And make these brownies. Sorry for the teaser title but these brownies are showstopping. And heart stopping. In every way.
Adapted from howsweeteats
1 stick butter
1 cup 2 tbsp sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cocoa powder
2/3 cups chocolate chips (optional)
2/3 cups creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 3/4 cups crushed pretzel sticks
6 tablespoons butter, melted
Make a crust with crushed pretzels and melted butter, press it into a prepared 8×8 pan.
Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, and salt) and carefully spread over prepared pretzel crust. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Just before brownies are done, melt peanut butter in a bowl and combine with powdered sugar. Take brownies out of the oven and pour the peanut butter mixture over them. Wait as long as you can for the brownies to come to room temperature and eat.
I realize that these brownies probably look like poop casserole but hopefully the conspicuous amount missing from the pan is testament enough to their overwhelming, life-ruining deliciousness. ‘Cause this brownie is a life ruiner. It ruins peoples’ lives.
More updates to come in the near future, stay tuned.
Dead Week and Finals Week – Lived off Sarpino’s, the occasional dining hall meal, minimal sleep.
Last day of Spring Quarter- Paris Club and Aviary
Awesome awesome. We started with a bottle of Reisling, croque monsieur fingers, and a foie gras and short rib terrine. (A terrine is a sort of roughly blended mixture of meat, not unlike a pate, refrigerated in a mold.) I had duck confit with dried cherries for my main. The dining area is very open and efficiently packed, sort of like Cafe Iberico but more reserved and less chintzy. Dinner was wonderful, the food was delicious – a perfect way to begin an evening out. Come here with people who make you laugh.
The one gripe I have was that the waitress inspected our ID’s for about a minute each – long enough to put me on edge as to whether she intended to eject my of-age friends from the establishment. To be fair, this should probably be registered as more of a nota bene than gripe, as I’ve often been told I don’t look a day over 20. I can’t really hold the scrutiny against her.
Afterward, we took a cab to Aviary for drinks. When we arrived, there was one table available for our group of four – a standing table, by the kitchen. We ordered a round – a Ginger, a Root Beer, a Rooibos, and a Blueberry, and a few selections from the “bites” menu. Watching the mixologists work in the kitchen was engaging and the source of much speculation, but standing for 90 minutes did end up being a bit of a bother. The presentations were fun and though I didn’t think any of the drinks were blow-your-socks-off amazing (though I admittedly don’t know a whole lot about cocktails, and in retrospect am worried that my experience may have spoiled me for bars in the future), for under $20 a drink, it’s easily justifiable for a night out and has wide appeal to all types of drinkers (unless you plan on getting blitzed, I guess.)
The next morning, I flew to London. I am told the food has improved over the past few years. Most of it was good. We did eat at La Petit Maison (on Gwyneth Paltrow’s recommendation) which was very good. The pork belly and lamb stand out in my mind as being especially great, the treatment of the proteins and vegetable accompaniments was technically flawless. Each course was flavorful and well balanced – after the mains arrived, the table fell quiet so we could taste each bite properly.
Norway was okay. We stayed on the Queen Mary 2. The food we actually ate in Norway was forgettable, though favorites include smoked salmon and pancakes with raspberry jam and sour cream. The food on the ship was very good, though almost all of the menu items seemed to be fairly standard luxury cruise fare (read: generic “fancy food.”)
I give the country of Norway three stars:
When I arrived back home (after a brief interlude in LA for my cousin’s wedding), I immediately set to work undoing the damage I had done to myself over 3 quarters of school and 2 weeks of indulging in Europe. I followed a raw food diet for about a week and gradually adjusted to a less extreme “healthy” meal plan consisting of low sodium soups, salads, health bars, and snacking on fruits and vegetables. (With the exception of a few allowances for baking extremely fattening desserts, namely, Crack Pie and Better-Than-Crack Brownies.) I combined this diet with working out 5x a week (note to self: difficult to adopt strict workout routine on a raw food diet) and went from running barely a mile before collapsing to completing a 10k less than 3 weeks after my return.
