Monday, December 01, 2008

Know Thy Farmer

Well, well, well...another no photo post...sucky.

But not the reason you think...the camera is fine, but now it's the computer! Downloaded all the photos from the trip. They are on the computer, which worked fine yesterday...and now...not so much. I have the black screen of death. I'll be spending some time today trying to communicate the issue to my geek on call and see what I may do.

But in the meantime, here's a lowdown on the weekend.

Wednesday morning we hoofed it downtown and loaded ourselves onto the bus to NYC. 4 hours later...still not in NYC...6 hours later....still not in NYC, but closer...6 1/2 hours after we departed, we arrived in NYC. Part of it was traffic, but most of it was the driver taking us off the main route, into the po-dunk towns, then turning around in a parking lot...on and on and on...The trip should have been no longer than 5 hours, with the traffic we had...

BUT...we made it to NYC. Woot.

We met up with The Kara and dropped our bags, then headed to the Upper West Side for dinner at a cute place called GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT.

Good Enough to Eat
483 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10024

The space is small and cozy and country kitsch. Cows all over! Moo. I loved it. I had a burger and homemade chips. All tasty. They are also known for their desserts, so I had to try their coconut cake. (Wow, I just realized that's a theme of the weekend...) The cake was good. The cake was a little dry, but the icing was wonderful!

After dinner we planned to see the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon staging area, but the foot traffic was crazy. I don't mind getting goosed on occasion, but the constant touching was a bit much. We think we saw a Pokemon, but it was tied down and off in the distances. We did see Mayor Bloomberg.

Following the hike, we made our way to New World Stages for a small off-Broadway show called WHAT'S THAT SMELL. An actor's studio type show with the main subject a song-writer/composer always on the cusp of being the next big thing. His hit songs include WHAT'S THAT SMELL and HE DIED INSIDE ME...(don't ask, you don't want to know...). A silly show with plenty of laughs, including a perfect live theatre moment when a technical difficulty stopped the show for a few minutes and the actors had to play along!

After a long day, we headed home to sleep.

Thursday, Thanksgiving! We headed into Manhattan for the parade. Again, millions of people...we saw some balloons and some of the parade from the street. But we also got to head to an office overlooking Broadway to see the parade in the warm, from above.

After the Parade, we were back to New Jersey for a trip to The Kara's grandparents for dessert. Yes, dessert. We haven't had T-day dinner yet. So we had dessert. All were very tasty, but one was just ridiculous! Cannoli Cake. Chocolate Cake with cannoli filling. Divine! Probably the best cake I've had. The cake was great, the filling was wonderful. WOW.

OK, dessert is done. Now we eat dinner. We made a small turkey breast roasted with butter and rosemary. There was Onion, Sage & Apple dressing. Mashed potatoes. Green Beans with Shallots. All wonderful. The dressing was a nice surprise. I've had dressing with apples before, but I always stick with the standard, but at the last minute I felt the need to add the apple. It was lovely. The turkey was perfect. Moist and full of flavor. I made a little sauce with some chicken broth, shallots, butter and herbs. We didn't have any flour or cornstarch, so I couldn't really make a gravy, so I sauted the shallots in butter with the herbs, added the broth and simmered until reduced. I didn't have pan drippings to use, as the turkey breast was roasted on top of the dressing. This was also nice. The dressing was able to soak up the turkey drippings, without slowing the cooking time. All and all, a very tasty dinner!


Friday was a great day for adventure. We drove to Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown, NY to visit Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture! WOW. Totally worth the trip. Stone Barns is a working farm with a fine restaurant attached. Blue Hill at Stone Barns. We didn't dine at the restaurant, but did get snack at the cafe (best scone I've had, period!). For the Barns, we took the tour ($15). Walked through the gardens and fields, thru Blue Hill's kitchen (woo hoo!), then through the woods to see the compost area, the pigs, the chickens, the green house, the sheep. Very informative, very exciting.

If I have it right, the farm is the Rockefeller's farm that has been converted to this educational center. Stone Barns is committed to sustainable agriculture, proper land stewardship and reducing & reusing as much as possible. They are running about 75% efficiency with the composting (pre & post consumer, as well as green/manure composting). The whole thing made me very excited about my little compost pile. But I need to get a nice pitchfork, or something other than a shovel to turn my compost. I loved seeing all the animals, up close and personal. I'm surprised to say it, but I miss raising chickens like I did as a kid. Again, if you find yourself with some time and you're in the New York metro area, take the trip.

