Billy’s Bakery – A Chelsea (Trick or) Treat!

Billy’s Bakery. Yes, a cupcake bakery. Shut up, I like cupcakes more than ever now that they are uncool again.

Just like jeggings.

I haven’t been here for quite some time, and wow…I miss it!

The Chelsea shop is diminutive – just a counter, a few fresh faced employees, and a couple of tables and chairs. Feel free to take your seat outside on the bench or bring it back to your casa. Be prepared for an influx of  kids if you go after school, but the scent of chocolate and sugar makes everyone a little kid-like, right?

Red Velvet

These cupcakes really are so good. They are just what you want in a red velvet cupcake – dense and a little chocolatey with a tender, moist crumb. The icing atop is tangy, smooth, and cream-cheesy. I could eat it by the spoonful and I’m honestly a little bummed that I can’t get a cupcake totally enrobed in icing.

20141030_154737 Vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting

Ugh, what a departure from that lovely red velvet cupcake. This cake is cottony and dry with nary a waft of vanilla. The frosting is good – very chocolatey and not at all greasy or chalky – but it can’t make up for that wretched cake. Maybe I got a bad one, but wow…this isn’t tasty.

20141030_154656 Icebox cake

Where have you BEEN all of my life?! Creamy, soft filling with a slight, pleasant tang. Deep, dark, chocolatey cookies that are tender and sweet. It’s like cheesecake-whipped cream-oreo filling-cookie goodness. This is incredibly rich – I couldn’t finish more than half of it, and I really gave it my all. I would get this again yesterday.

 

Billy’s is a small but generally wonderful bakery. The treats are fairly priced (that is to say, too expensive, but you are willing to pay it), most of the cupcakes are delicious, and the icebox cake is really craveworthy. Enjoy your weekend and make it a cupcake filled one!

Happy Halloween!

Tolani Wine Bar’s Surprisingly Delicious Menu

If you need a place on the UWS that isn’t brunch, cookies, or over the top fancy, your options are somewhat limited. Luckily, Tolani is on 80th and Amsterdam to fill that girls-night-out void.

It’s a South African influenced wine bar  with a dark, cool vibe that is sexy enough for a date but elegant enough to take the parents for brunch. with a hefty by the glass list as well as an extensive selection of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons. Better yet, it has a food menu. Not just bar food, but real sharing plate, restaurant food. The kind of food that makes you salivate just looking at it but that doesn’t require a foodie degree to enjoy. Catch my drift:
20141028_194335 Tuna carpaccio with olives, fried garlic, and arugula

An interesting, savory take on tuna tartare. The tuna is paper thin, reminiscent of beef carpaccio but with an even more velvety texture. The garlic is crispy and a little spicy and the olives provide a Nicoise-esque punch of salinity. This is light and a great way to start the evening.

20141028_200943 Fish tacos

Best dish of the night, hand down. This taco is so far superior to many other grilled fish tacos in town. The grouper is meaty but mild, perfect for its spicy (but not overly so) tomatillo salsa. Crispy cabbage, buttery avocado, and a quick spritz of lime all complete the package in a warm corn tortilla. It’s juicy, crispy, spicy, and fresh…all of the things that make Mexican food great. Best of all, it’s simple. It relies on awesome ingredients so here isn’t any weird crema or nouveau wrap to muck up the clean tastes of the food. There is only one to an order here, so be sure to order enough for the table.
20141028_200949 Lamb, beef, and veal meatballs with ricotta

Delicious and so satisfying on a chilly night.  The meatballs are spicy and robust, with the lamb bringing out some earthy flavors. The sauce is long cooked and sweet; richer and more wine-y than light summer sauces. A sprinkling of salty Parmesan cheese and some creamy ricotta make this more of a stew than a meatball. Be sure to ask for more warm bread to sop up the delicious sauce.  20141028_211707 African bread pudding

I don’t know what makes this African, but it’s delicious – like a deep-fried bread pudding with a spongy texture. Crispy, light,a nd positively soaked in a thick vanilla-y creme anglais.

