Archive for the ‘dessert’ Category

Elizabeth Falkner’s ORSON (SF)

April 8, 2008

Orson, Pastry Chef Elizabeth Falkner’s new restaurant in San Francisco is not to be missed. The restaurant is enormous with both upstairs and downstairs dining, and her desserts exude the same sultry sexy confidence that she does. Industrial concrete, dark table cloths and chocolate colored chairs make you feel just as sleek as your surroundings. Elizabeth also owns Citizen Cake.

Invisible, created by Elizabeth and her pastry chef Luis.

Black Espresso, Black Sorbet

Downstairs Bar/ Dining Room

Upstairs Dining Room

508 4th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

all photos © erin gleeson

Batch & P*ONG (NYC)

April 2, 2008

Everything about Batch, Pichet Ong’s new bakery on West 10th Street, is just as lovely, adorable and amazing as he is. Pink walls, yellow peonies and eclectic hand crafted chandeliers made me almost as happy to be there as the first bite of chewy crunchy peanut butter cookie right out of the oven. Then came the chocolate chip cookies- crisp and buttery on the edges, warm and gooey in the middle. To die for!

I think my favorite, though, was the walnut melt- a bite sized cookie dusted with powdered sugar similar to a mexican wedding cookie (however, the Vietnamese coffee cake with icing was a close runner up). Coconut Raspberry Green Tea Cupcakes also looked tempting. I have to go back to try more!

The coffee was great, and was served with thick and creamy half-n-half in a glass bottle that came from Manhattan Milk & Dairy, organically produced in the Amish country. If you’re into foie gras, you can get your puppy a foie gras dog biscuit, and then go next door to P*ONG and get your self a foie gras taco.

Batch, which opened last week, is next door to Pichet’s restaurant P*ONG in Greenwich Village.

Pichet’s friend Gary works in the front and Betty is the baker

Gary talking to my friend, chef Tessa Liebman

Pichet behind the counter

Here are some other delicacies I recently photographed at P*ONG.

all photos © erin gleeson

Batch & P*ONG | 150 West 10th street new york ny 10014
T 212 929 0898 | Batch closed Mondays

The Melting Pot

March 31, 2008

I was recently in the SF Bay Area and was very excited about a trip to The Melting Pot in Larkspur with my cousin Shannon. As fondue fanatics, we were fiercely let down.

We went at 6:30 on a Wednesday with 4 people. We were told they were fully booked and they said we’d have to eat at the bar. It was less than desirable to sit at the bar because there weren’t enough burners to keep our fondue melty. We were there for an hour and a half and there were 4 tables open behind us the entire time. Apparently tables were being held for “ladies night”. We only had one guy with us, my dad. Other groups of all ladies who arrived after us waited momentarily at the bar and were then seated.

The bread was dry and the service was bad (except for one very sweet and over worked bartender). I was so enraged at the whole experience that when I left, I told the hostess how I felt (and I usually don’t do that kind of stuff).

That said, the ambience was very cool- it was as if we were inside an old wine cave. Low lights, fun vibe. Our fondue was pretty good- just not hot enough due to the lack of burners. If only the bread hadn’t tasted 3 days old. I’ve only just now realized it’s a chain. Perhaps this explains things a little more. The Dark Choclate fondue wasn’t bad, but the dipping options could have been better, fresher. The fruit and cheesecake tasted like they were from Costco.

Not sure I’ll be back. It’s no Bougeouis Pig.

The Melting Pot
125 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd.
Larkspur, CA
T: 415.461.6358

"It’s Fried!"

March 12, 2008

Went to Elias Corner for Fish the other night- a reputable Greek seafood joint in Queens that Aya wrote about a few months back. It was awesome!

Aside from the soft, char-grilled octopus, the gooey garlic musselfest, and the plethora of grilled fishes we ordered (red snapper, salmon, the kickass monkfish), my favorite part of the meal was a little something our gregarious server plopped down on the table after our meal was over.

“This is on the house,” she said. Big smiles all around here.
“What is it??” I asked.
“It’s Fried!!!!” she exclaimed.

