Category Archives: random spottings

Gelt Bar

Eat the chocolate, without the guiltIs it Hanukkah yet? It starts next weekend, but I thought it wasn’t too early to feature this Gelt Bar spotted at Goddess and Grocer. No more plastic yellow mesh nets full of milk chocolate “coins” wrapped in a thick gold foil sharp enough to deliver one doozy of a papercut. Anyway, now you can get a whole bar of the stuff, both wrapper-, and apparently gelt-free. Goddess and Grocer, 1646 N. Damen, 773.342.3200

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Mexican Coca-Cola

Mexican Coca-Cola; made with sugar instead of corn syrup

Speaking of Andy (see Eliz-a-bit quote), I meant to put up this shot of a bottle of Coke purchased by my friend from a Brooklyn bodega while I was iin NYC a few weeks ago. He insisted the imported formula, made with sugar, was far superior to the corn syrup-laden stuff we grew up guzzling. While I’m not a soda drinker (maaaybe Sierra Mist from a fast food fountain over ice if I am hungover or sick, maaaybe), all of the stuff tastes like pure sugar to me whether it’s made with well, sugar, or corn syrup. I did detect a crisper taste, with slightly less throat-coating after-taste residue), and I also believe soda (or anything) tastes better in a thick, glass bottle, yet it was still too sweet to finish a whole bottle. Any thoughts on the difference if you’ve tried both versions? Leave them in the comments below.

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Fork-getaboutit

New York silverware skyscrapers

Well, more work travel has caused a bit of a lag on my blogging duties, but never fear, there are more reports from my recent eating adventures in NYC and San Fran to come. I had been meaning to share this window display I spotted in Tribeca at Fish’s Eddy in Union Square/Flatiron (thanks Helen R!)..iconic NYC skyscrapers made entirely of silverware. More cheesy titles welcome in the comments. Fish’s Eddy, 889 Broadway, NYC

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Betty Bakery, Brooklyn

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Buildings reflected in Betty sign

We stumbled upon Betty Bakery in Brooklyn, immediately lured in by the most stunning wedding and b-day cakes I had ever seen. I generically went for a chocolate cupcake for some reason, and while it definitely wasn’t the best I’d ever had, I couldn’t get over the marzipan owls, turkeys and pumpkins, a very cool vintage oven from the ’30s, and the other cakes on display. 448 Atlantic Avenue
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I am sucker for cute and edible figurines.


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Way too pretty to cut.

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Big Bowl bottled ginger ale

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Big Bowl ginger ale in a bottle


While working on a story on the cuisine of Northern China, I had the pleasure of interviewing and getting recipes from Bruce Cost, chef-partner of Lettuce Entertain You’s Asian concepts, including Big Bowl and Wow Bao. He’s a veritable master at Asian cooking, published cookbook author, damn interesting to talk to and all-around nice guy. Anyway, I was very happy to see that Big Bowl is now bottling up his fresh ginger ales, and stocking them near the carry-out section right next to the hibiscus iced tea in a can (I had a hankering for pot stickers and beef lettuce wraps after a quick visit to the Puma store). I loved the label design, and the fact that they are made with natural cane sugar. Anyone know if these are also sold in grocery stores? If not, they, and frozen Wow Bao, need to be. 6 E. Cedar, 312.640.8888

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Dining pods

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Fishing net-inspired seating at Bondi restaurant, San Diego


OK, I know I said I was back to the Chicago-town reporting, but I have been meaning to throw in this shot I took of basket seating areas that hang inside Bondi, an Australian restaurant I stumbled upon in San Diego. Inspired by Aboriginal fishing nets, I was sort of intrigued by the semi-private pods at first, until scary pod scenes from movies like Cocoon began coming to mind. The rest of the restaurant is gorgeous, with dark woods and a blown-glass chandelier, but the net pods, especially the ones that hung from the ceiling were just a little too Killer Klowns from Outer Space for me (sorry, it’s Halloween!). What do you think are some of the best and worst Chicago seating areas/seats? (Me—Best: Violet Hour blue chairs; Worst: the uncomfortable saddle chairs at Cipollina).

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Ghostly meringues

Melting Stay-Puft marshmallow men? Mini Michelin men? Nope, ghostly (and strangely operatic) vanilla meringues spotted at Work of Art Bakery. Happy almost Halloween! 1332 N. Halsted, 312.280.1718

Ghostly meringues at Work of Art

Ghostly meringues at Work of Art

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See’s Candies

See's Candy Kiosk in San Francisco airport

See's Candy Kiosk in San Francisco airport

My infatuation with See’s Candies (namely the shoe box-shaped suckers in flavors like chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla and cafe latte) began when my relatives from San Diego used to pay visits to us in Wisconsin and bring boatloads of suckers, truffles, brittle and more. It was the first candy I had ever had that tasted fresh and homemade, and it totally disrupted any allegiance our young palates had formed for the Hershey’s, Tootsie’s and Reese’s of the world. The candy company originated in Los Angeles in 1921, eventually spread throughout San Francisco in the 30s, and has since become somewhat available throughout the U.S. But I still mostly stock up on the stuff when I’m in Cali-based airports, as I was the past two weekends. They do mail order as well, but the next time you are in a West Coast airport, I highly recommend skipping the U-shaped neck pillows and perfume, and heading straight to the See’s kiosk.
See's Lollipops

See's Lollipops

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