The Fox’s Travels: Fall Foraging in NYC

October 26, 2014 § Leave a comment

The best way to any Fox’s heart is through his stomach. Well call him smitten, because The Fox has been snacking, drinking, cheganing and late night binging all over NYC. Here are a few of his favorites from the past week.

First up is Vinnie’s Brooklyn. This pizzeria creates unbelievably (and almost improbably) delicious grub for carnivores, vegans and gluten-free folks at their two Brooklyn locations.  The Fox checked out their Greenpoint location for some vegan chicken drumsticks and a vegan T.Hanks pie – and he will never look at vegan food the same way again. The drumsticks were out of this world, and the pie was gone before it even had a chance to cool. Two thumbs way, way up – make sure you check out this fantastic local pizzeria.

vinnies1Vinnie’s Brooklyn

Next is the ice cream parlor formerly known as Lula’s Sweet Apothecary. This East Village gem serves up some of the best all vegan soft serve, hand-packed, flurries, sundaes and floats The Fox has ever had the pleasure of tasting. Flavors include spiced apple cider, chocolate chocolate chip, cake batter and peanut butter fudge. Toppings abound (you can even find vegan marshmallows), and you can find a huge assortment of delicious vegan chocolate bars that benefit local animal shelters. Currently un-named (due to personal disputes), please make sure you check out this absolutely fantastic ice creamery at 516 E 6th Street. You will not be sorry you did.

lulas1Lula’s Sweet Apothecary

Finally for those late night cravings, The Fox has found the perfect spot for all you sushi lovers out there. East Kaiten Sushi & Sake Bar is a great spot to grab $16 pitchers of Sapporo, super fresh sushi and a little taste of Tokyo. This sushi bar is actually a sushi-go-round offering up the best sushi The Fox has tasted in ages, with the convenience of the conveyor belt system that takes every plate of sushi past each and every table for easy picking. You can of course order your favorites (to ensure you get some before your neighbors snatch up all of the avocado rolls), and every Friday and Saturday night from 11pm – 3am, all sushi is half off. Let’s review that again – all sushi is half off. Now that you’ve wrapped your scattered-mind around that crazy deal, get over to East Kaiten for a jolly good time.

sushi1East Kaiten Sushi

 

 

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The Fox’s Travels: Dun-Well Doughnuts & Brooklyn

October 19, 2014 § 1 Comment

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After only a few days in New York, The Fox has already become befuddled by the endless options for food, entertainment and people watching. This weekend he enjoyed some time in Brooklyn (the hipster’s borough of choice) and indulged in beet burgers and vegan doughnuts. Dun-Well Doughnuts was founded in Brooklyn by longtime friends Christopher Hollowell and Dan Dunbar. The mission at Dun-Well “is to be the premiere vegan doughnut shop on planet Earth and reverently carry on the tradition of doughnut making in a manner that is both innovative and ethical.” Well hats off gentlemen, because you have succeeded. The Fox enjoyed not one or two of these fine pastries, but four. Don’t judge. You try being a vegan doughnut lover presented with choosing the vanilla with chocolate sprinkles, the chocolate glazed, the jelly-filled or the toasted coconut. All were delicious. All were consumed heartily and happily with a cup of Brooklyn Roasting Company’s Mocha Java. The doughnuts are made of a delicate, traditional raised style dough that melts in your mouth. Did we mention that everything is organic? The flavors vary daily and there seems to be no limit to the 200 plus mouthwateringly imaginative varieties that Dun-Well Doughnuts creates.

So raise a mug to The Fox when you check out Dun-Well as there is a good chance he will be camped out in the corner – eating his way into sugared bliss.

 

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The Fox’s Finery: Coffee & Croissants

September 14, 2014 § Leave a comment

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This week in The Fox’s Finery – we delve a little deeper into the morning ritual of brewing a nice cup of coffee and enjoying a delectable treat. The Fox is no stranger to coffee. Decoction, immersion, gravitational or pressurized – he embraces all brewing methods. As a coffee geek The Fox has immensely enjoyed the recent upsurge in local coffee roasters, independent cafes and the general re-embracing of taking time to enjoy a few sips of a decent cup of joe. When out, The Fox looks for a decent cup practically everywhere he goes. He’ll take drip brewed or pour-over, espresso or Turkish, perked or siphoned. At home, when at his leisure, The Fox loves a good French Press.

Italian designer Attilio Calimani patented the coffee press in 1929. Since his initial designs, the press has undergone some modifications to not only the beaker, but the plunger and materials used as well. Today’s press comprises a narrow beaker, typically glass, a metal or plastic lid and pouring frame and a plunger that fits tightly in the beaker and has a fine metal or nylon mesh. It is a simple mechanism that produces fantastic immersion coffee.

