Last week I had three of the most fun days ever thanks to the Cooking Channel and Kelsey Nixon’s show The Perfect 3. As one of the winners of the Perfect 3 Recipe Contest I flew out to NYC to film a segment for the show’s second season. Surprise, surprise, I’ll be on the cupcake episode! (I’ll obviously let you know when it’s expected to air as soon as I find out.) Here’s the video I made – good thing the cupcakes were good when they tested them because I totally forgot to include tip #2 in this video. (Tip #2 is not to over mix the batter.)
If you took my advice in my last post and downloaded DishPal you may have noticed that I did a lot of eating while I was there. As soon as I threw my bags in my hotel on Wednesday I hightailed it to Doughnut Plant where I tried the creme brulee, coconut cream and a blueberry cake doughnut. Mind you it was after 5pm, so they probably weren’t as fresh as they could have been, but I have to give Doughnut Vault here in Chicago the upper hand on this one.
My friend Melisser, who has made many appearances on this blog, met up with me at the Maritime Hotel and we headed over to Angelica Kitchen to meet up with Mike Edison and our friend James. I had the Wednesday Salad (because it was Wednesday,) which consisted of black eyed peas, squash and other magical things that I desperately needed as I was fighting a bad cold and sore throat. Also badly needed was the vegan peanut butter and jelly ice cream topped with marshmallow I had later at Lula’s Sweet Apothecary. While we were there, Mike also bought me a bar of Fakin’ Bacon chocolate by Rescue Chocolate.
On Thursday morning I woke up early and had breakfast at La Bottega inside the Maritime Hotel. I read Tina Fey’s Bossypants over a plate of truffled eggs until the car service arrived to take me to the Lower east Side where we were filming. Having had a less-than-pleasant experience on Cupcake Wars, I was honestly worried. Would they hate all the clothes I brought? Would my cold-ravaged voice sound disgusting? Would they be mean? All of those fears were set aside long before we even arrived at the studio thanks to Natasza, the talent coordinator at Working Dog Productions. She complimented my dress, told me how much everyone enjoyed my recipe in the test kitchens, and allowed me to ramble on and on about Teno all the way there.
Once we arrived I met Kelsey and the rest of the crew and got to work. Kelsey and I are about the same height, although I look like a giant standing next to her because she’s so teeny tiny, so we both stood on boxes for the whole segment. Not only was she as sweet and smiley as she appears to be on TV, but she’s also extremely down to earth. During our “smiling and nodding” takes, which is the most awkward and funny thing I’ve ever had to do, she had me cracking up.
On my way out I got to meet Nivedita from Panfusine, winner in the Indian Category. She was making her Carrot Halwa Blondie Bars which looked and sounded amazing. I was smiling like a fool when I got dropped back off at the hotel. I grinned like an idiot all the way to Stone Street Coffee Company where I noticed that all fashionable ladies in NYC wear their hair piled up in a really severe bun on the top of their heads. Melisser confirmed my observation, and we both proclaim it weird.
James met up with me a bit later and we headed to Blossom Du Jour for lunch. We opted to split a smoky avocado wrap so we’d have room for lots of junk at Billy’s Bakery just down the street. Billy’s smelled like sweet, buttery heaven and I was especially excited to try his famous vanilla cupcake. Honestly, it was pretty mediocre, but he made up for it with the best carrot cake cupcake I’ve ever had and a peanut butter chocolate bar that James later proposed to.
After that we walked through Chelsea Market where I not only marveled at how many fucking cupcake places there are in New York (I thought Chicago was overrun!) but I also saw a guy in a trench coat with hair down to his ankles, which was awesome. You could kind of spend a whole day eating your way around the Market, but we took the whirl-wind route and just stopped in Jacque Torres for some chocolates for Teno and The Filling Station where I found ghost pepper salt for Tony.
Eventually we met back up with Melisser and found our way to Candle Cafe where I think I had my favorite meal of the entire visit. I took a picture, but it kind of looked like dog food, so let me just tell you that it was porcini-crusted seitan. Garlic-shallot-potato mash, sautéed spinach and string beans with grilled oyster mushrooms, topped with home-style gravy. Good god. I washed it down with an extra-grassy Green Goddess juice and all was well.
Melisser and I had a slumber party that night, which, when you’re in you’re 30′s, means we washed our faces, put on pajamas and talked for about 5 minutes in bed before falling dead asleep. I had a meeting with my literary agent Sally in the morning and she had to work, so we said our sad good byes and parted ways on Friday morning.
Before I flew home I was sure to eat two entire bagels. They just aren’t the same in Chicago! I finished my book just as we were landing, and Tony surprised me at the baggage claim. We headed straight to Native Foods and then to Wormhole for Koopa Troopa lattes.
I had so much fun, and I’m so grateful to Cooking Channel for choosing me. And of course what would I have done without my friends to show me there’s much more to eating vegetarian in NYC than Red Bamboo?
Make sure you tune into the Mike & Judy Show this Sunday – Melisser and I are the guests and we’re going to try to not make assholes out of ourselves while talking about veganism and vegetarianism. If that’s even possible!