A Cool Little Summer Treat

Okay, summer is all about ice cream.  Everyone knows that.  But this year,  I’ve fallen in love with frozen yogurt.  Specifically, Pinkberry.   I know it’s a chain and I have friends who’d probably call it designer yogurt.  And I also admit that I’m supposed to be talking about things uniquely NYC, but I’m telling you it’s awesome stuff.

Basically, it’s all about putting every conceivable kind of goodness on a mound of frozen yogurt.  Yogurt-wise, there are seasonal flavors, including pomegranate, mango, chocolate and coconut (a fav of mine but they haven’t had it this summer for some reason).   And then there is original, which has a sweet-tart taste that is amazingly refreshing.

Original is my favorite because it makes a perfect backdrop of the toppings you add.  First up are the fresh fruits.   Strawberry, banana, raspberry, blackberry and pineapple just to name a few.  My husband particularly loves the kiwi.  And then there are the usual
suspects, cookies, candies, brownies, all kinds of chopped deliciousness.  But me—I’m a simple girl.  And since I can’t eat fruit—here’s my fav.

A serving of original yogurt with coconut, toasted almonds and crushed up wafers like the stuff they make waffle cones from.  It’s the perfect mix of chewy, creamy and crunchy.  My idea of a little bit of heaven in the city.  So when it’s hot, and these days that seems to be a lot, Pinkberry is my vote for an easy, delicious way to cool off.  And hey, the yogurt is fat-free.

For the more adventurous types, there are also smoothies, fruit bowls and parfaits.  And if you like things more traditional—you can have it all in a waffle cone.  But anyway you serve it up, I promise you’re going to like it.

Pinkberry has locations all over the city.  So to find the one nearest you check out the following link:  http://www.pinkberry.com/storelocator.html

Not all Cannoli are Equal

Okay, so we’ve already established that I like to eat.  But unlike a lot of Americans—I’m really not that big on sweets.   Give me pasta or a good crusty bread and I’m a happy camper, probably going for seconds and thirds.  Bake me a cake, and while I’ll love it, I’ll probably not sneak into the kitchen in the middle of the night for a second piece.  And most importantly, and weirdly, I’ll admit, I’m not that big of a chocolate fan.  Which means that when I do go for dessert it tends to be something not quite as sweet and definitely no chocolate.  Which brings me to cannoli.  My idea of a perfect dessert.  I absolutely love them.   And since finding cannoli in Texas is sort of like finding a good chimichanga in Manhattan, I hadn’t really had all that much experience with them until I moved up here.

And in my opinion, nobody makes cannoli like the Fortunato Brothers.  The first time I experienced their phenomenal cannoli was during the Feast of San Gennaro held every fall in Little Italy.  The restaurants along Mulberry Street spill out onto the road, with tented tables offering everything Italian.  And along with the restaurants are booths offering more amazing goodies.  And this is where I ran into the small booth holding a table full of cannoli.  Oh my gosh, pure heaven. But having only just arrived in Manhattan, I just assumed that all cannoli were this magnificent, and so I really didn’t pay that much attention to where I’d bought mine.

Later, a new craving having been created, I went to a local neighborhood place with cannoli, prepared to relive the heavenly experience I’d had on Mulberry Street.  I bought the cannoli, and impatient for the creamy flakey goodness that is cannoli, ate it on the spot.  And had a heart sinking moment when I realized, a) that all cannoli are not created equal and b) that I didn’t know the name of the place where I’d bought the fabulous cannoli.  Only that I thought it started with an ‘F’.  In short, I was screwed.

Then at a different street fair a year or so later, I saw them.  The little booth, the table of cannoli, the name beginning with an ‘F’—Fortunato Brothers, from Brooklyn.   I bought four cannoli and ate one on the spot.   They were exactly as I remembered.  So these days, it’s become a game with me, go to a street fair, and hope that they’ll be there.   Yesterday at the 2nd Ave street fair, I hit gold.  The world’s best cannoli—waiting for me.

For those of you who are into instant gratification, the Fortunato Brothers have a café in Williamsburg, where they’ve been perfecting their cannoli for over 35 years. And besides selling cannoli, they have homemade gelato and all kinds of cakes and pastries.  One of these days I’ll have to give it a try, but in the meantime, I’ll be checking out the next street fair, and keeping my fingers crossed that Fortunato cannoli will be there.

Fortunato Brothers Café and Pasticceria- 289 Manhattan Avenue, Brooklyn, 718.387.2281