Monday, December 27, 2010

A Little Something For New Year's Eve

Luciano shares our Christmas breakfast - Pizzafrites

I've heard that many a cook will end a shift with a trip to a pizzeria- good plain deliciousness after a day of food fuss.  That makes me feel a little better about my very favorite dessert-
A vanilla ice cream cone from McDonald's. Its my business partner Kim's favorite too. Its so much an obsession with us that we will celebrate Un Petit Morceau triumphs with it.   I will spit something out at a bakery if its not worth ingesting, and yet I feel a little desperate when I finish the last cardboardy bite of my cone.

No, I'm not having McDonald's for New Year's. Kim and her husband J. R. will share a decadent dinner with us and I will end it with a giant banana split. As a young dancer, I would often finish a performance on Broadway with a trip  to Serendipity, a wonderful restaurant/ ice cream parlor that I believe is still there. One of the original owners was a ballet student of Mama's named Calvin Holt. He was flamboyantly and joyfully gay and was one of the most beautiful and daring dressers I've ever seen-- three piece impeccable suits in colors that weren't fashionable at the time, and always a pair of gold pince-nez balancing on his imperious nose.  I'd heard the story that as a young dancer he'd fallen in love with my mother and went to a psychiatrist to get over her. It just made him more of a fascinating and mysterious person to me. So, off I'd go after the show, guaranteed a seat no matter how crowded it was  ( thank you Mama)  and order a large banana split and polish it all off myself.
This is the one dessert, in my mind and in honor of the wonderful Serendipity , that just cannot be miniaturized- the whole point of it is its' flamboyant excess. ( That went for Calvin too.)
I will make my split in a large serving bowl, vanilla chocolate and strawberry ice creams with homemade hot fudge, caramel and strawberry sauce, fried walnuts, bananas and whipped cream. And 5 spoons. And we will stop eating only when we please!


  1. This might well be my favorite post of all time. :D
    Good girl, Nana. That is just exactly how to do things- properly. And with yummy ice cream. Work hard, play hard, eat a lot. Well you know...something like that.


  2. Luciano is a very pretty bird!

    It's funny- this post took me back to one of my first jobs working at an amusement park in an ice cream shop. Next door was a pizza place.

    All day long the wonderful aroma of pizza wafted over unmercilessly, as we dug out dip after dip of our 5 flavors to screaming kids and exhausted adults. (I can still to this day make a beautiful sundae).

    I finally made friends with a guy at the pizza place, and so at the end of our shifts, I would give him a huge sundae, and he gave us any "leftover" pizzas. Highly "illegal" at the time, but so delicious.

    I also worked in a Hotel, and can confirm chefs do in fact go out for pizza- and usually a beer- after their shifts.

    So, I can appreciate the irony of you two laboring over wonderful desserts and then going to McD's for ice cream... but it is ironic! :-)

    It made me feel better too- I will ask my husband to take me there for dessert and he always asks why I would "ever" want to go to McD's for dessert- now I see I am not alone. Always comforting.

    And to make my long comment even longer: thanks for reminding me of Serendipity! I have heard about it, but never been (indeed, it is still there- confirmed by google. In fact, you can buy the mix for frozen hot chocolate on Amazon), so now I have a place to add to my list of things to do in NYC.

    That NY Eve Sundae sounds like something to be hold- I hope you enjoy it and have a wonderful New Years Celebration!

  3. Banana Splits are my favorite! I always substitute the usual Dairy Queen pineapple sauce with either caramel or strawberry. And since I'm not a big walnut fan, I sometimes throw some salted pecans on top.

    I hope you have a wonderful New Years, Nana. Sounds like things are going pretty swell. :)

  4. When I finished school, I had a job in an ice café for half a year. I was the only salesgirl there, and in the evening, when I had closed the café, I used to sit down and eat all the wonderful ice cream and made all sorts of creations with whipped cream and sauce (of course, I paid it all!).

    Ahh, that was like being in the paradise of all my childhood dreams!! Sitting alone in an ice café and eating and eating and eating!!

  5. oh I love that I'm not alone!
    I also treasure tunneling back with you into your memories of illicit pizza, late night ice cream, and dancer- sized appetites
    thank you

  6. I forgot to ask, what kind of bird is Luciano?

  7. There he is! Thanks for catching him Nana :-).

    And you are absolutely right, it's soft-ice-heaven. I can't say how many hours i spent in the last years - summers like winters...uh honestly every season during the year-, sitting next to McDonalds spooning that icecream.
    (Unfortunatly they don't sell those cones here in Germany, all they have is "McSundae". But since it's the same icecream...who cares? :-D)

    Normally I drop and forget everything around me, jumping in my car and driving off if the appetite hits me. I'm serious.
    That made me think of myself sometimes, thank god I'm not alone.

    Happy New Year, all the best to all of you, 'Guten Rutsch' [Goot'n Rootsh] like we say here.

    Oh and before I forget, I always wanted to tell you that...wait...mmmhmmm icecream...maybe I sho

  8. Guten Rutsch!!
    Luciano is a caiic parrot ( I've forgotten how to spell it ) and talks a little, goes to the bathroom when I tell him to "go Potty" and loves to do the housework with me- he balances with one foot on each side of my shirt, back planted against my chest. Sometimes it looks like he's the one in control. He has my exact laugh and eerily uses it in appropriate situations. When he starts laughing, it makes me laugh, which gets him going even more. Actually, it can sound like the Kitchen Witches are at it- even when Zan isn't here.

  9. You'll have to post a video of you and Luciano yucking it up sometime- sounds funny! Have a great New Years!

  10. You totally have to get the bird on camera. I always wanted a bird, but they squawk too much, and I've heard some of them can outlive most people. Okay fine, so I still want one, but they're not welcome in apartments. Suppose it's just as well, if I had one that 'talks' all it would pick up from me would be "shut up", "ballet", every ballet term, "merde", and "no seriously, shut UP!"
    Get the bird on camera. You know you wanna!

  11. Frozen hot chocolates from Serendipity were a childhood treat for me too -- thanks for reminding me! After 10 years in LA I miss NYC all the time....