Fatty Cakes, Fatty Cakes, NYC.

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Written by Acacia Christensen

As you might know, I am a sucker for a really good dessert, and apart from doughnuts my other love is cookies. When I was in Brooklyn checking out the City Reliquary Museum they were selling local sweets and I got to try a Fattycakes cookie.

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Let me tell you that it was hands down the best cookie I have ever had in my whole life. I’m a sucker for the “Chipwich”, not exactly the ice cream sandwich, but a cookie sandwich instead! The Chipwich is a chocolate chip cookie with beer caramel, vanilla cream filling and is finished with sea salt. You’ll have to give it a try. And thanks to the lovely owner Jennifer you’ll be able to order them from no matter where you are!  We have a discount code for our readers (that can be used on all her cookies).  To order,  visit her website and use the code: “FATGIRLFOODSQUAD”.

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I got to try a bunch of the flavours and that one is still the standout. I took the chance to ask Jennifer Taylor-Miller to fill us in on Fattycakes and what she’s all about.

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FGFS: How long have you been crafting FattyCakes cookies?

Jennifer: 4 years part-time, about 8 months full-time

FGFS: When did you develop your love of cookies?

Jennifer: I was born with a love of cookies.

FGFS: Apart from a cookie, what is your favourite dessert?

Jennifer: Either layered cake or loaded ice cream. If I’m eating cake, I want a lot of frosting or filling or whatever, and if it’s ice cream it needs to have huge chunks of cookie or a good amount of fudge or peanut butter, etc.  My husband has accused me of cherry picking shared ice cream.

FGFS: Out of all of your flavours, which is your favourite so far?

Jennifer: Build Me Up Buttercup.  It’s a chocolate peanut butter brownie cookie with peanut butter cups.

FGFS: How did you come up with the fantastic name “FATTYCAKES”?

Jennifer: A dear friend, Cara Possemato named the company.

FGFS: Tell me the history of fattycakes and how you got started?

Jennifer: I started FattyCakes in 2009, just making strange concoctions for friends and family.  There were so many unexpected flavors that worked, like popcorn, Swedish Fish & chocolate chips, that I figured I was on to something.

FGFS: Apart from cookies, I’ve noticed you also make cookie cakes, is there anything else you think you will ever start baking/selling under the FattyCakes brand?

Jennifer: I do have a dry mix that is excellent, and I’ve made only a few available this holiday season.  I’ve heard from a volunteer at our museum pop up shop that Kyp Malone from TV On The Radio bought one.  Hope he loved it!

FGFS: Where have you been primarily selling your cookies? And is there anywhere you would like to start selling them?

Jennifer: I’ve been selling at a cafes, coffee shops and candy shops as well as markets throughout the year.  I also sell through our website, have done flash sale sites, and on Mohchi.com, a new NYC site.

FGFS: Are there any new flavours you have cooking in your brain that you would like to let our readers know about?

Jennifer: I’ve been craving a few that I’ve made only a few times but have little mainstream interest. Devils on Horseback is a maple bacon date cookie filled with blue cheese and the other is a play on McDonald’s McGriddle, a maple bacon cookie filled with Velveeta cheese.  I like cheese.

FGFS: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Jennifer: Hopefully with a little shop in Brooklyn, selling my cookies and cookie cakes to extremely happy clients.

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Cafe Boulud makes home in Toronto’s Four Seasons Hotel

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For many foodies, Daniel Boulud (New York based celebrity chef) is a commanding force in the realm of french cooking. When he decided to bring his restaurants (on the second floor and the downstairs bar) to the Four Seasons hotel chain, it would be an understatement to say those in Toronto were excited.

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photos by yuli scheidt

Originally posted to Ama’s weekly column on Toronto Is Awesome.

Cafe Boulud sits on the second floor overlooking the beautifully iconic neighbourhood that is Yorkville. We were seated by a window which gave us a great 180 degree view of the restaurant whilst still being able to peak outside to see fabulous men and women outside walking the streets. One of the things that I wasn’t too sure about when coming to the Cafe was how the dress-code would be since being housed in one of the cities finest hotels. Let me assure you: while dealing with fine dining at its best, the atmosphere is not stuffy at all or entitled.