Tolani is well priced with excellent service and really good food! The portions are tiny, so don’t take big eaters here, but there’s a great happy hour and the food is really worthwhile. Finally, a place on the UWS that fits the bill for a relaxed night out on the town.

10 Reasons That Offal is Awesome

10 Reasons that Offal is Awesome


1) It’s fun to win $5 by your friends by eating some ox or beef heart on a bet.


2) People like Dan Barber are making the ever controversial foie gras more humane and approachable than ever. 


3) WWAZD (What Would Andrew Zimmern Do?)


4) Chicken livers can be down home and fried or uptown and truffled – it’s the ultimate people pleaser.


5) That bag of giblets isn’t just there to weight down your Thanksgiving turkey. Sautee them with butter and then stew them with red wine and seasonings for the best gravy you ever ate. 


6) Nothing goes better with jelly than peanut butter. Unless you are talking about fig jelly and duck liver pate. Then, oh yeah, THAT goes better with jelly. 


7) Playing tricks on your friends has never been more delicious. Just tell Nate that the chopped liver is tapenade, then videotape his response when you tell him what it is and put that reaction on YouTube.


8) How else can you spend $7 at the butcher’s counter and end up with something like this?


9) If you’re going to get something stuffed inside a burger, it might as well be the most delicious meat on the face of the planet.

Prepared Uncle Lou's Chitlins on a plate with greens and cornbread

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10) Eating “chitlins”gives you street cred.

Elle’s Kale Chip Commandments

I have this friend, Elle, who is kind of my lifestyle guru.

She just knows how to DO things well.

Which is why I should have known that she would teach me how to make kale chips. Her methods are straightforward and must be followed to a “T.”

The result is nothing less than crack cocaine.

And all that you need to do is follow Elle’s commandments:

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1. Thou shalt dry thy kale

Chips abhor moisture. No matter how great your oven is or how fresh your kale is, if the stuff isn’t dry, it ain’t gonna crisp. Elle carefully dries EACH leaf with a paper towel before she declares it good enough to bake.

2. Thou shalt not overlap thy leaves

Because she says that if even a little bit of the leaf is left unexposed to heat, it will stay limp and become mushy, ruining the entire chip. She says that the kale can be touching at the edges but not overlapping. You will have to do several rounds of baking since there’s a lot of shrinkage when they heat up.

3. Thou shalt drizzle, not pour, the olive oil.

Do that little hand back-and-forth hand shaky thing to get a few drops of oil on each leaf, then let it go. You don’t want to drown these puppies in oil.

4. Thou shalt salt well

Kale loves salt and needs it. Salt those suckers, and add some cayenne pepper if you feel frisky.

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5. Thou shalt bake at 350 F until they are almost black and smell delicious

About 20-30 minutes should do it.

6. Thou shalt eat like potato chips that break easily

Because these break all over the place and unless you have a dog to eat the crumbs, you’re going to want to take care.

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7. Thou shalt not save thy leftovers

Kale chips are salty and delicious when hot and soggy and sad when not.

8. Thou shalt make extras for me

Okay, I added that last part.

Things That You Learn in The Catskills

This weekend, we went up to our friends’ family home in the Catskills.Spoiler alert: it was relaxing, beautiful, and totally delicious. We stayed in the house for almost the entire weekend, and consumed an entirely inappropriate amount of cookie dough, White Russians, and Cards Against Humanity. 

Here are a few of the things that I learned:

20141025_132039 Grills rock

I love living in NYC, I honestly do. But I miss having a backyard grill. There is just nothing quite like a burger cooked over a grill or a smoky hot dog with charred, crispy skin. These burgers were prepared 2 ways – 1 batch for purists, with only salt, pepper, and the pure taste of beef. The other way was for the crazy folks, with spicy panko breadcrumbs, oregano, sea salt, and about 18 other secret ingredients. I especially loved those spicy ones because they stood up to the heavy char of the grill.
20141025_134951 I mean, that’s a good looking meal, right?

