Sunday, April 04, 2010

operation cupcake

so normally i only post about places i've eaten out, but why not branch out to occasionally include delicious things that i've made? tonight marks an important baking milestone: my first from-scratch cake since the carrot cakes i used to make with my mom. i know, i know, i bake everything else from scratch (brownies, muffins, cheesecake, pies, biscuits, cheesepuffs . . . ), but i've never experimented with cake. so, behold:
my first batch of homemade cupcakes, mini lemon cupcakes with lemon cream cheese frosting. (cream cheese frosting edged out buttercream because then it's an appropriate breakfast food.)

Friday, April 02, 2010


Less than twenty-four hours later, and I want more chili crab. Sure, I was stuffed, but I wasn't sated. So. Good.

Anyway. Joe and I had been talking about going to Fatty Crab together for months, since he went last fall and loved it. In anticipation of my busy March being finally over, we made plans for April 1. Which just so happened to be the first beautiful day in over a week, adding to my generally antsy desire to leave work and eat messy, delicious things. Out the door at 6:05, on the subway mentally chanting "Fatty Crab!" and so hungry. We had no trouble getting a table in the mostly empty restaurant, which soon filled up -- there was a crowded wait by the time we finished eating. We quickly settled on the chili crab (obviously), dorade, green mango with chili salt, and vegetable steamed buns. Dishes arrive whenever they feel like it.

Green mango first, which is just as it sounds: strips of mango with a little bowl of chili salt. Very tasty and light, a good way to start but I wished I had a few bites left later in the meal, when my mouth was in a state of low-level constant burn from the fish and crab.

The dorade was coated in a crust of little bits that I could not identify and had a rich, spicy, briny, almost musty (in a good way) flavor. Delicious things come grilled on banana leaves. Unfortunately, when I asked what was in it (why do I ask these things?), the waitress said a bunch of things, including dried shrimp (which makes sense, given the fishiness), chilis, and something that sounded like pork floss. This was (1) confusing, as this sounds like a made-up ingredient, and (2) sad, because I apparently ate pork? Also did not taste porky -- I feel like normally I'm pretty good at picking up on things that contain stealth bacon, etc. Sigh. But we'd already eaten half of it at this point, so too late.

Our cocktails arrived. I'd gotten something called (I think) a Fat and Dirty, basically the FC take on a dirty martini, with pickled mustard green juice and charred green chili. Gin, of course. Bright and refreshing, after the spiciness, but just enough kick in the drink to make it interesting. The olive was apparently chili-stuffed, but I couldn't bring myself to eat it by the time I'd drained the glass -- too full and my mouth was too fiery to risk eating a chili olive of unknown heat.

The buns came next. At the suggestion of the waitress, we stuff the cilantro salad inside, added a bit of the sweet, syrupy, spicy sauce and went to town. My bun's almost bottom-collapse resulted in a very large, unladylike, thoroughly enjoyable final bite. Soft, spongy bread, bright cilantro flavor, spice (of course) -- such a good sandwich. Even Joe, who had the meatastic version last time, raved about the vegi one. Joe noted correctly that this would not be a great place for someone who hates cilantro. I am very glad not to be one of those people.

Finally, after my commenting that I wasn't sure we had ordered enough food, the massive bowl of chili crab arrived. The large bowl contained two giant crabs, drenched in viscous red chili sauce, flanked by three thick halves of egg bread-yellow toast. It was accompanied by extra napkins, two package wet naps, two tiny double-pronged wooden picks, and two nut crackers. We went to town, getting our hands insanely messy. I dropped my spoon (basically on the woman at the (very close) table next to us (she was quite nice about it, and I later suggested that they put the cilantro salad in their vegi steamed buns), so commandeered Joe's to spoon more of the chili sauce onto my crab and toast. The crabs were a lot of work, but the sweet crab meat held up to the sauce surprisingly well. For pure deliciousness vis-a-vis effort, the toast probably wins, however. We asked for more, but eventually we had to give up on the dregs. I mostly licked my fingers, Joe (more civilized than I) mostly used his napkin, and we let the table be cleared. The check was accompanied by little yellow squares of mochi cake. It looked sort of like cornbread, and its texture was an odd mix of crumbly and chewy, but a surprisingly (given that I found mochi to be a gross Berryline topping) good sweet bite with which to end.

But I still wanted dessert. After we walked to a chocolate shop that Joe knew only to find that it was closed for a private event, we ended up at Cones, where I got corn ice cream topped with cinnamon (Brazil's favorite!). I tried it mostly out of curiosity, but ended up really liking it. Not too sweet, vaguely reminiscent of a sweet corn pudding. Finally unable to eat any more, we headed home to drink vodka and Frescas and look forward to our next eating outing.
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