The first thing that caught my eye (upon walking up the stairs into the Cafe) was the pop-art portraits of some iconic celebrities such as Madonna. It added a bit of whimsy to the space but also gave a little nod to the indulgent celebrity nature of our city. The dining room is quite large and spacious with a bit of romance in the air.

Just recently, Cafe Boulud released their winter menu which would take on tradition, classic French cuisine while exploring all things worldly. Both Yuli and myself were excited to try this but also try out their Winterlicious menu, which was also happening at the time of our visit. We decided to eat, drink and be merry.

For the three course pre-fixe Winterlicious menu ($45 per person), we decided to indulge in the Lentil Dahl (made with Garam Masala, Coriander and Yogurt) and Grilled Albacore Tuna for our apps. The Lentil was simply rich with full flavour pop. It was one of those dishes where if you could stick your face into the bowl and lick every last drop, you probably would. Alas: I don’t think that is Four Seasons behaviour. The tuna was juicy and tender with beautiful citrus undertones. I’ll have to thank Yuli for sharing with me.

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Next up, we decided to order a couple of appetizers from the Main Menu to see what this new winter menu was all about. We ordered up some Sunchoke Risotto ($21) and the Crispy Duck Egg ($18). Ever since my first experience with Sunchoke I have been obsessed and this risotto did not disappoint. Keeping it simple with porcini mushroom and aged parmesan cheese, it was cooked to perfection and simply wonderful. This would be perfect as a main, as well. Now onto the Crispy Duck Egg which was serving up all kinds of brunch realness. The Duck Egg coupled with the button mushrooms and crispy bacon and all the yolk. I can’t know even handle the goodness. I would like this delivered to my bedroom each and everyday. Hopefully this could be arranged.

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Back to our Winterlicious main courses, where I decided to par-take in the Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Heirloom Carrot and Potatoes. This dish was not too heavy with beautiful cuts of lamb. The natural jus added a great flavour. Perfect for the diner who loves meat & potatoes: hearty and bountiful.

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On the Main Menu, we decided to check out two of their Main Courses from the winter menu: Pan Seared Digby Scallops ($38) and Ontario Venison ($41). Large Nova Scotia scallops arrive with some fingerling potatoes, in a tomato-saffron broth and left my mouth singing. The scallops were beautifully caramelized and were perfectly cooked. Yuli mentioned that her Venison dish was seasoned perfectly and had a nice rich glaze of natural jus.

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The desserts here are show-stoppers and although we stuck to our dessert pairings from the Winterlicious menu, our choices were hard. I opted for the Carmel Pear Sundae and was not disappointed.

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From the kitchen staff to the wait staff, the team at Cafe Boulud have worked hard at executing Chef Daniel’s vision into this exciting Toronto restaurant and the results resonate all throughout. If you are looking for a beautifully romantic evening out or simply a fancy brunch, you will find everything you are looking for and more at Cafe Boulud.

  Cafe Boulud on Urbanspoon

Pizza Underground – Deliciously greasy nostalgia tunes

Written by Acacia Christensen

There are few things greater in life than pizza and good tunes. Something I never could’ve prepared myself for though is the melding my favourite food with my favourite child star and one of the best bands. That’s right PIZZA x VELVET UNDERGROUND x MACAULAY CULKIN have all come together to amok the hilariously wonderful group Pizza Underground.

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Pizza Underground are a The Velvet Underground cover band with a cheesy twist, all the songs are now about pizza. With their delightfully punny album “Anchovy Warhol” they have tunes like “Papa John Says”, “I’m Beginning to Eat The Slice”, “Pizza”, “I’m Waiting for the Delivery Man”, “Cheese Days”, “Pizza Day”, “All The Pizza Parties”, “Pizza Gal”, “Take a Bite of the Wild Slice.” Members include Matt Colbourn (guitar/vocals), Phoebe Kreutz (glockenspiel, vocals), Deenah Vollmer (pizza box, vocals), Austin Kilham (tambourine/vocals) and, of course, Macaulay Culkin (percussion, kazoo, vocals)

It is also extra fantastic, for me at least, that they follow my two favourite rules of pizza: NO ANCHOVIES, NO MUSHROOMS. Sausage and cheese pie, please. Also, they have lyrics based on one of my life mottos: “It’s such a pizza day, I’m glad I spent it with food.”