20141025_194533 Have the butcher flatten your chicken

Less cooking time, more even cooking, fewer pesky bones. The butcher can remove the spine, leaving you with a large, flat chicken that can be grilled relatively quickly and then cut quickly for attractive serving. These were simply seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, and lemon. Juicy on the inside and crispy, smoky skin on the outside. Wow, I’m totally hating NYC and our lack of outdoor grills right now.

20141025_084723 MacGuyver it

Don’t have a popover pan? Make one out of tinfoil! Husband getting cranky? Put him in the baby bouncer and let him play with the mobile!

Four Fat Fowl St. Stephen cheese

An impulse purchase at a gourmet deli on the way up to the house may have been the greatest find of the weekend. This cheese, made in the Hudson Valley, is EVERYTHING that you want a great party cheese to be. It’s triple creme and as silky as brie with more density, so it doesn’t melt too quickly. The flavor is mild and nutty, with a slight, pleasant tang towards the end, similar to Camembert. The rind looks scary and waxy, but it’s so soft that you can eat it without fear. It’s fantastic on cut up apples, on Triscuts, and on fingers. I actually can’t say anything bad about this cheese, especially since I found out that it’s available in NYC.

The Catskills: Home to Dirty Dancing, random rabbits running around your front yard, and some damn fine home cookin’.

By the way,the winner of the JCPenney giveaway is:

True Random Number Generator   2 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

JUSTIN! 

Congratulations Justin, I will connect you and JCPenney ASAP!

Minute Steak Salad with Goat Cheese and Pickled Onions

The minute steak is much maligned. People think that it is cheap, thin, and tough…a little like Tara Reid. BUT…if it is prepared properly, with a bit of acidic marinade and a VERY QUICK sear so it is left quite rare…it is cheap, thin, and divine. London broil for a fraction of the price – a perfect luncheon for one.

Of course, the way to do this the right way is to serve it on a crusty roll with sautéed onions, melted swiss cheese, and plenty of Tabasco sauce.

But, in the interest of using up the arugula in my fridge, I made it a steakhouse salad instead.

Salads are wonderful, even and especially in the winter. They can be a refreshing,filling, and – yes – even a little bit indulgent – ending to a day of eating cereal and microwaved burritos at work.

Minute steak salad with goat cheese and pickled onions

minute steak salad

Ingredients:

2 minute steaks (or 1 leftover flank steak, skirt steak, filet mignon…nothing too fatty)

1 bunch arugula, washed and dried

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (I love bucheron)

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

1 recipe pickled onions

drizzling of steak sauce

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1. Put the Worcestershire sauce and the steaks in a zip top bag. Marinate for 30 minutes or so.

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2. Put the stove on high and put the steak in a notstick skillet, or a one that is greased with a wee bit of oil.

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3. For small minute steaks, cook no more than 1.5 minutes per side. Remove them and let them rest so the juices redistribute.

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4. Cut the steak into bite size pieces. That color in the photo is ideal…no grayer than that.

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5. Put all of the ingredients into the salad bowl and eat immediately.

This is what makes minute steak good – quick cooking and complimentary side components. Warm steak, juicy and salty, softening the rough arugula and bringing out its slightly bitter tones. The onions are piquant and the tomatoes are soft and sweet. The goat cheese warms under the heat of the steak, melting slightly and releasing its tangy,savor flavor. The steak sauce is sweet and spicy – making this more of a meal and less of a salad. The important step is to eat this while the steak is still warm and that the steak be very rare so it’s still juicy even though it’s thin.

And, now…a slow clap for the minute steak:

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Roasted Bone Marrow

I have been craving meat lately  - minerally, fatty, juicy MEAT. In case you are too, I thought that I would repost this blog post, detailing how to make one of my favorite delicacies: bone marrow.

