Monday, August 27, 2007

Doughnut Plant: Peanut Butter Jelly and a Baseball Bat

A few weekends ago, Q and I headed into Manhattan (a rare weekend event) to try out Shopsin’s new location in the Essex Market. However, much to our dismay, the Essex Market is not open on Sundays--information that was lurking somewhere in my Krys-brain, but which failed to make itself known. That’s what you get for not using Google before you walk out the door.

So, we found ourselves, locked outside of the market, screaming and clawing on the doors, and then we realized that tastiness was just steps away at ye old Doughnut Plant, a magical destination which doubles as Homer Simpson's dream workplace. Yes, yes, you can get Doughnut Plant donuts at many purveyors in New York, but they really are best when fresh from the source.


I dug into a sunflower seed doughnut, their seasonal offering de jour. I have to admit, I felt a little crunchy and in touch with Mother Earth. The sweet, nutty flavor haunted my dreams, and now my breakfast choice happens to be sunflower seed butter on toast. I also now use canvas bags when shopping at the farmer's market. I'm so impressionable.

Q chose a peanut butter and jelly doughnut, an unusual choice for him, as he normally avoids jelly-filled goods.


I really enjoyed how even the jelly-filled doughnuts had holes. I always get sad when filled doughnuts looked so bloated and sad next to the sexy yeast doughnuts with their perfect holes. They were always the outcasts of the fried dough world.

Ooh, and they peanut butter doughnut was filled with blueberry jelly.


The only downside of the day was the fact that The Buckwheat Boyz' hit single became lodged in my brain. This wasn't so much a downside as the best thing to happen to me in weeks.


They also had a follow up singled called "Ice Cream and Cake." At least they knew what formula worked for them. Really, what else do you need on a summer's day but awesome tunes and tasty confectionery?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Warming Up to Hill Country

I admit it. I had preconceived notions about Hill Country before I walked in the door. As you may remember, I had the opportunity to try some of their beef ribs at The Big Apple BBQ aka The Happiest Day of Krys’s Year. Mih. They just weren’t that good. All bone and little squishy meat. As with any new restaurant on the scene, the hype started to build, and I was more and more turned off and confused.

Hill Country was like Jessica Simpson: Texan, loud, seemingly untalented, but considered hot to everyone but me.

So, I had pretty much made up my mind about the place before I walked in. I sidled up to the meat counter and grudgingly ordered 1/2 pound of the moist brisket (the deckle), 1/4 pound of the market chicken, and 1 ring of Kreuz Market Sausage, shipped from Texas. Just in case this wasn't enough to sate my ever-growing appetite, I ordered a small portion of Texas Black-Eyed Caviar on the side.


It was a charming set-up, I admit. Everyone was super-friendly, and it was pretty much a cafeteria-style process. You ordered your meat at one counter, your sides at another, and a waiter will make sure you have a refreshing beverage to wash down your cholesterol. I wanted to hate it, but I was starting to become seduced.


The brisket was a bit fat-ladden, but you couldn't accuse it of being dry. That sucker was moist. Moist and flavorful. I think it may be the best brisket that I've had in NYC, and that's including Katz's. Admitedly, brisket isn't my favorite cut of meat, but this was damn tasty.


Never having been to Texas, I had never tasted a Kreuz Market Sausage. Yum. It was impossible to take a semi-appetizing photo, because the butcher's paper became increasingly more grease-stained. I take that as a sign of quality.


A true standout of the meal turned out to be the market chicken. Even the white meat was moist and tender, and the smoky-sweet skin didn't need any additional sauce.

Okay, fine. It's a good restaurant. Are you happy? I tried to find fault, and I just couldn't. My only complaint it that the black-eyed pea caviar was a little dry and not all that noteworthy, but that is really being nit-picky. I really, really enjoyed Hill Country. That doesn't mean that I have to put Ms. Simpson on my ipod.

And finally, to clear up any doubts I had, the wetnaps proved that everything is indeed bigger in Texas.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

New York Snackshot: Guaranteed So Hot

Guaranteed Hot

It'll burn your face off.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Palo Santo: My Aquatic Fantasy

Sometimes I view my life like an outsider watching a movie. In it, there's a sassy guardian angel, dispensing sage advice with a kicky attitude, kind of like Queen Latifah. While the Queen boosts my confidence while teaching me the importance of keeping it real, I also have a personal cupid of sorts. Chef Jacques Gautier of Palo Santo has been creating my most romantic meals since his days at La Brunette, a fantastic French-Carribean restaurant in Williamsburg.

Whenever I ate there, I felt like Gautier was personally ensuring that Q would fall madly in love with me as he had another oyster amuse bouche. Gautier was my own personal Sebastian the Crab, crooning "Kiss De Girl."

When La Brunette closed it's doors, I had no choice but to teach myself how to cook (actually, Queen Latifah may have pushed me in that direction), but I kept my eyes peeled as to what Gautier was doing next. Because the whole world revolves around me, Chef Gautier opened a new restaurant, Palo Santo in a brownstone in nearby Park Slope. It has quickly become a favorite.

On a recent visit, we started with a green gazpacho with toasted pinenuts.


The gazpacho had a tang of watermelon, and the pinenuts and drizzle of olive oil provided a wonderful textural contrast. The soup was cool and refreshing, especially when eaten in their sunny back room overlooking a soothing fountain.

Because Chef Gautier is Sebastian the Crab in my head, I subconsciously adhered to an aquatic menu. I can't remember the name of our next dish, but our waitress explained it was a peruvian street food. I love street food, and I'm willing to try all types, including skewered duck hearts.


These were delicious. Again, the addition of yukon gold potatoes and green onions made the texture so much more interesting. You can tell that texture is a big thing with me. For his main dish, Q ordered a coconut clam stew.


I can't speak to the flavor of the dish, but isn't it pretty?!? The presentation of the stew blew me away. Q certainly seemed to love it. Personally, I decided upon the seared tuna.


I wish that I was able to photograph more of the accompanying veggies, because they were as much the star as the tuna. Blue potatoes, radishes, and string beans were all tossed in a light, lemony vinegar, the perfect crunchy side to the tuna. While my dish may have appeared a little light in flavor compared to Q's hearty stew, I thought it was perfect.

Palo Santo has a bar alongside the kitchen, where patrons can submit to the will of Chef Gautier and eat his tasting menu, consisting of whatever he wants to make for you. While I am incredibly tempted to do so, I don't want to ruin the fantasy that a tiny crab is back there, orchestrating my romantic evening. Sigh. I guess I'm willing to sacrifice that fantasy for an amazing meal. At least I'll always have Queen Latifah.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

New York Snackshot: Blue Cheese


My favorite form of transportation.