We’ll Always Have Pancakes! A LOVE STORY

Pancakes at Clinton St BakeryEgg Sandwich at Clinton St Bakery photo by amyblogschow.comI LOOKED UP “AFFAIR” TODAY. There are at least eight definitions, but the one I was looking for said this:

af·fair [uh-fair] -noun 6. an intense amorous relationship, usually of short duration.

I’ve never understood why people say they have “a love affair with food.” If affairs are fleeting, then I suppose my relationship with what I eat is more like a marriage, except I’m in the honeymoon phase and I’m never leaving.

In a week or so, I will be switching over to a new site design. I’ve been bugging my friend Bryan, who owns a marketing design company called Colossal, to revamp Amy Blogs Chow for a while now and, at last, it’s finally happening! I’m all about purging the old and welcoming the new, especially around the holidays. Change is the only constant thing, after all, and I look forward to it, usually. (Click here for a preview.)

While Amy Blogs Chow has seemed calm – static, even – on the surface, I’ve been taking on the food world by blogging, tweeting, and producing videos for my awesome new job as Head of Social Media at Foodspotting and filming new episodes of Stupidly Simple Snacks for Next New Networks every week. The last few months have been at once exciting and exhausting. I was even mentioned in New York Magazine!

Through these various career upgrades, one thing has remained the same: My dinner date. Earlier this month, Jason and I got brunch midweek at Clinton Street Bakery. He works in Connecticut now, so I rarely see him during the day. He’d taken the day off, however, so it was a treat to go for pancakes together on a weekday at one of the best brunch spots in the city. (This is not just my opinion as the two-hour long lines will attest.) Jason may not be perfect, but he waits patiently as his food gets cold while I try to take the perfect shot of it. In the battle between boyfriend and buttermilk biscuits, the latter will always win. It’s nice to be with someone who knows this. amy • november 29, 2010

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November 30, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . Lower East Side. 6 comments.

Taking the dinner party offline on WORTH STREET

Kat at Worth KitchenTamy and friends of Worth KitchenPanna Cotta at Worth Kitchen

I GAVE UP KEEPING MY FACEBOOK PROFILE PRIVATE a few months back when the number of requests from people who I’d never met began to exceed the number of those I have. If Frank Bruni, former New York Times restaurant critic, will accept my cold friend request, then I will accept random invitations too. I do, however, draw the line at creepy profile photos, Jesus references, bad grammar, and guys who have mostly Asian female friends. But the web is the world in which I live and, for the most part, I embrace it.

Still, as enthusiastic about social media as I am, it takes an extra-large leap of faith to invite your online community into your home. This is where Tamy and Felipe of Thursday’s at Worth Street come in. As stated on their blog, the mission:

“Somewhere in the streets of NYC is a small apartment with a kitchen that serves two, four, and even seven. It happens every Thursday night and the combination of guests and recipes are endless.”

I’ve attended several “underground” supper clubs in the city and the food has generally hovered above homemade, but below restaurant calibre; guests are usually friends of friends; price of dinner is around $40. What sets Worth Kitchen apart from others, then, is that Felipe cooks with deft hands despite lacking formal training; the couple is committed to inclusivity – within reason, of course – while aiming to bring together weekly groups of diners with complimentary interests; and they want to keep Thursday’s at Worth Street free.

When Worth Kitchen announced on Twitter there were open seats at the table that Thursday, I leapt at the chance to meet Tamy and Felipe.

My Chinese upbringing taught me to never show up at someone’s door without food or other token of gratuity, so given Worth Kitchen‘s policy of not charging guests, I was left in limbo. I thought of bringing dessert, but before I could buy a pie, I learned that Worth Kitchen teams up with Tribeca-based Frankly Wines to offer guests the option of purchasing wine that’s specially selected to pair with that week’s menu. The affordable five (or so) bottle list is made available on Frankly Wine‘s website for perusal, purchase, and is delivered free of charge to the couple’s home right before dinner on Thursday night. Worth Kitchen brings together the convenience of restaurant dining with the inimitable intimacy of being home with friends. If only every dinner experience was so seamless and easy.

The night began with a toast before flounder ceviche with cut corn and Peruvian chili appeared around 8PM. The appetizer led to the next highlight – lamb chops with mint pesto sauce and a square of cheesy quinoa, which reminded me of a savory rice krispie treat. We talked about the food, the wine (La Butte Gamay 2009 was especially well-received), our work, ways that Tamy and Felipe can meet their neighbors in the building, how to make the apartment soundproof, and the colorful guests they’ve had previously. They also pointed out that my friend Kat and I were the first true strangers – plucked fresh off the internet – that they’d ever invited. I have a good feeling this is no longer the case. amy • oct 24, 2010

Follow Tamy and Felipe on their blog Thursday’s at Worth Street and twitter (@worthkitchen) for notes on the latest dinner and recipes. The dessert pictured on the bottom is mint and ginger-infused coconut panna cotta with mango.

