Shake Shack

So I was writing my Maui post, thinking about how I should have taken my camera to Chicago so I could have done a proper Chicago post, when it occurred to me I never posted about the second part of my New York trip! Clearly need to get better about posting on time. I did a NY post on the sweeter side of life on Laduree and Levain Bakery but never posted all my savoury food pictures! So much like in real life I started with dessert and will now do the meal. Behold.

 

MURRAY’S CHEESE BAR:

 

Murray's Cheese Bar

Murray’s Cheese Shop

Murray's Cheese Shop

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How wonderful is the idea of a cheese bar. Like an establishment cheese lovers can go to and just binge-eat cheese, with cheese on everything, where you can get cheese-wasted. And it’s all ages! Cheese-drunkenness for all. Not only that but Murray’s Cheese Shop (the shop not the bar) is immediately next door and they have a very wide variety of cheese (as well as all the other accoutrements that go well with cheese) plus are very generous with their samples. The perfect place to go shopping for a picnic really. Or for dining with the vegetarian that is decidedly not lactose intolerant.

 

Murray's Cheese Bar

Menu

Murray's Cheese Bar

Menu

 

APPETIZER: We started with the Burrata, crispy artichoke and grilled bread:. The burrata was magical really, a pillow of fresh mozzarella filled with creamy burrata goodness inside. The bread and the artichoke were the perfect accompaniments but what really made this dish was the drizzle of basil olive oil on the burrata. Could eat this forever and ever.

 

Murray's Cheese Bar

Burrata, crispy artichoke and griled bread

 

ENTREE: For entrees we decided to share two dishes. Note this was not lunch or dinner, it was a “We have not eaten anything all day and must eat or ultimately perish meal, even though its 3 o clock and we are eating Brazilian BBQ in 3 hours. Oh well”. The Murray’s Melt was quite stellar as well. This features their “secret blend of cheeses” on thick-cut Pullman bread with a cup of smoky tomato bisque. Really good grilled cheese. My sister loved it and she probably eats grilled cheeses every day of her life / always orders it at restaurants so this is quite the seal of approval as she is probably a world-class connoisseur on the subject. Then again it is hard for grilled cheeses to really suck. I really liked the tomato soup and the puffy little cheese crouton on it.

 

Murray's Cheese Bar

Murray’s Melt

 

We also ordered the Mac & Cheese which has another secret or non-specified “Our blend of four dreamy cheeses” and is topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. For me mac and cheeses can be really hit or miss and even though they are super simple in general tend to find that most restaurants can really screw it up with too-dry or too-greasy or too-congealed mac and cheese. This was none of those things. Reveal to me your mysterious blend of dream-inducing cheeses Murray.

 

Murray's Cheese Bar

Mac and Cheese

 

Lastly we topped off our pseudo-linner with their Goat’s Milk Cheesecake. It came with figs and a dried fig cookie crust and it was divine but I have no pictures of it because (as often happens with the dessert course in this blog) I got too excited and forgot to halt my family’s eating to get a picture of it. It was quite tasty though and like everything else we got I recommend it.

 

Murray's Cheese Bar

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Murray's Cheese Bar

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CHECK:
Burrata with grilled bread $14
Murray’s Melt $12
Mac and Cheese $12
Goat’s Milk Cheesecake $8
TOTAL (w/ tax) $50.14

 

Murray’s Cheese Bar
264 Bleecker Street
(between Leroy and Morton)
New York, NY 10014
646-476-8882
http://www.murrayscheesebar.com/

 
 
 

SHAKE SHACK:

 

Ahh Shake Shack. You know I have probably been to New York at least 15 times in my life and had until this point never tried Shake Shack. Although I am a die-hard West Coaster for life (awkwardly and imaginarily throws up “W” gang sign with right hand) I am always secretly proud when I fool people into thinking I am a New Yorker; especially when on the way to the JFK airport cab drivers ask me things like if I am traveling for work or for fun to California as “I can tell you’re not a tourist”. Ha. Well to be fair I have an encyclopedia-like knowledge of places to eat in NY and the numbered streets and avenues make it the only place I can easily navigate with my impaired sense of direction. Also, I wear A LOT of black. Anyways, my New Yorker impersonation sham always comes to a screeching halt when I reveal I have never tried Shake Shack. Clearly you cannot live in the city and never have paid your respects to this storied burger-slinging institution.

