Category Archives: Gourmet

Dolce & Clemente’s Italian Market in Robbinsville, NJ

Owner Joe Clemente hails from Brooklyn where his family had successful grocery businesses. In 2008, he opened Dolce & Clemente in Robbinsville, New Jersey.  If you visit, it is in the same shopping center as De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies, so you can shop before or after your pizza.  They have a deli counter, bakery and prepared meal sections.

So much Italian bread

Imported cheeses

Giant cannoli

Plenty of taralli and even gluten-free pasta

May Love With Food Box

I’m excited about May’s Love With Food box.

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There are key lime cookies from J&M, sweet potato chips from One Potato Two Potato, Revolution herbal teas, tarallino from Terre Di Puglia, sea salt caramels from Le Caramel, tropical peach drink mix from Flavorz Organic, Giddy Up & Go granola, and flavored sea salts from The Spice Lab.  These are all things I enjoy.

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Chelsea Market

I took a trip to the High Line today and stopped at Chelsea Market.  From the 1890s to the 1950s, Chelsea Market was the site of the National Biscuit Company, or Nabisco.

National Biscuit Company memorabilia

Nabisco created the American classics:  Uneeda Biscuit, Fig Newtons, Saltines, Vanilla Wafers, Oreos and Barnum’s Animal Crackers.

National Biscuit Company memorabilia

In 1997, Chelsea Market opened with specialty food shops.  Today, it’s home to the Food Network as well.  I visited Chelsea Market Baskets today, a shop that has many gourmet and specialty food products and makes gift baskets.  I got some delicious shortbread from Scotland here as well as some other yummy items.  I even saw cornmeal from North Carolina.

I also checked out the Manhattan Fruit Exchange, a chilly produce market with much variety.  Here, I found crosnes, or Chinese artichokes, tubers that I’ve never seen before.

crosnes

I also saw red walnuts from Sanguinetti Farms in California.  Not genetically modified, they were created by grafting Persian walnuts onto English walnuts.

Sanguinetti Farms Red Walnuts

Chelsea Market is a fun stop.  I find the food here to be hit or miss, but I’ve enjoyed The Green Table every time I’ve eaten there.

The Plaza Hotel’s Food Hall

The Plaza Hotel’s Food Hall is a hustling and bustling five-star food court.  With Todd English’s food hall as the main attraction, this is a definite place  for foodies to visit.  Francois Payard has a shop here with his verrines (the raspberry one has olive oil marshmallows):

lovely cakes:

 

and macarons.

Other shops include Lady M, La Maison du Chocolat, Billy’s Bakery, Luke’s Lobster, Sushi of Gari, Three Tarts, and William Greenberg Desserts.

icebox cakes from Billy’s Bakery

yellow daisy cake from Billy’s

panna cotta from Three Tarts

gourmet marshmallows from Three Tarts

After circling the food hall a few times, I decided to try a red velvet black and white cookie from William Greenberg Desserts.

red velvet black and white cookie

I also tried a Greek lemon yogurt with mango bobas from Yo Art.  Yes, they look like large salmon roe, but they are actually balls of mango juice that burst in your mouth.  This was a great combo.  The Greek lemon is such a pleasant flavor.

PAPER magazine’s Super Duper Market this weekend

PAPER magazine’s Super Duper Market is this weekend, July 13-15, in the Chelsea Market building.  (The entrance is on W. 16th Street though.)  The market includes booths from local food purveyors as well as some from the West coast.  Most are giving samples to taste and then you can buy a serving if you like.  Not to miss is Humphry Slocombe ice cream.  Sample their most popular flavor, secret breakfast, and buy their book to find the secret recipe!

secret breakfast

Red Rooster Harlem is offering its spice mix for fried yard bird exclusively at Super Duper Market.  They are also premiering their red velvet Danish, which will be available at the restaurant’s breakfast nook.

Red Rooster Harlem

Nordic Breads, who is also at the Union Square Greenmarket, is at Super Duper with their wonderful Finnish ruis bread, a 100% whole grain rye bread with a long shelf life.

Nordic Breads

There are many popular items here, such as Danny Macaroons. Whatever your taste, be it ice cream, s’mores, pie, olive oil, spreads, syrups, bread, or cookies, there is something here for you.

Sweets Week: Day 2: Francois Payard Bakery

The sweet for the day is the new macaron ice cream sandwich at Francois Payard Bakery.  A new location of FPB opened up not far from me, to my delight.  However, it was a bit tricky to find as it’s not on Columbus Circle but a block down on Broadway.  Once inside, I found a small sign advertising the macaron ice cream sandwich in flavors like passion fruit cheesecake and coconut mango.  Now, I must admit, though I am an ice cream addict, I’m not a huge fan of ice cream sandwiches.  However, I am open to anything Francois Payard creates, so I had to try this exotic and posh take on a cool summer treat.  I got passion fruit cheesecake, and my taste-tester friend got coconut mango.

Verdict:  Perfect macaron cookie and delish ice cream.

Passion fruit cheesecake macaron ice cream sandwich

240sweet marshmallows 50% off today only!

I got an email from Chef Alexa, that in honor of her birthday today, all 240sweet webstore items are 50% off.  Use the code ALEXABIRTHDAY at checkout. S/H not included in discount.  Not valid with any other offers.  Offer expires at 12:01 am EST on March 15, 2012.

Also, good news for the ladies.  Their Salty Caramel Swirl marshmallow was featured in O, the Oprah Magazine‘s first food issue.

