Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

4/24/15

SPONSORED POST: Carvel Opens on Broadway and Hosts Free Cone Day on 4/30 and 5/2

Raise your hand if you ever had a Carvel Ice Cream birthday cake growing up! All those who just raised their hands are going to be excited about the news in this post...

Nutella ice cream in a waffle cone at Carvel

Carvel is celebrating the grand opening of their new Financial District store at 9 Broadway by kicking of 8 days of delicious deals STARTING TOMORROW! Mark your calendars peeps:

  • Saturday, April 25: Buy one shake, get one for 80 cents
  • Sunday, April 26: Buy one sheet cake, get an OREO® Lil’ Rounders® 6-Pack for 80 cents
  • Monday, April 27: Buy one sprinkle cup multi-pack, get one half off
  • Tuesday, April 28: Buy one small cup/cone, get a kid’s cup or cone free
  • Wednesday, April 29:  Buy one classic soft ice cream sundae get one free
  • Thursday, April 30: Free Jr. Cup or Cone (soft serve only)
  • Friday, May 1: Buy one Sundae Dasher™,  get one half off
  • Saturday, May 2: Grand Opening, Free Jr. Cup or Cone (soft serve only) and buy one Flying Saucer® multi-pack, get one half off

The Carvel storefront at 9 Broadway
The storefront at 9 Broadway

Last weekend after the MS Walk, my boyfriend and I headed downtown to check out the new location for ourselves. It is decorated in the style of the new Carvel shoppe design, which the brand unveiled last year to commemorate its 80th anniversary. Updates include new dipping cabinets and a topping bar, digital menu boards, and an inviting atmosphere with wood-finished floors, vibrant colors and new brand imagery, including a revamped logo.

Carvel shoppe interior at 9 Broadway

Topping bar at Carvel Ice Cream 9 Broadway

I wanted to try the new Nutella soft serve, but unfortunately the machine was taking a vacation day. So instead the friendly cashier recommended the Nutella hard ice cream, and since I was going for it, I opted for the waffle cone. Oh yeah. My boyfriend ordered the Oreo Sundae. We walked a lot that day...

Me with my giant Nutella ice cream waffle cone at Carvel
Me with my giant Nutella ice cream waffle cone

Oreo Sundae at Carvel
Oreo Sundae

The best part of the new shoppe is it's location right off of Bowling Green--a perfect place to enjoy your tasty (and FREE) treats.

Nutella cone in Bowling Green
Nutella cone in Bowling Green

The store is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, please call (212) 785-5688, visit www.carvel.com, follow them on Twitter @CarvelIceCream, or like Carvel on Facebook.

Full disclosure: This post was sponsored by Carvel and our ice cream treats were comp'd but all opinions are my own.

4/22/15

There Ain't No Party Like a Valrhona Party

When you come home from a party to a text from your friend that says "I have chocolate all over my hand!!!", you know it was a successful night.

Valrhona logo

Monday night (when all amazing parties happen don't you know?), said friend and I ventured out to DUMBO for the grand opening celebration of L'Ecole Valrhona--the renowned chocolate company's first Brooklyn and US outpost for pastry and chocolate chefs alike to network and learn new techniques. Alongside their professional pastry classes and think tank, this location will also offer consumer-facing workshops where amateur gourmets can master their favorite pastries in half-day, hands-on workshops comprised of no more than 12 students.

Valrhona party in Brooklyn

When we arrived at the 26 Bridge Street event space, we were welcomed with Champagne and a buffet of...yes...chocolate. 

chocolate and candy buffet

There were bon bons and caramels and fudge and truffles and ginger praline marshmallows and hazelnut eggs, and I thought, well screw dinner!


But we didn't have to forgo a savory dinner you see because there were all sorts of delicious non dessert stuffs passed around on never-ending trays by super friendly waiters. Given the fact that I only have 2 hands and the food came in waves as big and fast as those at Pipeline in Hawaii, my photos of these wonderful morsels are limited, but included: marinara chicken sliders, BBQ chicken cubes with coleslaw, citrus hamachi crudo (our fave!), seared steak on a potato with truffle, tuna tartare, beet and goat cheese tartlettes, and short rib lettuce cups.

marinara chicken slidersBBQ chicken cubes


As we were intermittently snarfing dinner and dessert (more to come on that), the founding pastry chefs of L'Ecole Valrhona Brooklyn--Sarah Kosikowski and Derek Poirier--took the stage to say their thank yous among many other legendary pastry chefs.