 

I love a good burger and with everyone’s general excitement about Shake Shack as well as Danny Meyer’s name attached to it I knew I should try it but it was always impossible fit in with our carefully scheduled plans of a million billion other restaurants we wanted to eat at. I did once almost miss a flight back to San Diego trying to run to the terminal in JFK that had a Shake Shack…only to find a disappointingly giant line and having to shamble back to my terminal, arms sore from dragging my overstuffed carry-on and ultimately burgerless. Sigh.

 

But it finally happened! It was 10 am and not really an appropriate burger time at all but with (for once) no breakfast plans, I just went for it. Shake Shack for breakfast (YOLO).

 

Shake Shack

Shake Shack

Shake Shack

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Shake Shack

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Not surprisingly there was no line at 10 am, surprisingly by 10:30 am there kind of was. As for the burger….ahh I hate to say this and perhaps I am just fully indoctrinated into the West Coast cult but…I like In N Out is better. I know plenty of people will disagree with me (including my own sister) and it was a pretty good burger but not a great or particularly outstanding burger. You can absolutely tell the beef is really good quality and the bread, a soft squishy potato roll, is way better than In N Out, but overall in the end my life was not changed. I went with the basic single ShackBurger, a basic cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce. Maybe I just quite like the In N Out sauce better than the Shack Sauce. I love pickles and I get my cheeseburgers animal style so I missed pickles and grilled onions on this guy.

 

Shake Shack

Single ShackBurger

Shake Shack

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Shake Shack

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The patty is very nicely cooked and you can see the crispy outside of the patty in the pictures. The veggies were very fresh. I think the Shack Sauce was mildly disappointing. I went with the single patty basic cheeseburger because I wanted to try their ‘base’ product as well as it was 10 am and I was not yet psychologically ready for a giant bacon cheeseburger. I do want to go again though and try their SmokeShack burger that comes with applewood smoked bacon and cherry peppers or their Shake Stack that is a cheeseburger with a fried portobello mushroom. As far as options go this is leagues better than In N Out. You can add bacon and the veggie options (the Portobello mushroom burger for example) are infinitely better. They also have a variety of hot dogs and concrete shakes. In N Out shakes are ok but super artificial tasting, I generally do not get them. But the concretes here are pretty tasty. Ooh and their Strawberry Lemonade has real strawberries. Yum.

 

Shake Shack

Strawberry Lemonade

 

My sister tried the basic Chicken Dog that comes with a Shack Shack chicken, apple and sage sausage. It was good but pretty basic. She doesn’t eat beef or pork (or bacon or seafood, geez) so this was ok for her but if you eat other animals I would try another one of the hot dogs.

 

Shake Shack

Chicken Dog

Shake Shack

Relish

And oh right the Concrete. I got a s’mores-ish one and it had Rocky Road ice cream and lotsssss of brownies. It was pretty delicious. And clearly necessary to top off a healthy and complete breakfast (with all my essential vitamins and minerals….and cheese and mayo and ice cream. eek).

 

Shake Shack

Concrete

 

CHECK:
Single Shackburger $4.75
Chicken Dog $4.40
Regular Strawberry Lemonade $2.60
Single Concrete $4.25
TOTAL (w/tax) $17.44

 
Shake Shack – Upper West Side
366 Columbus Avenue

(at West 77th St.)

646.747.8770

 

http://www.shakeshack.com/

 
 

P.S. Also have tons of pictures of a cute Italian place we went to in Soho with really good pasta and Pok Pok in Brooklyn but the pictures are how do you say uhhhhh – crap, because the lighting sucked. Also this post was already too long. Perhaps I will put up the rest another time in a “NY – Poor Lighting and Improper White Balance Edition”.