Best answer EVER! This plate consisted of beignet-like fried dough pieces, coated with a pint of honey. One word: orgasmic. It was sad when it all had to end.

Vestiges of our meal:
Red snapper- the head is the best part! David ate the eyeball. Then swallowed it. Brian freaked out.

Garlicy oozy mussels- very original.

I accidentally dropped a mussel into our carafe of white wine. How does one do that?? I finished it off anyway. No shame- it was fine. You figure that there’s wine IN the mussel dish, so why not the other way around?

Hyoe- we’re devastated you’re leaving the city, but happy we got to send you off with a good meal. You’ll be back though!

Elias Corner for Fish
24-02 31st St.
Astoria, NY11102
T: 718.932.1510

Afterthought: Andy just informed me that these fried donut pieces are called Loukoumades. Here’s the recipe. Yamahomo, get on it, pronto! These are heavenly!

Healthy Cake – Too Innovative

February 26, 2008

I am in Tokyo. Day 2, and still waking up way too early in the morning. This morning I was watching a morning TV program, which was full of information from concerts to new restaurants, and bakeries.

This one shop caught my eyes and ears. It was a “healthy pastry shop”. Japanese turn things into some unbelievable ways. Beans become sweets, tofu turns into milkshake, miso becomes ice cream, etc. But this was the most extreme way I’ve ever heard of and had to try it.

People on TV were a bit skeptical in the beginning, but when they tasted it, they were like “OMG, these are light, not too sweet and great!”. So I went to the shop.

This looks just like a pastry shop shelf, right?

Of course, they pack it so nicely, and put some extra cardboard so that cakes won’t move. Plus they put a tiny ice pack, so that cakes will be kept cool. How Japanese!

This looks like strawberry mouse, right? No, think again. It was red pepper mouse and jelly.
As a summer appetizer at an Italian restaurant, it makes sense. It was subtly sweet, but very red pepperish. Mousse was very light, but definitely red pepper. I like the shape, but had very hard time believing this as a dessert.

Strawberry short cake? But it’s not a strawberry on top! Yep, it was tomato short cake, with some green vegetable in the sponge. I don’t know how to describe this. It was tomato and whipped cream, and a bit greenish sponge. Definitely odd, definitely tomato. For some reason, however, it kind of tasted interesting. I heard this shop only uses items in season, and once strawberry season was over, the chef tried out different types of seasonal vegetables and tomato apparently matched the best.

Cherry tomato looks like a cherry, but it IS TOMATO ON TOP OF A FUCKING CAKE! WTF! Slices of tomato in layers? I admire their daringness to put things like tomato in cake, but I must say, this is something you want to try once, but I don’t think I will go back to this shop craving for tomato short cake…

This chocolate dome thing was of course chocolate mouse outside, but inside was daikon radish mouse. Hello, people, no matter how you try to turn things into something else, radish is radish, and it is weird. Chocolate mousse was very subtly sweet and nice, but mixing chocolate with daikon? I don’t know, I am pretty daring when it comes to food, but this wasn’t my favorite.

This is mille feuille with corn… Um, well, I mean, it was very crisp puff pastry, but cream tasted like corn chowder. There is no egg in this, and just mushed up corn and milk… At least it was very smooth, not corny. Description of this cake says “natural sweetness”, but it was NOT SWEET. It tastes like a very bad creamed corn layered between puff pastry.. Of course the yellow dot on the cream is pieces of corn..

This was chocolate layered cake with pureed chrysanthemum leaves. It’s not literally chrysanthemum. We eat this leaf in hot pot and is pretty popular. This puree was actually the most subtle flavor and kind of good with chocolate.

Chocolate cake with burdock. Burdock is used for Japanese home cooking often. Kinpira gobo is one of the most popular dishes in Japanese home kitchen. This was sauteed with butter, sprinkled on top of chocolate cake, baked together. Definitely burdock flavor was strong, and it takes some time to get used to it, but it kind of tasted good after a while..

This was definitely one of the weirdest food experiences I have had in my life, and I think once is enough. No matter how you say it, vegetables should be used as vegetables, and I think there is a limit for it to be used in some cooking, such as cake..