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While hunting the internet for their demo and to see if they will ever play anywhere outside of Brooklyn you can also watch this video of their lead singer eating a slice of pizza in a fantastic homage to Andy Warhol eating a burger.

All I can say is that I wish I thought of this sooner and I hope cheese days never end. Follow The Pizza Underground on twitter @cheesedayz

Gluten-Free Eats in NYC

By: Megan Stulberg

This year I spent Canadian Thanksgiving in New York City. We didn’t opt for the traditional turkey and stuffing, but we ate enough other food to make up for it.

Everything pictured and described below is gluten-free, as America is surprisingly well-informed about the severity of cross-contamination. I didn’t get sick once and I have quite the sensitive belly. But since we were on vacation, I did not bother to eat strictly vegan (I’ll eat vegan 9 times out of 10, but I do eat fish and eggs, so therefore I don’t achieve the ‘vegan’ title). Sorry to any honey-haters who were on my side.

[Edit: Fully vegan as of November 2013. Yay!]

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S’MAC – Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese 

Gluten-free? Yes! The staff seemed very knowledgable about cross-contamination.

Vegan? Yes. S’MAC makes their own vegan ‘cheese’ which is a mix of coconut milk, rice flour, potato flour, palm oil, organic palm shortening, marmite, salt and pepper.

Where? There are two locations in New York City.  We went to the one in the East Village at 345 East 12th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenue.

What? I bought a vegan mac & cheese which is made with brown-rice elbow macaroni and is then topped with cornflakes. I had it mixed with shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach with garlic.

Cost? Approximately $15. I should have gotten the smaller size, which was nearly half the price. I ordered a ‘Major Munch’ skillet, which was overwhelmingly filling. I wasn’t able to finish it, so I would recommend opting for one size down.

Website? Here.

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Babycakes NYC

Gluten-free? Vegan? Both! The bakery is entirely gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, kosher and refined-sugar free. This place is essentially an allergy sanctuary.

Where? 248 Broome Street, between Orchard & Ludlow.

What? We split a black forest cupcake, a carrot cupcake and a cinnamon sugar doughnut. The doughnut was delicious, but the cupcakes were extremely dry. No specialty bakery ever seems to compare to Bunner’s.

Cost? $4.75 per cupcake, $3.75 per donut. Eek.

Website? Here.

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Pala Pizza 

Gluten Free? Yes: an entire gluten-free menu and a designated preparation area in the kitchen. Pala makes their own gluten-free dough fresh in house.

Vegan? Yes! They also offer a vegan menu.

Where? 198 Allen Street, 10012.

What? I asked for an ‘Etna’, which is a pizza topped with eggplant, basil, daiya and tomato sauce. Our waitress misheard my order and brought me a cheeseless pizza with butternut squash, peppers, onion and raisins instead. I ended up thanking her for messing up my order because the pizza was delicious. Pala definitely offers the best gluten-free pizza crust that I’ve ever tried. The crust was thick and had bubbles and everything.

Website? Here.

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Sustainable N.Y.C Cafe

Gluten free? Lots of GF options! The employee who served me was very considerate and offered to clean all of the necessary utensils after I mentioned my allergy.

Vegan? Yes! This is a vegan cafe run within an eco general store. They even sell vegan shoes.

Where? 139 Avenue A, 10009.

What? We walked a considerable distance to check out Tompkins Square Bagels, where I was promptly shut down by an employee who warned me that the kitchen was not a safe environment for those with Celiac disease. Luckily I found this place half a block away. I had a peanut butter and jam sandwich on gluten-free bread, and then treated myself with two scoops of vegan ice cream (one chocolate, one lavender) in a gluten-free cone. First cone in over a year, y’all. It was heavenly.

How much? I can’t remember specifics (black-out bagel rage?) but it was definitely $5 or less.

Website? Here.

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Friedman’s Lunch

Gluten-free? Yes! They have an entire gluten-free menu and prepare food in a designated area of the kitchen.

