Honey and
a food journal

Monday, 26 September 2016

Moo Moo's Creamery, Cold Spring

Sunday was a perfect day. Fall has arrived in New York. The air is crisp, the skies are blue, there's a light breeze, the humidity has disappeared, and the leaves are gradually, gradually darkening, yellowing, and falling to the ground. In other words, this was the perfect day to head upstate for a hike. So at 8.30am on a Sunday morning with our bags filled with homemade lunch and plenty of water, we hopped on a train at Grand Central (sadly, no Serena van der Woodsen sightings this time) and headed up along the Hudson river until we reached Breakneck Ridge. 

Unsurprisingly, this popular hike was more than a little busy on this dreamy day, so we scrambled harder and faster than everyone else up the sheer cliff face that makes up Breakneck Ridge, and kept going up and up, over the rocks, higher and higher above the river, until we'd lost the crowds, had reached the summit, and were seemingly on top of the world. All we could see around us were miles and miles of dense forest, a wide, bending river, and bright blue skies.

Not ones to be sensible when it comes to walking/running/exercising/taking the easy route in life generally, this one climb wasn't enough. So we followed the path down through the trees and then wound our way up to the summit of Bull Hill, stopping briefly for lunch looking out over the vast canopy of trees, before putting our knees and ankles to the test as we clambered down until we finally arrived in Cold Spring. After a well-earned drink at Cold Spring Depot our tummies were rumbling, so we went on a hunt for ice cream. Thankfully, Moo Moo's Creamery wasn't too many steps away. 

The line winding outside the door of this shop in this quiet, idyllic town was a good sign. After walking for many, many hours, spending five minutes waiting in line, admiring the genuinely ginormous ice creams that all the smiling customers were walking out the door with, wasn't too hard. We finally ordered a single scoop each (B was adamant he didn't want a cone, and I was adamant I did, so no sharing was going to happen): golden oreo for me and maple walnut for B. This single scoop (which was actually multiple scoops, but apparently qualifies here as a single scoop) of ice cream was genuinely the biggest ice cream I've ever been given. Thankfully, the top secret family recipe, and fabulous flavors meant eating it, while we sat watching the sun sparkle on the river, was no challenge. 

Moo Moo's is an amazing little spot, especially after a super long hike. Their ice cream is all homemade, made fresh daily, and their are 16 flavors available every day. The cow print covering the shop and its interior are just an extra reason to smile. Apparently the ice cream store was opened by a guy called Alexi, who graduated from Syracuse University, started training to be an accountant, realized he hated being an accountant, and decided ice cream would make a better career choice. He made the right decision. I hope he knows that. If you're ever up in Cold Spring, and in need of a post-hike treat, don't miss out on the opportunity to eat an ice cream as tall as the mountain you just climbed.

Moo Moo's Creamery, 32 West St, Cold Spring, NY 10516

Friday, 23 September 2016

5 Things & 3 More

5 happy things from a challenging 5 days:

1. A double gin and tonic. It was necessary.
2. Lovely people responding to my emails.
4. Tasting this crazy Black Tap x By CHLOE vegan milkshake.
5. Drinking all the amari at August Laura.

3 things to read over the weekend:

1. The woman behind the stunning interiors at Sketch in London.
3. Deb from Smitten Kitchen's words to all food bloggers who are just starting out.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Levain Bakery

Levain Bakery is something of a New York institution. If you've ever walked past the line of people snaking round the block where this fabulous-smelling bakery sits on on the Upper West Side, you'll have understood that this place is kind of a big deal. I'm not really keen on spending my weekends standing on the sidewalk for several hours, which is why I hadn't tried one of this city-famous cookies until last weekend. Thankfully, there's one simple secret to get a taste of these humongous, six ounce cookies without spending your afternoon waiting in line: Head to the Harlem location.

After a dinner of chicken and waffles, the thought of eating our way through a giant cookie seemed like a challenge, but one I was willing to tackle. When we stepped through the door of Levain, smelled the melting chocolate, and spied the trays of freshly baked cookies, it didn't seem so challenging after all. We took one double chocolate and one oatmeal raisin: We'd had every intention of just having one to share, but couldn't agree on just one flavor, so one became two, and very nearly three, but we managed to find some self-control, and restrained ourselves. 

The craggy, crackly, almost crisp crust reveals that much-Instagrammed, soft, dough-y, barely cooked interior. Whether you opt for the dark, deep, intense chocolate one, studded with molten chunks of milk chocolate, or the lighter, almost sweeter, gently spiced oatmeal raisin one, you're making the right choice. There are many reasons why these cookies are often deemed to be the best in New York, and one of them is that all the flavors are totally perfect. 

And in case the cookie itself wasn't enough, the story behind them will hopefully make you fall totally head over heels for this bakery: The tale goes that the bakery founders created this cookie when they were training for an Ironman Triathlon and needed a post-workout snack which was chock-a-block full of calories and sustenance, and this was their answer. Maybe I need to start training for an Ironman so that I can have one of these cookies everyday, or maybe I'll skip the training and just stand in the line as my triathlon training instead.

Levain Bakery, 2167 Frederick Douglass Blvd, New York, NY 10026

For other locations, click here.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Amy Ruth's

I had my first taste of fried chicken and waffles almost two years ago. It was a skeptical first bite, which soon had me grabbing for more waffles, more chicken, and more syrup. So when we found ourselves in Harlem this weekend, a trip to Amy Ruth's was an absolute necessity.

Amy Ruth's is a huge maze of a restaurant. We were led through one room of people, past another packed dining room, by the kitchen, up the stairs, and into another, less full room of hungry, happy, fried chicken eating customers. We were thrown a couple of menus, and the hostess, who as B aptly described 'wasn't exactly full of the charms of spring', left us.

But any lack of charm from our waitress was soon made up for by a much friendlier server bringing us huge cups of iced water, warm cornbread, and melting butter. He took our order (efficiency is not lacking here), and we had pretty much eaten both slices of the sweet, fluffy cornbread, slathered in salty butter of course, before our order had even made it to the kitchen.

B decided he wasn't going to skimp on any part of this experience, so ordered a half-lemonade, half iced tea, which was sickly sweet, wonderfully refreshing, and, had we not been so in need of a big boost of sugar, would probably have led us head first into the strongest of sugar crashes.

Our chicken was soon delivered, and we were faced once again with the reality of astounding American portion sizes. One wonderfully thick waffle was topped with they most humungous fried chicken thigh, served with three extra portions of butter, and a huge bottle of syrup. This made my previous (British) chicken and waffle experience seem rather sad in comparison. It also made my love for this wonderfully unhealthy dish even stronger. 

But we weren't here just for the waffles. When there's an item on the menu called the 'Barack Obama', there was no way we were leaving without having it. A huge side of chicken (it seemed to be the majority of a chicken had been placed whole in the frier, and then put on our plate) had been cooked to juicy, moist, crispy-exterior perfection. It was served with our choice of sides – mac and cheese and collard greens – because we definitely needed some more carbs and fat with this meal, and having some green on one of our plates made us feel slightly healthier. Who am I kidding? The greens were dotted with meat and were salty and delicious, and totally unhealthy too. It was fabulous.

There's nothing apologetic, nothing fancy, and nothing not to love about Amy Ruth's. If you're looking for some proper Southern food, I've not yet found anything better in NYC.

Amy Ruth's, 113 West 116th Street, Harlem, NY 10026
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