October 24, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . TriBeCa, twitter, Wine. 2 comments.

WINE COCKTAILS with Joe Campanale

I’VE KNOWN OF JOE CAMPANALE FOR A WHILE. After all, there are few restaurant owners under the age of thirty, like Joe, in New York City and who happens to own not one, but three solid establishments in the West Village – dell’anima, L’Artusi, and the newest, a wine bar called Anfora. It wasn’t until recently, however, that I met Joe at a “meeting of minds” hosted by a food corporation that wanted to pick our brains about snacks. (I’m a snack expert, didn’t you know?) I recognized Joe and after shaking his hand, told him I was a fan of his mom, Karen Campanale, who so diligently keeps her twitter friends in the know with food recommendations and motherly updates on her son. I figured that if I name-dropped his mom, he’d warm up to collaborating on a Stupidly Simple Snacks video. I am a genius.

All kidding aside, I really love how this episode turned out. The only constant is change and it was only a matter of time before we added alcohol to the snack series. Without further ado, I present three light, stupidly simple wine cocktails – the spritz from Austria, Tinto de Verano (aka “poor man’s sangria”) from Spain, and the Italian bicicletta. Watch Joe go! I’m sure his mom would be proud. amy • september 7, 2010

SPRITZ ice | sparkling water | Grüner Veltliner or Riesling
TINTO DE VERANO ice | lemon-lime soda, like Sprite | red wine, like Cabernet Franc or Tempranillo | orange wedge or lemon slice
BICICLETTA ice | Campari | aromatic white wine, like Scheurebe or Riesling | orange wedge

MUSIC Julian Bachlow • Stars In The Moonlight • buy the song on iTunes

September 7, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos, West Village, Wine. 7 comments.

THE PERFECT AGE For Cupcakes

Ciao For Now carrot cake cupcakeDEEP DOWN IN THEIR HEARTS, BLOGS ARE PUBLIC DIARIES. Some blogs convey what’s coming, others inform the present, yet others chronicle the past. But, collectively, all blogs provide snapshots of the way we were in retrospect. My blog didn’t know what the hell it was until a year ago when Jason suggested I make Stupidly Simple Snacks. I figured the videos would be helpful at best and unwatchable at worst. If the latter turned out true, then I’d just stop making them.

I was updating my YouTube channel the other day when I noticed I launched it on August 31, 2009. It’s been nearly 365 days since I shared the first Stupidly Simple Snacks video in which I bumbled through banana shakes.

It’s weird to read old posts and remember sitting on a park bench considering a cupcake a year before today. And I’m sure, in another twelve months, the photo on the left which I took at Ciao For Now in the West Village on Saturday will resonate and I’ll recall taking a chance on a surprisingly moist carrot cupcake crowned with cold frosting. But the best recollection of all will probably be of the chatty little girl and her pug-shaped piggy bank. While her dad paid for a chocolate cupcake, the girl introduced me to her amazing multitasking pup, which had tape wrapped around its neck like a collar on a pet with a real chance of running away.

I started Amy Blogs Chow as a way to get to know – and remember – those who love food and what’s on our plates. Funny thing is I’m just realizing now that “foodies” are as young as eight. amy • august 30, 2010

August 30, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . cupcakes, random, West Village. Leave a comment.

My Romance with SWEET POTATO FRIES

ONCE, IN MARCH, I DEEP FRIED SWEET POTATO FRIES WITH THIERRY PEPIN. If you have no idea what a thierry pepin is, that is okay. I had no idea what I was in for either.

Earlier this year, my food/social media friend Aaron Ginsberg approached me to make a snack video with one of his clients, T Poutine, on the Lower East Side. I was flattered that the restaurant wanted to get in on the Stupidly Simple Snacks action, so, of course, I said yes. Ironically, I asked him “Do you have a charismatic employee who’d like to be on camera?”

The T Poutine team and I decided to make a French-Canadian dessert that they called The Canuck, which was sweet potato fries tossed with Asian Five Spice, cinnamon, sugar, and maple syrup. They had a deep fryer, so it was stupidly simple enough to throw frozen fries in a vat of boiling oil there. However, to make it feasible for the casual sweet potato fry eater, baking would be the better – plus, an equally tasty and arguably healthier – option.

I kept the video under wraps after I learned T Poutine closed, but it was a matter of time before sweet potato fries starred in an episode. Naturally, I had to include footage of Thierry, who turned out to be the owner of T Poutine and an underwear model. You may recognize him from the Ralph Lauren Romance commercial too. Confirm below. amy august 11, 2010


SERVINGS 2 to 3

WHAT YOU NEED
4 sweet potatoes
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
pepper to taste
paprika
ground cumin

FOR “THE CANUCK” BY T POUTINE
sweet potato fries
Asian Five Spice
cinnamon sugar
maple syrup

MUSIC Kelly Harper Till This Goes Away website / myspace / facebook

August 11, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Dessert, Lower East Side, recipe, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos, YouTube. 7 comments.

