Friday, August 22, 2014

Contest Time: Win Chloe's Kitchen!

I've been meaning to run another contest for some time now [UPDATE 8/25/14: winner announced at end of post], but I just haven't been able to bring myself to do a convoluted, "like" me in 12 places, "like" everyone else involved in 12 places, "share" everywhere kinda jam.  Maybe one day...  For now, here's A (soy) Bean's idea of a contest (you can still like us on Facebook and Instagram if you're so inclined):

I looked out my window the other day and saw this; 
I immediately started laughing.  Then I was hungry.

The FIRST person* to leave a comment letting me know explicitly why I had that response wins a copy of one of my favorite cookbooks: Chloe Coscarelli's Chloe's Kitchen, which is- admittedly, totally unrelated to the contest question.


I won an extra copy of this book at the Vegan Bake-Off and have just been meaning to share the wealth.  With her new cookbook available for pre-order, there's no better time to enjoy the classic that started it all.

So, good luck and have fun!  This isn't a trick; there is a very specific, winning response. 

*contest is open to US residents only; I reserve the sole right to determine what constitutes a winning response and will update this post to explain the answer when the contest has ended.  Play nice!

I knew the winner of this contest would either be a resourceful person or a Cinnamon Snail enthusiast like myself.  Lucky for me, the winner is both.

The Wild Man Ned Stevens' Marshmallow Pecan Gutter Cleaner cookie first appeared on this blog on October 3, 2011.  Just five weeks later I introduced you to Ned's nubian cousin (the chocolate version).  Again on June 26, 2012 it appeared alongside the Mint Matlock. And, 13 months later, a mention in the comments of the norberweiberberweiberhydrafab post in a discussion about The Cinnamon Snail's knack for originality in the naming department.

I was hoping someone out there was a Ned Stevens' Gutter Cleaner devotee like VM and would get it immediately, but I'll forgive VV her craftiness since I know she's also a loyal Snail fan.

Thanks for all who entered; I appreciated the funny comments!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Kale Salad Saves the Fried Oreo Day at Champ's in Rockaway

As you'll probably recall, I visited some friends in Rockaway recently.  As a result of careful planning It just so happened that my visit coincided with one of the weekends that Champ's had set up shop.  Yep, that Champ's!!!

Nestled amongst standard beach fare [UPDATE: in reality I had no idea what else there was; I only had eyes for Champ's.  It's been brought to my attention that there was actually vegan-friendly Uzbek food, so I stand corrected.] at the Beach 97th concessions was vegan, cruelty-free Champ's doing what they do best: making mouths happy.


 Check out their beachy menu!  The only thing missing was fried oreos.

The whole set-up was adorably and indisputably Champs-y.


I went a little crazy: pineapple sweet tea, waffle fries, and a corn dog, but I wouldn't change a thing.




Truth be told, I wouldn't pass up a vegan corn dog anywhere.


My friends had already visited them a couple of times already, so they handled their own orders with a little more restraint than I did.  Theirs:

The beach slaw veggie burger with added roasted pineapple (and shared waffle fries because I do share sometimes [UPDATE: I've been informed that these fries actually came with, but I've received confirmation that I did also share my order of fries, so I'm not a liar!]).

Double jalapeno veggie dog with non-blogger applied ketchup.

And, well, there's no way around this: kale saladI love kale as much as the next person, but even I was perplexed.  You might be thinking that ordering a kale salad at the beach is a sucker move.  Normally I'd agree with you.  BUT, the recipient of said kale salad went on to redeem herself in no uncertain terms, so forgive her momentarily as you await the story of her redemption.

This is where we enjoyed our Brooklyn grub freshly prepared in Rockaway.

A very tired, sleepy, salty dog alternated using each of our legs for pillows.

We were having a great time, but I couldn't let it go.  Although we were all full, I couldn't stop thinking about the fried oreos.  My pals had enjoyed them just the week before and I thought it was a given.  But, this week, by the time we got there, Champ's had sold out and had depleted their back stock of oreos.  WAAAAAH!  But, we could not be defeated.  All we needed was oreos and this is America; you're never far from oreos!  Kale-salad-at-the-beach easily confirmed that they did, indeed, have the batter.  So, we journeyed to the nearest bodega (a matter of blocks) and KSATB filled a bag with un-fried oreos that we then delivered to Champ's... exchange for fried oreos; it was a victory of epic proportions!


Imagine the pride we felt when "fried oreos" were added back to the chalk menu because of one girl and a dream.


They were just as I'd remembered: imagine a funnel cake pocket...


...filled with melty, sweet, oreo goodness.


Know that if you partook of fried oreos at Rockaway Champ's a couple of weeks ago, it was probably due in no small part to my friend: none other than kale-salad-at-the-beach, who can now add this to her list of varied and impressive lifetime accomplishments.

Note: we also asked Champ's to deep fry some peanut chews for us.

That didn't work out so well.

Definitely stick with the oreos, which are ironically listed under the kale salad.

PS: while in Rockaway we also visited Fort Tilden for the MOMA PS1 "Rockaway!" exhibit.


89's first time on the sand

UPDATE: my content editor and host sent me the fabbest photo of 89 at the Patti Smith installation!

absorbing the culture

89's so glad she's wearing protective footwear

We had a great day- even passed an 89 Street!

It was exhausting (did I mention 89 threw in the towel during our Ft. Tilden walk and needed to be carried?), but exhilarating and we had a great time.  Yes, all one day.

heading home

Kindly reserve your horrified comments about my having indulged in both Champ's and Rockaway Taco in the same 24 hour period; I feel guilty enough (no I don't).

