Danish Pancake Bites? At NYC’s New Sugar and Plumm Back Room

Pancake bites. Portable pancakes. However you want to frame it, mini Danish pancakes filled with apple caramel, berry jam, and ham & gruyere are now in NYC with today’s opening of Sugar and Plumm’s new Back Room

The Back Room neighbors the main recently-opened Sugar and Plumm shop in the West Village – and both shops are filled with Plumm’s signature whimsy, towering brownie sundaes & waffle-and-bacon sundaes, and dollops of whipped cream. And also deliciousness.

Which brings us back to the pancakes: known in Denmark as "ebelskivers" and at Plumm as Danish pancake "pops," the morsels practically ooze with fresh savories & sweets, like chocolate nutella and spinach & mushroom combos. 

And unlike the usual flat, mega frisbee-sized Danish pancake (photo here), they’re manageable, like more substantial donuts. Get a little baggy of them still-hot, and you can just pop-em in your mouth and stroll down Bleeker St.

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Free Paella All Summer Long At Barraca

The best things in life are free, and this includes paella at the West Village’s rustic spanish restaurant Barraca. From Monday to Friday, between 5pm and 7pm until Labor Day, that warm, creamy, shrimp-and-scallop-filled rice dish is for the devouring – and all you’ve got to do is order a sangria, wine, or cocktail to get it. Oh, if we must…

And at a restaurant known for its "Paella Manifesto" – a list of seven very distinct rules about making the finest paella – this may stand as one of the summer’s best deals. According to The Manifesto, the rice comes straight from Valencia, Spain, and the entire dish – from rice to broth – is made from scratch. Its #1 rule: "Never trust a paella that’s made in less than 20 minutes; it will not be homemade." 

Good to know. A paella worth waiting for. 

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Barbecue For Breakfast? NYC’s The Lion Launches New Summer Brunch

During summer, anything goes. Hooking up with your ex’s best friend’s little brother? Why not. Downing bellinis and playing dirty Hangman on napkins? Cool. Eating barbecue for breakfast? Absolutely. At The Lion – the West Village’s dark wood-skylight-filled restaurant – you can do all of the above thanks to its new $25 Sunday BBQ brunch menu: Lion’s delicious invention that unites smoked pork butt, fried oyster po’boys, and jalapeno-spiked corn bread, all before noon. 

The BBQ brunch menu runs alongside Lion’s usual brunch menu full of fluffy pancakes and wild rice waffles & fried chicken. But it gives it that extra summer edge. Why not eat pulled BBQ-pork sandwich and juicy burgers at 11am? Who’s stopping us from toasting the commencement of summer with a handful of crispy onion rings and a Bloody Mary. Nobody. At The Lion, it’s encouraged. Eat responsibly? No way. 

Get the inside-scoop on The Lion at BlackBook’s NY City Guides, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

GoogaMooga Gets Fantastical With Themed Roberta’s, The Spotted Pig, & Gabe Stulman Pop-Ups

GoogaMooga – Brooklyn’s May 17th-19th food/music fest with the really great toilets – is adding themed, fantastical pop-ups from Roberta’s and culinary greats April BloomfieldKen Friedman, and Gabe Stulman to their carnival of all things fried, buttered, sprinkled, and alcoholic. 

Roberta’s – the Bushwick pizza joint with a cult following – is going Elizabethan, debuting their "Urban Renaissance Faire" – fit with hunky knights and fair maidens, and platters of medieval bites. Freshly-hunted turkey legs? Spare ribs from a barn hog? Perhaps.

Foot-long sausages, German pastries, and bubbling beers, are at the German beer garden pop-up known as "The Spotted Pig Haus," dreamed up by  The Spotted Pig’s chef/co-owner April Bloomfield and co-owner Ken Friedman. And if you still have room…

Gabe Stulman is going Americana on us, bringing his Wisconsin upbringing to his pop-up "Little Wisco Seafood Boil & BBQ." The restauranteur behind such West Village greats as Joseph Leonard, Jeffrey’s Grocery, and Fedora, is stocking his with boiled crawfish, barbecued shrimp, and wholesome games of bocce ball and bean-bag toss. 

All these delectable food worlds can be yours for the price of $15-$20, drinks not included. But do get drinks. And do go to the bathroom many times. Many times. Because believe me: they have really great toilets.

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Today: Sugar and Plumm Opens Second, Mini Location Downtown

Upper West Side’s whimsical bistro/bakery/café Sugar and Plumm opens a second location today in the West Village that’s truly the sweeter baby sister getting all the attention. Smaller-sized and with less of a bistro bent, this new downtown spot is more of a carry-out operation, making it that much easier to justify “just running in for something real quick" – that something being a flaky chocolate croissant, banana chocolate macaron, or towering brownie sundae. And if you too enjoy some attention, grab one of the few stools in the front, and give passersby a fine view of you shoveling dollops of whipped cream.

