Monday, April 28, 2008

Black and White Cookie

Despite the fact that I seem to be on a food tour of New York City, I had never tried a famous black and white cookie... until Saturday.

Somewhat unique, however, was that I had a black and white cookie with a black bottom. Apparently this is a speciality at Cranberry's Bakery in Brooklyn Heights. To give a scientific opinion, I guess I should also try a black and white with vanilla cookie. But for now, I will say that I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. The white frosting balanced with the chocolate cookie and the chocolate chocolate half was decadent. The cake-i-ness reminded me of the scrumptious Berger cookies that you can get in the DC area.

Anyone know where the best traditional black and white is in the city?

Here's the Wikipedia entry about black and whites. Check out the Germany reference:-) Who knew!

"A black and white cookie is a dessert iced on one half with vanilla fondant, and on the other half by dark chocolate fondant. The base is comprised of a soft, sponge cake-like shortbread with a hint of lemon.

The black and white cookie is often seen as a peculiarly "New York" snack, cemented by its appearance in the Seinfeld episode "The Dinner Party", in which Jerry Seinfeld bases his philosophy of race relations on the cookie, saying "look to the cookie."

The black and white cookie also goes by the name half-moon cake in upstate New York and New England. The base is a soft, sponge-like chocolate cookie, not a lemon base. It is believed that Hemstrought's Bakery in Utica, New York was the first worldwide to create this dessert.

In Germany, a variety of the black and white cookie (usually baked with either the "white" or the "black" part only) is called an Amerikaner. Some believe this is because it was imported to Germany by the GIs after WW2. However the true origin is a change in name from Ammoniakaner which it was called because ammonium hydrogen carbonate was used in the recipe."

Because we can

Freshman year my roommate Heather and I noticed that the Reflecting Pool in DC was drained and thought it would be fun to walk through it. Why? Because we could:-) We were enjoying our Forrest Gump moment until we realized the pool had been drained to clean a couple inches of goose poop on the bottom. Gross, but we do still talk about the experience.

Fast forward to New York, Heather and I have been talking about walking the length of Manhattan (on the east side). Why? Because we can. Rainy weather forecasts have prevented us from doing that walk, but we started small this weekend and decided to walk the perimeter of Central Park.

In total, it's a 6 mile walk-- 2.5 miles north, .5 miles west, 2.5 miles south and .5 miles east.

Favorite site had to be the Conservatory Garden at 105th street on the east side. It looks like an urban oasis and I can't wait to go back and really look around.

As we walked down the west side, we were greeted by a burnt out car-- looked like the fire was bad and the air still smelled hot. The other West side surprise was Steve Martin. He was incognito, but his white hair and twinkly eyes were unmistakable. Heather, aka, my entertainment guru confirmed the sighting:-)

Here are some Central Park fun facts:
843 Acres large-- 6% of the total area of the city
58 miles of pedestrian paths
Over 9,000 park benches
26,000 trees

On to the big walk-- hopefully next weekend!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


1000 people in Union Square, raving, w/out audible music and w/out the other unsavory behaviors that are often associated with a rave. WHAT?

Last night, thanks to the power of Facebook and the ingenuity of an exchange student from the UK studying in Brooklyn Heights, a bunch of people gathered in Union Square to dance to their own music on their own Ipods.

Check out the NY Times story.

Stupid, pointless and another sign of the "me" generation? Was this an "IRave" or "MyRave"? Perhaps, but I remain fascinated by "flash mobs" and demonstrations like happened last night.

I was equally fascinated when Mr. Rhodes taught my 10th grade history class about pole sitters and groups of people cramming into phone booths in the Roaring 20s. Those acts said something about the zeitgeist of the 20s. What will my grandkids be taught about the early years of the new millenium?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Fort Greene Flea Market

Tomorrow, the Brooklyn Flea makes it's second appearance in Fort Greene. Weather might be a bit dodgy, but for those who do want to brave it, there are likely to be some great finds. Matt and I checked it out last weekend and both think this will be a fun addition to Matt's neighborhood.

