Friday, August 31, 2012

Heirloom Tomato

One of the most intriguing custards for August (and the last new one we tried this month) was heirloom tomato.

If you can't read what it says under Heirloom Tomato, it says "contains tree nuts"

M's thoughts:
It's hard for me to describe the heirloom tomato flavor.  The first spoonful tasted very much like a juicy tomato. It was like the tomato water that you get when you bite into a big watery tomato.  But the subsequent bites had more of that candied flavor, kind of similar to olive oil gelato/custard. I guess that happens sometimes when you turn savory flavors into sweet custards.  It wasn't bad but I don't know if I would run back for it again. I'm glad I tried it, but I'd rather have a real tomato!

A's thoughts:
This was an interesting flavor. It was definitely sweet at times, but it was really impressive when I got a taste of fresh tomato. It was almost like biting into a fresh tomato but with a very sweet, creamy finish. I certainly liked this more than M, and I kind of wish I could get more.

Heirloom Tomato
A's rating: 7.5/10
M's rating: 6.5/10

Apricot Jam Cookie

It's been difficult to find the inspiration to write, with all the other things that have been going on in our lives this summer, but we have two more custards to tell you about before the month is over.  First up: the Thursday custard - apricot jam cookie.

M's thoughts:
I thought this would be a lot like the raspberry linzer custard and in many ways it was. It was custard with apricot flavor and apricot syrup mixed up with pieces of shortbread cookies.  Since it's so similar to raspberry linzer, which I liked quite a bit, I thought I would like this more than I did. It was fine but I just didn't love it. Maybe I ate a big dinner and just wasn't interested in dessert. Maybe my lack of inspiration trickled into the custard. Maybe it's because I like raspberries better than apricots. I'm not sure but between the 2, I would pick the raspberry linzer. I do think this was a good effort though.

A's thoughts:
This wasn't that bad of a custard flavor. Shake Shack has done well with "cookie" flavors in the past, and both M and I were very interested in trying this flavor. I was a little disappointed in the end. The custard had a faint apricot flavor to it when paired with the apricot jam, and the cookies were nice, but something about this whole custard just seemed off. I can't really explain it, but I was less than enthused by the entire flavor overall. I wanted to like it more, but I just couldn't. It was a good flavor, but not great.

Apricot Jam Cookie
A's rating: 6.5/10
M's rating: 7/10

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jamaica Day

Happy Independence Day, Jamaica!

Between the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence from Great Britain and Usain Bolt's victory at the Olympics, it was a perfect day for a Jamaican lunch.  There are only a few options for Jamaican lunches near me - patties from Golden Krust, the Jerk Pan truck on Park Avenue (that I tried last year for the 1st time), and the Jamaican Dutchy truck (a cart I frequented on 51st & 7th before they upgraded to a truck and were kicked out of their spot by the cops).  I remember when Usain Bolt visited the Jamaican Dutchy, so I decided to track them down for lunch.

The truck moved around for a bit after having to leave 51st (A visited them last year in Midtown South when they stopped there one day) but seems to have settled on 43rd and 3rd.  (Their twitter wasn't updated so I was taking a chance.)  It was a bit of a trek from the office but I felt like a Jamaican lunch today was just the right thing to do.

I planned to get the stewed chicken (which is what I had always gotten back when they were at 51st and 7th), but they sold out 2 people ahead of me in line.  Second choice: curry chicken!

What's great about the Jamaican Dutchy is that their portions are extremely generous.  That box is their "mini meal" which was only $5.  Really affordable and filling.  The base is a mix of rice and beans, which is topped with steamed cabbage and multiple pieces of chicken.  I love that the stewed and curry chicken dishes at the Jamaican Dutchy are boneless, and that's probably the biggest difference for me between them and Jerk Pan.  Both make good food but bones in a small box of food make for a big mess.  I was so hungry when I got back to the office after my long walk (and had a conference call coming up) so I devoured the mini meal faster than I would have preferred, but I was still able to taste all the great flavors.  I wish the Jamaican Dutchy were still at their old spot at 51st and 7th, so I could go more often, but at least they're still within walking distance!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Peaches and Bacon

It's summer and for many people summer means peaches.  Num Pang (previously written about here) is celebrating summer with a seasonal special - a grilled summer peach sandwich, only available at their midtown location. 

The peach sandwich consists of a grilled peach, hand-cut bacon, a guinness maple glaze, sauteed scallions (I thought I also saw leeks) and jalapenos.  There's also the usual cucumbers, carrots, cilantro and chili mayo on the soft but sturdy baguette.

I had initially gone there for the Khmer sausage again, but they were sold out.  I surprised myself by getting the peach and bacon instead of a fish sandwich since I'm not a huge fan of fruit on sandwiches or bacon (I know that's an unacceptable statement for many people).  But I had heard good things about the peach sandwich when it was around last year and decided to go for it.

The sandwich was incredibly messy but it was delicious.  It was an explosion of flavors and covered every part of the taste spectrum.  There was sweet (the peach rings), salty (the bacon, which wasn't the crispy thin breakfast bacon I was expecting but thicker slices of meat), spicy (the jalapenos, product of a hot dry summer, were way hotter than I thought they would be), creamy (the chili mayo mixed with the soft peaches), crunchy (carrots and cucumber), lightness (everything but the bacon).  Mixed together, it was really good.  I hope the sandwich sticks around for a few more weeks so A and I can go back and get it together.  So delicious.

