Hello, Brooklyn!!

AptKitchen_0005Friends: I’ve moved to Brooklyn! That is my somewhat-excuse for my absence: I’ve been packing, unpacking, arranging, adjusting and settling my life for the past two weeks, and things are finally looking adulty. My kitchen is killer, and mostly sold me on the apartment/makes it worth the hour commute to work. I have slowly accumulated groceries from the conveniently placed Fairway and Whole Foods by the office, and yesterday I even drove(!) to the Whole Foods in Park Slope. Apparently there’s a Stop and Shop nearby that I need to find because #budgets. Anyway it’s been great so far and I’m looking forward to cooking and baking all sorts in the kitchen (it has an island!).

AptKitchen_0003Last weekend, I went to the farmer’s market at Grand Army Plaza. There were lots of great produce and stands with baked goods, flowers, meat, and dairy. Here’s my haul by the end of my trip:

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In my cool bag bought just for this purpose

Not pictured: a surprisingly yummy morning bun, a cup of (chewy?)
coconut yogurt that came without a spoon, a baguette end used to eat
aforementioned yogurt.

I had some fancy basil pasta from work that I wanted to make and thought I could make a fresh tomato sauce for it…without a blender. I’m all for that rustic feel/taste, so if you ask me, it worked out fine. I will admit, however, that I need some work on pasta sauce. Even if I’d used a blender, I’m not sure how this would have turned out. Here’s what I did anyway! Please educate me into a better pasta sauce in the comments below 😀

PastaSauce_0011 PastaSauce_0013 PastaSauce_0019I pretty much chopped up one large beefsteak tomato, some leaves of basil, and garlic from the market, added salt and honey, and simmered it on the stove until the water was cooked out. Since it was only for me, I didn’t need much at all. Then I threw it on top of my pasta, added some brie, and ate it. Not necessarily the prettiest, but fresh and great.

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PastaSauce_0028Check back soon for shenanigans of Brooklyn 😀 ~

Ithaca Farmer’s Market

      It may not be at a large ferry plaza, but Ithaca’s weekly farmer’s market at the steamboat landing (always water vessels) has everything you need and most things you don’t, but want to put in your house anyway. I have vivid memories of this farmer’s market from when I was wee Laddette visiting my grandma. She, my parents, uncle and I would walk around and look at the photographs and paintings from the local artists. I’m sure we looked at the food too, but somehow I really remember the artists. Maybe it’s because there was a stand with and old man who did Chinese calligraphy and painting. At the time, I was enrolled in martial arts etc. classes, the “etc.” including Japanese calligraphy, and I couldn’t have been older than seven. My dad was showing some interest in one of his scrolls with a painting of a cliff with a plum tree, and a poem in Japanese. He read us the text from a different scroll and seven year-old me applauded when he was finished. He told my dad that if he bought the plum tree-cliff scroll, he’d add my new favorite artwork for free. And we did walk away with both scrolls.
     Needless to say, this farmer’s market is no new development. In fact, I’ve seen the same man with the scrolls since starting at Ithaca College. But now, my eyes are just as focused on apple cider doughnuts, crêpes, and Cambodian food. For what’s seeming to be the last nice weekend of the year, I went to the farmer’s market, grabbed lunch, and had a good gander.

Much to feast on for breakfast/lunch/both.
Pretty cupcakes
Carriage House Wood Crafters

Always the heirloom tomatoes

     These apple cider doughnuts are the best doughnuts I’ve ever had, easily. Better than Krispy Kreme. That may be partially because I know they’re so much…less…unhealthy. These are so popular at the Apple Harvest Festival every year, and at certain points throughout that weekend, there will be hour long lines for these doughnuts. These doughnuts, which you can purchase at the same price of 75 cents at the farmer’s market on any given weekend around Apple Fest, or at the orchard. If you go to the orchard early enough, you can get them right out of the oil, too hot to eat for a minute or two.

     My French friend Ben who studies at IC told me that the crêpes at the farmer’s market are truly excellent, so I had to try one for lunch. I tried the “strawberry sweet cheese vanilla” crêpe with some cream cheesey substance on top, and the same of the strawberry variety on the inside. It was almost too sweet for me (which is VERY sweet), but I was satisfied with my choice. I took a picture of Shyla’s Cambodian lunch, which sounds really good. If I defeat my sweet tooth, I’ll try for that next time.

     A recent development at the farmer’s market is this popsicle stand, which is quite reminiscent of San Francisco in that the flavors of popsicle are unconventional and awesome.

Xine got a spicy Mexican chocolate popsicle
Shyla got a strawberry lemonade popsicle
And Liz got a blueberry lavender popsicle.
I heard they were all good.
We met someone who bought these cool looking artichoke flowers. She
wasn’t sure what she was going to do with them (cook or decorate).

     The farmer’s market is a lovely place to go on a weekend morning before you start further work procrastination, to listen to live music, grab a bite to eat, run into friends, and pick up some kale.

A Summer in San Francisco

     To continue my end-of-blogging tendencies, I have run out of time to share all my gastronomic adventures with y’all in a chronologically appropriate time. So it is now the time to conglomerate the  highlights of the rest of my endeavors in San Francisco, the night before my flight back to the East Coast, when I should instead be making lunch/dinner/meal for the stingy domestic flight that won’t provide me with one for free. Featured here is the best chocolate chip cookie I purchased in the city, the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market, Tartine Bakery (big deal), and Chile Pies and Ice Cream, north of the Panhandle.

