Archive | Sweets RSS feed for this section

The Cheese Cake Mimi Sheraton Likes

6 Mar

S&S Cheese Cake


It hides behind a nondescript brick building. Just a simple sign: “S&S Cheese Cake, Inc.” The door was barred. There was another sign near the door that said, “Ring bell.” I rang the bell. The door opened for me.

S&S Cheese Cake

The front room was dark, dingy but as I walked through, I saw a few cheese cakes in a refrigerator. A man in a coat and watch cap emerged. “Can I help you?” He asked as he tentatively moved toward me.

I asked about the cheese cakes.

“A small is $14. With fruit it’s $17.”

I didn’t need fruit or any other topping. I wanted the cheese cake in its purest form.

Cheese Cake with fruit.

Cheese Cake with fruit.

He put a small plain cheese cake in a box.

We chatted a bit. The man said his name was Ben.

“Are you the owner?” I asked.

A sly smile formed at the corner of his mouth. He nodded slowly. “I’m one of them.”

Cheese Cake

He went on to tell me that he was soon going to open a steakhouse next door to the cheese cake factory on 238th Street.

“Any particular type of steakhouse?” I inquired.

“Like Peter Luger’s,” he said with a confident smile.

“Oh, that sounds very good,” I said. “When do you plan to open?”

He gave me that sly mysterious smile again. “I’m not really sure…maybe in a few months.”

He asked what I did. I told him about this website of mine. He showed no recognition, not that I expected any.

“Mimi Sheraton likes us,” he remarked.

“I’ve heard your cheese cake is the best,” I said. “But not from Mimi Sheraton.”

He nodded and flashed the confident smile.

We walked out onto 238th Street together. I told him I would return soon…when the steakhouse opened. He shook my hand and just smiled.

I took the cheese cake home and opened the box. I cut a small slice and took a bite.

S&S Cheese Cake

I was going to Google Mimi Sheraton, the former New York Times restaurant critic, to see what she had to say about the S&S cheese cake, but really didn’t need to. There was a word that best described how it tasted. I took another bite, savoring it’s creamy, unadulterated essence.  At first I couldn’t think what it was and then I looked at the box in which it came in. And the word was right there in front of me.



S&S Cheese Cake Inc.
222 W. 238th Street







The Caffeine Chronicles: Twin Donut (Plus)

6 Feb

Twin Donut


Early on, when I first started this site, I wrote a paean titled La Pavoni Love Call to an old espresso maker I had that was called La Pavoni. That espresso maker sputtered out its last brew soon after I wrote the piece and was replaced by another La Pavoni, this one very efficient, but just not as vocal.  Since then I’ve neglected my espresso and coffee love on this site until recently when I posted Rooftop Iced Coffee. I hope now to include coffee into the Fried Neck Bones…and Some Home Fries repertoire under this newly formed category, The Caffeine Chronicles beginning here with a photo salute to one of the few remaining Twin Donut spots in New York.

Does "Plus" mean that fresh made soups and oatmeal are available along with coffee and donuts? I didn't ask.

Does “Plus” mean that fresh made soups and oatmeal are available along with coffee and donuts? I didn’t ask.

Now that's a counter where a person can really enjoy coffee and a donut.

Now that’s a counter where a person can really enjoy coffee and a doughnut.

Twin Donut

I’m not sure that the coffee at Twin Donut was the “world’s best.”

Twin Donut

But any caffeine deficiencies were easily overcome by the addition of the vanilla marble doughnut that accompanied the coffee.


Twin Donut Plus
5099 Broadway
New York



Today’s Special: Back to School Edition

4 Sep

I’ve got a doctorate from this school.

My diploma.

Sadly the best schools close for the season.

How to Eat a Mango

10 Jul

I’ve often wondered,

how to eat this fruit.

It has an odd shape,

kind of like an egg with a loop.

It’s sweet and the flesh is juicy,

and  good for you too.

But how do you eat it

without getting quite messy?

If the fruit is soft and pliant to grope,

like what you might find in a ripe cantaloupe.

That means it is ripe and ready to eat.

The problem is, how to do it neat?

I hear there are over 1,000 varieties of mangoes around.

But where I live only a few types are to be found.

What I see in stores and on street carts,

come from places like Mexico, Salvador, Peru and Brazil.

Warm, tropical lands,

where there is no chill.

They  have names like “champagne,”

“Ataulfo,” “Tommy Atkins,” “Kent,” and more.

