Friday, August 23, 2013

Murray's Cheese Bar

       Last weekend, I had the pleasure of going to Murray's Cheese Bar down in the village. Clearly, I love cheese. You kind of have to to go to this place. For those of you who are not familiar, Murray's has been a staple of Greenwich Village since 1940. Not only does Murray's offer the best variety of specialty cheeses in Manhattan, it also offers other unique foods like honeycomb candy, nuts, chocolates, and more. The shop also has multiple classes that it offers like "The Harmony of Beer and Cheese," "Cheese 101," and "Mozzarella Making," to name a few. They also have clubs such as the Cheese of the Month Club, The Meat of the month club etc, as well as a Cheez-Email you can sign up for.

      The Cheese Bar was opened in 2012, right next door to the shop, and offers only what I can describe as a very unique variety of cheeses or cheese related dishes for brunch, lunch, and dinner. They even offer a "flight of cheese," instead of a "flight of wine." We went for dinner, and as an appetizer we ordered the Buffalo Cheese Curds. My eyes immediately focused on the description as soon as I saw the menu, but the people I was with thought that they sounded weird. I am so happy I went with my gut though, because they were amazing. They are only what I can describe as the love child of a buffalo wing and mozzarella. They even came with the celery and blue cheese dressing to dip. We also ordered the Queso Fundido which as they describe on the menu is " Mexico's answer to fondue," aka three types of goat cheeses melted with chorizo, tomato, jalapeƱo, and tortilla chips. Delicious. I made sure we scraped up every last drop. That is how good it was.

      The grand finale, otherwise known as the main course, was grilled cheese with bacon and tomato soup. On the menu it is called "The Melt." I do not know what was in that grilled cheese, because they do not say what kind of cheese they used on the menu, but it was perhaps the most delicious grilled cheese I have ever experienced, and not just because I typically make myself "diet" grilled cheeses with light bread and fat free cheese at home. The cheese was perfectly melted, the bread thick, and the bacon crisp. The only part of the meal I didn't love, was the tomato soup. The soup wasn't bad, but it was nothing to rave about. We did not have any room left for the cheesy desserts offered, which was sad, but the one I had my eye on was the grilled bread cheese with dulce de lechwe and rosemary. Oh we'll, there is always next time.

      In conclusion, I am happy that there is a restaurant in NYC that understands the importance of cheese in the way that I do. So, if you want a place that validates your love for cheese, and provides a cute, cozy atmosphere, I definitely recommend you check it out. Just make sure to exercise and stick to a low-fat diet for at least a week after to help your arteries recover.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Cronut


      Have you heard about the cronut? It is a combination of two of the greatest baked goods on the planet, a donut and a croissant. Chef Dominique Ansel, of the Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho strongly believed that these two unbelievable baked goods would be even more unbelievable if their genes were crossed and they had a baby together. That- or he didn't have room in his stomach for both (wimp). He was right though........some things are better together!
       The catch (obviously, there has to be a catch) is that the bakery only makes about 300 cronuts a day. People stand in line for HOURS to get these exclusive treats, and if you do manage to get to the front of the line, they will only let you buy 2 max. That is a big IF by the way.
         I originally read about the cronut craze in the New York Times, and then listened to Kelly Ripa talk about them on Kelly and Michael (back when I had time to watch tv.....I miss it so much).  They definitely intrigued me, but not enough to stand on a line for 3 hours. I figured that I would try one when the craze died down and/or other places started making copy-cat versions.
      Last week, however, someone posted an article on facebook about Dunkin Donuts releasing a copy cronut. I immediately sent the article to Matt, telling him that finally, finally our day had come. Unfortunately, Matt had to crush my excitement when he pointed out that I had become overly excited too fast, and had neglected to read the entirety of the article. As it turns out (which I would have known if I had continued reading), Dunkin Donuts is releasing a version of the cronut, HOWEVER, they are only releasing it in Seoul, South Korea and the Philippines. So sad :(
      Anyway, toward the end of the week, I was sulking about working at the hospital over the weekend, so Matt tried to cheer me up by telling me that he would get me any special treat that I wanted. Half-joking, half-testing the truthfulness of his statement I said "you can stand on line in Soho and get me a cronut." All I wanted him to say was "I would be happy to," and I would have said "I am only kidding, I would never make you do that." Matt, however, told me that I was crazy and that no baked good was worth waiting 3 hours in line for." That was not the answer I wanted to hear, and I proceeded to guilt trip him until he agreed to do it. Then of course I told him not to be silly, that I would never actually make him stand on that line for hours. Clearly, I drive him crazy.
      Matt (in his quest for husband of the year), however, did get up at 7am on Sunday and wait in line for 3 hours to get me a cronut. Some of my guilt was absolved by the fact that he was able to purchase two of them, so he was also able to enjoy one as well. Even if he could only get one, I would have shared mine with him (in case you were wondering). Anyway, the cronut was even better than I ever could have dreamed, but it is very hard to describe. The outside is like a donut, fried with hard frosting on top, the inside flaky and delicious like a croissant with creme filling.

      Some interesting things to note, are one, the bakery puts out only 1 flavor of cronuts each month. Last month was chocolate blueberry, and this month was coconut. While I like coconut, I was grateful that the coconut creme in the middle was very subtle and not overwhelming. In fact, if I could alter the cronut in any way, I would get rid of the creme altogether as the inside is so flaky and delicious on its own. The creme almost takes away from that, which is not what you want when you have waited on line for three hours for a baked good. 
      Two, there is a black market for the cronut. Matt said there was a group of people who were at the front of the line, bought two donuts each, and then tried to sell them for $30 outside of the bakery. Craziness! What is even crazier is that people actually bought them for $30.
      Three, if you know in advance that you want to try a cronut and do not want to wait in line, you can pre-order them 1 month in advance. To do that you must call the bakery at 2122192773 on Monday mornings only. You can also call and place a large order (which gets you around the two per person limit) by emailing them at and specify the preferred date/time you would like the cronuts, the number of cronuts, and your phone number. Large orders are done on a first come first basis. While the cronut was absolutely delicious, I would recommend obtaining one by pre order or large order, because as Matt said originally "no baked good is worth waiting three hours in line for." Sorry Matt, you still get husband of the year though, and isn't that what counts the most?