Friday, March 20, 2009

Yes, yes, yessss!!!

Just a quick post to share the very exciting news (via Grub Street): Chocolate Bar, the fantastic, down-to-earth chocolatier, is re-opening in April. Their new digs will be in the West Village, not far from the old shop on Jane Street (which shuttered in 2008).

I visited Chocolate Bar during my very first eGullet foodblog back in 2006, and I have a very soft spot for their hot chocolate and their ridiculously addictive salty pretzel bars. Not like I couldn't visit them at Bendel's or online this whole time - but, still, this is exciting!

A reminder of why Chocolate Bar is just so freakin' good...

Yup. That's why.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Speaking of macarons...

The king of macarons himself, the great Pierre Hermé, is featured today on The Selby. They have a recurring series that takes you inside the homes and studio spaces of creative people, and today they have some great photos of Hermé's Paris apartment.

Since I am a bit of a design addict and more than a bit of a macaron lover, this is pretty much online Nirvana for me. I think New Yorkers can learn a lot from how Parisians effortlessly mix the ancient and the modern - just look at that yellow Eames rocker next to the intricate marble fireplace.

This isn't the apartment I'd choose for myself, but you have to admire the courage. Too often Americans let the space dictate the style, rather than expressing themselves within the space provided. I'll remember this chair + fireplace combination the next time I start with a new apartment.

Photos courtesy of The Selby.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The caramel ones just slay me.

Normally, I'm not a big advocate for chains. Outside of an annual visit to McDonald's and an admitted fondness for Ikea, I try to frequent small and/or locally-owned businesses whenever possible, particularly when it comes to all things food-related.

That said, I might just be in love with Bouchon Bakery. It sits in the closest thing Manhattan has to a mall (the Time Warner Center), and it's an offshoot of the original in Yountville, but that doesn't make its coffee any less delicious or its pastries any less divine.

Part of Thomas Keller's ever-expanding empire, Bouchon Bakery features coffee, pastries, sandwiches, salads and soups. Everything looks delicious, but I can't ever seem to make it past the macarons. They slay me every time.

The caramel is my favorite, but I try to work at least one seasonal flavor into the mix on each visit. Today, they had raspberry, and lemon with chocolate buttercream. Neither of these was enough to tear me away from my beloved caramel, but I feel confident saying they were both delicious.

Seriously, go buy a macaron, as soon as possible. Bring some home, and your family will be your slaves. For reals.

Yay, Lorna!

About three years ago, while I was writing my first eGullet foodblog, I started exchanging emails with a fellow eGullet member named Lorna. She and I had become friendly during an extensive and obsessive period of eGulleting, and she wanted some advice: should she meet up with another eGulleter, a guy named Henry, who'd asked her to dinner?

I think I told her that I found the whole thing a bit sketchy.

It's a good thing she didn't listen to me: Lorna and Henry are now married and living in Seattle, where they've bought a house (Henry's an architect and has some pretty amazing plans for the place) and Lorna has begun penning a column for Seattle magazine.

Even more exciting? She's also working on her first cookbook. You can follow along as she writes and tests recipes, because she's recording the whole experience via her gorgeously-photographed blog, The Cookbook Chronicles. You'll want to pay special attention to the desserts - Lorna's got a renowned sweet tooth, and she knows how to treat it right.

Photo courtesy of The Cookbook Chronicles.

Ruth Reichl and Mark Bittman are my tweeps.

By now, even the less technology-savvy among us have heard of Twitter, the micro-blogging, social networking phenomenon currently sweeping the interwebs. When I joined Twitter back in November, my goal was to connect with experts and mavens in my new field (user experience) and possibly rustle up some new Queenie readers.

Little did I know my dabblings in the Twitterverse would soon become a full-blown obsession, on par with the great Facebook addiction of 2007.

The latest development to fuel my passion was my discovery that several of my food world idols are Twittering - Ruth Reichl, Mark Bittman, Pete Wells, Amanda Hesser, Grant Achatz, Adam Roberts.

While I do think there's only so much value to be shared via Twitter's 140 characters per update, there's no denying that it's kinda cool to know when Ruth Reichl is working on a new project, or to recommend the Bar at Etats-Unis to the Amateur Gourmet.

Want to join the fun? Come follow me - you can find me @queenie_nyc. See you on Twitter!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Out with the old, in with the new.

Yesterday evening I decided it was time to refresh my work laptop's background. The European travel background (below) served me well for about three months, but it's time for something a bit lighter.

Enter a collage of Poladroided Greenmarket photos from 2008. Yay!

Want to make your own collage? I did these using Picasa, Google's photo editing software. The latest version has a collage feature - you can do grids, mosaics, picture piles, and the like. Oodles of time-wasting potential.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Let the storm wash the plates.

Today, the fantastic food-in-litblog Lashings and Lashings of Ginger Beer posted the poem "Strawberries" by Scottish poet Edwin Morgan. All my life, I have had a fondness for all things strawberry, and, since my trip there in 2007, a fondness for all things Scottish. Therefore, I am doubly delighted by this selection.

Not to mention, it's one of the hotter poems ever written about a food item. Tastefully hot, of course. Sensual, you might even say. Enjoy!

"Strawberries" by Edwin Morgan

There were never strawberries
like the ones we had
that sultry afternoon

sitting on the step
of the open french window
facing each other
your knees held in mine
the blue plates in our laps
the strawberries glistening
in the hot sunlight
we dipped them in sugar
looking at each other
not hurrying the feast
for one to come
the empty plates
laid on the stone together
with the two forks crossed
and I bent towards you
sweet in that air

in my arms
abandoned like a child
from your eager mouth
the taste of strawberries
in my memory
lean back again
let me love you

let the sun beat
on our forgetfulness
one hour of all
the heat intense
and summer lightning
on the Kilpatrick hills

let the storm wash the plates

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Someone was listening!

OK, so, it's not as good as the real thing - but it's 58 degrees out today, and headed to be about 65 before things are all said and done. We don't get the asparagus or the strawberries or the ramps yet, but we do get the sunshine and the opportunity to break out the dresses and flats!

To celebrate today's preview of spring, I took a walk along the East River and then hit my favorite local bakery, Two Little Red Hens, for a coffee and a cinnamon roll. Totally sinful, but totally worth it. The roll was a delicious, yeasty nest of buttery icing, plump raisins, and spicy cinnamon. I highly recommend a trip to the Upper East Side (or Park Slope!) to indulge yourself.

What are the rest of you doing to welcome our little burst of springtime?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Are you there, Spring? It's me, Queenie.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that the Northeast got dumped with a foot of snow yesterday. Here in New York, it's been a long, quiet, cold winter, weather-wise, and so the child inside of me was excited to finally have a good amount of the white stuff on the ground.

The petulant toddler inside of me, however, is positively crying out for a dose of spring. I want tender asparagus and stinky ramps and sweet strawberries. I want new lamb and fresh chicken and orange-yolked eggs. And I want it now!

Spring is my favorite time in New York - we wake up from our long hibernation, the farmer's market is buzzing again, the flowers and the food are local once more, and I get to trade my wool overcoat in for a chic trench.

What are you most excited for when it comes to the impending change of season?
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