Thursday, November 29, 2012

When everything feels wrong...

...there's soup!

Spicy vegan split pea and chickpea soup, to be specific, made in my beautiful new French oven (thank you Gogo!) and garnished with a splash of harissa-infused olive oil and a sprinkle of pine nuts (both "borrowed" from Diane's pantry at fall break) and a big scoop of yogurt.

Everything's okay when I take it one meal at a time.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pickled Prunes

My google doc with lists of what to pack for school is getting a little ridiculous. Coffee mugs, towels, nail polish, a can opener (for making peanut soup, of course), both of my tin Yellow Submarine lunch boxes... and a jar of pickled prunes, canned by yours truly. I have been planning on learning to can forever. I had my first attempt with this recipe, and while the canning process was a bit of a disaster, the fruit came out just right.

This chutney-like recipe yields soft, rich fruit in a sticky glaze. The fruit is both sweet and savory; chopped pickled prunes instantly add depth to any dish. My ideas for using the prunes and raisins: toss cold chunks of steamed cauliflower with chopped prunes and a spoonful or two of syrup for a yummy salad. Saute or steam carrot sticks, then top with prunes for a tsimmesish creation. Fill celery sticks with chopped poached chicken, then sprinkle with raisins. 

Pickled Prunes
adapted from Serious Eats
I made this recipe with 3/4 prunes and 1/4 raisins. I thought the raisins were delicious and would happily repeat this with just raisins. There isn't much liquid and it's syrupy, not briny, so I'd classify this more as a chutney than pickles... but either way you should give it a try.

1 pound prunes or raisins
1 c red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon
1/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c honey
1 t fresh grated ginger
1/2 t whole black peppercorns
pinch ground cloves
pinch red chili flakes
pinch ground allspice
1 bay leaf
pinch salt

Combine fruit and vinegar in a medium saucepan. Add strips of lemon zest removed with a peeler and the lemon juice. Add all the rest of the ingredients and bring it all to a simmer. Cook 15-20 minutes, until prunes have plumped and liquid is a thin syrup. Remove pan from heat and cool slightly. Spoon into a jar and refrigerate, where it'll keep for a month. Or can using proper canning techniques and save it for even longer! (I haven't mastered this yet so I won't explain how.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pancakes on a Diet

No matter how much criticism fad diets get, there must be a little bit of good in each diet. If it was complete disgusting nonsense, it wouldn't be popular enough to qualify as a fad. I recently read Dr. Dukan's diet book, which is full of complete crap (suck on ice cubes and watch the pounds float away!) but also has a few nice tips and recipes.

My favorite thing about the Dukan diet is that he is totally obsessed with oat bran. Gluten-free and full of fiber, it was the perfect thing for me to add to my diet. Dukan recommends having a certain amount of bran every day, whether the bran is sprinkled on yogurt, cooked to make hot cereal, or made into his most amazing creation- the oat bran galette. I've changed a few things about his galette to make it less obsessive and more delicious, and the savory pancakes have become my new favorite meal. 

Bea's Doctored-Up Dukan Pancakes
Make one big galette or three smaller pancakes. Either way, you'll be impressed with the light texture of these gluten-free, high-protein, fiber-filled cakes. 
I prefer these to be savory, so I put in salt and pepper and serve it with ketchup and/or mustard. If you want to go the other way, you should totally drizzle your pancakes with honey and serve with fruit and yogurt. 

2 T plain Greek yogurt
2 T oat bran
1 egg, separated*
salt**, pepper, red pepper flakes, and other spices to taste
olive oil***

Mix the yolk, yogurt, and oat bran with any spices you desire. Beat the egg white until it has soft peaks. Heat a little olive oil in a pan. While it's heating, fold the white into the yolk mixture. 
When the pan is ready, drop the batter into the pan by the spoonful and cook like pancakes. Serve with chutney, ketchup, mustard, or salsa. 