Immersion brewing is literally brewing coffee by fully immersing the grounds in water just 30 seconds or so off boiling, for a period of minutes before the pour. Immersion brewing allows you to carefully control so many variables of the brewing process that it is becoming an increasingly popular method for home and cafe brewing alike. You can change the quality, depth and richness of flavor you brew by adjusting the bean grind size, adjusting the water temperature, steeping for variable amounts of time, stirring or not stirring, filtering with cloth, metal or paper – all options which change the way the beans open, the oils are released and filtered. The coffee press is one of several immersion brewing methods you can consider. The mad scientist in The Fox loves the siphon and cannot wait to get his paws on one. Siphon brewers, such as the Hario TCA-5, utilizes fire, physics and theatricality to brew what some say is the best possible cup of coffee as it allows for fantastic temperature control, perfect immersion or brewing time and the best of cloth filtering. The siphon produces an extraordinarily flavorful and dynamic cup of coffee that is complex and smooth without all the murky sediment. There is also the Clever Dripper, which is a modified pour over method that uses a unique stopper and release mechanism to keep the coffee and water together until ready to be poured. The Aeropress and Eva Solo methods are also growing in popularity but tend to have some of the highest price points – taking these out of The Fox’s sights for now.

Ok, so now you’re a bit more familiar with immersion brewing. The coffee press, or as The Fox prefers the French Press, is a favorite method for its relative ease of use, its ability to extract fuller, richer cups of coffee from a coarser grind, and the press’ ability to better brew the darker roasts of Mexico, Sumatra or Brazil than any other immersion method. Now for the drawbacks. One; there can be a minor amount of sediment in a press-brewed coffee. This can be minimized by perfecting your grind size (coarser is better), or investing in a press, such as the Espro, with a barrel-shaped mesh filter that cuts back on sediment. Drawback number two; temperature control. Once the near boiling water is added to your grinds in the beaker – many presses will lose temperature more rapidly than other brewing methods. You can work towards solving this problem with your existing press by pre-heating the glass beaker with very hot water – allowing the water to sit and then dumping it right before you are ready to add the grinds and brew – which aids in cutting temperature loss. Another option is to invest in a double-walled glass beaker press, such as the Hario Double-Walled, to increase heat retention and consistency during the brewing process.

Phew. Now you know a little more about the coffee press and some of the ways you can influence your perfect cup. How do you brew that perfect cup? Well dear reader, ask and you shall receive.

The Perfect French Press Cup
Equipment Necessary:
Coffee beans
Coffee grinder
A coffee press
Kettle
Kitchen timer
Stir stick
Favorite coffee mug

Step One: Grind your coffee beans to the size of breadcrumbs.

Step Two: Add your coffee grinds to a squeaky clean French Press beaker.

Step Three: Pour hot water that is approximately 205°F, or 30 seconds off the boil, into the press; making sure to fully saturate your grinds and pouring to just cover the grinds. Start a four-minute timer.

Step Four: About one minute in, stir the “bloom”, or top layer, and pour the rest of the water evenly to the top line of the beaker and affix the top. Press the plunger so it just touches the water & grinds – making sure all the grinds are fully immersed.

Step Five: After the four minute timer dings, plunge the filter and serve immediately. Pouring all of the coffee is best (even if it means you will have to reheat your second cup in your not-so-favorite-mug later), as this prevents the coffee from further extraction and a stronger and sludgy second serving.

 

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Now that you’ve brewed your perfect cup of French Press coffee; you need the perfect French pastry to accompany it.  The Fox recently decided to undertake the making of croissants from scratch. Having little experience with yeast, a bit of a baking reputation (that could easily crumble) and no experience with laminated pastries ever – it was a terrifying prospect. Undertaking the task of preparing the pastry most often associated with France (but with floury roots originating in Austria in the early 1200s) began with reading up on this most fluffy, buttery, crispy, golden, delectable of pastries. After researching recipes, laminating techniques and possible vegan variations (not to mention a whole awful lot of drooling all over the keyboard whilst staring at photos of croissants that were sure to be more amazing than any The Fox could himself prepare) – The Fox felt ready to take on this basic and relatively easy recipe from an extremely reliable blog, the Vegan Dad. After letting the prepared dough rest in the fridge for about 36 hours, The Fox cleaned and floured the counter for the ensuing mayhem.

Three hours of rolling, folding, rising and baking later, The Fox was able to enjoy an extremely satisfying breath of relief as he enjoyed his very first homemade croissants and pain au chocolats. Paired with that perfect cup of coffee and The Fox was most certainly enjoying the finer things.

What The Fox Uses:

The Fox loved his Bodum Chambord press, until he broke the beaker. Alas, his wallet could not stomach another Bodum, or even the replacement beaker, but was happily surprised at the bargain priced Ikea Upphetta press he recently purchased. Once again, the Swedes prove that greater expense does not always mean greater quality.

