Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi (NY Times Cooking)

I was scrolling through the NYT Cooking Instagram feed, as I am wont to do, and I stumbled upon this gorgeous picture of a blueberry and lemon cake. Officially, the title of the recipe is Blueberry, Almond and Lemon Cake Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi, an Israeli-British chef who runs the famous Ottolenghi delicatessan franchise in London. I also follow him on Instagram, and his feed is full of beautiful pictures of scrumptious desserts all the time. The loaf was a wonderful yellow hue splotched with bright blue, and there was white frosting spread generously on top. It had spring written all over it and I wanted some of it asap. The ingredients were pretty easy to round up. I had most of them at home, with the exception of almond flour, a lemon and extra blueberries. I always love it when I can mostly leverage what I have at home. The execution is also easy, as long as you have a stand mixer and you don’t mind taking the loaf out of the oven a few times to add some berries and cover in foil. The one mistake I made was using frozen blueberries instead of fresh ones, and I didn’t spread them throughout the loaf evenly. I think it made my blueberries a little soggy, so parts of my loaf were a little more wet than I would have liked. However, it tasted exactly as advertised, like a citrus spring breeze on your plate. The blueberry lemon cake from the NY Times and Ottolenghi is a real winner.

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Outdoor Dining at Kokomo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Someone asked me what my spring break plans were. I said that I was going to Kingston. Oh, they replied, as in Kingston, Jamaica? I laughed at the response and informed them that no, actually, it was Kingston, New York. Clearly I was going to the wrong Kingston. While it is possible to fly to Jamaica, for now, I prefer to stay local and feel the Caribbean vibes at places like Kokomo, a restaurant in Williamsburg that serves elevated island food with a modern twist. I went recently for an early outdoor dining seating, and the island party vibe was well underway. The large patio for outdoor dining at Kokomo is outfitted with speakers at every table so that the island club beats drum directly into your ears. Kokomo makes it pretty clear that you’re here to party it up, not to wind it down. And what a way to drive that home with a spectacular cocktail menu. Coconut Negroni, Good Vibez, sign me up.

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Fat Choy – Vegan Chinese in Lower East Side

The catchy name Fat Choy immediately drew me in. I knew exactly what kind of restaurant Fat Choy, a small scrappy restaurant in the Lower East Side, would be, and I wasn’t wrong. It was playful and homey, a little bit familiar and a little bit not, a perfect description of the “kinda Chinese” but mostly tasty ethos that drives the cooking at the Fat Choy kitchen. Kinda Asian restaurants are in abundance these days. You can imagine some second or third generation chef making some tweaks to a family recipe, smiling if it works and shrugging her shoulders if it doesn’t. The angle at Fat Choy is that its kinda Chinese food is vegan. It sounds impossible at first, since we tend to associate Chinese food with pork or chicken, but when you think about how tasty Chinese vegetables are on their own, then it makes a lot of sense.

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Tong – Thai Small Plates in Bushwick, Brooklyn

hoy jor (fried stuffed tofu skin roll with pork and crab meat)

I usually equate small plates with dim sum and tapas, but not with Thai food. Thai food brings to mind either big heaping plates of pad thai noodles or fiery servings of curry and minced meat. You don’t really go to a Thai restaurant to nosh on some small snacks while drinking some beer. But Tong, a new Thai restaurant in Brooklyn–more gritty Bushwick than fancy Williamsburg–wants you to do exactly that. Its menu features kub klaem or small plates that are meant to be ordered in multiples so that you can nibble on a few things here and there. Which is great because the small plates are fantastic and you’ll want to try as many things as you can.

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Apple Cider Doughnut Loaf Cake from Bon Appetit

When we stayed in our Fishkill home last month, I went into full hygge mode and just wanted to eat and bake indoors. As I flipped through the pages of Bon Appetit magazine, I came across a recipe for an Apple Cider Doughnut Loaf Cake and was obsessed with making it. How perfect did it sound to eat a warm loaf cake with a cup of coffee while the temperatures were freezing outside? And sure, there are plenty of farms in the area that sell apple cider doughnuts, but nothing beats something fresh and homemade. What’s nice about this apple cider doughnut loaf recipe is that it’s super easy to make. The most complicated part is that you have to reduce some apple cider in a saucepan for a couple of minutes, but otherwise you just mix things in one bowl, pour into a pan, and bake.

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