. The Chocolate Room was our local go-to spot for great desserts and a glass or two of wine. It had been in the neighborhood a long time and being the personable girl she is, Lauren is buddies with the manager and wait staff there. When we entered the manager came over to say hi and he wanted to hear if there were any updates to the Ramon situation.
It became known as the ‘Ramon situation’ early in the relationship when Lauren concluded that Ramon wasn’t the right guy and maybe she should break up with him but before she did that she needed to talk about it a lot. Many, many hours had been logged discussing the Ramon situation. So one year and six months into it, I was skeptical that she would go through with it until she told me that that morning she’d signed a lease on an apartment upstate. She was moving out of the city at the end of the month and Ramon wasn’t coming with her.
I’ve lived within five blocks of Lauren for six years. She’s the person I text when I want a buddy to go running in the park or explore a new bar in the neighborhood. She has my extra set of keys and watches my cat when I’m away. I was going to need the comfort of the chocolate cake too. I hate when friends move away.
A few months ago we stopped by Mario Batali’s Otto for a late lunch. We split a great pizza but what was super delicious and totally unexpected was the dessert. It was so yummy that I’m still thinking about Otto’s olive oil gelato months after having it.
I generally I don’t have dessert at lunch but my boyfriend was adamant that I simply had to try the olive oil gelato. He’d already had it and kept saying that it was so good. I wasn’t convinced. Olive oil gelato sounds awful but I thought I’d humor him.
OMG! He was soooooooo right. It’s fabulous! Generally I don’t make my own ice cream but then you’re not going to find olive oil gelato in any store and, well, it’s ridiculously good. Continue reading