*Dr. Dukan would say trash the yolk and just use the protein-filled white. I vote that throwing away a yummy, nutritious yolk is a crime. 
**Finicky Dukan says no salt, but I say that's absurd. 
***The persnickety doctor would recommend using no oil/butter at all to grease the pan because he's afraid of the fat. I don't think a little olive oil ever hurt anyone. 

Summer Heat

I have eaten so many beautiful things this summer, both meals out at new restaurants and meals I have cooked for myself. In chronological order, here are a few dishes I intended to post as recipes, but never got around to posting:

This asparagus slaw was inspired by the one served (until the menu changed a week or two ago) at Red House under pan-seared scallops. I blanched the asparagus, then cut them on the mandoline. The dressing was lots of lemon zest and juice, whole grain mustard, dijon, and a bit of olive oil. The asparagus was a pain in the butt, but so delicious. 

Mmm frozen chunks of watermelon with lime and mint... I caught Zoe in the middle of making drinks. Frozen watermelon is the perfect ice cube.

Joy's crispy coconut kale is a delight. Much more complex in flavoring than my basic kale dishes, it's a fun way to enjoy the best veggie ever. 

These pretty peas were getting ready to be blended with that mess of fresh parsley and basil you see. I chopped the herbs with some oil until they made pesto, then smashed the peas in. The resulting smash was an earthy garnish for a very simple roasted beet soup. I just pureed roasted beets with some broth and water for the freshest dose of magenta beets. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Braised Cinnamon Tofu

I used to wait tables with a guy who refused to eat tofu because soy contains too much estrogen. I laughed, because it seemed like such a ridiculous thing to worry about. Did he think he'd sprout breasts just from having tofu in his pad see ew? I ignored his frivolous worry and continued to enjoy tofu often. Recently I've been more concerned about tofu, though. I've read a couple of very silly extremist articles condemning soy products. Did you know they have high levels of goistrogen, protease inhibitors, and phytates?!??!!??? I have no idea what any of those are, and I can't figure out if I should actually be concerned. Should I stop eating tofu because of all the scary soy problems? Are the people who complain about soy just overreacting? The jury is still out. Meanwhile, I think I'll enjoy some absurdly delicious braised cinnamon tofu.  

Braised Cinnamon Tofu
serves three

This soupy dish from one of Nina Simonds' cookbooks wins all tofu competitions. It's warming and hearty, but extremely healthy (if you ignore the cries of the tofu haters). Make sure to start with plenty of time before you want to serve, because this cooks forever, but it's worth it! The house will smell lovely. This recipe is very easy to make vegetarian or vegan. 

1/2 t safflower or corn oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
3 slices fresh ginger, about the size of a quarter each, smashed lightly with the side of a knife
1/2 t hot chile paste
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 t anise seed
1/4 c soy sauce
3 cups chicken stock, veggie stock, or water
1 pound firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 pound spinach, rinsed
1 1/2 T minced scallion greens, to garnish

Heat a large pot or casserole over medium-high heat with the oil. When hot, add the garlic, ginger, chile paste, cinnamon, and anise. Stir fry until fragrant (about 15 seconds), then add soy sauce and water. Heat until boiling. Add the tofu and boil again.

Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer. Skim the surfact to remove impurities and fat. Cook one hour on low heat. Remove ginger slices and cinnamon stick.

Add the spinach and heat until the spinach is wilted. Ladle the mixture into serving bowls and serve garnished with scallions.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Rainy Day Cucumbers

Daddy and I were raiding the fridge to find something to make for lunch. He grabbed a cucumber and suggested some sort of salad. Even though it's June, it's one of those dreary cold days that makes me drag out my fuzzy slippers and sip a cup of tea all day long, so I didn't think I could handle any cold food. Luckily I thought of the delicious sounding coconut cucumbers from this month's Bon Appetit. Sauteed with chopped tomatoes, sliced chilis, garlic, and scallions, these flavorful cucumbers seemed perfect for a warm lunch. Except we didn't have most of the ingredients. Instead, we devised an extremely simplified version. We cooked cucumber slices and beautiful yellow tomatoes gently, and added just a little bit of coriander chutney for a tiny hint of spice. The flavors were delicate and delicious. Cooked cucumbers are extremely tender, sweet, and juicy. I'm going to have to make a mental note to cook cucumbers more often!

