Archive for June, 2009

Fanny & Jane @ Williamsburg Flea!

June 28, 2009

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The rain let up, and the sun decided to grant us this day of warmth and sunshine.  Thank you, sun!  Not to complain, believe me, I’m grateful for the clear skies, but maybe next time not so warm, sun?  Something in the 70s with a breeze would be nice.  Sincerely, Faryn.

To celebrate this sunny Sunday, come join Jen and I at the Williamsburg Flea Market!  This has been an exciting week for Fanny & Jane: Wednesday we debuted carrot cake cake bites at the PIT, and today, we’re rolling out our cart of sweets and selling brownies, cookies, bars and  cake bites!  With special guest, our good friend and fellow blogger, Marina, selling a refreshing watermelon beverage.  So, if you’re in the New York area today, come out and play!  I hear this flea market features bocce ball, musical performances, and sometimes puppets.  ‘S all I’m sayin’.

We’ll be at:

Wythe Ave. between S. 2nd and S. 3rd Street

10am-6pm

www.williamsburgfleamarket.com

photo from williamsburgfleamarket.com

photo from williamsburgfleamarket.com

Cakebites To The People

June 27, 2009

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This week has been pretty nuts preparing for a busy Fanny & Jane weekend (as I’m writing this, I’m actually covered in flour and cookie dough – not really, but funny image, eh?), so I haven’t had the chance to post these photos until just now.  The wonderful and dessert-craving people of the PIT helped make our Fanny & Jane public cake bite debut a huge success this past Wednesday night!  The comedy theatre was packed throughout the evening.  It was fun to meet new people and introduce them to our cake bites, and the friends who have been following my and Jen’s blogs were excited to try what we’ve been writing about.  We even had our own unsolicited barkers promoting our sweets, “Cake bites!  Getcher cake bites here!”, like in the ol timey days.   Jen and I were quite spoiled – our Fanny & Jane public debut, and our customers were some of the funniest people we know.  Thanks for all the support, PITizens.  We plan to bring more cake bites to the theatre this Wednesday for round 2, but we’ll share time & flavor details soon!

A Whole New Truck

June 25, 2009
photograph by: Melissa Hom

photograph by: Melissa Hom

There’s a new truck in town.  But this one’s not your usual sweets n cupcakes trucks that we New Yorkers have been getting used to lately.  It’s charting some brand new food territory.  Yes, we now have a burger truck.  Officially titled, La Cense Beef Truck (I personally would’ve liked “Meats On The Streets Truck” or even “Brakes for Burgers Truck”.  Yes, I’m available for hire if you want someone to name your truck).

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to keep all these new meals on wheels straight!  For everyone’s sake, whadaya say to a little truck review?  Here’s what we’re working with so far, New York:

*Vinny Vincenz Pizza Truck – no twitter, but here’s some info.

*Big Gay Ice Cream Truck – their twitter and blog.

*Kogi Truck – apparently it’ll be officially open by the end of the summer? Here’s some info.

*Cupcake Stop – their twitter and website.

*Dessert Truck – their twitter and website.

*Treats Truck – no twitter, but here’s their website.

*Street Sweets – their twitter and website.

Welcome to the neighborhood, beef truck!

Have you seen a new truck around?  Tell me about it!

Glass Shop

June 25, 2009
photograph by: Roxana Marroquin

photograph by: Roxana Marroquin

On my way into the city this past Sunday afternoon, to catch a friend’s  first (yay!) improv show (really?? a live comedy show at 1:15 on a Sunday?), I decided to stop into yet another new cafe that just sprout up in my neighborhood.  I’d been wanting to try it ever since I read their little blurb in Time Out New York.  A mere block away, and started by the owner of favorite neighborhood speakeasy, Weather Up?  Why, I’m there faster than you can order an iced soy chai latte!  I don’t quite know what I was expecting, but once there, I was a little surprised by the bare set-up: some concrete and unfinished walls, exposed wires, dusty floors, looked like a cafe, mid-construction.  Maybe it is.  It is after all brand new.  But I did enjoy the fanciful pencil-sketched doodles of flowers and vines adorning one of the walls, and I’m always a sucker for white subway tile, which was outlining the barista counter, and the barista behind said counter had one of those European accents and scruffy beards, which was also quite enjoyable.  And despite the “raw” look of the place, it was packed with your usual crowd of Sunday cafe patrons, enjoying their paper and espresso.  I ordered an iced coffee and a croissant to go- which I found out, they get all their pastries from Joyce Bakeshop, another neighborhood favorite of mine! (are you sensing a theme?  To say I like neighborhood cafes is an understatement).  When I’ve got my next good book to read, or a few minutes to spare on a crossword, I plan to go back and spend some more time there soon.

