Franny’s Toasted Almond Gelato

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Somewhere along the way, I lost interest in making ice cream. I didn’t lose interest in ice cream, just making it. So if I were to have a dinner party, I might make brownies and hot fudge sauce for brownie sundaes (as I did for an upcoming episode of The Clean Plate Club), but I’d buy the ice cream at the store and that was that. I was happy. I’d been there and done that with ice cream. But then a cookbook showed up from one of my favorite restaurants in all of New York (maybe in all the land), Franny’s, and there at the back was a recipe for one of the best ice cream/gelato concoctions I’ve ever tasted: their toasted almond gelato.

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Oven-Broiled Eggplant Dip

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Remember that time I made a stovetop-charred eggplant dip (aka baba ganoush)? Really? You don’t remember that? Because that was like a week or two ago. You really ought to have your memory checked.

Anyhoo, I realize that many of you may have been intimidated by the idea of stovetop charring. “Put an eggplant on my stovetop?” said an old granny who reads my blog. “Not in my house!” Here, granny, is a smart alternative.

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The Raw Rhubarb Daiquiri

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You can taste great food in your head long after you first experience it. That’s the case for me and the rhubarb cocktail I drank at Franny’s in 2009. Most rhubarb drinks have a cooked quality to them; the rhubarb is generally poached in a sugar syrup. The Franny’s rhubarb drink (which, apparently, is made with Aperol) is nothing like that. The rhubarb flavor (which comes from juicing rhubarb raw) is intense and sharp and the cocktail, as a whole, is incredibly bracing. It’s the kind of drink that makes you sit up in your seat, alert and ready for dinner.

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Sugar Snap Peas with Whipped Ricotta

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We ate a wonderful dish at Franny’s a few weeks ago of sugar snap peas (my favorite springtime vegetable) served on a cloud of whipped ricotta resting in a sea of olive oil. It was such a beautiful dish–the bright greenness of the snap peas, the cooling creaminess of the ricotta–that not only did I serve it as an appetizer at the dinner I cooked for Lizzie and Tyla, but I also served it again two days later when I cooked a dinner for Diana’s birthday. And both times it was a big hit.

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Where To Eat in Park Slope

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As we close the chapter on my Park Slope existence, it’s time to reflect on all the food that I’d eat there, day in, day out. The food in Park Slope is very good, sometimes great, sometimes not-so-great, but almost always consistent. It’s best divided into two categories: the food you should eat if you live there and the food you should eat if you visit.

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Spaghetti with Ramps at Franny’s

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The “r” word made its first appearance on Twitter last week when one of the many food people I follow announced that they spotted ramps at the Union Square Greenmarket. “Ramps are here!” another cheered and, as happens every year, the ramp-lovers went on a rampage.

I’m a ramp liker, not a ramp lover. What are ramps? Ramps are really mild, skinny onions that pop up at farmer’s markets around springtime and are prized by chefs for their delicacy and their uniquely mellow flavor. I know that David Chang likes to pickle them (there’s a recipe online for that somewhere) and other chefs might use them in a sauce or a soup, but the best use for them I’ve yet encountered was the dish I ate last night at Franny’s: a simple and beautiful spaghetti with ramps.

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The Radicchio Salad at Franny’s

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We all get hammered over the head so often about fresh ingredients and using the best ingredients (“Use a really good olive oil,” says The Barefoot Contessa; “I make my own toothpaste,” says Alice Waters) that sometimes it’s easy to dismiss it all as snobby nonsense. Then you go to Franny’s, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite restaurants (and certainly the best restaurant near our apartment; it’s only two blocks away!) and order their radicchio salad and when it arrives and you take the first bite you’re struck speechless. What’s so awe-inspiring about it? Is it the execution? Is it the conception? No, you realize, it’s the ingredients.

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