Wednesday, January 27, 2010

But now I've tasted chocolate.....

....and I'm never going back. - "Without Love" from Hairspray

I just wanted to make sure that we are all in the know about NO PUDGE BROWNIES. If you haven't discovered them, now is the time. People, they are the best brownies I've ever had. Well, maybe second best. There is a place in my neighborhood called Il Bambino (I'll talk more about that place later) that makes RIDICULOUS brownies. So I'll say that NO PUDGE is the best BOX brownie I have ever had. Now those of you that know me know that I generally do not go for boxed or pre-made anything and prefer to do it from scratch. I am not sure why I am this way, but I am. Maybe the challenge, maybe because I am choosing what products go in to these things and it feeds the controlling side of my personality, or maybe because I am crazy. However, NO PUDGE is my one exception.

So here's the skinny, literally. They are FAT FREE. This perk automatically sends off a signal in our brains that it's full of chemicals and it's not gonna be that good. All lies! They are all naturally and absolutely delicious. They are fudgy, chewy, rich, decadent, and they never get hard or gross. On top of that, they are beyond easy to make. All you add to the mix is yogurt. How easy! And even better, there is a recipe for single servings. So on a night at home watching some prime time tv and you need your fix, this is your answer.

A woman by the name of Lindsay Frucci came up with NO PUDGE because she was a brownieholic and was tired of them being loaded with fat. In January of 1995 she began her quest to come up with a brownie to her liking that was fat free. After several months and trays of brownies that ended up in the trash, NO PUDGE hit the shelves of stores in New Hampshire in August 1995. Now they are sold nationwide. Lindsay....if you're reading this, you're a genius.

I have to admit, I've been using NO PUDGE for a while now so this isn't something new to me, but I finished off a batch last night and thought I should share. They do come in a few flavors as well.....raspberry, cappuccino, and mint (you will learn how I hate the combination of chocolate and mint...go ahead, judge me, but I just don't like it!). But I like to keep it simple and stick with the original.

They recently changed their packaging which threw me for a loop since I was used to seeing my hot pink box glowing at me from the shelf.
But now it's this...
I like the old one better. Flashier.

The website: is full of fun recipes. Maybe I'll try one. But why fix what ain't broke?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Why, Oh Why, Oh Why, Oh.....

.....Why did I ever leave Ohio? - "Ohio" - Wonderful Town

Well I have my reasons, of course. I mean how was I ever gonna become a HUGE Broadway star living in Southwest Ohio? Funny.....

But tonight, I was swept back to my homeland of Cincinnati, Ohio by the way of Edward's, 136 West Broadway in Tribeca.
This popular neighbor restaurant hosts Cincinnati Night the last Monday off each month. The menu consists Skyline Chili, LaRosa's Pizza, Montgomery Inn Ribs served with Saratoga chips (dipped in the sauce...yes, please!), and my absolute favorite thing from Cincinnati, Graeter's Ice Cream. I could eat their Black Raspberry Chip everyday and be the happiest boy alive.
This night has become so popular that when I called to inquire, I was told I wasn't going to get a table unless I made a reservation and they do 3 seatings, 6:00, 7:30, and 9:00. I quickly called back to reserve a table for four at 7:30.

So my 2 friends and I travelled from Astoria to meet our fourth member there. Two of us are Cincinnati natives and the other 2 went to school there so we know our Cincinnati food. We order beers (seemed like the best beverage choice for what we were about to consume) and quickly came up with our plan of attack. We decided family style was the best option. pepperoni pizza to start, a 5-way, a rack of ribs, and we each got a coney dog. We'd choose ice cream flavors later.

First comes the pizza and we were skeptical at first, wondering if it would be as we remembered from our days at Kings Island or a day shopping downtown. They hit the nail on the head. YUM! Out comes the rest of the food and we're realizing that maybe we ordered too much? But no, we were determined! The 5-way was exactly what I thought it would be like, kind of hard to screw it up if you are using the secret mix. But I have to say, no one does the cheese like they do at Skyline back home. It's a billowy pile of thinly sliced yellow cheddar cheese (I need to find out where they get their grate. One might call it a cloud of cheese over top of the mountain and spaghetti and chili. I mean it all tastes the same but there's something about that cheese that just makes everything right.
Now it has been some time since I had Montgomery Inn. My dad is always sending me the Skyline Chili mix so I make it every so often, but shipping BBQ sauce in glass bottles is a little more tricky. Of course I'm not making ribs with it, generally a chicken breast or a pork chop. The sauce, in my opinion, has the perfect combination of tang, sweet, and bite. And the ribs, just as I remembered, fell right off the bone. And accompanying the rack on the plate were those chips that I love so much. I love it when I get one that's slightly undercooked and a little chewy. DELISH!!!!!!

I have to admit, this was the first time I have had a fully loaded coney dog. Being the picky eater that I used to be, it was always just hot dog, chili, and cheese. But now that I have a much more expansive palate, so I opted for the full monty and added the mustard and onions. Is this what I have been missing for the past 31 years? I am angry at myself for denying myself of such a "mardi gras in my mouth".

Ok...this is where I got really serious. Graeter's time. It's the best ice cream in the world and I feel really strongly about that statement. They use a French Pot method combining fresh cream and egg custard. The process consists of gently folding the mixture into itself which prevents air from whipping in and creates a creamy and dense consistency. Where as most pints of ice cream can weigh as little as 8 oz., Graeter's pints weigh a full pound! And each pint is packed by hand. People, you don't get much better than this. It's custardy, creamy, rich, decadent goodness. And the Black Raspberry Chip is my own personal Messiah. I know, it's an inanimate object but when I am eating it, I forget all my troubles and feel like I have transcended to some heavenly place. Now, when one hears "chip", you think of small like flakes of chocolate randomly spread throughout. NOT Graeter's. They use dark chocolate (which should be the only kind of chocolate, in my world) and they use chunks; large, creamy, soft pieces. I remember once as I kid digging into the pint and pulling out what was basically an entire chocolate bar. Damn, it's good.
So clearly we opted for Black Raspberry Chip (BRC from here on out). We also went with Buckeye Blitz. Never had this one before, let alone even heard of it. If you are unsure of what a Buckeye is, then let me inform you. Yes, it's a nut off of tree. Yes, it's the Ohio State University mascot. But it's also a sweet confection, made by rolling peanut butter and confectioner's sugar into balls and dipping them 3/4 of the way into chocolate, often making appearances at holiday parties. Maybe a white trash Reese's Cup?
Back to Buckeye Blitz. So it's peanut butter ice cream with mini buckeyes in them. Wowza! I mean it's hard to find a better combination than peanut butter and chocolate. We all dug to get the perfect spoonful consisting of the rich peanut butter cream and few of the explosive confections.

But nothing will ever top my BRC. Nothing. I always think of ordering a different flavor but I always come back to BRC. LIke I'll be disappointed or feel Iike I've neglected my BRC. BRC forever!

The four of us sat there, full....very full, but happy and enjoying our walk down this culinary memory lane and planning our next Cincinnati Night at Edward's. February 22nd! See you there?

Food, Glorious Food....

....what is there more handsome? - "Food, Glorious Food" from Oliver!

I love food, what can I say. I love to eat it, make it, order it, experiment with it, and share it. Let's face it, we all have to eat to survive so why not enjoy what we're eating and make the most of of each eating experience.

I've decided to use this blog as a space to share my love of food and my experiences with this said love. Recipes, restaurants, bars, events, etc. And links (and some photos) to all!

Please feel free to comment and share. Looking forward to "wining and dining" with you all.