I’m sure there is a difference,

though this mango novice can’t tell for sure.

Ataulfo mangoes

On an island far away,

I once ate a Julie,

mango that is.

It was sweet and luscious.

I still can’t believe,

something so delicious,

could come from a tree.

Once peeled, the nectar quickly

flowed from within.

That Julie made such a mess,

a beach towel was needed,

to clean up my chin.

Three Julies

The mangoes from Haiti

are long and light green.

This fruit’s flavor is special,

the taste, a mango fan’s dream.

But there are drawbacks, I’m afraid.

It costs a little more,

and eating it most certainly can be a chore.

The Haitian

You can peel the tough skin with a knife.

Pull it down and try to slice.

Be careful before you start chewing,

The juices might spurt.

Don’t be slow.

Stay alert.

Oh my, how the bright orange flesh stains so.

No doubt, your nice white shirt, will soon be aglow.

Put away the knife,

and give up on the slice.

Just suck through the flesh,

right to the big stone.

This chore is one, you need to handle alone.

The temptations are many.

You might want to bite.

You’ll soon learn, that won’t be right.

Like a thatch of thorns that have you entangled,

your teeth will be riddled with tough fibers at every angle.

To dislodge requires little cost.

All you’ll need is plenty of time,

and two packs of dental floss.

Some say the best way to eat a mango

is one where you cut into the flesh;

a criss cross pattern.

that looks like a mesh.

Turn the skin upside down,

with gentle firmness, you’ll press.

The pieces will fall into a bowl or dish.

Eat with a toothpick, fork or chopstick.

No fuss.

No mess.

The criss cross method.

Like the many varieties of mango,

the choices of how to eat one are plenty.

And while I waste my time,

with these ridiculous rhymes,

I’m sure the list will grow.

Suck, nibble, bite or chew?

Who am I to tell you what to do?

How to eat a mango.

really, is up to you.

Today’s Special(s)

22 Jun

A cold shower.

And an even colder refreshment.

The Iceman neareth

Tamarindo please.

Sweet relief!

A Night of Good Humor

13 Jun

The bells woke up me up.  I could hear them from my open window coming from the street below. I was trying to sleep away the hot day.  I forced myself out of bed. I had to get downstairs fast. I had to get to the bells.

I put on a dirty, ripped tee shirt and slid on my flip flops. I rushed out the door and started down the four flights to the street.

Mrs. Robbins was trudging up the steps. She was in a wrinkled  house dress, holding an ice cream bar in one hand that was melting rapidly.

“You better hurry,” she said. “He’s selling out fast.” As she spoke she tried to catch the red cookie crumbs that were falling from the ice cream bar.

“You got strawberry shortcake?” I said.

“Always,” she replied. “And lucky I got there when I did. Those kids behind me are gonna be disappointed if they want their strawberry shortcake. And I know that geezer Baskin will blame me for eating the last one. Too bad, I say. Let him eat a toasted almond for a change. Nothing wrong with toasted almond. Or chocolate éclair. Now that’s a very fine ice cream bar.”

Mrs. Robbins could go on, but I had no time to listen. I ran down the stairs and out into the dusk. It was still brutally hot. I heard the bells, but they were fading. I wasn’t sure which direction to run.

A truck was slowly moving down the street and then stopped right in front of where I was standing. A man poked his head out. “I got ice cream here,” he said.

I stared at the rainbow colored ice cream cone painted on the side of the truck. “You want a Salty Pimp?” the man asked me, “or how about a Bea Arthur?”

I didn’t know what to say. And there were no bells.

Where you can get a “salty pimp.”

“Okay, maybe next time,” the man said as he drove the truck away.

I listened for the bells again. I could hear them faintly, but soon they were drowned out by something else. That song. It was coming from that other ice cream truck. I covered my ears.  Stop it, I cried to myself. I can’t stand it!

The loud truck parked in front of me. The music blasted. The ice cream head smiled cruelly at me; the source of so many nightmares.

The stuff nightmares are made of.

I ran from it. Ran down the street as far away from the truck as I could get. The song faded. I turned down an alley. There it was. The old white truck. And I could hear the bells.

My flops flipped as I ran faster. I could see the man in the white suit and white hat by the side of the truck. There was a line of boys and girls waiting. I needed to get on that line. I shoved my hands into my pockets. And then I froze. “No,” I cried. “No! No! No!”

I forgot to take two bits for the ice cream. I sat down on a stoop and buried my head in my hands.

