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Archive for May 27th, 2012

These days, I judge a book by whether or not it keeps me awake on my morning train commute.

Eyes:

  • Closed→disaster. Set the phone alarm and get comfy.
  • Fluttering and blinking→story has its moments. Not enough.
  • Wide open→winner! Insomnia be damned!

The majority of my reads fall into the middle category, but as soon as I started Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton, I knew I’d struck commute gold.

Gabrielle Hamilton is chef and owner of Prune Restaurant in NYC, known for  “the sort of unpretentious home cooking at which she excels, a grab bag of eccentric, multicultural influences that is, at heart, American.” (source).

Blood, Bones and Butter is Hamilton’s raucous, raw, brilliantly written autobiography, and I fell haaard for it. Highly suggest. Shortly after reading BB&B, I had the opportunity to dine at Prune and was thrilled that it lived up to the hype!

SO, you can imagine my utter glee  yesterday when I discovered I’d be having dinner at Calliope, the brainchild of Prune cook Ginerva Iverson and her husband, a former chef at the renowned Waverly Inn!

Last night was Calliope’s SECOND NIGHT open, and I felt like a true restaurant critic as the meal unfolded.

Upon recommendations from the waitress and (if I do say so) my own menu-savvy eye, we ended up splitting a handful of fabulous dishes. [For now, my date will remain an anonymous male human. Stick with me, peeps.]

Provencal tomato tart with savory & olives: My favorite dish–flaky, buttery crust that pairs magnificently with the sweet tomato puree. The olives, deeply marinated in a rich spiced oil, added a crucial piquant bite.

Butter lettuce with feta and scallions in a soft cooked egg vinaigrette: Simple, fresh and delicious–my date rightly pointed out the lovely, unique hint of dill.

Slow cooked Rabbit Pappardelle, English peas and Thumbelina carrots: The braised rabbit and (housemade?) pasta melted in my mouth, and the lima beans were a fun pop of texture! Somehow this heavy-sounding dish managed to feel light and appropriate for summer.

Crispy chicken Thigh (‘pologies for the terrible photo). This dish was the most ho-hum of our choices. The chicken was well-cooked and flavorful, and the accompanying stuffed cabbage roll was a tasty and novel touch. Likely wouldn’t order again.

I was delighted with the food at Calliope, especially as the product of a fledgling kitchen! The service still has a few kinks to work out—we were offered dessert after our appetizers, and I wasn’t asked to taste my wine selection before a full glass was poured. But, they made up in friendliness what they lacked in logistics, and I adored that it maintained Hamilton’s/Prune’s wonderfully uncouth but warm vibe.

Overall, Calliope was an incredibly pleasurable experience, and I would happily return.

As we  finished up dinner, we had our eyes on the prize for dessert. The East Village is home to several of my favorite City sweets, but my date suggested something I hadn’t yet ticked off my list!

Found only by the most discerning.

THE BIG GAY ICE CREAM SHOP!!!!

Words of website wisdom:

Big Gay Ice Cream began as the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, a summer experiment by founders Douglas Quint and Bryan Petroff that began rolling the streets of New York City in June 2009. Described by The Village Voice as “a cross between Mister Softee and Mario Batali” the menu combines traditional soft-serve ice cream with imaginative toppings such as wasabi pea dust, Nilla Wafers, Dulce de Leche, olive oil and sea salt, and other rotating offerings. These are dispensed the way ice cream should be — with humor and good cheer.

I’d seen multiple plugs for the legendary Big Gay Ice Cream TRUCK on the Food Network and Cooking Channel, but I’d never come across it and had no clue that a store existed!

Original Big Gay Ice Cream Dream

As we approached the shop, we thought at first that we’d taken a wrong turn and ended up in line for a concert or grand opening. Oh, no no—just hoards of devoted BGIC followers. Apparently, we were lucky it was Memorial Day weekend, because the line CAN-SNAKE-AROUND-THE-BLOCK in the summer. There was a sweet lil’ girl outside whose sole job was to admit people inside!

I was daunted by this unexpected barrier between me and my sugar rush, but my date (who knows me rullll well) nudged me to wait it out.

I bided my time by studying the menu, and as we finally crossed the shop threshold, I practically screamed my order at the poor woman behind the counter!

I see skies of blue…clouds of white…

My hand, my Salty Pimp: vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, sea salt, chocolate dip.

To put it discreetly…where my Pimp goes, I follow.

I took this entire sucker down to Chinatown, uttering cries of grief and delight as I discovered a hidden squirt of dulce de leche in the bottom of the cone.

This night was a culinary masterpiece aaaannd a fantastic end to my Protein Friday! Ok, ok, so I didn’t/couldn’t figure out the protein content in all of the above, BUT I left off yesterday’s post at 74 grams, and I would guestimate at LEAST another 15 consumed at dinner and the brothel. Either way, it was a successful day :).

I’m off to whip up a decadent but healthy treat that I’ll be sharing with you soon, but tune in tomorrow for a recap of today’s adventures! Hints: A Park, spandex, and the New York Post.

Night night!

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