Last Sunday, we could have purchased everything from restored furniture, to antique seltzer bottles (those were really cool!), to brownstone doors, waffles or fresh cannolis.

On the down side, sellers know what they've got and there are fewer junk tables (with potential treasures.) On the up side, there are local artisans selling unique items that you may never see otherwise. I especially liked the mixed media New York artwork (ie. photo of Brooklyn Bridge glued onto painted canvas of the surrounding area, accented with a door hinge, etc...) and fashionable Brooklyn t-shirts. Matt bought a card with a painting of Ft. Greene Park back in the day. I bought an old postcard from the St. George Hotel from 1951.

Wanna go:
Location: Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School, on Lafayette Ave. between Clermont and Vanderbilt Ave. in Brooklyn
Time: late by flea market standards-- people were still setting up when I arrived at 10:30am. Brownstoner blog says it runs until 5pm.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Spring is Springing

Spring is springing all around...

It started with Easter eggs in Brooklyn Heights

Cute story...a little girl and her mom passed the building as I was coming home from work last night. She spotted the eggs and announced to her mom that the Easter bunny must have hopped up a ladder to reach the flower boxes:-)

The next sign of spring was the changeover in Newtown from Christmas china to spring china

Finally, spring flowers have come to Brooklyn Heights. I hope to use the potato vines in the front for summer and fall flower boxes too

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Girls Weekend

Katy, Noelle and I met up for a girls weekend in Boston last week and had an awesome time. I would say that eating and relaxing were the two main activities. Here are a few picts.

View from the hotel. Apparently it will be another couple weeks before the frog pond in the public garden is filled for the season and the swan boats return. I did see quite a few runners bopping around and wondered how many of them will be making the Hopkington to Boston run in a few weeks.

Katy and Noelle at Quincy Market. Even on a non-marathon weekend, the crowd at the market was crazy. But I persevered and got myself a lobster roll (and one for dinner too;-))

The ladies:-)

View of Boston from the Duck Boat. Our guide, "Paul from Revere" gave a great tour!

Me and Noelle on the Duck Boat

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Fire at Gristedes

Update: The friendly store manager could be seen assessing the damage at the store this morning as dumpsters that will be used for the cleanup were being delivered. Strangely, the magazines in racks at the front of the store as well as a display of jump ropes looked unscathed. Perhaps they were damaged by the water, but it seems that the fire was fairly well contained.

The air was smokey when I came out of the subway at High Street shortly after 6pm tonight. It didn't take long to realize why. Gristedes, the crazy expensive but friendly and very convenient neighborhood grocery store was going up in smoke. From just south of the store you could still see the cashier line lights glowing inside. From the north side (and from this picture) you can see that the worst of the smoke and fire probably occurred in the store room and deli area.

There are fire trucks and EMS on Henry, Clark in both directions and Pineapple. This seems to be quite the story in the North Heights tonight. I hope everyone got out safely!

Kissy kissy

The Wall Street Journal ("American’s Learn the Global Art of the Cheek Kiss" by Christina Binkley) recently elucidated a phenomenon that I’ve been noticing more and more lately—business kissing.

Arguably, my work experience should give me a leg up on my fellow Americans who are just getting used to such a thing—Germans did the double kiss as soon as you got to know them. I’ve noticed the same with the Brits, though sometimes it’s one cheek, other times two.

And yet, I feel that I am a slow learner. There was the time I did a kiss goodbye and it wasn’t returned. There was the time (in the last 3 weeks) that I thought we were both going in for the hand shake/one-armed hug but he went in for the one-cheek kiss which led me to kiss his jaw. Are we air kissing, are we pecking, one cheek or two? It’s all extremely confusing. Heaven help me if I visit a three kiss country. And I should make clear, kissy kissy seems to be happening with work people and at outside meetings.

I am getting better but it’s a slow road.

Anyone else had a similar experience? My friend from Atlanta says it hasn’t (“and will never”) come to the south. Is this just a NYC thing?