Valrhona chefs at party


We then made the rounds and saw some "live art"... 

Valrhona party live art

Valrhona party live art

and took an obligatory photo in the Sharingbox photobooth...

sharingbox photo booth from Valrhona party

But then the rest of the dessert came out. There was an American side with things like key lime pie, brownies, and cupcakes and a French pastry side offering desserts with much fancier and unpronounceable (by me) names. See below for gluttonous photos:

French pastry chocolate mint

French pastry floating island

French pastry

caramel brownies at Valrhona party

American pastry


Chocolate French pastry

American pastry

Key lime pie at Valrhona party

chocolate cupcakes at Valrhona party

dulcey choux at Valrhona party

chocolate tart at Valrhona party

Just when we thought the night was winding down (and you thought this post was over, didn't you?), we turned to hear the beat of several very loud drums coming from outside. Soon the whole party was dancing to the rhythm of a 6-person reggae band, complete with several drums, a tambourine-like instrument, and a saxophone. They even started a conga line, and of course we joined in. Because why wouldn't you join a conga line on a Monday night?

reggae band at Valrhona party

reggae band at Valrhona party

As we left, we were handed L'Ecole Valrhona branded gift bags with all sorts of goodies inside: a cast iron pan, a chocolate cookbook, and of course, an assortment of chocolate bon bons.

Gift bag from Valrhona party

chocolate bon bons from Valrhona party

So circling back, I too had chocolate on my hand when I got home (...and my forearm and my phone). Considering I also popped a few pre-wrapped caramels into my purse on the way home, I'm likely to be finding remnants of this night and party throughout my life in the coming weeks. Would I trade it for a thing? Nope.

Check out L'Ecole Valrhona here and get your chocolate conga line on!

4/21/15

This is Where to Eat Your Tacos on Cinco de Mayo

If tacos were a food group, I would have no trouble fulfilling that dietary requirement. I love the versatility of those flour or corn tortilla vessels of yumminess--carne asada with tomatillo salsa, mole chicken with toasted sesame seeds, even fried cactus with crumbled queso fresco and I'm game! 

Cafe El Presidente Mexican restaurant

I was recently invited for dinner at Cafe El Presidente, the year-old outpost of the Tacombi chain's well-known Mexican-inspired creations located in the Flatiron district. Walking in, you almost think you've entered a marketplace instead of a sit-down restaurant, with a juice bar on your right, hanging fluorescent lighting above, and black and white checkered tiles below. But then you realize that this is just a rarity in New York: a restaurant with space enough letting you walk around without needing to bump into anyone else. I couldn't help but wonder what used to be in this space as we settled in and I watched the chefs at work in the large open kitchen near our table.

Cafe El Presidente Mexican restaurant dining room

Cafe El Presidente Mexican restaurant kitchen

First things first, drinks. I decided on a margarita with salt (no frills necessary if it's good; $12) and my boyfriend ordered the Oaxacan Old Fashioned (pronounced Wa-HA-Kan for those of you too shy to order it correctly; $14) with mezcal instead of whisky. Both were solid libations, but I'd love to go back and try the Pina Colada ($13) because nothing screams vacation (even if it's just for a few hours) like a pina colada.

Oaxacan Old Fashioned and Margarita
Oaxacan Old Fashioned and Margarita

The menu came, and we were surprised by its understatement. We almost thought that we had to mark off what we wanted with a pencil and just hand it in, as you would to a street cart vendor or something. But alas, it's all part of the ambiance.

