Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Birthday Cupcake Crawl

For my birthday this year, I decided instead of just one cake, I wanted to try at least four. My friends and I set out on a cupcake crawl beginning on the Upper West Side, ending on the Lower East Side, and capped with drinks at Verlaine.

My favorite was an old standby, the pistachio cupcake at cozy sugar Sweet sunshine. Crumbs and Buttercup Bakeshop on the Upper West Side were tasty but the seating areas have zero personality. Our final stop was vegan bakery Babycakes. Their cupcakes were dry and full of wacky, seemingly un-natural ingredients subbing for butter, sugar and white flour. I definitely understand that those with gluten allergies and lactose intolerance may crave a sweet baked good, and Babycakes can fill that need. However, as a dairy-loving, luckily allergy free gal, I'll take real cupcakes (in moderation of course) over their vegan counterparts. On a positive note, the Babycakes space is adorable and thinking of the cakes as muffins makes them more palatable.

321 1/2 Amsterdam Avenue @75th Street
New York, NY 10023
(212) 712-9800

Buttercup Bakeshop
141 W. 72nd St (Between Amsterdam & Columbus)
New York, NY 10023

sugar Sweet sunshine
126 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002

248 Broome St
New York, NY

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Learning to Love Tuna

Tuna Fish SandwichWhen I was sixteen, or even twenty, had you told me there'd come a time when I'd crave a tuna fish sandwich, I'd have called you crazy. I remember gagging when a high school boyfriend forced me to take a bite of his mom's "famous" mayo-heavy tuna fish sandwich. In college, I'd make my roommate sit in the hall to eat the tuna and cracker snack packs she loved.

I know now that the problem wasn't me, it was the fish and the mayo. Water packed Chicken of Sea doused in Miracle Whip is nothing like the olive oil packed solid tuna lightly dressed with balsamic vinaigrette that graces the sandwich you see above. I've found a favorite brand at Fairway--Flott--imported from Sicily. Not local, and I'm sure full of mercury, but I'm addicted. In addition to sandwiches, I'm partial to a salad of canned cannelini beans, tuna, jarred roasted bell peppers, maybe some green onions. On Sunday nights it's easy to fix a couple containers of the mixture for a couple of weekly lunches, or on a busy school night, dinner's ready in a flash.