Sauteed Cucumber and Tomato

canola or other veggie oil
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Heat a small amount of oil in a big skillet. When hot, add the cucumbers and cook for 2-3 minutes, until they are beginning to soften. Add the tomatoes and cook until the cucumbers are becoming translucent. Stir in the cilantro chutney and serve hot. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

To Spoon Over Everything

I'm really a person of utmost class. It's just that no one can tell, because my sophisticated self hides behind several layers of unsophisticated habits. For example: I can't survive one day without a bottle of ketchup. Ketchup is my favorite food in the entire universe and I eat it on eggs, burgers, broccoli, peas, green beans, potatoes, and anything else I can find. I've been wanting to make my own ketchup for like freaking forever, but with a bottle of Heinz in the fridge, I always wondered why I'd bother peeling a million tomatoes.

This afternoon, I decided that I'd finally make my own homemade ketchup. Let's call this semi-homemade ketchup (in the style of Sandra Lee). I was too lazy to blanch tomatoes, peel them, cook them down, and finally strain the seeds, so instead I just started with tomato paste. I made a combination of two recipes with a few adaptations. I swapped some honey for dark molasses for a deeper caramel flavor, I decreased the salt, and I changed the spices. The amounts here for spices are approximations, because I didn't actually measure anything that comes after the salt. All the spices are optional - use what's in the front of the cabinet and don't bother with the rest.

This ketchup is perfect for me. The initial sour bite gives way to a complex balance of sweet, dark spices. It's thick and addicting and makes me crave some steamed broccoli to dip. I believe in the hierarchy of ketchup flavors, sour ought to trump sweet which in turn comes before salty, and all three have to hide behind the deep umami of the tomatoes. Thus, my ketchup has a whole lot of vinegar in it. But I recognize that your ketchup tastes are deeply personal, like what god you pray to or what color you paint your toenails. Feel free to adjust this recipe to your taste.

Spiced Honey Ketchup
Adapted from An Oregon Cottage and Paleo Diet Lifestyle

12 oz tomato paste
1/3 c honey
1/6 c molasses
1 c vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1/2 c water
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch ground cloves
1 pinch ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Whisk until smooth in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer. Partially cover the pan to avoid a big red splotches all over the kitchen. Keep tasting to adjust flavorings. After about twenty minutes, it'll be thick and gooey and dark. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Keep refrigerated. If it thickens too much in the fridge, just add some water (a couple teaspoons at a time) to reach pouring consistency.
Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups.


Want a dessert that pleases absolutely everyone? Something vegan and gluten-free, low in fat, with absolutely no refined sugar... and something that takes two minutes to make? Let me introduce you to banana whip.

Start with frozen bananas - at least one half to a whole banana per serving. You can freeze your bananas sliced or whole, but make sure they're peeled first. They'll keep in a ziplock in the freezer forever.  When you're ready, slice up the frozen banana and pop into a blender, food processor, or just a big bowl if you want to use a hand held mixer. Blend up the banana. At first it'll just look thick and choppy, but after a few minutes, the frozen banana will whip up into a creamy foam. When it's thick and pale, you're ready!

Just like that, your bananas get this crazy soft serve ice cream texture, just a little more gooey. Banana whip is delicious plain, but the list of delicious toppings is infinite. Try a dash of cinnamon, a pile of chopped almonds, lots of fresh fruit, a spoonful of peanut butter butter, a splash of chocolate sauce, a scoop of yogurt, a sprinkle of granola... the possibilities are endless. Oh and rumor has it, if you put the mixture back into the freezer whipped, it'll take on the texture of scoopable ice cream. Of course, that implies there's any left to put back in the freezer.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Four Food Rules for Summer

1. Eat loads of vegetables, a ton of protein at every meal, and some fruit. Avoid all dairy, gluten.

2. Avoid processed sugars. Slash all sugar other than fruit.

3. In the words of Mark Bittman: Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.

4. No eating anything with ingredients my great-grandmother wouldn't recognize.

(And number five: Breaking these rules is fine, but no more than once a week, and only on someone else's request.)