Vegan? No, but they do have a few vegan options including a garden vegetable sandwich and an eggplant quinoa/rice bowl.

Where? 75 9th Ave, right inside Chelsea Market.

What? I ordered the fish tacos: blackened pollock, corn tortillas, citrus fennel slaw, tomatillo salsa, sriracha aioli and cilantro. Too good.

Cost? $14.

Website? Here.

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Where? Some taco truck in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Gluten-free? Not sure. Taco shells are generally made from corn instead of wheat, so there’s a good chance that this meal was gluten-free. I didn’t eat them though, Nick did. I just threw these photos in because the tacos look delicious and I’m mean. Sorry.

Vegan? Nope!

What? Nick got fish tacos topped with cheese and veggies.

Cost? $3.50 per taco.

Website? Rather unlikely.

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Pomme Frites 

Gluten free? Yes. Pomme Frites serves fries that are cooked in gluten-free vegetable oil.

Vegan: Yes and no. We chose two dips, one of which was vegan and the other was not. Ask the cashier and he/she will give you a chart that outlines all dietary and ingredient information.

Where? 123 2nd Ave, between 7th St. and St. Mark Place. 

What? A huge paper cone full of thick Belgian fries, with mexican ketchup and roasted garlic mayo. Pomme Frites has a great selection of uniquely flavoured dips to choose from.

Website? Here.

Photo credit goes to Nick White.

Getting the S’MAC Attack in NYC

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Let’s make one thing clear, Fat Girl Food Squad: I am on the quest to find the perfect Macaroni and Cheese — or at least try all of them.  First up, we headed to New York’s own S’Mac to test out the multiple flavours they have of mac and cheese.

S’Mac currently has two locations in NYC, both in Manhattan, and they offer dine-in, take-out, free delivery and catering for all your many cravings. If I lived in this city I would probably turn orange from the amount and frequency that I would order.

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After looking at their extremely large menu (and being indecisive), we decided to test out the S’MAC Sampler.  Served up in a skillet for $16,  you receive 8 different varieties of Mac-n-Cheese. This is the only version that accepts no substitutions, so they pick the flavours and it is only regular pasta. Thankfully they let us add breadcrumbs on top for that extra added crispiness.

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The sampler comes with a visual wheel showing you which flavours lay where which helps both the picky folks, and those deciding what to order in a larger size next time. Flavours include: All-American, 4 Cheese, Cheeseburger, La Mancha, Cajun, Napoletana, Alpine and Parisienne.

Trying all of the flavours provided us with a daunting task, even for 2, but we managed to leave no noodle uneaten. The verdict for best flavour goes to the Cheeseburger. Made for the hearty meat eater, it comes with both cheddar and American Cheese combined with seasoned ground beef. There is not too much ground beef, and it’s definitely gooier and tastier than anything I’ve had like it before. With the breadcrumbs added on top it was like eating the best cheeseburger but a step above. Coming up in a close second would be the Alpine. This swiss mac goes a different route than the other traditional american styles and uses gruyere cheese and is filled with slab bacon. It was the perfect melty stringy cheese that stretches as you try and take a spoonful out for yourself, very hard to share. Our least favourite had to be La Mancha.  It may have very well been my personal distaste for onions leading that one, but if you’re looking for a taste of Spain in a dish, this is the one for you.  It was Manchego Cheese mixed with fennel and onions.

What was the most fascinating to me is that those were not the only flavours available.  They have another 4 recommended flavours to choose from as well as a build your own category with four different sizes: The Nosh, Major Munch, Mongo and Partay. Having been here before I felt that the Major Munch was enough for two but we each got one and it’s a really good portion leaving plenty of leftovers should you have the hankering for more later.

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S’Mac makes sure to cater to everyone having the option of multigrain and gluten free pasta, as well as reduced lactose and dairy free cheeses as well! And for those who want the full cheese option but are worried about a tummy ache, they offer lact-aid’s at the counter just in case.

As a special secret if you check in at any S’MAC location on foursquare they have different loyalty specials. Including the 25% off for newbies and also 25% off on every 3rd check in for loyal customers. And on every other trip the option of 50% off (max $5 discount). I’ll definitely be going back for all those deals, and to try building my own soon!