 

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

Just got back from Chicago and after being plied with nothing but conference-food (bad coffee, endless storebought muffins, chips and the blandest fruit salads and palest melons to ever walk the land) for days all I wanted was a kale salad with avocados in it, cherries, and coconut water. Really I promise. In that order too. BUT then I also had to take into account my horrible-wonderful addiction to dessert with every meal (sometimes its fruit…sometimes its not) and so I made this lovely black rice pudding, and topped with it with fresh mangos and a generous dollop of coconut cream.

 

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

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This is a fairly easy thing to pull together. I’ve had savoury black rice before and have seen black rice pudding before on menus but never tried it before. There is nothing very different in taste despite its extreme blackness, it tastes similar to brown rice in that its nuttier and certainly has more texture than white rice pudding…but its a pleasant chewiness that goes well with all the creamy coconut things going on.
 
Fun fact, black rice is also called “Forbidden Rice” because legend has it that in China where it originated from it was considered so nutritious that only the emperors were allowed to eat it. Oooooh.
 
And in fact it is quite nutritious. Black rice is a source of iron, vitamin E, and incredibly has more antioxidants than blueberries! The blackness of the rice comes from its bran hull (outer layer) which has one of the highest levels of anthocyanin antioxidants found in food. Anthocyanins are naturally occurring pigments, usually in plants, and they are usually odorless and nearly tasteless, hence why black rice does not taste too different from regular brown rice. Interestingly (at least for me) anthocyanins “can be used as pH indicators since their colour changes with pH; they are pink in acidic solutions (pH < 7), purple in neutral solutions (pH ~ 7), greenish-yellow in alkaline solutions (pH > 7), and colourless in very alkaline solutions, where the pigment is completely reduced.[5].” I will now attempt to make pink lemon black rice pudding. Also, have clearly mastered Wikipedia if you can’t tell.

 

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

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This dessert is based on Thai coconut rice and mango, a dessert I love but usually have two complaints about, I wish the rice was rice pudding-er and I tend to wish the whole thing was a bit sweeter. So here the rice is plenty pudding like and sweetened enough that it contrasts nicely with the slight tartness of mango and the unsweetened rich fluffy coconut cream.

 

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

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RECIPE:
 
Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream
 
Serves 1-2
 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup of black rice
  • 1 can of coconut cream, chilled in the fridge for at least a day
  • 1 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 fresh mango, sliced

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Separate 1/3 cup of the top of the coconut cream in a bowl. This will be used for topping the black rice pudding later and should be firm with the consistency of whipped cream. Set aside in the fridge.
  2. Add the black rice, almond milk, coconut sugar, pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of the rest of the coconut cream to a pan over medium heat. Let mixture reach a boil and then lower to a simmer and cover.
  3. Let simmer for 30 minutes covered.
  4. At the end of 30 minutes check the consistency of the rice pudding. Add more almond milk if you think its too thick. Note that if you prefer to eat this cold it will thicken when cold.
  5. Remove from heat. If you like it hot let it cool to not lava-hot temperatures and then top with coconut cream that was set aside and sliced mangoes then eat. Try to eat it before the coconut cream all melts.
  6. If you like it cold, let cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Then top it with the coconut cream that was set aside and sliced mangoes.

 

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

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Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

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This is a dessert I like to eat hot or cold. This is quite the achievement as I normally like everything cold. Pound cake, brownies, oatmeal….everything that people love warm and “fresh out of the oven” I will let wallow in the fridge and enjoy it when its properly chilled and dense and solid. Ok maybe not chocolate chip cookies those are pretty darn good out of the oven. The point is, this is good hot or cold. When its hot the coconut cream will melt and slowly snakes its way into the purple-black rice pudding. The rice pudding will be hot and sweet and the not-melted coconut cream will be cool and cold and the mangoes will be somewhere in between. When its cold the pudding feels a bit richer as it is thicker with more body (possible only a term that hair commercials for volumizing shampoo can use but I’m going for it) and you get nice fluffy mounds of whipped-like coconut cream with every bite. This is good too.

 

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

Black rice pudding.

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

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Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

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Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

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Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

Black Rice Pudding with Mangoes and Coconut Cream

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