And how yummy summer has been so far! I've learned to make poached eggs and shirred eggs. I've eaten piles of salads and sautes. This one was particularly yummy. Green beans chopped up small, with onion, celery, bell pepper, and cubes tofu. We added in some black bean garlic sauce at the end for a very quick dinner. Delicious!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Breakfast Greens

You don't even know how much I've missed cooking fresh green vegetables. I've been out of school for just a few weeks and still, all I crave is kale and broccoli. I stopped by a farmer's market on my way home from a yardsale last weekend and picked up a nice bunch of dandelion greens to add to a light frittata for breakfast the next day. A very easy egg preparation, it was a healthy and fun breakfast for two. 

As frittatas go, this is lighter on egg and heavier on vegetables than usual. Plus I skipped over cheese entirely, while most have a hearty pile of Parmesan. The whole point of this is that you make it as you like it, and I thought my greens were perfect this way. Frittatas are easy enough to make for yourself any time of day, but classy enough for guests at brunch. 

Dandelion Green Frittata

1 bunch dandelion greens
4 shallots
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
olive oil
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 ish. Slice shallots. Wash and slice dandelion greens. Add oil to an oven-proof skillet; when hot, add sliced shallots. Add red pepper. When the shallots soften, add greens and cook until wilted. If necessary, cover the pan with a lid to help the greens wilt faster. Remove the greens from the pan when cooked and put on a plate. Beat the eggs with salt and pepper. 

Add a bit more oil to the pan if necessary. Add the beaten egg. Sprinkle the cooked greens mixture onto the egg. Over lowish heat, let the egg cook. When egg is almost set, transfer pan to oven and cook just until the top is solid and golden. 

Slice and serve! Slices look classy over a bed of greens, but for anyone who knows me, you know this is definitely made to be served with ketchup. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Eleventh Course: Lemon Tart with Mint Cream

Most student-run clubs at colleges fizzle out at the end of the year, or maybe they conclude with a casual potluck with jarred salsa on floppy plastic plates. Not the Culinary Society. The end of my first year on the e-board was marked by an eleven course dinner, complete with printed menu cards and a seating arrangement.  Matt hosted and arranged the most obscenely beautiful table at which I've ever had the pleasure of eating. 

Each guest chose a chef as inspiration, then was assigned randomly a course. The muses ranged from Julia Child to Morimoto to Thomas Keller. I chose Deb Perelman. Who else? After choosing my muse and being assigned to make dessert, I spent weeks plotting what to bake. I knew after so many other courses, we'd want something light, so I thought perhaps some refreshing flavors would be appreciated. Citrus? Key lime pie? Oooh or lemon bars? Or maybe I was going in the wrong direction. Mint is always refreshing. What about that mint cream I once used to top cupcakes? I settled on Deb's beautiful lemon tart which I would top with mint whipped cream and garnish with blackberry and raspberry sauce. 

Before I write my recipe, here is the full dinner.

Gougeres with Classic Bechamel, inspired by Julia Child

Salmon and Sorrel Troisgros, inspired by Daniel Boulud

Chocolate Milk, inspired by Daniel Humm

Coffee and Vanilla Eclairs, inspired by Alice Waters

Grilled Asparagus with Prosciutto and Whole Grain Mustard, inspired by Suzanne Goin

Beef Carpaccio, inspired by Michael Anthony

Pan-Seared Diver Scallops, inspired by Thomas Keller

Plum Crostata, inspired by Claudia Fleming

Penne ai Porcini, inspired by Alfred Portale

Sticky Rice with Mango, inspired by Paul Qui


Beautiful, no? And a very refreshing eleventh course.