By the way, the place is called Glass Shop.

Actor Needed For Emotional Role – One Day High Pay

June 24, 2009
found on sachman75's photostream on flickr

found on sachman75's photostream on flickr

The following Craigslist gem of a job offer was e-mailed to me yesterday.  Thank you.

Date: 2009-04-17, 12:52PM

My deceased aunt gave my two kids a Cocker Spaniel a few months back. The dog has been a terror and become overwhelming for me. I am a single father raising two young children. I cannot face telling the kids that the dog must go. I have found a good home for the dog, and just need someone to transport the dog, and play the villain.*

Premise: You will be the dog walker hired by daddy (me) to walk Skittles. I will introduce you to the kids, and you will tell them you are going to help Skittles get her exercise when Daddy is too busy to walk her. At that point you will walk Skittles to your car and take her to her new family 20 minutes from my place. Then return holding just a leash. The story will be that Skittles broke free of the leash and took off. At this point prepare for crying, things being thrown at you, and possibly cursing. My kids are young and dramatic, their girls.

Pay will be $500. The job will take roughly 2 hours at best.

This job is ideal for an actor looking to diversify their role base, or someone who genuinely likes to make children cry. Acting experience is a plus, but not necessary. Please inform me of any prior experience in this kind of situation.

*”…play the villain.” That is my favorite part.

Fanny & Jane @ The Pit Today!

June 24, 2009

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Come and get ’em!  I am so excited to announce that Jen and I will be selling our cake bites in Manhattan tonight!  For the first time ever, these sweets are available to the general public.  That sounds so hokey, “the general public”, but it’s actually true!  Up until this point, all Fanny & Jane orders have been placed by supportive and loving friends ‘n’ family for birthday parties, mother’s day brunches, or 1st communions, but tonight, you will find the two of us standing proudly behind a table and selling homemade cake bites to whoever wants some.

This is especially meaningful for us because we’re popping our proverbial cake bite-selling cherry, if you will, at The PIT, a downtown New York theatre that feels like a home to us.  It is at this comedy theatre where Harvard Sailing Team, the sketch comedy group that Jen and I are 2/9 of,  have performed our Saturday night show for what seems like forever!  In addition to being a great space to perform and hang out in, it is a community of supportive, enthusiastic and talented comedians/writers/photographers, whom I’ve been so happy to get to know over the years.  I couldn’t be more thrilled for our cake bites to make their first “public appearance” at The PIT.  And to bring the two worlds together – sweet treats and comedy – is very heartwarming for us.  And what can I say?  It just feels right.

Oh, and as a bonus, ALL improv shows at The PIT tonight are FREE!  You can tell I’m serious by my caps lock.  For a special treat, stop by at 9pm to SEE JEN PERFORM with her riotously funny improv group, The Baldwins!  She’s wearing two hats tonight, ladies and gentleman.  Well, not so much “hats”.  More like, an apron and a…clown nose?  Wocka wocka.

Stop on by, we’d love to see your faces…covered in chocolate and cake.  We will be selling our cake bites all night, or until we sell out, starting at 6:30ish in the lobby of the PIT – 154 W. 29th st. btwn. 6th and 7th ave.

Friends and Ribs

June 22, 2009

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On Friday night, after a full exhausting day of dipping cake bites for a Fanny & Jane order, I found myself at the most unlikely, yet rewarding, place: Dallas BBQ.  For those of you unfamiliar, Dallas BBQ is a chain barbecue restaurant that claims to be New York’s Most Popular Rotisserie, known for their Texas Size “Famous” Frozen Drinks (it’s alll on the website, people).  When I was in college, the biggest draw was definitely their pina coladas and margaritas served in goblets the size of your head.  All you have to do is walk by the restaurant, see these goblets, and you know that this place is something special.  For whatever reason – call it nostalgia, irony, or a craving for massive amounts of meat – Dallas BBQ was the chosen dining destination for my friends’ birthday dinner.

