Scoop of the Day… Chikalicious

There is a club in NYC that is $0 to join with absolutely no membership fee. That’s right, it’s completely FREE! It’s a small gem of a spot located in the heart of the East Village and is probably the first of its kind. There is frequently a line to get in and it can get pretty packed at times, but that is a small price to pay for utter satisfaction. You probably won’t want to come every day, as you might bulk up, but I do suggest you make an appearance every once in a while, at least on special occasions. This club I speak of is none other than Dessert Club, ChikaLicious. Not to be confused with ChikaLicious Dessert Bar.

Dessert Club, ChikaLicious is a quaint spot with just a few tables and bar stools that sits directly across the street from its sister, Dessert Bar. Though it is adorned with a bright red awning and is usually accompanied by a trail of patrons waiting to sink their teeth into something dangerously sweet, it can be easy to miss, so keep your eyes peeled. It may not be a refined, pre fix culinary retreat like its sister, but it gets right to the point and is more than capable of satisfying your sweet tooth craving.

Now, I can’t speak for the array of cupcakes, macarons, cookies, or eclairs they have on display, but I can tell you a little bit about their ice creams. Unlike the baked desserts, which have been described as simple or too small, the frozen treats here are colossal, distinctive, and divine. The foundation for each dessert is either shaved ice or vanilla bean soft serve, but each variation is unique and makes a lasting impression. Take for instance the Cookies and Cream Christopher treated me to for my recent accomplishment (aka a special occasion):

A Special Occassion

This Cookies and Cream is clearly no ordinary scoop. Oh, no. Cookies and Cream makes a statement. First of all, this dessert towers over all other desserts in the entire club (sans the shaved ice). This is the MC of Dessert Club. The signature vanilla bean soft serve, which alone tastes delicately of traditional creamy vanilla ice cream, is infused with chunks of their three homemade signature cookies (The Situation, Situation Dark, and Chocolate Chip). Then, it is piled high in a dainty plastic dish and accompanied by a tiny spoon that could easily get submerged should you choose to loosen your grip. You won’t have to worry about this though because you won’t want to put it down! Each bite is satisfyingly crunchy, cool, sweet, and salty, none of which overwhelms the other.

Due to its impressive size I was unable to finish even half of it, but that certainly doesn’t mean I didn’t give it my best shot. Until now, I had yet to meet a scoop that has a prerequisite, but next time I have reason to celebrate I will definitely be coming here. Will it be the Cookies and Cream again, the Strawberry Shortcake, an ice cream sandwich, or a shaved ice? I don’t really have the answer to that right now, but what I can tell you is that whatever it is, it will be REALLY GOOD.

Who wants to celebrate?

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Scoop of the Day… SanFran

While New York is my first love and will always have my heart, I have to say that there is a new lover in my life. This lover is a little more laid back, but just as passionate. Some may think he’s unstable, but I happen to like being kept on my toes. And this lover is oh so charming. My new lover in life is San Francisco. I met San Francisco (or SanFran as I like to call him) last year and we have been seeing each other casually ever since. When I am with SanFran all of my worries seem to melt away. We’re always doing something new and exciting, we spend a lot of time outside, and we’re totally on the same wave length. SanFran just gets me. One of the things I like most about SanFran is his food. New York does have a lot to boast about and of course his confidence draws the attention of the most attractive chefs, but SanFran is modest and smart, serving forward thinking, whimsical meals that really give you what you want, not just try to impress you.

When I see SanFran, it’s not too often, so he really tries to pack it in while I’m there. On my last trip this past weekend, he introduced me to the creativity and talent of both Chef Tyler Florence at Wayfare Tavern and Chef Michael Mina at Bourbon Steak. Now, when SanFran proposed these two chefs to me I was a little baffled. Tyler and Michael are celebrity chefs that should be at New York’s coat-tail. Tyler having his cooking show, Tyler’s Ultimate, making gourmet cooking accessible to the man’s man, and Michael being an established restaurateur and steak guy. How could these two chefs fit in with the creativity and lightheartedness that SanFran embraces? I thought he was playing me for a fool, but I decided to give him a chance. Boy, am I glad I did! While the main courses at each restaurant rang true to the chefs’ machismo styles, the deserts were flirtatious and made me especially giddy.

