Thursday, October 24, 2019

Sweet Maresa's of Kingston

I don't blog much around these parts lately; admittedly, long form has given way to the explicit, instant gratification of Instagram. As such, you've likely seen a lot of posting there of Sweet Maresa's impeccable treats- procured from Vegan Shop-Up, larger-scale events, and the joint Confectionery NYC venture in the East Village. Not that she's been neglected here! The Sweet Maresa's label on this blog has 13 mentions from when I was blogging more regularly- the first dating back to June of 2013. But, I digress...

Hooray! (photo by VM)
All of this preamble is to say: Sweet Maresa very recently opened a storefront in Kingston, NY and it is a million times more glorious than you're already picturing. I could not, in good conscience, relegate the occasion merely to an instagram post (although there will be plenty!).

Yes, that's real, pink, Depression glass. Yes, she serves on it; it's not just for show.

As reno buffs and Maresa fangirls, VM and I watched online as the blank space Maresa procured was transformed into a regal dessert oasis; images- including mine, cannot do it adequate justice.

The mauve tones in this floor alone are worth the trip.
4/8 shoes

But let us not forget the real star: the baked goods. For starters, the original vegan macarons: lined up in stunning splendor.

I was excited and it was busy; please excuse the blurry photos!

Also, a whole caseful of cakes! Top right was a maple pumpkin that was lusciously autumnal.
There was also cheese, which I unfortunately couldn't focus on in the moment because I was overwhelmed by sweets; I will surely revisit.

Lighting issues: mine; Maresa clearly paid extra for extraordinary natural light, but I blocked it with my bod.

I held my camera up for an overhead shot and this is what I captured: cakes, cookies, pies, and petit fours all on exalted display...and... more beautiful flooring.

We started off with the chocolate walnut cookie(s). We've each had this cookie at least 1000 times, but this one, in this space, made us look at each other and ask why we bother to eat anyone else's cookies.

I told you she serves any old schmucks on these gorgeous plates.

Because VM's fave chocolate-dipped berry shortbread needed an even more chocolatey, Bean-approved companion, Maresa wowed us with a swoon-worthy double (triple?) chocolate version with cacao. The accompanying truffle/petit four was also chocolate berry and it was a delight.

Oh, and what do we find here in the wider shot? A little shelf built just for 89, making the space perfect.

Of course we couldn't leave without an enviable treat box (followed shortly thereafter by a second...judge not!).

Excuses reasons to visit Kingston and get your own box of treats: This year, it was the home of the Hudson Valley Vegfest. It's also not too far from quite a few farm animal sanctuaries. Heck, have you looked outside? It's worth the trip for the foliage alone! What I'm saying here is that if you can find a way, GO. You owe it to yourself.

Best of luck and continued success to Sweet Maresa!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Chef Chloe is Supernatural

It's been about 24 hours since I ate as much as I possibly could at Chef Chloe Coscarelli's latest, limited pop-up, "Supernatural," and I haven't thought about- much less eaten, anything else; I'm awestruck by the experience.

Let's dig right in, shall we? We certainly did. Here we have the enormous serving of butternut nachos with butternut-cashew queso, maple chorizo, tomato salsa, mango salsa, and guacamole. INSANE! I want this cheese always and forever. I want it poured on everything; I want it in a vat to save for emergencies. I want it now, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. I've been vegan for almost 20 years and I lived through some pretty hard times for vegan cheese, so I DESERVE THIS and so do you. The maple chorizo? Incredible. I love maple everything and this was easily the best vegan, taco "meat" I've ever had. I'm generally ambivalent about mango, but DAMN that sweetness was a killer addition to this seemingly bottomless bowl of stupendous nachos. I could go on an on, but you get the point.

Oh, those drinks back there? Mind-blowing dragonfruit lemonade to feed my new dragonfruit obsession. Who wouldn't want to drink something this beautiful and refreshing- particularly on a day where the "real feel" is 101 degrees? Perfectly sweet, tart, and pink. Absolutely loved it.