“What’s the matter, kid,” a gravely-voiced man asked me. “We all have bad days.”

I looked up. It was Carvel. The last guy I wanted to see.

“Forgot something, did ya?”

I didn’t want to hear it from him. Taunting me with his toasted coconut marshmallow sundae; his brown betty’s. Knowing how loyal I am to the other guy. That I would never betray him.”

Everybody likes ice cream

“Listen, kid, I remember that solid you did for me?”

“What?” I scowled. “What solid?”

“The time you helped me with the dry ice.”

I nodded. Yeah, I remembered. His truck broke down and I helped get his boxes of dry ice to his new store before all his ice cream melted.

“I never forget a solid,” he said.

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a fifty cent piece and flipped it to me. “Go on now. Go get yourself an ice cream.

I looked at the coin and quickly ran down the street. The line of children was gone. The man in the white suit and hat was getting into the passenger seat of his truck. He was leaving, but before he did, I could hear him clang the bells.

I ran right up to him. My face was red, dripping with sweat. He smiled at me. “Just in time, sonny,” he said and then slowly climbed out. “Can’t say there is much left back there though. Not on a hot one like this.”

I walked with him to the side of the truck. He opened the freezer. A wisp of fog drifted from the open door. He reached in. “Hmmm, I thought I had some left,” he said as his hand searched the freezer.

My face contorted. The tears were close. I tried to control them from coming.

“Oh…wait…” He smiled again. “One more. But you’ll have to take whatever it is.”

“I’ll take it,” I said, nodding eagerly. “I don’t care.”

He pulled out the last remaining ice cream bar. My eyes opened wide. So did my mouth. The ice cream was wrapped in blue paper. I knew what it was. The one with the chocolate candy in the center. God is good, I thought.

“Well, well, from that look on your face, I guess it’s your lucky day, sonny boy,” he said.

I gave him the fifty cent piece. He slid it into his changer and then clicked out two dimes for me. I waited a moment.

He looked at me and shrugged. “Sorry, sonny, you ever hear of inflation? The cost of ice cream is going up. Get used to it.”

I didn’t know what he was talking about and really didn’t care. I pocketed the twenty cents and moved away from the truck with my ice cream.

He got back in, started the truck up, and as he drove away, pulled the string to the bells a few times.

I returned to the stoop where I had run into Carvel and sat down. I unwrapped the ice cream and slowly, methodically, started to work on the chocolate icing.

A thing of beauty.

The vanilla ice cream was revealed. I wanted to make it last before I got to the candy, but in the heat, I had to work faster than I liked. The tip of chocolate candy emerged. And then more until the chocolate candy center was totally exposed, clinging fragilely to the stick.


I started to lick it. I knew I had to be careful here. That it was delicate. But I was weak. I couldn’t resist. I took a bite, savoring the cold, rich chocolate. I wanted more and took another, bigger bite. Just as I did, the candy crumbled, pulling away from the stick. I frantically tried to catch it with my hand but only was able to rescue a tiny portion. The rest splattered on the dirty pavement.

I looked down at the glob of chocolate. An army of ants were on it immediately. I still held the stick. I licked it, making sure I cleaned whatever chocolate remained. I stood up, tossed the stick into the garbage.

The sun had gone down but my room was still stifling when I returned. I got back into bed. Tomorrow, they said, was going to be even hotter. I closed my eyes.  I didn’t care. As long as I heard the bells.

Today’s Special

27 Apr

Nice to have so many options, even if some of them are shitty.

The Cannoli Dream

13 Mar

I had that dream again. The one where I’m on a lumpy mattress and I smell tomato sauce cooking. It’s almost always the same. There’s this fat guy making the sauce and laughing; singing really, to who, I don’t know. “Why don’t you tell that nice girl you love her? I love you with all a my heart, if I don’t see a you again soon, I’m a gonna die.”

It’s murky, like dreams usually are, but the smell of the sauce is distinctive. There are men in the room with me. I’m young, though; a teenager and these men are serious.

“Come over here, kid. Learn something,” The fat man says, I think to me. “You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday.”

And then he gives out the recipe. “You start out with a little oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes. Then some tomato paste. You fry it, make sure it doesn’t stick. You bring it to a boil and then you shove in your sausage and your meatballs. Add a little bit of wine. A little bit of sugar. And that’s my trick…”

Then one of the serious guys comes over and tells the fat guy to cut the crap; that he has more important things for him to do, which I can’t understand. What could be more important than cooking sauce for 20 guys?