Patisserie Potager
2-44-9, Kamimeguro
Meguro-ku, Tokyo 153-0051
Tel: 03-6279-7753

Fresh from the Box

February 23, 2008

They sell these sweet fried pancakes in Korea for ~$1. They have some rice flour sometimes so they are chewy. Wait that might actually a different food all together. Okay what I’m talking about is “hoddeuk.” It’s filled with nuts and sugar and drips fat and syrup all over you. Yum! Since they obviously don’t sell it fresh here I made it from a mix. I never make anything from mixes so I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t turn out disgusting. Like Betty Crocker cakes.

I brought this back from Korea because it also included an acorn squash flavor. I used a rice cup measuring thing because it called for cc’s. Who has measuring cups for that?

You end up with this yeasty dough. Everything is included.

This is the filling. It’s basically sugar and nuts and spices. Like, 1/20 part nuts and spices and the rest sugar.

Pile it on on. Actually I don’t understand how much you are supposed to put in I only used half. I think a lot of Koreans are diabetic…

Form little balls and fry them. I made some in a dry pan and no no they were so bad.

You should smash them a bit to get them flatter. I am so Alton Brown I used a wine bottle.



This is one of those foods that seems universally likeable. Oil and sugar, the perfect combination. I’m sure this is super easy to make from scratch but actually, I am lazy. The end!

12 Layer Chocolate Heavenly Cake

February 14, 2008

My friend turned 30. My gift for him was a cake. I was going to make some weird shaped cake, such as dick, ass, etc. etc. But I hate working with fondant since I still haven’t gotten a knack for it yet. So I decided to make Wolfgang Puck’s 16 layer cake, but of course my version.

Somewhere, somehow, it didn’t turn out the way it should when I was spreading the batter into the sheet pans. It was way too thin, and I thought it would make it very tough, almost a cookie-like sponge, so I doubled the amount. It turned out to be ok. A lot thicker layer than Wolfgang’s, though. Also I was supposed to make 4 sheet pans of sponges, cut in half, but instead, I could only make 3 sheets. Oh well, 12 layers, instead of 16, the same difference, right?

The best part about this recipe was chocolate moose to be in between cakes, which makes one layer as well.

After assembling it into 12 layers, then chilling it for like 2 hours, I cut all the edges, and it became such a good looking cake.

Don’t think this is it. At the end, I made a ganace, and poured it onto the cake. Check out how good this looks. Although I used 15 eggs, almost a quart of heavy cream, ton of chocolate, the result was definitely impressive. Happy Birthday Nick!

Cupcakes For Obama

February 4, 2008

The owners of Cupcake Cafe in Manhattan are clearly Obama supporters. One of them strolled into the Obama Campaign office last week in Lower Manhattan carrying a huge box of cupcakes to feed the little office packed with hungry volunteers.

The office was bustling- so much to be done before Super Tuesday! Jack and I spent one afternoon volunteering and were pleasantly surprised by the overall feeling of the place. It was frantic, yet warm. The phones were ringing nonstop with New Yorkers calling in to ask how they could help, and the staff was so full of gratitude that you couldn’t help but feel good about being there. At one point a minister from a baptist church in Harlem showed up and said he and his congregation wanted to do whatever they could to contribute. Then a dancer from Spamalot entered the organized chaos and said she had 2 hours to give until her call time that night. A man carrying a large stack of signs that read “Veterans for Obama” came in and started to pass them out. A hipster with a faux-hawk asked if he could borrow some banners for an event he was hosting in Union Square. “Of course!” they said, and loaded him up with stickers and pins to boot.

I was asked to enter emails into the database. There was an older gentleman on the computer next to mine who had clearly been there all day. He really wasn’t so familiar with computers and kept asking me for help, but he was intent on doing whatever they needed. He knew how important it was to be a part of this effort. Around 5pm, he said he had to go, but that he’d be back in the morning. Everyone wished him a lovely evening and thanked him profusely.