After Stone Barns we drove to Beacon, New York for shopping. Great shops! We came away with all sorts of little goodies!


Time for multiple feedings! Saturday was a big food day. We ate our way across Manhattan!

The first feeding was a stop at the DOUGHNUT PLANT.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002

Kid You NOT! The Best Doughnuts I've HAD. Crazy Good. First off. Creme Brulee Doughnut. Fragrant, creamy, custard filling. Light, yeast doughnut coated in sugar that has been torched to create the cracklin, crisp coating. Eyes rolling in the back of your head good! We each had our own Creme Brulee. We went on to share many others including Coconut Cream, Cranberry Glazed, Valhrona Chocolate & Tres Leches. The Tres Leches was the only cake doughnut we tried and it was wonderful. Light, rich, carmelly. And get this, I haven't seen this before, but it was a traditional doughnut shape, round with a hole. YET, it was filled with a very flavorful milky, creamy filling. I've not seen this before. Very nice.

We walk, alot.

Then we lunch, Feeding #2. Savory. THE HAMPTON CHUTNEY COMPANY.

The Hampton Chutney Company

68 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012

Yummy dosas for lunch. I went traditional with mine. Potatoes, onions, curry with a cilantro chutney. I was very happy. The rice crepe was very light and very crispy. The filling was HIGHLY flavored with a nice hit of heat. If wasn't so full, I would have considered more, but these things are HUGE; the size of a fairly standard serving tray. I will warn you though, dining in can be tight, at this location anyway. Few tables and chairs and a lot of people wanting dosas!

Much more walking, street vendor shopping.

Time for Wine. Some joint near St. Mark's Place (??? I think???) The wine was m'eh. But it was warm and cozy. We hung out for awhile to rest.


Dessert Club ChikaLicious
204 E 10th Street
New York, NY 10003

DCCL is across the street from Chika Licious, a dessert bar. DCCL is a tiny little sweet shop with seating for 10? We enjoyed a few lovely cupcakes, and we each liked a different one. There was banana, coconut and double chocolate. The coconut was my favorite (again with the coconut!). The chocolate was a dark, rich chocolate. The banana was a banana bread type cupcake with a rich cream cheese frosting. We also got a serving of their chocolate pudding. If we understand the story correctly, the sweet spot started as a plan to serve pudding, but they wanted to add something else (cupcakes). The little restaurant smelled amazing! The cupcakes were nice. Nothing super special, but very nice. Light, cakey, not dry!

More walking and more subway. Stop to get our tickets for our show (more soon).

Feeding #4. Thai food at some joint on 9th Avenue around 44 or 46th streets. Yum Yum Bangkok (???). Standard Thai food. We needed something with vegetables and protein. I had, ha, chicken coconut soup (coconut again!), which I found tasty! And a cashew chicken dish. Nothing out of the ordinary, but good solid Thai.

Little walking and Broadway. We had tickets to see Harry Potter in EQUUS. Very disturubing, but very well done. A couple actors felt like they were phoning it in (not HP), but what I really loved was the technical aspects of the show. I loved the set, lighting, costuming, movement/dance. Harry Potter is a very good actor, bravo to him for taking on this challenging play. Not for children!

HOME! Sleep. Tired. With all the food we ate, or what it sounds like we ate, we weren't sick. We paced ourselves really well and inserted good meals among the sweet treats. And lots of walking!

Sunday we enjoyed great New Jersey bagels and a train ride home. Thanks to The Kara for hosting us and giving us a great trip! As soon as I figure out my computer, I hope to have some photos to share.


Dancer in DC said...

Yummy! Additional points worth mentioning:

- After the farm on Friday, we also did some fun shopping and had wine in the town of Beacon. The wine place was called Chill. Food was meh, but the wine was fine.

- The donuts were not only amazing (Tres Leches all the way for me), but the proprietor, Mark Isreal, is a hot dish himself. He came out to ask how things were and seemed very nice (if a bit tired).

- At the Chutney company you also could pick your own accompanying chutney. ScottE and TheKara opted for cilantro - I went a little wild with mango.

- My favorite of the cupcakes was definitely banana.

The Kara said...

I loved spending time with you guys! I will simply add that the donuts were my favorite part (Tres Leches for sure with Creme Brulee right behind!). Of course, the company was my favorite part :)

Stef said...

did you see the Stone Barns on Top Chef???