In my dream I am now in different place. It’s quiet, dark, and seems deserted. A man is with me. He carries flowers and smiles nervously. I ask who he is. He says he is a baker and that his bread is the best on Pleasant Avenue. I see that his hands are shaking.

A baker bearing flowers.

The next thing I remember from the dream is that I’m driving around with another group of serious men. We end up in front of some Italian restaurant in the Bronx. I’ve been told it’s supposed to be a “family” place with good food and, for some reason, I should check out the bathroom. I’m eating with strangers and someone asks how the veal is? “It’s the best in the city,” is the muffled response I can barely hear because of the rumbling of the nearby elevated train.

A family place.

Finally, I’m in a sunny garden, but I’m now a little boy. There’s an old man with me. He’s got beautiful tomato plants but he’s spraying them with pesticide. He obviously isn’t organically informed. The old man likes oranges; there are always oranges around him. But he scares me when he puts the peel in his mouth and makes a face like a monster.

I run away and the fat guy who was teaching me how to make tomato sauce is telling me something. I hear him, but I’m not sure I understand.

And then I wake up sweaty and confused. Was I supposed to leave the cannolis and take the gun? Or was I supposed to take the cannolis and leave the gun? I can never get it straight.

March 15, 1972: Happy 40th Godfather.

Black and White Fantasy

11 Mar

I can see them from outside the shop.

They’ve just come from the oven

and now spread out on a sheet.

Rows of round cookies

with shiny frosting on top.

Half black.

Half white.

No need to compete.

Equal partners in sweet sin.

The yang

and the yin.


and ivory

existing as one.

Equal partners

in blissful harmony.

I’ll buy one for sure

and save it for later

I say every time.

But I have no control.

I have no restraint.

And my hand is in the bag

before I’m even out the door.

Inside the bag, my hand gropes the warm moist mound.

What am I searching for?

What will be found?

Determined fingers break off a piece.

Will it be white?

Will it be black?

I have no preference.

I play no favors.

I want to be fair.

I want to do what’s right.

I pull it out

and look at what I hold in my finger.

My heart sinks a bit.

And then I get mad.

I’m not happy.

I don’t like the sight.

Because in my finger,

I hold the white.

Harmony broken,

I pull out the cracked cookie.

Black is better,

There’s no denying.

If I said any different,

I’d just be lying.

Still it wouldn’t make sense,

to throw the white away.

So I’ll eat it first and get

that out of the way.

One sweet brother gone

half a cookie remains.

So much for togetherness.

Nothing stays the same.

I’ll eat the black

until nothing is left.

I’ll enjoy every bite,

I’ll have no regrets.

My belly full now,

remorse sets in.

My mind is in conflict.

Because I favored the yin,

when in my heart,

I know I’ve panged,

to give equal respect to the yang.

Some say it’s a fantasy;

that there’s no such thing

as cookie equality.

But peace can exist

in one perfect round.

A place where sweet truths

can often be found.

It’s not hard to discover

the secret of black and white.

It’s easy really.

All it takes is one bite.

The cookie crumbles.

Ode to Whoopie (Pie)

15 Oct

Ode to Whoopie (Pie)

Two moist little round mounds of cake,

usually chocolate in make.

Stuffed with white stuff, I know not what.

Maybe cream, maybe butter,

maybe corn syrup the bad.

So sweet, so delicious, it’s a pleasure to be had.

Press tenderly on those pliant brown mounds,

one above, one below.

Press firmer and the cream will flow.

Catch it quick, with tongue or finger,

don’t dare miss a bit.

Their likeness uncanny,

the pretenders are many.

There’s Ring Ding, Yodel, Oreo and Suzy Q.

None of them give the magnificent Whoopie its due.

I’ve had Whoopies in pumpkin, in chocolate chip, mint and

vanilla too,

but for me only the chocolate with the white stuff will do.

From Maine to Cape Cod,

Whoopie’s legend is secure.

In the Big Apple, they’re just not so sure.

Whoopie’s humble appearance—no

glaze, no sprinkles, no frosting adorns it—is

surely a deception.

This pie is simply pure perfection.

So eat your silky mousse,

your dark ganache, your sweet red velvet cupcakes.

For me, I’ll feast on the Pie of Whoopie

…until my jaw aches.


Have a great weekend everyone.  Look for a new Adventures in Chow City on Tuesday.

%d bloggers like this: