As a kid living in the midwest, the closest I ever got to Eleni’s cookies was a Dean and Deluca catalog. Moving to New York allowed me to finally see the cookies IRL (sensory overload!):
Eleni’s has the most beautifully decorated sugar cookies and it makes me act like a fat kid in a candy store. The store is all white with countertops of packaged sugar cookies and Godiva chocolates. For Easter, they turned Christmas trees upside down, hung them from the ceiling, and placed egg-shaped sugar cookies all over the tree:
After a lazy Saturday afternoon strolling around Chelsea market, I walked into Eleni’s and found out that everything behind their counter was HALF OFF. Yes, you read that correctly – an hour before they close, all of the cookies, cupcakes, and other sweets are 50% off, forcing you to purchase twice as much. I bought a chocolate chip cookie, a penguin sugar cookie, and this pink cupcake with sprinkles:
Proudly displaying my purchase:
To tell you the truth, the cupcake wasn’t that great. The icing wasn’t sweet enough and tasted too buttery and thick. Also, the actual cupcake was a little stale (probably because it had been sitting outside the entire day). The cookies, on the other hand, were incredibly good and I licked the bag afterwards to make sure I got all of the crumbs. I kept the penguin cookie overnight for a Sunday morning treat and ate the penguin body part by body part giving myself a little party in my mouth. I’ll definitely be back for the cookies, but not the cupcakes – I’d rather go to Billy’s!
Today, I went to Chelsea Market (my new favorite hangout) to pick up some skate for dinner. While I was there, I was tempted to stop by Milk Bar to have some ice cream and an egg in the hole, but I remembered Milk Bar only serves their egg dishes for breakfast during the weekdays (they’re served all day on the weekends, if you’re interested). Instead of waiting until the weekend, I decided to buy the ingredients to make the dish myself. I asked the guys at the counter of Milk Bar if they knew where they got their bacon and cheese, but they told me their meat and cheese came from a store in Brooklyn that only sells wholesale.
Since I wasn’t getting very far on my egg in the hole adventure, I decided to pick up a loaf of whole wheat bread from Amy’s (they were sold out of rye bread!!) and improvise. On my way out, Adam Roberts, the host of The FN dish (and author of The Amateur Gourmet), stopped me in the street to chat with Robin Miller, host of Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller. We started talking about making eggs in the hole and Robin gave me some tips (I’ve never made one before, but it seemed like an easy task). After chatting with Robin and Adam, I stopped by Murray’s cheeses for some cheese and bacon (Grafton cheddar and applewood bacon). Here are all of the ingredients:
Any type of bread will do, but I really like the taste of rye with this dish. Since rye wasn’t available, the next option for me was whole wheat (just as tasty and it has more of a bite than white bread). I originally bought some turkey bacon, but when I was at Murray’s, I saw Niman Ranch applewood bacon without nitrates or nitrites, so I picked it up as a special treat (at $10 for 9 slices, it’s expensive!). You can use turkey bacon (or regular bacon) if you can’t find applewood. Grafton cheddar is aged for a year and I think it’s sharper than other cheddars. If you can’t find Grafton, try using a sharp cheddar instead. You’ll also need eggs (organic are the best but any egg will do) and butter.
After you assemble all of your materials, slice a piece of bread (about 3/4 inch thick) and use a cup to cut a hole in the center of the slice. Robin Miller uses a biscuit cutter to make the hole, but I have no biscuit cutter and have no intention of buying one anytime soon. You can use a cookie cutter to make cool designs if you have them. After I made the hole in the bread, I toasted it and spread butter on both sides.
Bacon on the skillet – I don’t use extra butter or oil because there’s so much fat already (but you’re welcome to do so if you’d like).
Place the bacon on paper towels to get rid of excess oil. There should be a little puddle of oil in the pan – don’t pour that down the kitchen sink!! Put it in a container and throw it out in the garbage (otherwise the fat will congeal and it’ll be a huge mess). It’s okay to let the bacon cool because we’ll be putting it on the egg in the hole and throwing it in the oven.
