At a recent dinner I mentioned to a friend that I had found half-pints of a delicious, locally made ice cream at my local Union Market. When I mentioned it was Alchemy, she informed me that they made vegan ice cream. “I don’t think so,” I said. “It was rich and creamy.” She told me she was pretty sure it was vegan; was I talking about the same Alchemy that sold ice cream at Smorgasburg? “That’s them,” I said. “But the ice cream I ate wasn’t vegan. It was way too creamy.” Well I was wrong. Alchemy makes incredible vegan ice cream. According to research my dad did (more on that in a minute) they use “a blend of coconut & hazelnut milks” for their base. Hazelnut milk? Who ever heard of such a thing? But it works. A 12oz container will set you back $5.99 at Union market, which is the exclusive purveyor of Alchemy in the off-season. Alchemy also gives poetic names to their flavors, or potions as their website refers to them. I had Crunching Leaves, a name and flavor evocative of Autumn. It’s a pumpkin ice cream, but one that’s heavy on the pumpkin flavor and light with the sigar and spices that make up most other pumpkin ice creams. So now, on to my dad’s research…
On a quiet street in the sort of empty area in Chinatown sits a tiny restaurant, Cheeky Sandwiches. Definitely one of those places you’ll miss if you blink. The space is small and the door to get in is smaller but the owner is all heart. He’s super friendly and makes one of the best fried chicken sandwiches in town. This is one of those places I regret not going sooner.
Delicious fried chicken on a bed of slaw topped with gravy and between a biscuit. What better combo?
– Cheeky Sandwiches 35 Orchard St, NYC
While everyone was away during the holidays, me, Howard and our friend Corrine took a trip to Krescendo, the newly opened restaurant by Elizabeth Falkner. With getting 1st prize in the 2012 World Pizza Championships in Naples, Italy we definitely had a higher than normal expectation for the pizzas. While I enjoyed my meal, Howard wasn’t too thrilled (he had the margherita).
So in my last two ice cream posts (see here and here) I mentioned my belief that I have become something of an expert in small batch ice creams. And yet for a long time there was a huge gap in my knowledge — Jeni’s Ice Cream. Oh, I’d heard of Jeni’s before, and heard that it was excellent. But it costs a staggering $12 a pint, so the few times I saw it for sale here in Brooklyn (Jeni’s is an Ohio brand, but can sometimes be found in specialty shops like the Greene Grape and Union Market) I could not bring myself to spend the money on it. Back when I wrote a profile of Phin & Phebes I got into a discussion about ice cream with one of the owners, who assured me that Jeni’s was indeed worth the price. So a few moths ago during a trip to Brooklyn Fare (the market, not the chef’s table) I splurged on a pint of Goat Cheese With red Cherries.
Last week when I wrote about Graeter’s Ice Cream I mentioned that I have been eating lots of small brand and locally produced ice creams. One of those brands is Chozen, an ice cream company that makes ice creams with Jewish-themed flavors (Kosher, of course). Flavors like Ronne’s Rugelach (cinnamon ice cream with rugelach chunks), or Coconut Macaroon. My favorite flavor is Apples & Honey. If you’re not Jewish you may not have had this flavor combination before, but it is a traditional Rosh Hashanah snack. Something about making sure the coming new year will be sweet, I think. Also, if you haven’t had this combo before you should definitely try it; there’s something about the smoky sweetness of the honey and the way it contrasts with the crisp, acidic sweetness of the apple that’s just magical. So Chozen’s version of honey ice cream (!) with pieces of apple in it. Their website is currently under construction and it looks like they may be unveiling new flavors. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
At the moment I have 83 places saved on my To Eat list. Everyone has one. The problem for me though is that a good half of those places are way out of my budget so therefore I will probably never gonna go. But a good handful, I’m sure I will..someday. Like just few days ago, I was able to cross off 2 from the list. Cheeky Sandwiches (which I’ll post about later) and Shu Jiao Fu Zhou Cuisine. Funny thing, I have walked by Shu Jiao Fu Zhou Cuisine so many times but never once did I think to go in. It took someone else to write about it, then I read it and then found myself looking for it after eating at Cheeky Sandwiches.
They’re known for their fish balls, heck “fish ball” is part of the name but since I already ate, I decided to get a plate of their rice noodles with peanut butter sauce. For $2, you get a plate of warm slightly chewy rice noodles with peanut sauce on the bottom and a bowl of soup. The peanut sauce was really nice and definitely loved the chewiness of the rice noodles. I never had this dish, warm, it is always cold or at room temperature but it was delicious.
Shu Jiao Fu Zhou Cuisine 118 Eldridge St, Chinatown
Image Courtesy of Graeter’s
I’ve eaten so much local and/or small batch ice cream in the past few years that I have started to consider myself something of an expert in the field. When Donny pointed out to me that we had been offered a free sample of Graeter’s ice cream, from Ohio, I was intrigued. Here was an opportunity to expand my field of knowledge to the Midwest. We were being offered the ice cream to let people know that Graeter’s is now available in the NYC area, at both D’Agostinos and Stop & Shop stores. The PR email let us know that Graeter’s is a favorite of such luminaries as Oprah, Dr. Oz, Sarah Jessica Parker, George Clooney, Emeril Lagasse and Bobby Flay. More important to us, it’s the childhood favorite of our friend Scott, who grew up in Ohio. When he found out that we were getting some free Graeter’s he got as giddy as a schoolgirl. I was sent samples of four different flavors: Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip, and Buckeye Blitz. I ended up eating almost all of it myself, but I saved the Black Raspberry for Scott, since that seemed to be the one he was most excited about. After the jump, you’ll find my impressions, along with Scott’s thoughts.