Let's Make Restaurant Ice Cream a Thing

Categories: Taste Test

Photos by Zachary Feldman, Village Voice

When it comes to ice cream, the city is saturated with saturated fat (and a few righteous healthier options to boot). Frozen-treat fanatics swarm the newest parlors, getting cross-eyed over foie gras drumsticks and provocative scoops like sriracha, carrot, cheddar cheese, and smoked salmon. This past spring, curious folks waited in line down the block when Nick Morgenstern opened his eponymous shop, dishing out $18 banana splits and ten varieties of chocolate and vanilla — they did it again when he launched breakfast (avocado ice cream toast, anyone?) earlier this month. But for every outlet devoted to gussying up frozen dairy, I'm often reminded of the restaurant ice creams I've known and loved, crafted by incredibly talented pastry (and occasionally savory) chefs. Sometimes they're served in dishes unto themselves; occasionally they're the stars of composed desserts, doled out as dainty quenelles. As a way of championing their pastry programs, more restaurants should offer ice cream to-go, or partner with parlors that can get the job done.

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Nitehawk Cinema Film Feasts Are a Box Office Smash

Categories: Events, Taste Test

Courtesy Michelle McSwain/Nitehawk Cinema
Fast Times at Ridgemont High fans gathered for an evening of cinematically inspired food and drink
Like the perfect song tugging at our heart strings during a pivotal scene, food plays an integral role in our enjoyment of a movie. From old school drive-ins to a $15 bucket of buttery popcorn, the right bite at the right moment helps make a movie more enjoyable. And Nitehawk Cinema (136 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-384-3980) aims to take that to a whole new level.

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Tasting Van Leeuwen's New Vegan Ice Cream

Categories: Taste Test

Two scoops.

Good news for vegans this summer: One of Fork's favorite parlors in the city,Van Leeuwen, has debuted two new flavors made without the shop's usual cream, milk, and eggs. We stopped in for a taste of the new vanilla and chocolate scoops, to see how they stood up to our usual order of strawberry and palm sugar.

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Il Cantuccio Debuts Killer Porchetta Sandwich

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Il Cantuccio's porchetta sandwich, served on focaccia made in-house

Christopher Street's Il Cantuccio bakery is the first American branch of a venerable Florentine institution, an oven specializing in the salt-free bread of Tuscany. Tasting wonderfully bland on its own, this bread is of infinite utility in making bread salads and bread soups, but it also works well with crostini and bruschetti -- in which the toppings are so salty that the salt-free product makes complete sense. In addition to this extraordinary bread, an array of biscotti, bakery pizzas, and unusual breakfast pastries (some containing giant chunks of dark chocolate) also fly out of the oven.

Now, among the small collection of simple sandwiches offered on homemade focaccia, one featuring porchetta is the latest and most delicious.

[Update: This sandwich will be regularly available on Saturdays and Sundays from here on.]

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Introducing the Chinger

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Believe it or not, this chinger is vegetarian.

The idea was popularized by Momofuku Ssam Bar and by Xi'an Famous Foods--sandwiches featuring lamb or pork in a steamed or baked bao with pickled vegetables and a thick, sweet soy sauce. The idea might have occurred spontaneously in several places, because Taiwanese do something similar. Now, a new Taiwanese restaurant called Chinger--an offshoot of a next-door hot-pot place--is debuting a bao burger joint in the shadow of Elmhurst's LIRR tracks.

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Mole Poblano Goes Mainstream: Cosi's Sandwich Fail

Cosi's bread looks like an alligator, or maybe tree bark.

Those of us who fervidly celebrate the joys of immigrant cooking and its eventual assimilation into the standard American diet―think tortilla chips and guacamole, beef stroganoff, wonton soup, and IKEA's bouncy Swedish meatballs―may still be occasionally dismayed at the way certain dishes enter our collective gastronomic vernacular. One such discouraging example is Cosi Sandwich Bar's new chicken mole sandwich.

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Joe's 14th Street: The Neighborhood Pizzeria Fights Back

The blobs of fresh white cheese on Joe's "Fresh Mozzarella" slice look like fluffy cartoon clouds against an angry red sky.

No doubt that the neighborhood pizzeria, once a leading dining institution in all five boroughs, has been undergoing a decline lately at the hands of fast-food franchises, dollar slice joints, and the tendency to think of pizza as a gourmet item. But its death has been prematurely announced; the old warhorse still has lots of life left in it. And the new branch of Joe's Pizza, just opened near the corner of Third Avenue and East 14th Street, is evidence of that.

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Burger Joint's 'Normal' Burger

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At the new Burger Joint in Greenwich Village, a burger, fries, and a Coke will set you back $11.16, including tax.

The abrupt opening yesterday of the first branch location of Burger Joint occasioned a flood of notoriety, suggesting you get more publicity by behaving impulsively than by following the typical slow-moving campaign that usually attends a restaurant opening. After I'd read about it in Eater, The New York Times, and Fork in the Road, I had to run over there and check out the menu.

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80/20 Baconburger at Dickson's Farmstand Meats: Scrumptious!

Bulbous, pink, and mottled, Dickson's baconburger

I'd popped into Chelsea Market last Saturday to score a lump of guanciale at Buon Italia, when the meat case at Dickson's Farmstand Meats caught my eye--always good to give it a look and see what sorts of products, many of them oddball, are currently being offered. There among the novel sausages, pork sirloins, bone marrows sliced two ways, delicious smoked ham, and homemade pancetta a neat array of burgers scampered forward, advertised as 80 percent beef and 20 percent bacon, for $6 each. My dinner plans were settled! They appeared to be about a half-pound each, and were mottled with what looked like pork fat. Would they be any good?

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Alchemy, Texas Replaces Ranger Texas Barbecue

Alchemy's rich and black-pepper-dotted prime rib

When New York barbecue legend Robert Pearson departed the final location of his Queens establishment, Pearson's Texas BBQ, in 2005, he left it in the hands of his able pitmaster, Angel Domingues, and the new owner, Cenobio Canalizo, both natives of Puebla, Mexico. They changed the name to Ranger Texas Barbecue, and the place soldiered on for a few more years, turning out 'cue that originally ranged from good to decent, but later was sometimes awful. Then a couple of months ago, due to a rumored death in the family, Ranger's eight-person crew mysteriously departed to points unknown, leaving Jackson Heights bereft of barbecue. Some say the extended family that ran the place returned to Mexico.

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