     So another As Seen on “Unique Sweets” player here is Goody Goodie Cream and Sugar. This place is tucked away very nicely in what I guess is technically Mission. Nothing much is in the area, except some excellent chocolate chip cookies. I met the woman behind the baked goodness, Remi Hayashi. She was very kind and filled me in on her secret when I asked her what was crunching in the goody goodie cookie, with four different kinds of chocolate: cocoa nibs. Nuts, right? No, not nuts at all. This is all chocolate and almost no batter (once you bite into it). I would say a definite 2:1 chocolate to dough ratio here, no lie. And what’s better than a free milk shot to go with your cookie? Not much.

     They’re also just very attractive cookies. Perfectly round and colored on top. Also nice and thick.

 There she is, doing her cookie thing.

     This farmer’s market though…the biggest in the city, is up and running Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Saturday is from 8-2pm, and as you can imagine, the chef/restaurant owners don’t fancy wading through the crowd for the leftovers at noon, so the die hards get there right at 8 am for the best pickings and fewest people. One Saturday morning I got up at 7 just to get to the farmer’s market when it wasn’t crowded. I don’t do too well with crowds and grocery shopping: ask my classmates and they’ll tell you I wait until 10 pm to go to Wegmans. Well I got to the farmer’s market and while it was foggy, it was just so pleasant. Also beautiful (note tomato arrangement above). So many stone fruit samples. How else do you pick where to get your $3.50/lb nectarines?

Come hungry and get ready for a sugar crash later.

     Pluot: yes, plum-apricot.
Big bowl of greens.
Big popular bakery and a guy with cool glasses.
 So, animal fur. I guess it counts as being sustainable if you’re killing the
animals for their meat anyway, right?

It’s not just in the South of France (though it’s probably best there tbh).
     Oh, we can’t forget Umami Burger. Also known as $12 for a lot of truffle oil and “flavor”. There was nothing wrong with the burger per se, but I didn’t feel like the price was worth it. I have since tried a $3 In ‘N Out Burger, though, and was a good old fast food fix.
 Trying to go all Japanese. Not a bad looking place.
Community tabling it.

Check it: the original Umami Burger, with Parmesan crisp (baked Parmesan
chip), tiny shiitake mushroom, roasted tomato, caramelized onions and
house-made ketchup.

Megan got the Truffle Especiale with Parmesan frico, truffled arugula,
truffle butter, and a fried egg. #mushrooms #trendy

With a side of truffle cheese fondue fries. Topped with “truffle salt”. Sometimes
you just gotta lol. The fries were for sure tasty though I’ll give Umami that.

     I don’t know how to describe the importance of Tartine Bakery to San Francisco, except to say that it’s very important. Everyone knows it, everyone has been there, and everyone probably has their preferred menu item. I have never passed the corner café without seeing a line of this length out the door. I do know that no-lines happen on occasion, though. One Saturday morning I found myself in the Mission and thought it only appropriate to try something.

     It’s a very small place, so don’t expect to get a table without waiting. But you go in – or rather line up, get in, order, and find somewhere to stay if you want. I think there may be some wait staff thing going on if you order lunch. Here are some literal sneak peek photos I took in stealth mode/from the hip (I’m getting better maybe?).

 They do all sorts of things here. I think that’s the lemon meringue cake
getting worked on back there.

Here is the finished product.

They’re famous for their bread pudding.

No wonder.
But they’re also famous for their morning buns. Remember C&W’s morning bun? The prices of the two differ by 20 cents, but the experience is galaxies apart. What came to mind when I was thinking of how to describe C&W’s bun was too harsh to post. But you must understand: I almost cried eating this morning bun. I almost bought another. Warm, citrusy, gooey, sugary meltedness on the top, barely done in the middle, incredible. Like no cinnamon roll I will ever have. If you go to San Francisco for one thing, make it this morning bun. I was so extremely content when I left. Thank you, Tartine Bakery.

     Chile Pies and Ice Cream are known for putting chiles in their apple pie with a cheddar crust or some such combo. I say why ruin a perfectly good pie, as does my intern buddy Erin, but I guess I can’t knock it yet since I went with the seasonal white nectarine with raspberries, paired with lemon cookie ice cream from SF’s Three Twins Ice Cream. I think one of those twins went to Cornell! This place is part of Green Chile Kitchen, a fun looking restaurant right next door to their NoPa location (north of Panhandle…does anyone really use NoPa as a neighborhood name?). It has some sort of old-fashioned, maybe rustic vibe to it. Check out that table top.

With a menu that changes daily, they have this cool roll of paper pinned to the wall.

Fun lights, except I couldn’t see all that well.

If you’re staying to eat, they’ll heat up your pie nice and gud. They also make
pie shakes. They will take your pie slice of choice and make it into a shake.
I’m not sure, either. Next time.

Fun lights like I mentioned.

       I’m leaving this city with more questions than answers, but at this point, with one semester to go and future choices to be considering, it’s not a bad thing. This time tomorrow I will be on the hustle side of things for one more round. Stay tuned for ridiculous senior(itis) endeavors, and thanks for reading this far! Keep your rubber scrapers handy for a fun cupcake recipe from weeks ago too…