My friend Steve once described me as being a primal eater.  He says seeing me eat is like watching a lioness stalk, hunt, then devour her pray  because her life depends on it.  Those are his EXACT WORDS.  He says watching me eat sometimes scares him because I am so ravenous and full of gusto when I dine.  And that’s just when he sees me eat a turkey sandwich.   If he saw me eat this stuff, he would cry, pee his pants, and call his mommy. 

 Beef marrow bones.  You read that correctly-I love to eat the marrow of cow bones.  And veal, for that manner.  Hell, I’ve even done lamb.  And I have enjoyed every last one of them.  Do you like butter?  Hamburgers, olive oil, avocados, soft boiled eggs?  All of these things are reminiscent of the taste of marrow bones, and if you like those, you will like these.

 Ingredients:

Marrow bones, split legnthwise

Stock

Salt

Bread

1. Pour your stock into a large stockpot and bring it to a boil. 

 2. Add the marrow bones. You want to leave a couple of 6 inch bones in the stock for about 20 minutes-until the marrow inside the bones has turned slightly  yellow-y gray and less opaque-like this:

*Now don’t toss that broth!  You have just doubly fortified it by throwing the marrow bones in there!  It is now prime for making soup, stew, sauce, or eating as is with some warm bread.  Keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days, or freeze it in baggies and take it out when you want it!  Just DON’T THROW AWAY THAT LIQUID GOLD!*

3. Now throw these gorgeous bones onto a tinfoil covered baking sheet and pop it in the oven under the broiler for another minute or so – not too long at ALL! Just until it gets brown and your stomach rumbles and you get the intense feeling that you are becoming a primal beast

 

4. Needless to say, just tear into the bread when the marrow is ready.  Knives have no place in the primitive world.

 

5. Except, of course when it involves spreading this marrow on your bread.  Sprinkle each mouthful liberally with coarse sea salt.

Oh.

My.

Word.

(I was thinking of a wholly different phrase to describe this experience, but it was, though more accurate, also more R rated).

 

Meaty. Lucsious.  Silky.  Buttery.  Greasy.  Eluzive.  Rich. Full of veal flavor and aromatics from the broth. All too fleeting.  Divine. Like – too good to be real.  Like, the perfect primal snack.

Sponsored Post: Meatopia 2014 and Cookware Giveaway from JCPenney!

Remember when I went to Meatopia? And it was a porky, beefy, meaty extravaganza?

Well, this year, it was part of the NYCWFF and it was much more centrally located, full of people but not so crazy packed that you couldn’t get any food, and was more delicious than ever.

And I worked with JCPenney to cover it all.

Let’s just let the photos speak for themselves, shall we?

20141019_163736 The joint was jumping and though the weather was cool, the scent of roasting meat was in the air, the JCPenney lounge was stocked with comfy couches and adorable decor, and people were ready to chow down and get their cocktail on!
20141019_163914 A man hand hacking some pork is a truly beautiful sight.
20141019_165616 Oxtail pot pie by Celebrity Cruises

Fatty and gelatinous in the best way possible. Meaty and almost sweet in round, beefy flavor. This tiny pot was about all I could handle of it, because it really was SO rich. Sure didn’t taste like cruise food, though.  20141019_165757 Beef heart with polenta and pomegranate seeds from SD26

Well prepared, with a slight chew and a taste somewhere between liver and flank steak. Deep and earthy, with a minerally finish. 
20141019_170118 Grilled Vietnamese pork ribs with tomatillo salsa from The Little Beet

One of the best dishes of the night. The pork chews like a steak and has a smoky, charred finish that contrasts with its naturally sweet taste. The salsa is bright and tart, but not spicy. It just adds a hit of acid while letting the pork shine. 
20141019_170542 Cream soda cured pastrami sandwich from Glen Oaks Club

I can’t believe that there is good pastrami outside of NYC. I mean…wow. This ain’t Katz’s, but it’s fatty, juicy, and wonderfully tender. The slaw alongside is creamy and light, and the rye bread is really great – it kinda mushes into the warm pastrami, like great rye bread should. Best of all, this wasn’t crazy salty.