Cafe El Presidente menu

We also took the time to admire the impressive selection of hot sauces available on every table. I'm a bit of a whimp when it comes to spice, so I was not about to even touch the "Oro Negro" (literally: black gold) bottle of habanero concentrate and grapeseed oil, although I did admire the numerous warning signs. The other sauces--morita, cascabel, jalapeno, and habanero--were more recognizable and I made a pact with myself to try at least one over the course of the meal.

Cafe El Presidente hot sauces
Hot sauces

To start, we tried the Esquites ($3.95), which was grilled corn with contija cheese and chipotle mayo, and I would HIGHLY recommend it. Served in a cute paper cup, appropriately feeding on the street food theme, it was so good that I could have gobbled up 2. We also had the Ceviche Guerrero ($14.95) served over guacamole. I could taste the freshness of the fish, and the lime juice truly brought out the sweetness as well. Again, I could have made a meal out of just this dish.

Esquites
Esquites

Ceviche Guerrero
Ceviche Guerrero

For our main course, we split the Gringa Madison quesadilla ($7.95) and 6 tacos: al pastor ($2.49), Baja crispy fish ($4.95), Puerco Toluca ($3.49), Nopal de Matehuala ($3.49), Sonoran shrimp ($4.49), and the seared fish de Ixtapaleno ($4.49). Holy my goodness and ay caramba. Note to self: never go here alone.

The quesadilla was served open faced with all sorts of goodies including heritage pork and Chihuahua cheese. It had more of that chipotle mayo which really tied everything together. As for the tacos, my favorite was definitely the Baja crispy fish because it had the perfect ratio of crisp to succulent. I also really loved the Puerco Toluca (chorizo) with the Cascabel hot sauce--see, I tried it! Also, if you've never sampled cactus (nopal), do yourself a favor and try this one. It was paired with swiss chard so I considered it my "vegetable" for the meal.

Gringa Madison Quesadilla
Gringa Madison Quesadilla
nopal, Puerco Toluca, seared fish, Sonoran shrimp tacos
From top left: nopal, Puerco Toluca, seared fish, Sonoran shrimp tacos
Al Pastor and Baja crispy fish tacos
Al Pastor and Baja crispy fish tacos
No meal is ever complete without dessert and at Cafe El Presidente, this means Tres Leches Cake. Literally meaning "three milks," tres leches is your typical sponge cake that sits in a mixture of whole, sweetened condensed, and evaporated milk for a little while to get all moist and creamy. This version is layered with jam and topped with coconut--yum!

Tres Leches Cake
Tres Leches Cake
Taking a look at Cafe El Presidente's brunch menu, it's clear to see why this place is fabulous. Huevos rancheros, empanadas and breakfast tacos? Sign me up! 

For Cinco de Mayo, they are throwing a special France vs Mexico party (with costumes encouraged!). Email info@tacombi.com for reservations.

Cafe El Presidente Cinco de Mayo celebration

So, will I be back? Most definitely. These are some of the most legit tacos I've had in a long time, and that's coming from a California girl. It also helps that the tortillas are made fresh in the kitchen every day in their on-site tortilleria and that all ingredients are sourced sustainably. Come with a date or celebrate with a group, but either way, you're sure to have a delicious fiesta in your mouth.

Disclosure: Our meal was comp'd, but all opinions are my own.

Cafe El Presidente on Urbanspoon

4/16/15

Get Your Tickets for Choice Streets on May 5th

Missing Choice Eats this year has already been arguably one of my biggest regrets of 2015. So it goes without saying that attending The Village Voice's 4th Annual Choice Streets event is on the must-do list.


The event, which takes place on Tuesday May 5th at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, will feature at least 12 food trucks including Big D's Grub, Korilla BBQ, The Treats Truck and Valducci's Pizza and Cinco de Mayo entertainment from Mariachi Flor de Toloache. General admission tickets are $55 and will let attendees in at 8pm. If you want early admission, you can pay $65 to enter at 7:30pm or spring $85 for a VIP ticket that will let you in at 7pm and send you home with a gift bag. All tickets can be purchased here.

You can also apply to volunteer at the event and in turn receive free admission to The Village Voice's 5th Annual Brooklyn Pour Craft Beer Festival on September 26th.

To read a recap of the 2013 event, click here.