Brown Butter Almond Brittle Ice Cream

1954 Hillhurst Avenue

Last night, after a casual dinner in Silver Lake, my friend Bill and I drove over to Jeni's for ice cream. (Getting ice cream after dinner is such a nice thing to do with friends.) Bill is the one who introduced me to Jeni's and it's the best I've had.

I admire the integrity of their ingredients. They don't use emulsifiers or stabilizers in their products, so it never tastes too sweet or artificial. To boot, they have the most creative array of flavors: Juniper & Lemon Curd, Genmaicha & Marshmallows, Cocoa Curry Coco... And they debut a new collection of flavors every season. A small order at Jeni's ($5) gives you two scoops of any flavor. You also have your choice of a cup, a sugar cone, a cake cone or–for an extra dollar–a waffle cone.

I almost always stick to my favorite one: Brown Butter Almond Brittle, a buttercream base laden with crunchy chunks of almond brittle. The honeyed, buttery, nutty notes of the brittle go so well with the creamy tang of buttercream. It's for us "plain vanilla" fans who want to take a walk on the wild side. My usual order is the small–with both scoops being the same flavor–in a cake cone, which I then eat with a spoon. (The only other flavor I've considered is the Goat Cheese with Red Cherries but haven't pulled the trigger on it yet.)

"I'm surprised they even offer cake cones," I noted, as we happily ate our ice cream on the drive back to his place. "They're a dying breed of ice cream vessels."

"Children like them," Bill replied, as he crunched down on his sugar cone.

"I love them," I said, scraping my spoon around the scoop of ice cream, "They're my favorite. I like their plainness. And the compartments around the top... Such a good design feature! Every bite of cone has ice cream encased inside."

"I've never seen someone order an ice cream cone and eat it with a spoon before," he pointed out, glancing over at me as he switched lanes, "But, of course, you'd do that. That doesn't surprise me."

"My teeth are sensitive," I explained, "And I use the back of the spoon to pack the ice cream into the cone compartments as I go."

Ice cream. It's serious business. I bet Jeni's would tell you that.



The New York City Dinner Party Scene

New York City might be filled with some of the best and trendiest restaurants in the world, but an invitation to a dinner party in a private home is the kind of thing you dream of. Why? As a singleton, it's really the best way to meet new friends. Dinner party guests are more often than not the cream of the crop out of the host's/hostess' social circle. 

My apartment is sadly not designed for entertaining a dinner party, so I feel like a lucky girl when I'm welcomed into someone's home. These invitations come by-way of friends, acquaintances, or even through people that I've met years ago and somehow I made it into their circulation. In any case, it always makes me feel honored. Attending a nice dinner party is a way more meaningful night than staying in bed and eating Greek yogurt, that's for sure. (Although, I wouldn't dare knock that, seeing as how I'm currently in my bed, digging into a little container of Fage Total 2% with Strawberry in between thoughts.)

Every dinner party has been memorable in one way or another. I once attended one on the Lower East Side where "dessert" was quite the spectacle. The hostess built an edible Empire State Building creation from store-bought pound cakes and spackled loads of homemade frosting to stick the blocks of cake together while everyone had a post-meal mingle. So imaginative.

Here's a video I made of a recent dinner party at a beautiful apartment in West Chelsea:



And here's a little peek at one that I attended a few months ago in SoHo:

Click through the slideshow for captions.

He Gets Me, He Gets Me Not...

Deep-fried strawberry pies from Town Line BBQ in the Hamptons

Being the young girly-girl I was ten years ago, I thought I had discovered a crafty way to find out how my then-boyfriend perceived me. So, I asked him: "If I were a food, what would I be?" I was hoping that he'd tell me that I was a decadent Viennese chocolate torte. Layers upon layers of cake and hazelnut buttercream... Covered with a glossy coat of dark chocolate... And topped with a gold-leaf garnish! You know, an exquisite creation of that sort.

To my dismay, he replied: "You'd be a chicken pot pie."  

A chicken pot pie? A chicken pot pie??? Excuse me? I couldn't believe that he thought of me as something so ordinary and pedestrian and... Blah. Gee, thanks. I crossed my arms and waited for an explanation. 

"You're a chicken pot pie because you look like any other sweet pie on the outside," he said, "But, on the inside, it gets more complicated. You're not one of those sweet pies. You have chunks of chicken, potatoes, peas, carrots... And gravy."

I was taken aback. He nailed it. I don't think I could've done a better job summing my own self up into a nutshell. (Or, a pie shell, rather.) It was incredibly flattering. The thing about chicken pot pies is this: They have substance.


Ralph Lauren Sleep Shirts

One of my favorite parts about having a slumber party at Ashley's is borrowing a sleep shirt from her collection of Ralph Lauren ones. I always bring my own sleepwear and yet I always end up wanting to borrow one anyhow. 

They're oversized in just the right way–they hit right above the knee and look as though you've borrowed it from your man. And something about that embroidered logo crest makes you feel regal and important, even though all you're doing is brushing your teeth and getting ready for bed. 

Pajama parties at Ashley's are truly a cause to celebrate pajamas. Our usual routine involves ordering burgers and fries, opening up a bottle of red, and splitting a milkshake for dessert. After a little bit of gossip, we turn in before the clock strikes 11 p.m.