Served in the cutest, reusable pineapple, this tropical guava punch with coconut rum is a sweet, delicious beverage with a literal rum punch- GENIUS! Couldn't choose a favorite, so just sipped alternately through the beautiful paper straws that complimented both the drinks and my manicure.

Next up were the cauliflower tacos with arugula, sweet & spicy chili sauce, and black sesame seeds. Having just eaten these, I know that if I was granted three wishes, I'd probably use one to have the ability to reach into this photo and eat them again. And, while I could not and will not pick a favorite, you should know that when I asked my SO my favorite post-meal question, "If you were ordering again RIGHT NOW, what would be the first thing that you'd order," he said these and I strongly concur. Trying to stick to the rule of three with adjectives, so I'll just say that they were the most flavorful, crunchy, sweet tacos I've ever tasted and if you know anyone that has taste buds, you should definitely make them come eat these with you pronto.

Here's another photo of the nachos just because I want you to know that I didn't forget about them; I ate them throughout the meal so they'd know that I still loved them.

The spicy jalapeno mac & cheese with cashew cheese, jalapeño-basil pesto, and the best, crispest, spiciest jalapeño slice in all the world was positively luscious. Creamy, dreamy, and not done justice by this photo, which was taken in a rush because the mac was served steaming and that was the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Full disclosure: we also shared the massive animal lover burrito with coconut-lime rice, black beans, butternut-cashew queso, maple chorizo, shiitake carnitas (!), tomato salsa, mango salsa, and guacamole. Correction: we inhaled it. It was intense and incredible and, unfortunately, not too photogenic. Find comfort in the knowledge that it was just one of those things that is such a terrific amalgamation of deliciousness, that it couldn't be captured by a single frame. Or, just go get one for yourself and find comfort in that.

not sure you can read this, but you can find the menu here

You'd think we would have been full by now, but you forget that I am a professional. I haven't blogged much of late, but you probably remember the drill: ALWAYS SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT!

We didn't go in expecting to order the matcha soft serve with cashew milk, but it was so hot out and it looked so tropical and inviting (not to mention photogenic) that we couldn't resist.

When we finally dug in (I can't help that it's pretty from every angle and with every backdrop), our minds were blown by the sumptuous creaminess; everything we thought we knew about matcha was so wrong. After we'd each had a single bite and our individual eyeballs had popped out of our collective skulls, I whispered to my SO, "We're not even big fans of matcha; how is this possible?" HE DIDN'T KNOW EITHER. Later that evening, because we will never talk about anything but this extraordinary meal ever again, he said wistfully, "I can't believe that I could have to go through the rest of my life not eating that ice cream." This is the shame of a pop-up; it's so fleeting! But, instead of lightning in a bottle, we have awesome matcha ice cream served in a real coconut. Such is life, my friends; go while you can.

And, speaking of the world's most photogenic desserts, behold the famous sprinkle cake slice that infinitely surpassed all of our ridiculously high expectations.

Appreciate the layers and the fact that I, lover of all things chocolate, agreed to share this cake in its purest, vanilla form, and wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

Now, take another look at the dense coating of what is, perhaps, the perfect food: sprinkles:

Yeah, you know I walked around (and outside of) the restaurant to try and fully capture the beauty that is this cake; I'm not embarrassed! If you've had it, you understand. If you haven't, go, Go, GO! When we were describing the cake to VM, my SO said, "It was no ordinary cake." She replied*, "I don't think anything she makes is ordinary." Ain't that the truth.

As if all of this wasn't enough, look at these completely precious earrings I got to take home to remember the day! My sweetest heart, 89, happens to be a lover of flavored, bubbly water (strange, but true). She did not venture to the pop-up with us, but I promise that I will find a way to let her share these with me that doesn't require her getting her ears pierced.

Supernatural is located at 27 East 19th Street and open for lunch only: 11am - 3pm, until July 28th. You're going to want to go soon and often because Chef Chloe Coscarelli is the magical force of vegan food.

*VM also said, "Isn't Chloe the sweetest?" That, too, is true.