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Our first custard this August was blueberry coffee cake.

M's thoughts:
As I mentioned in the preview, I was so excited to see the return of blueberry coffee cake.  We tried it last year on the next to last day it was available. I remember really liking it and wanting to get it again the next week (I think it was the Sunday custard). Then the hurricane hysteria began and everything shut down for the weekend (even though Manhattan only got some rain). I had pondered whether Shake Shack would open up so we could get the custard, and was so sad when they didn't (not that I blame them for closing).

What I like best about this custard is that it mixes in actual blueberry coffee cake, which means you get real blueberries.  They're the soft kind like you get in the cake and not fresh ones, but that works well in the custard.  I also like coffee cake.  There was a period of time when I ate coffee cake/crumb cake for breakfast all the time.  You get some of the texture of the crumbles in the custard too.  I just think this custard works really well and it's definitely one of my favorites.  Without looking back at the scores we've given, I think this goes on my favorites list along with chocolate hazelnut/gianduja and Christmas cookie.

A's thoughts:
This has been one of the better flavors of late. I don't know, for some reason SS's recent set of flavors have been underwhelming for me. While this wasn't a new flavor, it was one that we both were looking forward to. I know M likes this more than I do, but that doesn't mean I don't think this is good. It is heavy with blueberry flavor and actual blueberries mixed in. There is also a wealth of coffee cake pieces mixed in as well. It's a very balanced custard with good texture, good flavor, and enough but not too much sweetness.

Blueberry Coffee Cake
A's rating: 8.5/10
M's rating: 9.5/10


Digby's Cafe is one of those do-it-all cafes that you find all over midtown (and Manhattan generally).  They have sandwiches, salads, premade offerings in the refrigerated case, and perhaps a little more unique - Mission style burritos (they say).  The other day I had walked all over midtown at lunch since I was lacking lunch inspiration (I hate those days).  I was getting ready to call it a day and drop in at my usual defaults of Potbelly, Earl of Sandwich or Just Salad, when I decided to stop into Digby's Cafe, a place that was still fairly crowded for 2 pm and which I had passed on various other days.  The heat and humidity was so oppressive that afternoon that I decided on salad.

I also think their logo is cute

Digby's salads are $6.99 for a regular size with 8 toppings.  That's a pretty good price for salad.  The 8 toppings break down to 1 protein, 2 "premium" toppings, and 5 regular toppings.  They have multiple options for greens like most of the cafes and I went with baby spinach.  I decided on Tandoori chicken (which just tasted like seasoned chicken), edamame and cheddar cheese for the premium, and then red onions, cucumbers, chickpeas, carrots and tomatoes for the regular toppings.  I finished it off with lite Italian dressing.

It was a good salad.  The ingredients were very fresh and it was mixed well.  I do prefer salads that are chopped but there isn't really a place that will do that and still get you out the door with a salad that is less than $8 (even with my JS card discount).  I liked that it was a flat number of toppings instead of those other places where I end up standing there overworking my brain trying to add up the prices of toppings while choosing to make sure I don't end up with a $12 salad.  I would get this again.

Next time at Digby's I think I might go for one of their hot sandwiches (they have recommended combos as well as make your own combos) or the burritos.  Or if it's really hot again, I could go for another spinach salad!

Digby's Cafe is located on 52nd Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Custard Calendar

We haven't been blogging that much lately because life got in the way (as it sometimes does).  But the August custard calendar is up and I am so, so excited to see blueberry coffee cake on the list again!

Monday - strawberry cheesecake - we tried this in June and thought it was OK.  The strawberry flavor was a little muted and light for us.

Tuesday - malted marshmallow milk chocolate - another one that we thought was just OK when we tried it in April.  We were hoping it would taste like malted milk balls... but it didn't.

Wednesday - fromage blanc raspberry swirl - we have tried this one a couple of times and like it.  If you like cheesecake with raspberry sauce, you probably will too.

Thursday - apricot jam cookie - this one is new for us, but we wonder if it will be similar to raspberry linzer, which we really enjoyed.

Friday - blueberry coffee cake - I am so excited to see this back on the list for the first time since last August! We didn't write about it but what I remember is that we liked it and that, in the middle of last year's hurricane debacle, I was wondering if Shake Shack would be open that weekend (it wasn't) because it would be the last chance to get blueberry coffee cake.  We will make every effort to write about it this time!

Saturday - salted caramel - when we tried this last year, we were not really fans.

Sunday - heirloom tomato - a new one for us.  Reminds me of August a couple of years ago when they put basil on the custard menu, which was intriguing. It's like they're working their way up to a custard caprese salad!

I'm most intrigued by heirloom tomato and A is most intrigued by the apricot jam cookie.  But what I am most excited by is blueberry coffee cake!  Hoping that after we try it again it will end up on the all-time favorite custard list with gianduja/chocolate hazelnut and Christmas cookie.