20141019_164935 Mandatory rest break with my sister at the JCPenney relaxation lounge.

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As you can see, it was all modern and clean but also cozy. These days, modern doesn’t mean sterile and JCPenney’s lounge managed to be comfy with overstuffed couches and festive – but not cheesy! – holiday decor.

141016_JCP_NYC-11 And come on…who couldn’t use some spooky cupcakes, right?

20141019_171111 Quail speidini from Michael White

The man does no wrong, okay? Tender, juicy, mild, with just a hint of mushroom-like earthiness. Drizzled in a fresh, lemony, herby gremolata, this is finger food at its greatest.  20141019_171234 Chirashi from Commerce

Okay, I have to go here, stat. That’s how delicious this is. The steak is just barely seared so the interior is room temperature and basically raw. It was served over fantastic sushi rice – warm, sweet, sticky -and piquant pickled vegetables. I could eat a barrel of this or more. 
20141019_172650 Michael Psilakis spit roasted lamb taco

Ending on a high note. The lamb is so soft and juicy and utterly lamb-y. It’s mixed with a vibrant green salsa and served in a warm corn tortilla with creamy, dill scented tzatziki. It’s garlicky and delicious – I couldn’t love it more.

Don’t worry, you can get a chance to recreate all of these dishes with a giveaway sponsored by  JC Penney! They are giving away a Charcoal Companion®Sauce Pot and Basting Brush ($40 value) to one lucky reader! Enter by leaving a comment, and a winner will be chosen at random this Friday morning!

In the meanwhile, I’m going to go get a salad.

Disclaimer: I was compensated to write this post. The opinions and account of the affair are my own.

Elsa Doll Cake Tutorial

This is the most ambitious baking project I have undertaken…well, ever. It was for a huge group of discerning people who have a lot of experience in this realm and are often quite blunt, if not downright RUDE about he food that they eat.

Of course, I’m talking about toddlers.

And an Elsa cake.

An Elsa from Frozen cake, in case you have been living under a rock and have (been blessed to) not heard the (for PETE’S SAKE, when will it finally lose popularity???) song (by Adele Dazeem) “Let it Go.”
20141017_113833 So you want to know how to turn this…

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Into THIS?

Well, here’s what you’re going to need:

1 Wilton Wonder Mold

2 8 inch cake pans (it’s ok if one is deeper than the other. I prefer to use springform pans)

5 boxes Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge cake mix (other mixes may work, but this is the one that I used and trust not to collapse or dry out over 3 days.)

1 can baker’s nonstick spray (the one with oil and flour)

3.5 – 5 lbs. frosting, plus 1 small can white frosting. For the blue frosting, you can get blue or white and then dye it blue with food coloring. The industrial stuff is the best. You really want the super sugary, corn syrupy stuff that will harden and keep the cake soft and moist over the 3 days of making it.

Various snowy decorations, to include white chocolate buttons colored in different shades of white and blue.

1 turntable

1 offset spatula

2 heavy duty pastry bags with 1 wide tip, 1 narrow tip, and 1 rosette tip

1 piece of wax paper large enough to cover the turntable with overhang on each side, cut in half

1 doll pic or doll torso (tearing off those legs feels so wrong yet so right at the same time, doesn’t it?)

DAY ONE:

20141017_115523 1. Grease and flour your pans. I mean REALLY grease and flour it. I emptied almost half a can of baking spray into my 3 pans.

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2. Prepare your cake mix according to the box’s directions. Only make 2 cake mixes at a time in a large bowl, to ensure that all of the dry mixture gets incorporated with the oil, water, and eggs. Fill each pan about 3/4 of the way up each with cake mix. That should mean that the Wilton mold gets 2 mixes and each springform pan gets 1.5 boxes of mix. 
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3.When the cakes come out of the oven (after no less than an hour, because we are really filling these pans with some dark, dense cake), they will be domed. That’s okay! Let them cool COMPLETELY…or at least mostly. This is going to help them shrink away from the sides of the pan and also make it more stable when you level the cake.

