During the rough winter months, one thing to look forward to, besides a hot bowl of soup, is a cup of hot chocolate. And I’m not talking about a watered-down package of instant hot chocolate. I’m talking about hot chocolate that’s been brewed in a black kettle pot. During one of the coldest months, February, there’s a Hot Chocolate Festival at City Bakery in the Flatiron District. Each of the 28 days there’s a different flavor, like: Caramel Hot Chocolate, Banana Peel Hot Chocolate and Rum Raisin Hot Chocolate. It’s best to try to grab a cup of “magic” during the week or you’ll be waiting on a long line if you wait for the weekend at City Bakery. But when the party, er..ah, festival is over, this in New York City, and there’s no shortage of options for hot chocolate.
What’s trending in food? Lately, it’s all things bacon! It’s addictive with the perfect ratio of salt to fat.
One of my favorite taste combinations is salty and sweet. I’m not a fan of bread pudding, but the Dessert Truck makes an award winning (via the Food Network’s Throwdown! with Bobby Flay) Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with a bacon crème anglaise – sweet chocolate with a creamy bacon sauce. It’s changed my view of bread pudding for the better…but it’s the only place I eat it. On the other side of sweet, Sir Francis Bacon has a Bacon Peanut Brittle that has a sweet and smoky taste; it’s more on the savory side. I have found memories of peanut brittle. It brings me back to the days of sitting in front of the television with my grandmother as she watched her favorite show, All In the Family, while nibbling on some peanut brittle. I think she would have enjoyed this bacon and peanut brittle combination.
Do you remember those Dunkin’ Donuts commercials from the 1980s? “It’s time to make the doughnuts.” When you think of doughnuts, you usual think of breakfast or a quick snack during the day. But lately doughnuts have moved beyond breakfast…all the way to dessert!
Dunkin Donuts and the once popular Krispy Kreme used to be the only bakeries around that had a doughnuts-only menu all day. Well at least until Dunkin Donuts started serving breakfast sandwiches. There’s still one growingly popular doughnut baker that has a doughnuts-only menu, the Doughnut Plant. Yes, doughnuts from sunrise to sunset. I was having lunch with my sister in the Lower East Side and decided to go check out this infamous baker. It was 2:00 p.m. so I was a little baffled when I finally found the bakery and there was a line out the door! Well, since then they’ve expanded to a second store in Chelsea and yes, at times the line is out the door there too.
I have to admit I prefer the cake doughnuts to the yeast doughnuts at the Doughnut Plant – though the yeast is highly favorable amongst the regular patrons. It’s easy to see why this doughnut spot is so popular. The menu is very creative with flavors like: chocolate chip, salted peanut, pistachio, blackout, tres leches, peanut butter glaze/blackberry jelly and that’s only a few. One thing that I do admire is that the menu is constantly changing – several flavors are seasonal. So when you think you’ve tried them all, no you haven’t. These doughnuts are not only rich, but they’re quite addictive. I’ve seen long lines at the Doughnut Plant at 5:00 p.m.!