Lemon Tart 
from Smitten Kitchen

1 partially baked 9-inch Great Unshrinkable Tart Shell, recipe below
1 average-sized lemon, rinsed and dried
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon table salt

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven 350°F. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet, which you can line with foil or parchment paper to make any spills a breeze to clean up.Slice the lemon into thin wheels, remove any seeds, and toss the rounds — lemon flesh and peel — sugar and chunks of butter into the container of a food processor. Process, scraping down the sides of the container as needed, until the lemon is thoroughly pureed. Add the eggs, cornstarch and salt and pulse until the batter is smooth.

Pour into prepared tart shell. Fill until just a few millimeters below the top of the crust. If there is extra filling, use it to make lemon bars or a few mini tarts, but don't overflow the tart pan.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the filling is set. You can test this by bumping the pan a little; it should only jiggle slightly. It might be slightly golden brown on top. 

Let cool on rack, unmold tart pan and serve.

The Great Unshrinkable Sweet Tart Shell
From Smitten Kitchen, adapted from Dorie Greenspan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg

Pulse the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a food processor. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. (You’re looking for some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.) Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses–about 10 seconds each–until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change–heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing. Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours before rolling.

To roll the dough: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Roll out chilled dough on floured sheet of parchment paper to 12-inch round, lifting and turning dough occasionally to free from paper. (Alternately, you can roll this out between two pieces of plastic, though flour the dough a bit anyway.) Using paper as aid, turn dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom; peel off paper. Seal any cracks in dough. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang in, making double-thick sides. Pierce crust all over with fork.

Alternately, you can press the dough in as soon as it is processed: Press it evenly across the bottom and up the sides of the tart shell. You want to press hard enough that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that it loses its crumbly texture.

Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking. To fully or partially bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. And here is the very best part: Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 20 to 25 minutes.

Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer to fully bake it, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. (To partially bake it, only an additional 5 minutes is needed.) Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature, and proceed with the rest of your recipe.
Do ahead: The dough can be wrapped and kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. While the fully baked crust can be packed airtight and frozen for up to 2 months, the flavor will be fresher bake it directly from the freezer, already rolled out.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


If I had to give up eating matzo ball soup, singing the mah nishtanah, making charoset and horseradish sandwiches, and everything else I love about Passover, but I still was able to have a big slice of Mama's Passover hazelnut torte with mocha frosting and raspberry sauce... it would be enough.

And for more Passover goodness, see last year's dinner and cake and the recipe for Mama's amazing mocha frosting

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Eggs at Pesach

Because it's all about blending cultures, isn't it?

This year we made some very pretty onion skin eggs. I started with a few plain white eggs, then wrapped them in red and yellow onion skins, with a few little leaves thrown in for good measure. I tied them tightly with rubber bands. I boiled them just like normal hard cooked eggs. The water turned dark purple from the red skins and the result was beautiful, all-natural tie-died Easter Eggs.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

All Wrapped Up

I can hide in my room studying all I like, but warm April breezes still slide through my window tempting me to abandon the books and take a nap in the sun. The little birds who sing each morning outside my window don't let me forget that spring has come.  Roasted vegetables and thick stews are nice enough for winter, but I need something lighter and more fun to match the weather.

I made these beautiful little summer rolls over spring break with my friend Laura for a quick lunch. Though fussy to put together, they were fun and light and delicious. The beauty of these rolls is that they're delicious with any ingredients. I used very basic fillings for my rice paper wrappers, but they are even better with some grilled shrimp, tofu, mango, or anything else you can dream up. I look forward to making variations on these rolls all summer!

Summer Rolls

rice paper rounds
cellophane noodles or rice noodles, cooked according to package directions and cooled
vegetables, sliced very thinly (think carrot, celery, cabbage, cucumber, lettuce)
fresh herbs (basil, mint, cilantro)
other fillings as desired

One at a time, dip a rice paper round in warm water and leave a few seconds until it is soft. Remove from the water and put on a plate, blotting with paper towel to remove excess liquid. Arrange rice noodles and vegetables in the center of the rice paper wrapper. Roll tightly (burrito-style). 