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4. While the cake is still in the pan, level that cake! Just line your knife up right on the cake pan and carefully slice across to rid yourself of the dome. If your cake turns out a little slanted or uneven, that’s okay. And if, like mine, it is still a little domed with a flat top – like a plateau – that’s okay, too! When you have done this, remove it from the pan. This is why the springform pan is awesome – no tricky guessing and hoping and tapping to release your cake.

20141017_133121 5. Put your 2 pieces of wax paper on the turntable. They can overlap slightly but they must come over the edges of the turntable. This ensures that any icing will fall on the paper and not the turntable. When it comes time to serve the cake, you just CAREFULLY and SLOWLY wiggle the parchment out from underneath the cake and voila – clean surface!

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6. Squiggle some frosting on your first layer of cake with your large tip on the pastry bag. Really pile it on there – maybe 1/2 a cup or so. Move it all around the center of the cake, where it will be darker because you cut off the dome. Don’t put it to the edges, because when you layer the second cake on top, it will squish the icing out.

IMG_5366 7. Stack one round cake on top of that one, repeat the icing circle, then top te whole thing with the wonder mold cake. As you see, there is a ton of piped icing around that top middle layer – that’s because there was a space in between the middle round cake and the top wonder mold cake, created by the plateau. Just fill it in with icing and then put it in the fridge for 15 minutes to help with hardening the icing. 

IMG_5368 8. Now, it’s time to coat the cake with a thin-ish layer of frosting. This is called the crumb layer. It’s so that any crumbs of chocolate cake that get picked up by the spatula get caught in this layer of frosting and not in any of the frosting that shows. When you are done with this, the cake will look uneven and horrible. Don’t worry! And if the icing layer seems a little more thick than thin, don’t worry about ir…we are heading towards icing city and this is just the first depot. Now, put the cake in the fridge and don’t touch it till the next day.

DAY TWO:

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9. After letting the cake rest on the counter for about 30 minutes, it’s time to frost. You are going to want a LOT of frosting. I find that it goes on best when it’s applied in small swirls – as this is where the offset spatula comes in. Without it, you might dig into the crumb coating or get icing all over your hands. So, just spackle this stuff on, tier by tier. Don’t worry if it’s uneven and thick  - just keep going till the whole cake is covered in small swirls.

IMG_5383 10. Now, it’s time to smooth it out. Go in 3 or 4 rounds, just running the flat side of the spatula against the cake in a slow circle. Use the turntable to help you. Have a light touch and angle the spatula slightly outward at a diagonal angle towards you. This ensures that he cake gets wider towards the bottom, like a ballgown.

IMG_5384 11. This is what you end up with. Don’t worry about the slight bubbles in the frosting; we have decorations for that. Also, another layer of frosting. Apply that second layer after refrigerating the cake for about 15 minutes.

IMG_5385 12. After 2 coast of frosting and cutting a shallow hole, big enough for the doll’s torso, it’s time to decorate! Here, my mom piped white icing (using the small tip) that makes a triangle that takes up 1/3 of the cake. Make sure that the triangle that it makes is over the 1/3 of the cake where the frosting is the most uneven. It’s going to be totally covered.

20141018_131939 13. Take your white chocolate buttons and layer them on the 1/3 triangle of the cake. It looks best when it’s scalloped - like a mermaid tail.

20141018_131936 Make sure it goes all the way to the bottom.

IMG_5387 That’s the stuff!

IMG_5392 14. Over the next 2/3 of the dress, go to town! Big snowflakes, small snowflakes, tiny metallic balls, and white chocolate coated rice cereal all look swell. Just remember – there is no such thing as overkill here. My guess is that you are making this for a kid aged 2-11. Subtlety doesn’t kick in till the kid knows everything in high school. So, really..go to town. I even put some rice cereal in groups of 3 to create hidden Mickeys. What, it’s a thing.

