April 26, 2008

Last Friday night, my friend Deborah and I went to Aurora after a bit of imbibing. Deborah’s mother is from Florence and so she is my #1 go-to about Italian things, especially food. Truly authentic, relaxed lovely food…atmosphere is rustic, relaxed and COULD be a date place if you wanted and got a corner table. Lighting is VERY date condusive! I’m definitely going back with my husband. We started with a cheese plate which had 2 pieces of, I kid you not, 12 cheeses, plus bread, a cherry (?) confit, walnuts and honey. Usual suspects were spotted…talegio, ricotta salata… but a wide variety of really wonderful items. I spotted La Tur for certain and a pecorino, of course. Second item (we shared everything) was a frisee salad with a lemon vinagrette and a rabbit loin coined. The loin had been stuffed with cranberries and roasted. A dotting of chilis was on the side for you to enjoy with the dish or not. It was brilliant. The rabbit was perfectly moist and flavorful while the frisee was crisp and the dressing still carried a fresh tang to it even with the hot item placed on top. I enjoyed a Nero D’Avola which went perfectly with the rabbit and the cheeses. By then our neighbors, two gentlemen from Brazil, had made friends with us and shared a lovely wine called Rosso Di Costanza with us (harmless…the place is set up to be almost family style in seating…it is easy to engage neighbors in conversation and encouraged). That was a truly remarkable wine…the rich cherry finish was to die for…still taste it days later and only had a half-glass. We then enjoyed a dish of gnocci, crabmeat, baby tomato and a hint of lemon with crisp glasses of dry Italian white wine. We had NO room for dessert although I did have an espresso to stave off tipsiness from the 3 glasses of vino.

Over the past week, have been working for this elderly lawyer writing a book on company time. Had been trying to remember where I’d heard of this club he was writing a history of…:

For some reason I can’t seem to save the actual link but go to and type in “search for baker direction”. Article is about a club in Manhattan called the Century Club that has a traditional cookie it cannot do without.

SO on last Saturday morning, taking my wee babe to the bagel store on Ditmars I decided to look for the bakery. Turns out it is across the street from our bagel shop. I had to know if these cookies were worth an article in the New York times so we ventured in and I just went up and asked for the cookies. They are important. I’ve never really considered myself a macaroon fan but these cookies are crazy little almond joys. The Times reviewer did sum up the cookie pretty well although I didn’t get from them the degree of urgency I think these cookies require. The woman behind the counter simpered proudly when I asked for them, although I had half expected to be told that they only sell them to the club and not the public. As I left, I asked her if they had gotten the contract. They have! Turns out the cookies will then be available to me for quite SOME TIME! Yippee!


I’ve fallen in love again with the Cuban pork burrito at Whole Paycheck. I lurv it. Went down to Union Square on the 4 on my lunch hour to get one. Grabbed a sparkly water, too, and was going to have a really tasty economical meal until I saw them:

 Mini Exotic Candy Bars - Mini Barcelona Candy Bar
Vosges “Haut Chocolat” – the Barcelona Bar. I saw a display of the “minis”. I could not run. I could not hide.

People are starving right here in the city I live in but I just paid $1.99 for a .5 oz “bar” of chocolate. However, I gotta say…it was quality. It was like when you get an $80 windfall and you know you need sweaters, so you buy one good cashmere instead of 4 at the Old Navy, 2 of which will have holes in them upon their second wearing.

I enjoyed my cashmere and I’ll carry the memory of it with me always. I’m also INSPIRED. This one, the aforementioned “Barcelona Bar” contained hickory smoked almonds, grey sea salt and deep milk chocolate. The cacao percentage is 41% and I am VERY MUCH a 60% and up kind of woman so when I say that the milk/fat was needed…it truly was. A perfect balance. I’m seriously going to either create or die trying… a baked good recipe based on this combo. It is important.

COOKIE MONSTER:    Congressman, me no TAKE the cookies.  Me EAT the cookies.”
CONGRESS:                What’s the difference?
COOKIE MONSTER:    Take begins with a “T,” and eat begins with an “E.”  I just wanted to clear that point up.