Nibbles 4/10/08 (The Fix, The Gym, Frankie’s Sputino & More)

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First things first, as you may already have figured out, my brilliant web guys Ben and Justin have fixed our comment problem; comments are back up and running. A huge thanks to them and also a big thanks to Ben Trott, co-founder of Six Apart, who happens to read this blog and who, upon reading my frenzied no comment post, offered up his help. Thanks Bens & Justin!

And now, to make up for my lack of posting during the crisis, some nibbles to nibble on before the weekend…

* Today is the first day of the rest of my life! Again! You see, after four years of refusing to go back, intellectualizing my bad health habits, I’ve decided to drink the Kool-Aid and re-join a gym. At this point, it’s just a necessity: I’m eating fatty food on a regular basis, both for work and pleasure, and though my portion size is always reasonable, I need to at least raise my heart rate a little every day to ensure that I’ll live past 50. So I did 30 minutes of cardio today and marked my weight at 167 (2 lbs heavier than I was a few months ago) with the goal of losing at least 10 lbs. I’ll keep you posted as I go!

And in case you’re curious about what I’m burning off, here are some things we’ve eaten recently…

** We finally made it out to Carroll Gardens to dine at the much beloved, much hyped Frankie’s Sputino:

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We shared the antipasto platter you see in the top picture and also the famed Frankie’s meatballs and gnocchi:

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Now, you have to understand, this place had been so hyped hyped hyped I was expecting to have my mind blown and my world shattered. That didn’t quite happen, but we really enjoyed our dinner and, even more than the food, we loved the environment and the service. Plus the walk from Park Slope to Carroll Gardens was really lovely, with various memorable sights and sounds:

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**After dinner, on the walk back to Park Slope, we passed these cupcakes in a window:

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Craig wanted to pop in and get one, but I insisted that there was a bakery further ahead on Atlantic, a bakery my co-worker Lia (of This Little Piglet) told me about. So three blocks later, as it started to drizzle, we found this bakery (I forget its name) and it was closed. Craig was peeved; he’d wanted that cupcake. So we turned around and went back the three blocks and each bought a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting; something that made me happy, because you never really know who you’re dating until they order a cupcake and I’m happy Craig is a vanilla/vanilla. I don’t abide chocolate lovers in my boudoir.

Sadly, the cupcake was not very good. Craig scraped all the icing off: “It’s too much; it tastes just like butter.” I ate all my icing–hence my joining the gym. (Do you like the word “hence”?)

**Another thing I ate recently was something I made: apple bars from Martha Stewart’s new Cookie Book. I got sent the book for free from the publisher and I was delighted because I love Martha’s Baking Book oh so much. The best chocolate cookies of my life (see here) are from that original book, so her cookie book was a very welcome addition. To give you a sense of how successful it is; everything I’ve made from the new book is so good, it gets gobbled up before I can take a picture. For example, here are the dried apples simmering with cider before making the bars:

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But where are the bars themselves? In my belly. As are the astonishingly good Gingerbread Blondies with White Chocolate. Ya, I know, doesn’t that sound mind-blowing? I think I need to join two gyms.

**Another mind-blowing bite from recent memory, was this salad from Franny’s in Park Slope:

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It’s escarole in a Meyer lemon dressing which sounds innocuous enough until you taste it. Craig and I both oohed and ahhed over this; it’s like the most elusive, inviting Caesar salad you’ve ever had–that Meyer lemon gives it a fascinatingly different and exotic character.

**Some of Craig’s family came into town last week–his Aunt Liz, Uncle Chris, cousins Katie and David–and they kindly took me out to Blue Hill for dinner. Everything, as usual, was fantastic–look at the happy faces:

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If you’re coming to New York and you want a sumptuous and surprising meal in an unpretentious setting with incredibly amiable service, Blue Hill is your place. Look at this pork plate:

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It almost makes you want to be a pig so you can be cooked by Dan Barber. He’s one of my chef heroes.

* Well, now you know why I’ve joined a gym. What else do we have to Nibble on in this episode of Nibbles?

* The world’s greatest baristas, Amanda and Mesiter of Joe The Art of Coffee (my favorite coffee shop in New York) have a new site called Brew It Yourself (click here). They’re doing consulting, in-home instruction and group events–so if you’re dying to learn how to make a perfect espresso at home, now you can! Check out their Brew U: A Crash Course in Coffee.

* My friends Ricky & Merideth have a new Girl Robot up on the web: Girl Robot 6: A Lot Like You. Check it out and make sure to check out all their older videos, they’re great too.

Ok, Amateur Gourmet fans, I’m pooped from all this working out. 30 minutes on the elliptical will knock you at 12:56 AM. The next time you hear from me, I’ll be super buff and inspirational–like that Stop the Insanity woman. Maybe I’ll bleach my hair and make it spiky. Have a great weekend!

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