JASMINE TEA SHAVED ICE with Guerrilla Ice Cream

I MET ETHAN FRISCH AND ORI ZOHAR – the masterminds behind Guerrilla Ice Cream – after loitering by their ice cream cart earlier this month at the Hester Street Fair in Chinatown. They’d just opened their business four weeks prior, so it was exciting to come across a new ice cream company manned by two guys in their twenties with a mission to create exotic ice cream and give back to the community.

The flavors are based on political movements around the world, such as lemon poppy seed Velvet Revolution and Libertação, a chocolate & port wine medley. New flavors and menu items, like a Malta (wheat soda) ice cream float, are added weekly. Now wrap your brain around this: 100% of profits go to organizations that support marginalized groups, like the Street Vendor Project, where Ethan has volunteered, in New York City.

In my latest video, which features Ethan as my snack-making cohort, we make a brilliant and ridiculously easy jasmine tea shaved ice. I think Guerrilla Ice Cream not only has a big heart, it shows that you can create great things and do good with something as simple as sugar. amy july 29, 2010

WHAT YOU NEED 4 cups of water | 1 cup of sugar | 5 tea bags (jasmine tea used in the video) | liquid honey or other topping (optional)

SERVINGS 2 to 3

MUSIC Julian Bachlow Desolate Place

July 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Chinatown, food cart, ice cream, Manhattan, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos. Leave a comment.

MY BEST NYC BITES OF SUMMER

Caracas Arepa Bar De PabellonDanny Macaroon Salted CaramelRobicelli's Cupcakes Elvis Cupcake with BaconAND SO IT BEGINS.

Stupidly Simple Snacks launched on Hungry Nation today! (Watch my “Hello, Hungry Nation” video.) To celebrate, I may drag Jason out tonight for dinner at my favorite recent restaurant find, Kampuchea on the Lower East Side. I met up with fellow writer Jenny Miller and our sassy London friend Kat Popiel there a month or so ago and have been daydreaming about Kampuchea‘s pork meatball with spicy tomato sauce numpang (Cambodian sandwich) and bacon garlic fried rice ever since. Also, their Marlow and Daughters deep-fried corn at New Amsterdam Marketgrilled corn with chili mayo, finely shredded coconut flakes, and chili powder was possibly one of the best sweet corn dishes I’ve had this summer. The other best? Marlow & Daughters deep-fried corn (pictured lower right) which I had the privilege of sinking my teeth into at the New Amsterdam Market on Saturday. The corn featured a beautiful garnish of mint, cherry tomatoes, and baby greens, which, when combined, made me feel like I was eating an ecosystem (or a rainbow).

Luckily, many of my favorite things, like cupcakes and pork chops are available year-round, but some foods and flavors are distinctively summery, like raspberry peach pie, fresh-brewed iced tea, grits topped with pulled pork and smothered in cheese

So, to facilitate food dreams everywhere, I’ve decided to keep a running list of my favorite summertime foods in NYC. Recommendations are welcome! Of course, this is only an abbreviated list of everything I want to eat, but it’s a start. amy july 29, 2010

(in no particular order…)

SWEET
Robicelli’s Cupcakes / Elvis cupcake (banana cake with peanut butter buttercream & candied bacon, pictured)
Kumquat Cupcakery / strawberry cupcake
Guerrilla Ice Cream / Malta aka wheat soda ice cream float
Danny Macaroons / salted caramel macaroons (pictured upper right)
Doughnut Plant / lavender cake doughnut
FreshDirect / Breezy Hill Orchard blueberry pie
Prune restaurant / Dutch-style blueberry pancake
Bruce Cost / “Fresh Ginger, Ginger Ale”
Trader Joe’s / frozen chocolate croissants (so easy to pop in the oven for breakfast first thing in the morning)
Lily Lolly’s Ice Kitchen / 50’s Orange Lolly, a white chocolate-dipped Creamsicle made with orange liqueur and fresh oranges

SAVORY
ABC Kitchen / fresh mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes & basil
Caracas, East Village / De Pabellon arepa (pictured upper left)
Village Tart / smoked salmon avocado croissant
The MeatBall Shop / pork meatball hero with spicy meat sauce & mozzarella cheese
Marea / Astice aka Nova Scotia lobster burrata / crab spaghetti

ON THE HIT LIST
Boqueria
Braeburn / went for brunch august 1st
Mia Dona Gelato Cart / gelato sandwich
Socarrat Paella Bar
Babbo
Aquavit / crayfish festival (august 9-14 & 16-21)

July 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Manhattan, markets. 1 comment.