There was a big group of us, as we were celebrating 3 birthdays that all fall within days of each other, so we were seated in the larger dining room downstairs.  The place was packed.  Every table full with strangers (naturally) who were soon to become great great friends.  To try and paint a complete picture of what followed, I could tell you that there was drinking, and chanting like at a sporting event, and several all-encompassing-dining-room-bonding speeches, but I think it’s best to just watch this:

How did this happen?? We didn’t know these people.  This wasn’t some family Thanksgiving dinner.  This was Dallas BBQ on 23rd street!  And our charismatic friend, Chris, clinked his goblet, made a speech to the room, and everyone went crazy for it.  Call it a dionysian party, a room full of random excitable people at a barbecue joint, fate, or what you will.  But this birthday dinner left us all in stitches.  And just in case you were wondering, the celebrations didn’t end with that speech.  Chris’ address to the room inspired other tables to stand up and make speeches, to which we all went appropriately nuts for.  After that came chants of “U.S.A.!” and then “B.B.Q.!”, and finally a farewell song to each table when they left (“na na na na, hey-ey-ey, go-ood bye”).

We didn’t exchange numbers or e-mails with any of our new BBQ friends, but if there is justice in this world, destiny will bring us all back together for round two.

Hello, Little Lady

June 20, 2009

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And then, there was white chocolate.  Jen and I are back on the baking bandwagon after taking a brief break to work on some other business elements of Fanny & Jane.  But now we are back in the kitchen, and gettin down and dirty.  Not actual “dirty”.  More like, frosting and chocolate dirty.

An order came in for our classic dark chocolate-covered red velvet cake bites, and the customer requested we dip them in white chocolate instead of dark.  Jen and I had been talking about expanding our line of cake bites, so we excitedly accepted this opportunity!  I’d also been eager to get to know white chocolate a little better, since it’s a whole different beast – in taste and texture – than it’s darker counterpart.  Above are a couple photos of our first foray into white-chocolate dipping.  It was a fun challenge to work with white chocolate, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw some more white chocolate appearances in our sweets in the future!

Don’t Rain On My Cupcake-arade

June 19, 2009

Please pardon the ridiculous title of this entry.  I’ve got a full day of baking ahead of me, and I’m feelin’ a little loopy.

the cupcake stop - the newest dessert truck in town

the cupcake stop - the newest dessert truck in town

rainy day = no line!

rainy day = no line!

a few of their wares

a few of their wares

(sorry for the shoddy picture quality – I only had my phone on me).

Several of my friends (mostly Jen) are lamenting the loss of summer these days – yesterday was yet another yucky rainy day in the city.  The upside is, I don’t mind going into my office job as much on rainy days.  But on sunny days, I feel like jumping out the window and running until I hit a park…or a frozen yogurt place.

Another upside to rainy days is that, apparently, people wanna give you stuff.  Like the newest dessert truck in town, the Cupcake Stop .  Because Fanny & Jane follows them on Twitter, I was in on the secret that they were having a rainy day special yesterday: free mini cupcake if you mention this tweet before noon!  SCORE!  Normally those mini cupcakes are a buck.  I’d been wanting to try this truck for a little while, and now I was given the perfect excuse.  (One thing to know about me, if you don’t already, I love free stuff).  Now, what I’ve found to be part of the fun of this whole recent dessert truck craze, is hunting them down.  Their location changes daily, sometimes hourly, so it’s always a little bit of a thrill when you’ve spotted one.  The stars must have been aligned yesterday, because not only was the Cupcake Stop offering this sweet little deal, but they also Tweeted their location.  And wouldn’t ya know it?  They happened to be parked Two. Blocks. Away. From. My. Office.  Thank you, Dessert Gods.

It was 11:37am.  I had 23 minutes left to cash in!  I slinked out of my office chair, prepped my umbrella, and mysteriously alerted my co-workers, “I’ll be right back”.  I saw the truck in the distance, like a little beacon of light in an otherwise gloomy-as-heck day, and I had the good fortune of being the only moron willing to brave the rain for a free mini cupcake, so there was no line!  I walked right up to the window: I’m here for a free mini cupcake because of your twitter.  I felt like a total loser saying that sentence, but hey, I’m not above doing stupid stuff for free dessert.  I was overwhelmed by the yummy flavors. So I decided to ask the nice gentleman behind the window (one of my favorite and most-oft asked questions): What’s your favorite?  And he handed me this little guy…

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Oreo crumb.  Sounds good!  