 

 

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The Fox Eats: Seva

August 31, 2014 § Leave a comment

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As many of you may now know, there is a sort of food revolution occurring in Detroit. Various pockets of the city are slowing breathing new life thanks in large part to the ever growing group of foodies that are demanding fresh, local fare. One of the greatest restaurants to pop up in the Midtown area is actually sister to a beloved Ann Arbor haven for omnivore, vegetarian and vegan foodies alike. We speak of course – of Seva.

The Fox decided he could use a good dose of Detroit as he set out one fine evening for Seva. An excellent eatery where lunch and happy hour specials are many, the desserts are gooey and delicious and the libations range from the profoundly well mixed to the easily dispensed (and downed) tapped. That’s not even mentioning the food. The Fox enjoyed several pints of Atwater’s Summer Time Ale, General Tso’s Cauliflower to start, and finished with a huge potion of the Nachos. Trust The Fox – Chinese and Mexican relations have never been stronger. All of this food and good cheer was enjoyed in a beautifully restored Midtown building (which has an amazing outdoor patio to boot) and all at half price thanks to Seva’s fantastic happy hour specials. Monday-Friday from 4-6pm all draft beer, most wines and all appetizers are half price. That’s $1.25 for a pint of Atwater people! What are you waiting for? Go on…go.

Make sure to check out Seva in Detroit. Cheers.
66 E Forest Ave, Detroit, MI 48201

 

 

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The Fox Eats: Woodward Avenue Brewers

August 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

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When your Friday evening begins with great coffee, cookies and brownies – and ends with great beer, pizza and company – you know you’ve done something right. The Fox found his way to the Woodward Avenue Brewers (hereafter referred to as the WAB) this past Friday with a cohort and friend. Established in Ferndale in 1997, the WAB has been a local favorite for great atmosphere, delicious sandwiches and brews. Back in April WAB chefs Brent Foster and Courtney Witter revamped the menu to focus on excellent pizza, apps and desserts.

To start The Fox enjoyed the I Dip, You Dip, We Dip with vegan beer cheese, vegan chorizo and crusty bread. There are soups, salads and sandwiches but the real star of the menu is the pizza. With gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options, anyone can find a pie that they are sure to love. The Fox chowed a Choo Choo Choose Me with red sauce, roasted red peppers, smoked portobello mushrooms and black olives. The crust is thin and crispy, the toppings options endless and the beer just as good as always. The Fox enjoyed a few Steam Beers (a California Common beer with a slight fruitiness and hints of caramel and toffee) and the company and existential conversation of an awesome friend and Fox supporter.

Definitely check out the WAB when hungry in Ferndale.
Cheers to friends, pizza and life!

 

 

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The Fox Eats: Cvlt Pizza

August 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

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The Fox recently experienced the sheer joy that only really excellent pizza can bring. Whilst visiting Grand Rapids, The Fox stumbled upon Cvlt Pizza. This pizzeria is a self-described farm-to-crust establishment, dedicated to locally grown, farm fresh and in season ingredients. The pizza is absolutely fantastic to taste, and knowing that all of the ingredients came from locally sourced farms and businesses makes it all the more delicious. Cvlt Pizza specializes in East Coast style pizza, and without getting into the whole East vs West debate, let’s just say that it’s hard to think there is a better pizza out there then the thin crusted, foldably huge pieces found here.

Being that the ingredients are all fresh, the menu is seasonal and thus changes constantly. There are some standbys, but for the most part the daily specials make up a predominant portion of Cvlt’s menu. The Fox had to sample the daily special za the day he visited, with a pesto base, vegan mozzarella, kale, fresh mushrooms and maple glazed tempeh. So amazing…

While visiting Grand Rapids, Michigan – make sure to check out Cvlt Pizza and enjoy a folded piece of pure bliss.

 

The Handsome Fox © 2014

 

The Fox Eats: The Red Hook & Pinwheel Bakery

August 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

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Dessert is often The Fox’s favorite meal of the day. If you are in the Detroit area, there are few places better then the Pinwheel Bakery to turn any meal into dessert, while grabbing a delicious cup of coffee at The Red Hook coffee bar. The Red Hook serves Stumptown Coffee almost any way you can choose, brewed, hand poured, cold-press iced and espresso. Pinwheel Bakery offers a huge variety of cakes, cookies, brownies, macarons, tarts and more – all delicious, many vegan and always fresh baked in house.

Recently The Fox enjoyed a cup of brewed Stumptown Hair Bender coffee, a scrumptious vegan jam crumb cake and an outstanding vegan chocolate chip cookie. He was in dessert bliss the rest of the day.

Make sure to check out The Red Hook & Pinwheel Bakery, where dessert is a meal and your body will thank you.

 

The Handsome Fox © 2014

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