Continue with all rolls, then slice and serve with peanut sauce. 

Note: even if a few come out looking like this, they'll still be delicious!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Everybody's Gonna Love Today

I love Valentine's Day, but I don't love "Love," at least not in the rom com sense of the word. For most of the population, Valentine's Day is not about romantic love. (That's like suggesting that Christmas is about a little baby boy birthed in Bethlehem.) Valentine's Day is about making cards with glue sticks and lace doilies, wearing every pink item of clothing in the closet, and getting chocolates in the mail.

And who can say no to cheesy pick up lines? Here are my two favorite xkcd Valentine's, plus a whole page of econ ones. Aria, Asia, and I made some cute cards for our neighbors on the hall. The ones below say, "Ain't no mountain high enough ... to keep me from getting to you!" and "If I could rearrange the alphabet, ... I would put u and i together."

If you didn't notice the hipsterness of the pictures above... look now. How adorable is my new lens? It was my Valentine's Day present to myself.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday

I really ought to have been watching the football game tonight. Facing off in my home state (in a stadium where my high school football team once played) were two teams from two cities that I call home. How could I miss a game like that? It's easy. Offer me a cheesecake lollipop tree, and I'll go anywhere.

Tonight I left my friends in the lounge with the tv on to go with seven other members of the Columbia Culinary Society to David Burke Townhouse for a restaurant week dinner. I really enjoyed the chance to get off campus for a night of foodie conversation, and the restaurant was perfect.

David Burke Townhouse takes its service and food seriously, but they let in just the right touch of whimsy with glass balloons on the ceiling and pink bubblegum whipped cream at dessert. But I'll get to dessert in a minute. Let's start with appetizers.

Before we even looked at menus, a small plate with a shot glass atop a lace doily appeared in front of each of us. Huh? This tiny little bite turned out to be salt cod with potato foam. It was extremely salty, but in a yummy, beef jerky sort of way. The potato foam provided a neutral backdrop for the salty fish. After this sweet random bite, we were served warm, fresh rolls. The butter was gorgeous. Served on a slab of pink salt, it had been carved into a swirl and drizzled with more smoked salt.

For an appetizer, I ordered parsnip soup. It was creamy and very delicious, especially the small roasted parsnip shards. Other friends ordered the pretzel-crusted crabcake, which looked more architectural than edible, but apparently it was delicious. 

Below is the mushroom cavatelli with braised short ribs. The homemade pasta was soft, like gnocchi, and it was wrapped in a creamy sauce studded with chewy mushrooms. The meat broke apart at the touch of a fork in fatty strands and absorbed a dollop of truffle mousse that melted over the cube of meat onto the pasta below. A small pile of mushroom chips provided crunch to balance the softness of the meat and pasta. I know other people didn't like this main course that much, saying it was too salty or too bland, but I loved it. The many forms of mushrooms plus the short ribs created a glorious umami taste that defines richness.

For dessert, I had a delightful strawberry poundcake sundae. A soft scoop of ice cream was piled on top of cubes of dry cake, freshly sliced strawberries, and crunchy almond brittle. A waiter poured warm strawberry sauce over my sundae, melting the ice cream and soaking the cake in fruity goodness. It was delicious, and not too heavy.

Our table also shared a cheesecake lollipop tree. It was a gorgeous contraption with ten lovely chocolate dipped lollipops of the softest cheesecake. At the base of the tree sat a small saucepan with a giant scoop of bright pink bubblegum whipped cream. I didn't get any pictures that I liked of the tree all together, but that's what the internet is for.  

And here we are, looking well fed and happy. 

We headed home in the cold and analyzed our meal on the subway. Too salty? Perhaps. But you can find problems with anything if you look hard enough. And this was a whole hell of a lot better than wings and beer.