 And since I was curious, I asked the guy how many other people had cashed in on this Twitter-rainy-day-free-mini special.  He told me I was the 14th person.  I was pretty surprised by that number.  So I guess there were 13 other morons before me who were also following the Cupcake Stop on Twitter and willing to brave the rain for a free mini.  Interesting.  It’s really fascinating to see how new small businesses are using these social networking websites to their advantage for marketing and advertising purposes.  It’s smart and apparently it works – hey, it got me out in the rain!  Something to think about for Fanny & Jane.

In terms of the cupcake, it was really good!  Definitely moist, which I like.  And bite-sized, which is fun and easy to finish before you get back to the office.  If I go back, I’ll for sure want to try another flavor, maybe red velvet.  Coincidentally, Jen also blogged about the Cupcake Stop recently!  And fortunately for all of us, she ordered 3 different flavors, and wrote detailed accounts about each of them.

Three And A Half Years: Part II

June 18, 2009
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straightened my hair - oo la la

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complimentary glasses of prosecco!

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our friend, dan, the waiter!

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plate-o prosciutto

plate-o prosciutto

Fortunato Brothers - italian bakery

Fortunato Brothers - italian bakery

marzipan bonanza!

marzipan bonanza!

As promised, here are photos from last night’s pizza dinner.  Not until I was uploading these did I realize that we didn’t take any photos of the actual pizza!  It was honestly too delicious to stop chewing, wipe the marinara from my fingers, and whip out the camera.  I guess I could have taken a picture of the slices I wrapped up to go, but what’s the fun in photographing leftovers?  Instead, I will leave you with a descriptive recap of Motorino’s pizza experience, and let you conjure up an image in your head:

Fresh from the oven, the pizzas arrived at our table, literally dominating the entire plate.  These things were large and undoubtedly in charge.  Beautiful disks of white fresh mozarella, sitting atop a warm blanket of sweet marinara and drizzled Italian olive oil.  And the dough?  Don’t even get me started – soft and fluffy, with bubbles made black from the wood-burning oven.  It seemed like each slice went on for miles, still I savored every bite.  I have nothing but praise to sing of these pizza pies.

I hope that description ties you over until you get to have your own hands-on Motorino experience.  (In the interest of full disclosure, I ordered the Margherita DOC and David got the Soppressata Piccante, and we split a plate of prosciutto).

David and I had a lovely time.  And the staff was delightful!  The owner (and/or chef…I’m assuming?) came over at the beginning of our meal, exuberantly congratulated us (the way only real Italians do) on our anniversary, and insisted that we have something to toast with.  He happily poured us each a glass of delicious bubbly prosecco on the house, and shared with us that he just celebrated his 1-year anniversary.  I think he thought we were a married couple…ruh roh.

After dinner David and I were absolutely stuffed, but being now that I’m “in the biz” (that “biz” being the bakery business), I’m making it my personal responsibility to seek out new dessert places at every chance I get.  Tough gig, right?  Fortunately, I got a tip from one of my co-workers, who, when she found out I was going to be in that area of Williamsburg, insisted that I check out Fortunato Brothers.  Well, I wasn’t about to pass up such an enthusiastic recommendation.  And even though we were too full of pizza to even dream about dessert, I’m glad we stopped in.  Fortunato Brothers is an Italian cafe and pasticceria that is best described by New York Magazine as a place where, “If Tony Soprano lived in Brooklyn, this is the bakery where he’d pick up a box of cannoli for Uncle Junior.”  It was everything I wanted it to be – old men sitting outside and bickering in Italian, and all!  While I’m not a huge fan of marzipan (that’s more my Uncle Marcel’s territory) the impressive array of artfully crafted marzipan made to look like eggplant/corn/tomato/an apple with a worm crawling out of it,  is well worth the trip.

I don’t often find myself in an Italian bakery – I’m more of a cupcake/chocolate chip cookie/key lime pie kinda girl – but being in Fortunatos re-opened my eyes to all of the bakery possibilities that Jen and I have in front of us while we imagine our own space for Fanny & Jane.  Fortunately, we live in New York, where we have the opportunity to visit every kind of bakery imaginable, from mochi balls in Chinatown to jamaican buns in Crown Heights – we’re not lacking for dessert variety.  It’s just very exciting (and frankly, at times, intimidating) to imagine our place in all of it.

David, thanks for a lovely anniversary!