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Good Goldie's is Actually Great

A friend and I were recently in Red Bank and realized we had plenty of time to kill before he had to be at a concert, so we made the short trip to Asbury Park to see what was to be seen.  It's changed a lot in just the last few years: particularly in the realm of vegan food.  The place we were most interested in was Goldie's, a new and upscale vegan restaurant that's been receiving rave reviews for their seasonal menu ever since opening.

I'm not sure what I was expecting, but when we came upon the restaurant there was something so welcoming about it that I implored my friend to "just have a drink," and he agreed.

While I did peek inside to get a glimpse of the stunning dining room, on this visit we remained outside because our third was of the canine variety, albeit vegan as well.  The waitress did not hesitate to bring out a bowl of water, which we really appreciated because it was very hot.

I had the limonada: strawberry-infused vodka (choice of tequila if you prefer) with housemade lemonade and my dehydrated friend went with a seltzer to start.  The waitress could not have been more gracious in helping me choose a drink.  I wanted something fruity, sweet, and refreshing; this was the perfect choice, although I have my eye on a few others from the drink menu in anticipation of my next visit.

As you might imagine, we ultimately couldn't bear to sit outside of this extraordinary newbie restaurant without ordering something.  We decided to share an order of their superbly creamy and inventive pistachio flax guacamole, which contained a happily indiscernible amount of cilantro.  To make it even better, it came with an extremely appreciated generous portion of thick-cut, housemade chips.  Housemade chips!  In addition, the waitress kindly helped my friend choose a beer that he really enjoyed.  I make a mighty fine homemade guacamole if I do say so myself.  But this guacamole (and chips!) made me question why I would ever even bother again.

Truth be told, it was so hot that the refreshing beverages and small plates were plenty satiating.  Buuuut, I happened to know from another friend that there was something rather special on Goldie's menu for dessert: a choco taco with a waffle cone shell, spiced nuts, daily sorbet/gelato.  It just so happened that the gelato on that particular day (housemade for Goldie's from the gelateria across street) was salted caramel.  Who am I to argue when the universe is sending me those kinds of signals?

Let's be honest.  They could have served me a veganized, lowbrow, choco taco and I would have been satisfied.  But the choco taco I received was utter dessert perfection.  To start, the taco shell was a pizzelle.  A pizzelle!!  The gelato was a subtle, creamy caramel that had the perfect melting point (i.e. did not drip all over).  The chocolate was divine and the perfect thickness, the nuts added an impressive crunch and flavor, and the raspberries and sugared lime set everything off perfectly.  Overall, each detail and proportion was ideal; I get the distinct sense that that's just the way Goldie's does things.

Needless to say, particularly on the heels of some extremely disappointing experiences at other upscale restaurants, Goldie's impressed me in every way.  Every detail was attended to in the outdoor seating; the waitress could not have been more kind, efficient, or accommodating; and the food was the best I've had in a very long time.  I am looking forward to returning very soon (I'll need at least one more choco taco before the menu changes) and often (keep in mind that their menu is seasonal!).  Goldie's is definitely worth the trip.

While I was admiring the succulents, 89 tried to lick this cactus.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Did it All for the Cookie: Jennifer's Way Bakery

All last week I was craving a chocolate chip cookie, but there were none in the house and I was not about to turn the oven on in this heat.  So, I just suffered my cookie-less fate day after day.

Then, this weekend- on the heels of an Ess-A-Bagel and en route to a potluck, a friend suggested that we check out a "new" bakery that had opened a few doors down from the former home of a bakery that was not my style in the least and not far from Quintessence.  I thought we were just taking a look; I hadn't really given any weight to the detour and then there it was:  Jennifer's Way Bakery; I was smitten on sight.

The indoor decor did not disappoint; the aesthetic was warm and inviting: a cross between a patisserie and TBICSITU.  It also didn't hurt that it smelled amazing throughout; if anyone wants to personalize a fragrance for me: bottle the scent of warm cookies.

I've come to realize that when faced with vegan baked goods my gleeful reaction can be a little overwhelming.  This visit was no exception; I've frightened bakery staff on two continents thus far.

no soy no dairy no gluten no problem

Everything in the relatively small case looked just-baked and even things that I wouldn't normally choose looked and sounded amazing: hazelnut thumbprint, double chocolate cookie with walnuts, etc..  But then my eyes settled on the chocolate chip cookie I had been dreaming about all week and the decision was made.  My friends each chose a thumbprint.

As soon as I laid eyes on the cookie I knew it was going to be good.  Just look at the chip to cookie ratio!  The taste exceeded my wildest expectations and, while I didn't actually lick the whole thing in order to deter requests for a taste, my friends read my mind.  Sorry; I could not have sacrificed one morsel of the soft, chewy cookie.  I also didn't manage another single photo before it disappeared into my mouth, so I'll have to go back.

It was so exquisite that ever since (with breaks for work and sleep), I've been wondering if the case the goods are kept in is warmed, as the chips were just-out-of-the-oven melty.  A cookie of dreams I tell you!

The thumbprint was also a hit, but I was too involved with my own cookie to care.

It wasn't until we went back in so my friend could get another cookie that I saw the book on the shelf and realized that this was the bakery of actress Jennifer Esposito.  I'd heard her on tv talking about her celiac diagnosis and the journey that led to her bakery, but I had no idea it was vegan.  When I asked, I was told that everything was, in fact, vegan: except for the honey in the breads.  "Gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free, peanut-free, allergy-friendly, organic, artisan goodness;" it turns out it's only been open for a bit over a year, so chances are you didn't know it was there either- or that it was vegan.  Go check it out and have a chocolate chip cookie for me!