Crack the egg and place it in the pan with the bread. There might be some leakage of the egg white, but it’s okay!!
I like a runny yolk so I didn’t flip over the toast, but if you have children, it’s a good idea to cook the egg all the way through. After the egg is cooked for about 2 minutes (you’ll notice that the egg white is cooked through on the bottom), put a piece of cheddar on top and add the bacon as well.
Throw the skillet into the oven (I set it on broil). I let it go in for about 3 minutes, but it depends on your oven (just watch to make sure the cheese melts).
Out of the oven!
Gooey egg yolk!
If I were to make it again (and I will be making it again in the morning), I’d make sure cheese covered all of the bread (healthy, I know). Also, I’d add another piece of bacon.
I hope you enjoyed my egg in the hole tutorial – I’m going to try taping some of them for a youtube/vimeo show soon and I’ll post them here once I finish. Let me know if you try making eggs in the hole and whether or not it was a success!
· March 24, 2008
Shopsin’s, located in the Essex Street market, is well known with the New York crowd. The owner, Kenny Shopsin, is a grumpy old man that runs the small restaurant with his family (two daughters and a son). They relocated from the west village to Essex Street market a while ago, but their fans followed them and continue to put up with the service because supposedly the food is fantastic. Calvin Trillin even wrote an article about him that was published in The New Yorker. I’ve read about the place a lot and we finally made our way down to the market a while back.
We only waited 10 minutes for a table (which is not too bad for a Saturday afternoon), but we didn’t know what we wanted to order since their menu is SO incredibly large. A lot of the menu items don’t have explanations, either, so I started asking one of the daughter’s a couple questions (which was a huge mistake). I was limited to three questions (but the menu is so f-ing large!) and we settled on the banana walnut chocolate chip pancakes:
The pancakes were a little gummy but not bad – they tasted like something you would make in your own kitchen (if you wanted to put in the effort). Part of the charm of Shopsin’s is that it’s a very small operation and the cook (Kenny), makes comfort foods that are easy enough to make yourself but at a premium that hipsters will appreciate.
Chris ordered Cubano 1:
The cubano had great chunks of sausage and melted cheese paired with a great hunk of bread. (Maybe my second favorite cubano, trailing The Spotted Pig’s work of art).
Shopsin’s is in a small corner of the Essex Street Market, but all of Kenny Shopsin’s cooking ingredients are kept in the restaurant (how does Kenny do it?!). If I ever go back, I’m studying the entire menu beforehand so I know can use my three questions wisely.
On Saturday, hundreds of people gathered in Union Square to participate in a huge pillow fight on INTERNATIONAL PILLOW FIGHT DAY! Chris and I were on our way to lunch, but stopped by to watch the shenanigans:
Unlike Chinese food and Korean food, Japanese food can’t be found in a small neighborhood or street in Manhattan; it’s found on little side streets in midtown, inside grocery stores, or if you’re in the mood for disappointing small eats, in Astor place. Ennju, a small eatery near union square, serves Japanese food in a cafeteria style setting for nearby office worker bees and NYU students. I’m a fan of the place and have been going to ennju since I moved to New York. They offer cooked items (beef curry, pork cutlets, soups, etc) as well as sushi, salads, edamame, and other Japanese treats. I always end up ordering the same thing – curry with a pork cutlet:
The good thing about Ennju is that their curry already has beef inside (well, not good for vegetarians, but good for meat eaters like myself). The bad thing about having beef included: I ALWAYS forget there’s already meat in the curry so I end up ordering a pork cutlet on the side (which means double meat!!). Ennju is fast, convenient (especially after a Saturday filled with reading books at the Union Square Barnes and Noble), and they give you salads with your curry order. Another perk: half-off sushi an hour before closing!