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Cake In A Cup: Happening At The New Bee’s Knees Baking Co.

Cake in a cup. More specifically, layered cakes in cups filled with ingredients like salted caramel, milk chocolate ganache, peanut butter mousse, and raspberry honey jam – even bourbon cake. Which is fitting considering the individualized cup portions are bourbon glass-sized, and slightly intoxicating (I’m looking at you, honey bourbon cake).  So of course, these cake cups are becoming a thing in the West Village, where they’re being sold at the recently-opened Bee’s Knees Baking Co. And with appearances at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, The Jade Hotel, and hundreds of weddings, the Bee’s Knees cake cup phenomenon is turning cupcakes on its head, and off its frosted, regal throne.

Opening on 12/12/12, as Bee’s Knees did, comes with a good deal of expectations. Both a doomed and auspicious day, Bee’s Knee’s has since emerged victorious, with customers rushing in at 8am for their Gorilla Coffee (only place in NYC to serve the Brooklyn-based brew) and croissants, and midday to lounge at the communal wooden table by the long front windows for some free Wi-Fi and chocolate PB cake cups.

Every day, around six or seven fixed and rotating flavors are offered, such as red velvet, lemon raspberry, carrot, PB & J, and even coconut grapefruit all baked fresh by chef Billy Mayer in a kitchen on Bowery. The most popular cup: the chocolate salted caramel – layered with chocolate cake, a thick ring of salted caramel, and roasted pecans and chocolate cake crumble on top.

So how did the cake cup idea arise? Switzerland-born co-owner Marco Stucky (pictured below) has the answer: “Americans love variety and options like nothing else,” he said. “So we wanted to come up with a cake that was as multilayered in flavor and as individualized as possible.”

Since opening, Stucky has not only lost 30 pounds from running around the shop, but has also become somewhat of the neighborhood talk show host; regulars know and love him for his easy conversation, passion for Bee’s treats, and his ability to remember your name. If you’re lucky – he’ll throw a couple of free, shot-sized samples in there to hold you over after lunch.

But Stucky isn’t the only European native in the shop. The coffee machines themselves, handpicked by Gorilla Coffee, are handmade and straight from Florence, Italy and Germany. “These are all top-of-the-line,” Stucky said. “Gorilla wanted to make sure we have the quality standards they have.”

And to test this, the drink to get is their signature Hot Nasir (named after a loyal regular, lucky guy), which blends hot caramel with a shot of espresso. Pair that with the chocolate salted caramel and, well, your morning becomes “the bee’s knees.”

Marco Stucky

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Kick & Play: Finding The Unique Slip-On Sneaker

Casual, conventional loafers and slip-ons are easy to find, but stand-out, unique pairs are not. From clothes to footwear, it seems like every company – from H&M, to Zara, to Banana Republic – is doing the same as the next.

But amid all the generic styles are some that do stand out. Here are some simple pairs that add a touch of flair to your feet.

THE KICKS:

Brooks Brothers Suede Tie Driving Moc (to the left)

Driving moccasins are always good to have – whether as a back up in your closet for those days you aren’t sure what shoes to wear to brunch or as your main dinner party shoe.

The rubber sole with a padded sole makes for a comfortable shoe. But this driving moccasin by Brooks Brothers uses suede to give the boat-shoe style pair a really raw, cozy look.

With this loafer, be a preppy with dark brown or grey or evangelize the hipster inside of you with red, bright blue, or bright green (not shown).

Available at your local Brooks Brothers or online, $148.

Y3 Decade

Decade sneaker

Yohji Yamamoto, aka renowned shoe designer for Y3 and Adidas, is always good at sleek design with a standout twist. For his 2013 collection, he unleashes the Decade, a stunning low-cut sportswear slip-on sneaker in black with a deep purple sole.

The shoe is a cool mixture of leather and mesh, surrounded by an elastic fastening system to give a clean, snug fit. The great thing about the Decade is its cushioned insole, which lets you leave the casual kick on your feet for hours and still be comfortable. Perfect for the gym and street running, but great for jeans and dark pants if you want a dark sneaker with a little pop.

Available on the Y3 website, $290.00.

THE PLAY:

Bien CuitWest Village, NYC
At Bien Cuit, you get fresh pastries delivered twice daily – from croissants, to chocolate bundts, to homemade breads and pistachio roulades. My favorites include the almond chocolate croissant coupled with their frothy cappuccino, and their reuben sandwich featuring their famous homemade bread. Woody interior, marble counter, long front windows – this is the perfect spot for a Saturday morning chat, or casual blind date.