And now it is the last day of July and I have just finished summarizing the last two months of my adventures in eating. From here, I will likely post simple lunch and dinner ideas/recipes, which may be worth revisiting when I am back in Chicago for the school year. It’s great to be home and have such a bounty of fresh produce within arms reach, but a part of me still misses the Chicago restaurant scene. I will post about eating adventures here if I come across any of note (SF Street Food Festival on Aug. 20th, perhaps?) but any food writing ideas are welcome.
Happy summer. Go eat a peach and bask in the sun.
PS, If you do feel like staying in, here are two highly recommended recipes I have test driven in the past week for you to try your hand at: http://momofukufor2.com/2010/02/momofuku-milk-bar-crack-pie-recipe/ and http://www.howsweeteats.com/2010/08/better-than-crack-brownies/.
Bonjour Bakery and Cafe
Good fresh bread, even better fresh and slathered with some fresh butter and sea salt or goat cheese. Pastries are good but expensive.
The French bread here has a finer crumb, which makes it better for cooking with in many recipes (brioche for bread pudding, sliced baguette for crostini, etc).
One of the few safe places to sit down and have a good meal in Hyde Park. (An exaggeration, but not by much) Staff is friendly and accommodating, I believe the restaurant is family owned. The Jap Chae is a good bet, as are the hot soups. Marginally more expensive than most Asian restaurants in Hyde Park, but markedly better. Comforting food well prepared.
Cedars Mediterranean Kitchen
Overall, disappointing. Hyde Park’s attempt at a mid-range “Mediterranean” attempts to make up for in ambiance what it lacks in originality and quality of ingredients. The dishes I’ve sampled have been hit-or-miss, but there is better, cheaper food to be found at the Nile.
I went here for dinner last spring quarter, I will never come back. The “Asian fusion” concept is poorly executed in every sense. The decor and layout are tacky and impractical, and the food is uninspired and in some cases highly contrived. The reason I have a hard time liking Asian fusion restaurants is that so many times the product of the fusion ends up being a compromise of the originals rather than an innovative and nuanced approach to an old classic. Noodles Etc’s attempt at a trendy, mid-range fusion restaurant is no better than most cheaper restaurants in Hyde Park.
Edwardo’s Natural Pizza
Edwardo’s offers inconsistent food and consistent poor service. Giordano’s has better pizza, service, and atmosphere, though it’s farther from the quad. Either way, the only time I eat deep dish is when I’m going to dinner with friends from out of town, in which case I have better things to do than watch servers argue with each other and ignore patrons for 90 minutes.
A must. Sometimes the quality of the meat is poor, but apparently they have a 7 day return policy (?!) so I guess if you want to, you can ask for a new one. Or just shell out another $3.51 and wait 10 minutes for a second half dark meal if you’re too embarrassed to ask for a refund. Perfect when paired with a crisp champagne.
A note: everyone has their own preferences when it comes to ordering Harold’s. I usually go with the half dark fried hard mild sauce salt and pepper.
The University of Chicago is bringing Clarke’s restaurant, a 24-hour Chicago-area diner, to 53rd Street in Hyde Park…
…Scheduled to open later this year, Clarke’s will offer a wide variety of menu choices, including specialty salads, stir-fry dishes, sandwiches and a host of additional breakfast, lunch and dinner items. The restaurant addresses a longstanding interest among students and other community members for more late-night options.
All I have to say about this is… YES!
This definitely beats trying to stay up until 5:30AM to eat at Valois. Plus, sweet potato fries are delicious at all times of day, but especially between the hours of 1 and 4 AM.
More updates to come after I escape my 6th week black hole of midterms (workload reached critical mass yesterday). Check Wednesday afternoon for a new post.
Where I’ll be this Friday for lunch, after a trip to the Art Institute.
I’ll post a review after I go, of course, but just in case anyone reading is planning on making a run downtown this week.
Mmm… lobster avocado club.