Wayfare Tavern, for instance, is like a huge rustic man cave you’d expect to stumble upon in the middle of Minnesota.. or Kentucky. Animals on the walls, billiard room for private dining, large flat screen tv for… well I’m not too sure guys, football? It’s oozing with testosterone. The experience was like having a first date with your meal. As soon as you sit down, you’re greeted with a beautiful, puffy, and flakey popover that is clearly used to butter you up and seduce you. The apps and entrees were Tyler-esque, and the deserts just hook you in, as if he were exposing his sensitive side! I was so surprised at how playful they were that I nearly forgot I was in a mantuary. One of our friends ordered a popcorn covered candy apple, another had a mini pumpkin pudding pie, and I of course had the trio of ice cream (my staple). This trio was composed of popcorn, cinnamon, and honey thyme, and each was UNBELIEVABLE. The texture was velvety smooth, they all had the perfect amount of creaminess, and the unique flavors were pronounced but not pungent. I can honestly say those were some of the best scoops I’ve had at a sit down dinner in a LONG time.

Bourbon Steak was a runner-up in the scoop department ( I had the trio of sorbet, none of which lacked luster), but the other deserts were shockingly, if not more, creative! Two people at our table ordered a child like root beer float with two gooey homemade cookies, XXL, and another had house made fig newtons! The third ordered beignets that tasted as if they came straight out of Mardi Gras, rum included sans beads. Not only did the desserts compare in fantasy factor, but the bread basket was similarly replaced. This time we were coaxed with duck fat french fries and a trio of sauces that made you do a little dance.

I can’t say which restaurant impressed me more, but I can say that SanFran certainly did not disappoint on this trip, and I anticipate he won’t on the next. Although at one time I thought SanFran to be jealous of New York and all his glory, I really don’t think that is the case. SanFran’s got the magic touch and really knows how to throw a curve ball. Honey.. you know the way to my heart… and my stomach. Till X-Mas 😉

Scoop of the day…

What a FABULOUS weekend! Between the perfect fall weather, Feast of San Gennaro, and the JETS game, I am in serious sensory overload.

Chris and I kicked the weekend off with a low-key dinner at one of our favorite West Village spots, Dell’Anima. If you want a good dose of culinary inspiration, just step through these doors. You may have an hour wait on your hands, especially if you choose the chef’s table (why would you sit anywhere else), but it is definitely worth it. Not only does this modern Italian fare hit the spot, the service is so consistent and friendly. We sat at the chef’s table and watched the magic happen. The heat from the stove and oven, the aroma wafting off the freshly prepared dishes, and the energy exuding from the chef’s is enough to make you want to throw on an apron and get in on the action. The head chef at the moment, Andrew, is also so friendly… just let the artist do his thing and save the chit-chat for a free minute (his time, not your’s)… he might just toss you a free scoop of their house made gelato if you’re lucky 😉

Chef's Table at Dell'Anima.. they move so fast!

… a scrumptious and romantical Friday night date was followed up by the first real Fall day of 2011, yay! Nothing like a solid run on the West Side highway and a trip through the Feast of San Gennaro to kick it off 🙂 If you haven’t been yet, you only have a couple of days left! Saint’s Feasts are a huge mark  of summer around NYC and NJ, so you should try to show your pride and make an appearance. Get over your claustrophobia for an hour, dance to some old school Italian tunes, skip down Mulberry St, and grab a cannoli…

Holy cannoli was that good!

Last but not least, dare I mention it without jumping out of my seat… the JETS game! What an amazing day guys. I don’t know if words can even describe how perfect it was.. which is why I’ll show you:

Pre Jets beating Jags, 9/18/2011

Girls… even if you aren’t a football fan, and could care less about how bad the Jags played and that the JETS totally demolished them, the weather was phenomenal, the seats were perfect for getting your tan on, and the food was unexpectedly ridiculous. Chris and I, unbeknownst to us, landed two seats in the Touchdown Club, which came complete with a full bar, a grill, sushi, it’s own private food stands, and… a prime rib sandwich bar. Don’t believe me? Check it out..

Prime Rib Sandwich Bar... Observe.

No trip is complete without a scoop of course…

Welsh’s Farm’s soft serve, I prefer the regular hard stuff, but WF is just so nostalgic for me. That’s another story for a different day though.

All in all, my first Fall weekend was packed full of action, flavor, ice cream, and Italian’s (Dell’Anima, San Gennaro’s Feast, and JETS fans). Now, I’ll be joining you back on the couch for one last dose of entertainment, the Emmy’s.

Good night!