WSJ Interview with Thomas Keller

I haven’t read Thomas Keller’s Finesse magazine.  The WSJ interviewed him in Thursday’s issue about his magazine.  Apparently, the magazine features writers like Ruth Reichl and Ed Levine.  It focuses on Keller’s restaurants like the summer 2011 issue on Per Se.  The winter 2012 issue feautes his casual eateries like Bouchon Bistro & Bakery.  He mentions that he is very open to catering to people with food allergies and food lifestyles.  A chef in his R&D kitchen, Lena Kwak, created C4C (Cup for Cup) for people with gluten intolerance.  Another interesting tidbit in the interview is that a professional dancer taught Per Se’s waitstaff how to move elegantly.

Artisan Marshmallows the New Cupcake?

I read a recent article that claimed such, but I was suspect.  Cupcakes are the ultimate comfort treat.  They remind us of childhood parties, of our grandma’s buttercream icing, of happiness and fun.  They are small and we don’t feel so guilty eating just one.  So you could see why I was suspect that artisan marshmallows would dethrone the hallowed cupcake.  That is, until I tried artisan marshmallows from 240Sweet

I met 240Sweet partner Alexa Lemley a few months ago at the New York Chocolate Show.  She was helping out at her friend’s booth, and while we chatted, she told me that she is an artisan marshmallow maker.  She asked if I’d like a sample, and I told her yes.  I’ve had the famous marshmallows of City Bakery, the gourmet version of your standard marshmallow.  It was very good and certainly not the gummy cylindrical puffs that you get in the grocery store.  But beyond a little melty gooey in my hot cocoa, I didn’t take pleasure in biting it alone. 

Alexa sent me a package of three flavors, roasted pineapple, peppermint and white chocolate snow.  On a cold New York night, I made myself a cup of hot cocoa topped with a white chocolate snow marshmallow.  Wow!  The large, square pillows are soft and cloudlike.  The white chocolate chips are covered in powdered sugar and melt on your tongue. 

white chocolate snow marshmallows

This marshmallow is divine.  It made my cup of hot cocoa not just comforting but also fun.

This led me to think of creative uses for my marshmallows.  Being from North Carolina, I love my sweet potatoes.  I’ve had many variations of sweet potato casseroles, those including crushed pecans, oatmeal crusts, pear preserves, maple syrup, crushed pineapple.  Some casseroles are topped with the mini marshmallows from the grocery store.  This gave me the idea to make a sweet potato casserole topped with roasted pineapple marshmallows.  OMG, this was a great idea. 

sweet potato casserole

That is the beauty of 240Sweet’s marshmallows.  Unlike the ubiquitous cupcake that you can eat only on its own, the artisan marshmallow can be incorporated into your favorite comfort foods. 

I’m eager to try other flavors from 240Sweet.  They have over 70 flavors that are not just the basics like peppermint and not just the sweet like vanilla, but savory as well like turkey with sage dressing and thai chili.  Want to try some?  They are available from 240Sweet’s site.

Eleven Madison Park

 The inconspicuous entrance to Eleven Madison Park looks like that of an office building.  However, once through the revolving door, I felt less like I was at work and more like I was at home, as I was greeted by a host who impressively knew with whom I was dining.  At our table, there was a small card with words printed on it.  The words were in rows and columns, and each was the main ingredient of a dish.  For lunch, there is the option of three or four courses.  We chose four.  I chose “artichoke,” “loup de mer,” “pork,” and “chocolate.”  My dining companion chose “tuna,” “lobster,” “pork,” and “chocolate.”  We were asked if we had any food allergies or restrictions, and noting none, the waiter was off to start our meal.  A young, female sommelier suggested the wine to go with our choices.  (The feminist in me was very happy to see a young, female sommelier at a four-star restaurant, in addition to female waiters.)  To start, tomato tea.  I didn’t think this would be much to write about until I tasted it.  I could picture ripe, luscious tomatoes as I sipped.

tomato tea

 There were some bites on the table that looked like gougeres, but I didn’t get a chance to try one.

gougeres

 Our amuse-bouche was a precisely decapitated egg shell with a flavorful sturgeon creation inside that was the perfect opener to tantalize our taste buds.

amuse-bouche

 
We also had two types of bread.  One was a cross between a roll and a croissant, served in a charming sack with butter and a goat’s milk butter.

bread with butters

The other was a fiery lavash:

lavash

 
 
My first course was artichoke that included fried artichokes and artichoke mousse, along with sweetbreads.  I’d never had sweetbreads before and was pleasantly surprised by their mild flavor.  These were fried crisp on the outside and softer on the inside.  Of course, it is said that anything fried can’t taste bad. 
 

artichoke

My second course was loup de mer.   This was mild and pleasant.
 

loup de mer

My friend’s starters included a tuna with tomatoes.  The froth on top was actually frozen and tasted like tomato.
 

tuna

 

My friend’s second course was lobster that I believe they called a lobster lasagna. It looks as if it had zucchini and zucchini flowers.

 

lobster

 

 
My entree was pork, roasted and a slab of bacon, with apricots and pistachio couscous.  The pork was tender and delicious, and the pistachio couscous made a great accompaniment with its crunch.   
 

pork

 
A fun part of the dining experience at Eleven Madison Park is when the waiter wheels over a cart with an old-fashioned seltzer bottle, one cup of brown liquid and one of white, and a container of olive oil.  They make their tableside version of the New York egg cream.  It’s a yummy and playful palate cleanser.
 

egg cream

 
For dessert, chocolate in various forms:  a hazelnut gelato, a rectangular chocolate candy bar, and a cylindrical foam that sparkles with toffee bits.

chocolate

To end our meal, macaroons, mango jellies and
 

after dinner treats

 sesame brittle.
 

sesame brittle

 Eleven Madison Park is my kind of haute cuisine, a never-ending stream of flavor,  both elegant and fun.