The full time volunteers were overloaded and hungry. One woman on the phone lines behind me stood up suddenly and said she was starving and hadn’t eaten anything all day. Just then a very well dressed older woman arrived carrying bags of sandwiches that she put out on the table for everyone to share. This was what she felt she could do to help and it was again greeted with profuse gratitude.

I left that day, cupcake in hand, feeling fired up and ready to go. If 3 hours in Obama’s little campaign office in Lower Manhattan could make me feel so positive and hopeful, I can’t imagine what 4 years of his efforts in the White House could do. The whole world needs to feel this way and I think Obama is our best bet. I urge you all to go out and vote tomorrow. This is an amazing opportunity that I think we all need to take advantage of.

If you don’t know if you’re registered call 212-VOTE-NYC. If you don’t know your polling location, click here.

Masitas in Jackson Heights!

January 24, 2008

Masitas are teeny-tiny Argentine pastries. I’ve been obsessed with them since always and photographing them in their natural habitat for the last three years, but I only learned recently that these miniaturized pastries are basically the same thing as petits-fours. But do not confuse them with dumb squares that look like wrapped presents!

You can find them at bakeries all over Buenos Aires, and also in Jackson Heights at La Nueva Bakery on 37th Ave. La Nueva may have a smaller assortment than your typical bakery, but the classics are all there, like this little cone of dulce de leche bathed in chocolate:

Or this coquito, cousin of the macaroon:

This one has dulce de leche between cake layers:

Here is a masita with a local twist–tiny carrot cake!

La Nueva Bakery
8502 37th Ave,
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

T: (718) 505-3700

Dessert at Craft

January 23, 2008

By now, you must know that I’m a Restaurant Week (RW) fanatic- I try to go to at least one fancy place that I haven’t been to during RW (the nicer places only offer the lunch deal, which at $25, is a much better deal than dinner’s $35).

This again defies my rule of blogging a restaurant I’ve only been to once, and the blogosphere does not need another post on Craft, or Tom Colicchio. I know this. But Craft for RW was possibly one of the nicer RW experiences I’ve had– they didn’t try to dummy down their menu just because their place was being overrun by cheap-os like us (we noticed that the primary clientele during RW are old people and young asians– hmmm).

We got an app, an entree, a side, AND dessert! This was definitely a filling and satisfying meal, at a great value. I would recommend going with a few other people so you can share a lot of different dishes (which is basically their whole shtick). Some unanimous favorites were the bacon with apples, sweet potato agnolotti, the flatiron of beef and the tokyo turnips.

The highlight of the meal though, was definitely the dessert. I’m normally not much of a dessert person, but seriously, the pastry chef, Karen DeMosco, is extremely talented. These desserts were all superb- some of the best I’ve had in the city.

Disclaimer: I was not going to blog this meal, so I didn’t take pics till after we licked our dessert plates clean. For god’s sake, what’s the fucking point?

Chocolate custard tart with hazlenut hot chocolate– the tart was dark and not too sweet with a buttery crust- and the tiny cup of hot chocolate with little marshmellows was adorable!

Banana tart tartin with caramel ice cream
: probably my favorite. the bananas were poached perfectly and the pastry was flakey and buttery. Perfect with the caramel ice cream.

Donuts with apple butter and vanilla ice cream
: we were all pretty ecstatic when we saw donuts being ordered left and right at other tables. Carlos said “this is the best vanilla ice cream I have EVER HAD.”

Olive oil cake with blood orange granita and something else pink on the plate
: sorry- can’t remember that pink stuff, but this was probably the most inventive dish. The hot-pink granita in the little bowl was a nice sour, and cold, addition to the cake.

Aerial view
Craft hasn’t been on the RW list for the past few years, so take advantage NOW! Deal ends Fri Feb. 1 so make a reservation!

PS- the interior at Craft is pretty great– the wine case, the drop lighting, the bathroom. The furniture is beautiful, I guess some guy handmade all their tables and chairs, and you can tell. A little drawer is built into the edge of the tables, which comes out so the servers can open bottles of wine. How crafty!

Craft Restaurant
43 East 19th Street
btwn. Park and B’way
T: 212-780-0880