DAY 2 OR 3:

IMG_5404 15. Put the doll torso in the cake, piping icing rosettes around her waist to blend in and lifting her arms so she doesn’t get frosting on her. Remove the wax paper and serve right on the turntable. Wait, that picture isn’t good enough…

elsa There we are…that’s the stuff. When serving, cut a slim triangle 1/3 of the way down the cake (after removing the doll torso!), then cutting that slice into 3 or so slices for kids, 2 for adults. Cut the front 2/3 of the cake first, since it’s easiest to not have to worry about the chocolate buttons if you don’t have to. When you have cut the top 1/3 of the front 2/3 of the dress, move down the tiers…

Was that complicated enough for you? I hope just barely. Please don’t be scared of making this. It takes forever and transporting it is OBNOXIOUS (Cookie sheet in a shallow cake pan, a VERY SLOW cab driver, and more than a few prayers) but…well…it’s a showstopper. People wills top you and ask you what bakery you got it from. Parents will applaud you on the spot. Facebook will be charmed.

And the look on the kids’ faces when they see this absolutely makes every backbreaking stroke of frosting worth it.

So…do you wanna build an Elsa?

My Top Seamless Orders

This weekend was so insane that I didn’t even get to cook. Not so much as a microwaved quesadilla. There was lots of eating, but none of it what I would call gourmet, and none of it what I could call home cooked.

It’s times like this that I bless the person who invented take out and delivery.

So, where do I order from most on the UWS? Here are my top choice, all available on Seamless:

Sushi: Amaze 82

Trust me, no one is more shocked than I that I love raw fish from a pan-Asian place. Their Thai dishes are pretty one note but the sushi is shockingly delicious. The tuna is fresh and soft, the salmon is mild and almost sweet, and the eel sauce is tender and fatty. The fusion rolls are an embarrassing delight (come to me, Passion Roll), but the best part about this place is the rice. It’s almost always excellent – room temperature, sticky, and slightly sweet – and even when it isn’t excellent, it’s always very good. No dry, sticky clumps here. The only downside is that it’s often longer than they say it will be to get your food, but it’s worth the wait!

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Burgers: Jackson Hole

I love this place. I don’t miss the char of a grilled burger or the soft squishiness of a smaller one. I love THIS place. Huge, beefy burgers that always arrive medium rare, smothered in sweet grilled onions, sharp cheddar, buttery avocado, or any number of other things. The fries are thick steak fries, but if you are smart, you will get the onion rings. They are some of the best of the thick variety, that I have tried. They get a little mushy in transit, but not too bad. Don’t shy away from the soups, appetizers, or other sandwiches here – everything from Jackson Hole is reliable, and it’s always delivered quickly. Big, big fan.

Chinese: Grand Sichuan

Finally – great Chinese in delivery range! Go for the spicy stuff – Gui Zhou spicy chicken, Sichuan wontons with red oil, dan dan noodles with chili…do you get that this place specializes in spicy stuff? Salty, savory, fiery…this Chinese place has it all, as long as all that you want is a flavor explosion that will leave you with a running nose and garlic breath.

Indian: Benares

Great set meals for a great price. We talking a full size appetizer (I love the crispy, thick skinned samosas with fragrant mashed potato interiors), an entrée (Kozhi Varutha Curry is my favorite – coconut milk, a slightly spicy zing of ginger, and intricate spicing that I couldn’t possibly start to decode), rice, naan, and condiments – all for under $16. It’s enough food for one gut busting meal or 2 sensible lunches. The food is made very spicy if you request it so, but I have found that it’s most enjoyable when cooked to the chef’s specifications. It’s not overly greasy or salty, as delivery Indian food can be, and it’s always delivered in a timely fashion.

Sandwiches: Lenny’s

It’s a chain but it’s great! Fast delivery, the never get the order wrong, tons of options (bagel scooped, salad chopped, a million types of breads and toppings), and really tasty, wholesome food. The mozzarella, tomato, onion, and capers is one of my faves. I always add sliced red onion and balsamic vinegar, and it always hits the spot when I need something light but filling. Of course, I get chips on the side. So it’s not too light at all.