A TINY ICE CREAM SANDWICH STORY

Ice Macaron J' Chanceux Macaron square by Amy CaoIce Macaron Story by Amy Cao on TastingTable.com
J’ Chanceux Macaron 202a mott st, nyc, 718 916 5119

I RECENTLY BEGAN WRITING FOR TASTING TABLE, a beautifully-designed daily email that delivers the best of food and drink culture to adventurous eaters everywhere. (Free to subscribe here.) My first write-up, on ice macaron by J’Chanceux Macaron in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood, went up last week while I was traveling and eating through western New York for my next story. I suppose it’s safe to say a writer-blogger’s work is never done, but I wouldn’t wish to have it any other way.

Read my ice macaron piece on Tasting Table. You can also click on the right-hand image to enlarge. Cute, huh?

Happy Monday, Everyone! amy may 11, 2009

May 17, 2010. Tags: , , . Dessert, Nolita, Tasting Table. 5 comments.

Soul Food and CITYMEALS-ON-WHEELS

Waffle and syrup at Sylvia's in East Harlem, NY
CITYMEALS ON WHEELS Citymeals-on-Wheels raises private funds to ensure no homebound elderly New Yorker will ever go a day without food or human company.”

SYLVIA’S 328 lenox ave, nyc, 212 996 0660

ABOUT ONCE OR TWICE A MONTH, I VOLUNTEER WITH CITYMEALS to deliver food to elderly New Yorkers who aren’t able to grocery shop and/or cook for themselves. I find Citymeals to be an “easy” nonprofit to volunteer with because they offer flexible volunteer schedules (you sign up to deliver meals only when you can – no pressure), which works well for someone like me with an unpredictable work schedule. I’m also fond of Citymeals’ Young Professionals chapter which convenes on a designated morning every other month so volunteers can meet each other, deliver meals together, and brunch after. About once a month, the Young Professionals are also invited to happy hour gatherings for a reasonable drinking fee.

Last Saturday morning, Jason and I wandered north to deliver meals with other “young professionals” in East Harlem. It was a gorgeous, sunny morning – just as the weekend heat wave rolled in – and we were with good company, which made the act of wandering around the projects a less daunting task. After delivering the food, which took about an hour, we headed to Sylvia’s, an old-school soul food restaurant on Lenox Avenue.

Since returning home from my two weeks in Texas, I’ve been on the lookout for classic southern dishes like chicken fried steak and fried chicken with waffles. I found the latter at Sylvia’s, which satisfied at the moment. Genius that I am, I forgot to eat breakfast so was ravenous by the time the sweet tea, biscuits, mac & cheese, platters of fried chicken and waffles arrived. The fried chicken breading was well-seasoned, but the meat wasn’t particularly tender. I would have preferred the waffles with more butter, cream – something – that wasn’t in the batter. I enjoyed the mac & cheese the most, but probably wouldn’t make the journey back to East Harlem just for that.

Still, brunch was filling and a great success after a morning of braving small elevators, ringing doorbells, and delivering food. In true trooper-style, my dining companion Heather attacked the last waffle. Waste not, want not – right? amy may 5, 2009

May 5, 2010. Tags: , , , , , . East Harlem, Soul Food/Southern. 1 comment.

STUPIDLY SIMPLE SNACKS with Pichet Ong

THOUGH WE’VE BEEN FACEBOOK FRIENDS FOR A WHILE, I didn’t meet pastry chef Pichet Ong until recently when I visited his new restaurant Village Tart during opening week in February. I was starstruck as I’d only read about Pichet in magazines – when I used to read magazines – and passively knew about his days via the Facebook newsfeed.

In my latest Stupidly Simple Snacks video, Pichet and I make parmesan popcorn and chocolate-covered corn flakes for the camera on my Macbook. It’s been a somewhat surreal experience collaborating with the mastermind of glitter-frosted cupcakes. Not only did we cook together on camera, we also just launched his blog, Confessions of a Sugarholic, and have big plans to further his education in social media. Last year, I was plotting to profile Pichet for a food article; 365 days later, he’s a guest star on Amy Blogs Chow, a small food blog by a girl outta Brooklyn. Anything is possible. amy april 1, 2010

Follow Pichet on Twitter @pichetong

http://blip.tv/play/AYHR_S8A

WHAT YOU NEED Parmesan Popcorn 1 bag popcorn | 1/2 stick melted butter | 1/2 cup grated parmesan | salt & pepper Chocolate-Covered Corn Flakes 2 cups corn flakes | 1 cup dark chocolate | 2 tablespoons oil | salt

MUSIC Passion Pit Little Secrets

April 1, 2010. Tags: , , , . Dessert, Manhattan, Nolita, Stupidly Simple Snacks, videos. 3 comments.

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