Tavern, Brentwood, Ca.
Tavern might be one of the best restaurants in Los Angeles. While Tavern has earned its acclaim and honors, still, nobody talks about it enough. A fine dining experience with a bakery next door, the beautiful space has something for everybody. But their fresh-baked cookies might be the best you’ll have ever experienced. Top that with pumpkin bread pudding, monkey bread, and medjool date cakes, and you have an eclectic vibe of sweets to leave you coming back regularly. Tavern is perfect for brunch, delicious for dinner, but unbelievable for desert.

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, San Francisco, Ca.
One of San Francisco’s finest characteristics is the city’s openness and diversity. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, is the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Fresh produce, meat, cheese, and pastries come to the city with an international sense of community. Here, city goers are able to try breads, fruits, and creative chocolate flavors and take all types of goods home. While dinners out on the town are always nice, sometimes it’s refreshing to bring home exotic fruits, fresh organic greens, and get creative for a nice hearty dinner at home. The best experience for me at the Farmers Market? Mocha chocolate by Scwarffen Berger.

Walk fresh. Eat right. Be well.

AS

Contact the author of this post at aamir17@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Do You Suffer From MGOOMFA This Oscar Season?

Does watching The Oscars in your living room sound a bit dull? Do you crave that surge of communal disappointment and celebration upon the announcement of the winners? Do you like chicken tenders? If you’ve said yes to any of these questions, chances are you have a case of the MGOOMFA: Must Get Out Of My F@#$ing Apartment syndrome commonly associated with freezing climates and 4+ hours browsing Hulu daily. And with The Oscars coming up this Sunday, the perfect opportunity is upon you to get out of your apartment, and communicate with fellow NYers at official Oscars viewing parties across the city. Here is where to go:

SideBAR: Upscale sportsbar. Optional two-hour Bud Light & well-cocktail open bar at 7pm. Oscars ballot competition with $50 gift certificate for the winner. Personal bucket of pigs-in-a-blanket and tater tots. $10 entry, $50 with open bar. Chicken tenders.

The Windsor: High-end sportsbar.Free house-made gourmet popcorn. Free first glass of bubbly. Truffle grilled cheese. Starts 5pm. No entry fee. No chicken tenders.

The Bell House: Brooklyn’s wackiest events venue. Hosted by (my favorite) comedian & (erotic short story) writer Dave Hill. Raunchy, thought-provoking  analysis during commercials. $8 cocktail specials. No food/chicken tenders.

Brooklyn Winery: The sophisticated celebration. Oscar-themed sparkling cocktails. Seth MacFarlane hosts. Oscar ballots. First come, first-served seating. Starts 7pm. Get gussied up. Obviously no chicken tenders.

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Why This Monday Rocks: Tonight’s Top Events

So it’s the first day of the work week and there are four more days to go. I get it. But why ruminate when you can start to make Mondays the best night of the week? This weekly column is devoted to finding the best events across NYC hosted by individuals and places that are doing amazing, crazy, wild, sexy things on Monday nights. And I am here to honor them. From Tony Award-winning shows to chocolate desserts, here are tonight’s top events.

Watch dogs show off their stuff:
Shampooed, manicured dogs and their owners get competitive tonight and tomorrow at the 137th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, where 3,000 dogs of 187 breeds stroll across the carpeting as they’re judged across seven divisions, such as toy, terrier, hound, and sporting. Expect lots of owners in pencil skirts and bowties, and nonstop canine cuteness. Airing live from Madison Square Garden tonight, 8pm, CNBC & Tuesday, 8pm, USA. All info here.

See the reunion concert of a Tony Award-winning Broadway show:
In the Heights – the exuberant 2008 musical about three days in the life of Washington Heights residents – returns to New York for a one-night-only concert performance featuring nearly all of the original cast. Written and starring renaissance man Lin-Manuel Miranda (our interview here), this is one of Broadway’s most ebullient shows. A must for not only theatre-lovers, but simply anyone who loves this city. Tonight, 8pm, United Palace Theatre, 4140 Broadway. Tickets & info here.

Eat tons of rarely available chocolate:
Chocolate Week 2013 continues on until Wednesday the 13th, just before V-Day. Participating restaurants and chocolatiers –  such as French spots A.O.C. in the West Village and Bar Tabac in Cobble Hill – are offering special, rarely available desserts like chocolate lava cake and chocolate creme petit pot. Couple this with Valentine’s and there is absolutely no hope for a diet. And that’s just fine. From now until Wednesday the 13th. All details here

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