A chocolate cake to bake

I'm a big fan of baking and cakes, so this recipe for, An easy flourless chocolate mousse cake caught my eye.

The resulting cake is more delicious than I imagined. Just 45 minutes in the oven was perfect to develop a crisp, crackling crust over a layer of brownie-like dough that concealed an almost molten chocolate center.

The cake is impressive enough in a rustic-dessert sort of way to serve guests or bring to a dinner party. It is elegant with a simple dusting of powdered sugar. Or you can get fancy and drizzle it with a raspberry sauce, or top it with vanilla ice cream.

Mmmm..crackling crust…mmm…brownie-like dough….

Remembering the first Keller meal

It's hard to believe that it's been almost four years since our trip to the French Laundry and my first taste of Thomas Keller's cooking. I can never get enough of re-reading about that trip. That is a meal I remember eating! So for old time's sake, here's my post, It's All About Finesse and Jason's, A visit to the French Laundry. I'm getting hungry again just thinking about it. Perhaps it's time to start putting the money in the can again to save for a return trip. Of course, now I'd also need to save for the plane ticket to California, the hotel, and the rental car. But I think it'd be worth it. There's a magic there I've never experienced in any other restaurant, not even when I ate at Per Se last fall. The light, the food, the views, the smells, everything. For me it will probably always remain the best restaurant and the best meal ever.

Counting down the best dishes

Before we speed too quickly into spring and the second quarter of 2006, I'd like to recall Opinionated About Dining's Countdown of the Top 25 U.S. Dishes of the Year. These of course, are dishes of 2005, and dishes he ate. The list is pretty heavy with New York restaurants, but mentions some of my favorites: Mas, Blue Hill, and Per Se. Everything he describes sounds good, and it makes me realize I don't pay that much attention to what I eat during the course of the year. I have my "Best Dishes Ever" list, but I don't take notes so a lot of stuff just remains in my memory as, "Wow, that was good" with "that" being whatever I vaguely recall from the meal. I wonder, is it too late to have a New Year's resolution to pay more attention to what I eat for the long term? Record it so that I can recall it in a year-end list? Or maybe just record things here more often? Hmm…we'll see. Usually I'm so happy just eating something tasty that all other thoughts abandon me and I just think, "Yum!"

Today it is easy

I highly doubt that if you've been reading this site for its food news, you somehow haven't been reading Frank Bruni's blog. But if that's the case, then today it ends! New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni's Diner's Journal is a great addition to the New York culinary landscape, and it's only getting better. If you're not reading it, you should. That is all for today.

A bit of Maya history

While in Mexico, I'm hoping to do some traveling around to various historic sites. The Yucatan peninsula is filled with ruins and temples of the Maya civilization. When I lived near Mexico City I visited some Aztec/Toltec/Olmec ruins, but I've never been to this area of Mexico before, so I'm looking foward to it. The Wikipedia link above has a ton of information about the Maya, including this section about their Pyramids and temples. Between visiting such sites, some colonial cities, hanging on the beach, and sleeping, it should be a pretty busy visit.

The oyster and New York

The Big Oyster: History on the Half ShellOne of the books I'm reading on my honeymoon is The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky. It was a gift from my parents to both of us, but since I'm the bigger oyster fan, I'm reading it first. It's a history of the oyster and New York. Apparently New York City used to be known for its oysters. And when the Dutch first arrived, there were so many oysters in the waters around the city that it was possible to find oysters as large as eight inches! Of course with all the pollution now, there aren't any oysters anymore. But I shall hold out hope that one day we'll clean things up to the point that oysters will return. Then when I go out to eat, the waiter will say, "Tonight we have two different oysters: a nice plump Hudson River and slightly smaller tasty East River. Both are $1 a piece." Because you know, in my fantasy, the oysters will also be cheaper because they're so local.

Babbo staff picks at the Greenmarket

Over on the Babbo website there's a section of staff picks. I especially like this older one from May 2003, Spring at the Greenmarket. Though it focuses on only three items, they're three things you hear foodies talk about a lot in the spring: ramps, sweet onions, and green garlic. I haven't been to the Greenmarket in Union Square recently but I imagine it's starting to get pretty good. By the time I'm back from Mexico, I hope it's in full-on spring mode. Perhaps I'll see if I can pick up some ramps. Also when I return, perhaps I'll check out Babbo, as I've never been and that's another thing you hear foodies talk about a lot here in New York.

Off on my honeymoon

I'm off on my honeymoon for a couple weeks, so posting will be limited to a small number of items I've scheduled in advance. Nothing major, though honestly this site hasn't seen major amounts of posting in some time! Hopefully that will change after the honeymoon. In the meantime, enjoy yourselves and I'll see you in a few with some travel tales and pictures. Hopefully.

The tyranny of TV in public

PBS's MediaShift blog has a post wondering Do We Need TV in Public Spaces?

I spent the past week on a work vacation of sorts in Austin, Texas, which is a good thing. But one annoying thing was when I was stuck in an airport, and couldn’t tune out the ubiquitous TV monitors blaring the CNN Airport Network .

As a longtime news junkie, I used to consider this TV broadcast in airports to be a service, a way to get updated on top news while on the go. But now it feels like overkill, with so many other ways to get news.

This is a question I've been pondering lately because my bank has a TV mounted over the teller line. As I've been doing more banking at the counter, I've been subjected to CNN (bank version?) as I wait my turn. I find TV pretty insufferable in general, and when it's politics, it's even worse. The other day when I was in there they were doing a live broadcast of some talk President Bush was giving, and it was nearly impossible to tune him out. It was like some strange 1984 moment where I wasn't allowed to have my own thoughts anymore, and had "more important" thoughts hoisted upon me.

Can't we have some unmediated time to ourselves anymore? What's wrong with standing in the line at the bank, just spacing out or day-dreaming about stuff? Some times it's nice to just stand there and be.