Saturday, January 19, 2008

An Elegy for Pies and Thighs

Pies and Thighs Sign

You can rest, your weary kitchen ever-giving
Delectable biscuits , chicken, and pies
Oh so tender, once you walked among the living
And now, your time has passed, My Pies and Thighs

Pies and Thighs Kitchen

Your biscuits and gravy where matched by no other
Your key-lime pie, mac & cheese, and your beans
were so good they made me want to slap my mother
And then go back for seconds for your collard greens

Pies and Thighs Line

The line wrapped around the block, people came so far
To say goodbye, auf wiedersehen, adieu,
But cry not, oh hungry hipsters, cry not
For you will rise once more, serving chicken anew

Pies and Thighs Gluttony

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

People Who Live in Gingerbread Houses Should Not Throw Stones

I admit I grew up with some geeky tendencies. You are reading the blog of a girl who had near-complete sets of Marvel trading cards (1992-1994). Collecting all of the holograms was a bitch. Phoenix and the Scarlet Witch were my best friends, and not only could I gaze upon their expertly rendered visages, but I could also read interesting facts about them on the reverse sides. On a weird tangential note, I was always bothered that the cards measured not only speed and strength, but also intelligence. It bummed me out to know that Daredevil was less intelligent than the Silver Surfer. I mean come on! Daredevil went to law school! The Silver Surfer catches rad space waves! That just doesn't seem fair. Anyhoo, I would use these cards to enact make-believe scenarios while most girls were playing house with their Barbies. The only house I'm interested in playing with is Hugh Laurie. ME-OW.

One geeky thing I could never get into was model-building. I just couldn't see the point of spending so much time expertly replicating the Millennium Falcon and not even get to play with it afterwards. While I couldn't understand the motivation, I was always in awe of the dedication and craftsmanship. Because of this long-standing admiration to the craft of model-building, I ventured out this last holiday season to see the many gingerbread houses that New York had to offer.

One particularly cold and snowy weekend, I dragged Cue up to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx for their Gingerbread Adventures exhibit. Five New York pastry chefs became honorary geeks for the holidays.

Ruth Seidler of JollyBe Bakery in Park Slope, Brooklyn scrapped the house idea altogether, and created a bird-themed stained glass bell.

gb bell  010

Complete with a silver handle and (marzipan?) ribbon.

gb bell detail  011

Mark Tasker of Balthazar created a true New York-style gingerbread house by replicating the Empire State Building.

gb skyscraper  002

I especially dig the use of props.

gb skyscraper detail  009

I wish I could get a better shot of the offering from Jill Adams of The Cake Studio, but alas, I lack the height. I just couldn't capture all of the animals and fairies that studded her gingerbread forest in one frame. Just check out the detail on that snake. That kind of steady hand can truly come in handy when putting the finishing touch on your Starship Enterprise replica.

gb snake  006

Kate Sullivan of LovinSullivanCakes made a little something for all the sci-fi fans out there: a gingerbread house on the moon. The peppermint details were... out of this world? Heh....heh....heh. Yup. Sorry.

gb shuttle  003

My personal favorite was the gingerbread castle from Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen of Riveria Bakehouse.

gb castle  007

Both mother and daughter share a crazy attention to detail. Just check out the shingles! Minty fresh!

gb castle detail  008

Unfortunately, I couldn't spot too many gingerbread houses around the rest of the city, but I did see this gem over at the Chelsea Market.

Hannah Montana Gingerbread

Aw yeah.

As I previously mentioned, I lack the patience and motivation to make one of these confectionary creations, but I seeing all of those edible habitats made me crave that spicy gingerbread flavor. So, I went home and baked up a true New York classic: Claudia Fleming's Gingerbread from the Gramercy Tavern.

gramercy tavern gingerbread  031

Instead of Guinness, I used McGovern's Oatmeal Stout, which added a lovely background note. This cake was insanely moist, and really spicy, but not all that great when eaten right out of the oven. It takes a day for the cake to really get its act together. While I may not make elaborate sculptures, I can dig gingerbread, the unofficial sweet treat of geeks everywhere, with the rest of them.