Easiest Chocolate Birthday Cake from Bon Appetit

This Easiest Chocolate Birthday Cake recipe from Bon Appetit initially caught my eye because of the word easy in the title, the promise that this chocolate cake recipe would be a cinch to make. To me, easy means dumping the wet ingredients in one bowl, the dry ingredients in another, combining the two, and then throwing into the oven. But it wasn’t quite that easy. In fact, there were quite a lot of steps involved in what was supposed to be a simple recipe. I had to carefully melt a lot of chocolate, I had to take care to warm but not boil milk, I had to refrigerate some ganache for 25 minutes…not that these are necessarily hard things to do, but it requires some time and patience that you wouldn’t guess from the somewhat misleading title. BUT I do have to admit that this was a damn good chocolate cake. Out of all the cakes I’ve made recently, this probably tasted the most professional. It’s rich and dense (you’ll need to drink a lot of milk with your slice), and the tangy chocolate ganache frosting is so delicious. Easiest is a misnomer, despite all the declarations of simplicity in the recipe on the Bon Appetit website, but best chocolate cake wouldn’t be too far off.

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NYC Outdoor Dining: Naked Dog in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Naked Dog is a misleading restaurant. It looks like a pretty low-key, unassuming neighborhood restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the type you go to when you get turned down by Oxomoco or Paulie Gee’s. And it also doesn’t help that the name is a little strange–is this some sort of British pub you’re walking into? But when you get settled here, all those initial doubts you had about Naked Dog quickly disappear, because the caliber of its homestyle Italian cooking will impress you. The aspirations and skill level are way beyond humble hole-in-the-wall. By the end of the meal, you’ll wish you lived in Greenpoint so that you can take advantage of the better street parking and eat at Naked Dog every night.

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NYC Outdoor Dining: King in Soho

There’s something very elegant and thoughtful about the way the restaurant King in Soho does things. For some reason, I can picture a woman, perhaps an English major, carefully crafting the menu and making sure that each word really counts. This is why she would use the word onglet as opposed to hanger steak, giving this usually masculine sounding dish a daintier feel. And this is why the drinks on the cocktail menu never veer towards the overly dark and smoky. They are citrus-y and herbal, the antithesis of the Don Draper whisky. In fact, the attention to detail is paid even to the operational stuff, like payment processing. King is the only NYC restaurant with outdoor dining I’ve been to that has implemented a truly contactless checkout system.

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A Weekend in Boston 2020 (with Kids)

If you’re from New York / New Jersey / Connecticut looking for weekend getaway ideas that are kid-friendly, consider taking a trip to Boston. At the moment, you wouldn’t be subject to quarantine either in Boston or back at home, which is obviously important, and many of the tourist attractions and restaurants in Boston are open. Some restaurants are even open for indoor dining, although since the weather is still nice you might as well take advantage of the outdoors. Boston also has a ton of great playgrounds, which is key when traveling with kids. I do have to say the city does feel very empty, probably even emptier than New York, but with the current covid situation, that probably isn’t the worst thing. The following two-day outdoor weekend Boston itinerary focuses on locations close to Downtown, the Seaport District and Harvard Yard in Cambridge.

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NYC Outdoor Dining: Di An Di in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Reinventing the banh mi sandwich is nothing new. Even in Cape Cod now you can get a new fangled banh mi made with cod meat. While all these reintrepretations of the banh mi are pretty good, the banh mi sandwiches at Di An Di in Greenpoint, Brooklyn are in a class of their own. They are offered during the restaurant’s lunch service and are tailor-made for these days of casual, take-out dining.

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