Fraisier cake from Ceci-Cela: vanilla génoise with vanilla mousseline cream and strawberries, topped with marzipan… and a birthday candle:
We picked up the cake in the morning and I got my first glimpse of the bakery’s new Spring Street neighbor: The Best Chocolate Cake in the World — the first American location of São Paolo-based mini-chain O Melhor Bolo de Chocolate de Mundo. Can’t yet confirm the veracity of their claim, but the name alone seems an almost too easy set up for some snarky commentary in this town.
According to W Magazine, it’s destined to become the statement cake of the decade — succeeding Lady M Cake Boutique’s Mille Crêpes cake. I have on good authority that it also makes a fine birthday cake.
For his part, Joshua seemed to enjoy his birthday cake and party — save for the 30 seconds immediately after he attempted to extinguish his candle… with his bare hands. Ouch.
Has is it been an entire year?
I’ll admit: once I got out of the habit of posting a blog entry every day, it became ever easier to just abandon the project entirely. But lately, I’ve begun to (re)consider: perhaps the best way to ease back into this process would be to dash out these episodes, as the mood or inspiration strikes, sometimes including photos and at times, not. And just see how it goes.
This is what I’ll write today.
To recap the entire past year would be an exercise requiring more time and energy that I’m ready to dedicate now. But to fill in the most recent highlights: I spent two late spring weeks in Spain, eating and drinking (and photographing) my way through Barcelona, Bilbao, San Sebastián, Sevilla, Córdoba, Granada and Madrid. (Glorious!) In mid-June, I had another birthday (somewhat less so), followed in rapid succession by the commemoration of several milestones: a 70th birthday, a funeral, a wedding, and a 50th anniversary.
And tonight I sit in my apartment on the eve of little Joshua’s first birthday, assessing the 15 pounds of chicken wings I just purchased to prepare for the celebration tomorrow. (Quite the grisly scene of fowl carnage it is… so you see: sometimes the lack of photographs is a very good thing.) For the marinade, I’ve settled upon Gourmet‘s recipe for “Asian barbecue sauce,” even as its lack of specificity strikes me as strange. I’ve never come across a recipe for “European sauce,” after all.
Last week, I read through Aimee Bender’s The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, about a girl who discovers she can taste emotions in food — specifically the feelings of those preparing it. I picked up the book having been intrigued by its premise after catching an interview with the author on NPR.
If this weren’t surrealist fiction, if this were at all possible, what impressions would my family and friends sense in these chicken wings, lingering beneath the tangy hoisin and sweet shaoxing wine?
In honor of our 44th president, SYB’s monthly potluck dinner featured foods from Chicago and Hawai’i (but not Indonesia or Kenya.)
It was a snowy Sunday when we all gathered in Sunnyside… complicated further by travel detours due to the seemingly endless track work on the 7 line. No service between Queens and Manhattan until March? Why do these disruptions always seem to coincide with Chinese New Year?
But I digress. JL already had signed on to bring the Chicago-style deep-dish pizza (one of the 20 Worst Foods in America?), so when the prospect of tracking down the curiously extensive array of toppings that go into a Chicago dog proved too daunting, I went the Hawaiian route instead. Also, admittedly, I just didn’t know what else qualified as uniquely Chicagoan fare. (Um, sauerkraut?)
Tonight marked my first attempt at making a pineapple upside-down cake, and aside from the nerve-wracking sequence of inverting the cake pan layers atop one another (parchment helps a lot), I think it turned out pretty well.
I first heard of this dessert on The Jetsons animated series in the early 1980s — it was Rosie the robot maid’s specialty! — not realizing then that it was an actual cake and not some fanciful futuristic Hanna-Barbera invention. Much later than I care to admit, I learned that, in fact, it’s an American classic with origins dating to the turn of the last century.
SYB provided the ice cream to accompany my cake: vanilla, though, not Yes Pecan — Ben & Jerry’s “Inspirational Blend” of “Amber Waves of Buttery Ice Cream With Roasted Non-Partisan Pecans.”
Maraschino cherries, by the way, are maddeningly difficult to locate in a supermarket if you’ve never had occasion to buy them before. In the canned fruits section? Baking supplies? Pickles? Drink mixers? No, no, no and no. At my local Food Emporium, at least, the bright red jars are located just off the ice cream freezer cases, near the colored sprinkles. Well sure, that makes perfect sense… in retrospect.
Snowy Bliss Street Station on the ride back home:
From one of my favorite magazine features: New York‘s annual “Reasons to Love New York — Especially Now” issue. Reason #1: Because Obama Is One of Us, Despite All That Business About Chicago.
- July 2010
- July 2009
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- November 2008
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