Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Bits and Morsels has fun with honey

The perfect bite at Lefkos Pyrgos in Astoria, Queens.
A few weeks ago on the fourth hour (the best hour) of The Today Show, Hoda Kotb and Kathy Lee Gifford were viewed by millions of devotees devouring these chocolate covered honey cakes. I had never seen these two gals eat anything on camera quite like this.

Chocolate covered honey cake from Bee Desserts.
So, one could only deduce that these cakes, which didn't last for more than a few seconds on screen, were worth tracking down.

Here's the story: The honey cakes are made by Bee Desserts, which operates out of Claudia Stevis's restaurant, La Palette (I happen to LOVE the crepes at La Pallete, especially the spinach, mushroom and gruyere).

The lovely Claudia hails from Brazil and her passion: desserts, desserts, desserts. The cakes are all natural, made with whole wheat flour and honey instead of processed white sugar. They have no preservatives, which doesn’t matter much because they won’t last long in anyone's possession.

Her cakes are all handmade from a family recipe and come in plain, marshmallow and Liqueur. And they make excellent hostess gifts.

Bee Desserts
94 Greenwich Avenue

Claudia Stevis. Hand-made Bee Desserts.
Chocolate covered honey cake.
Chocolate covered honey cake with marshmallow.
While I was in Savannah I came across the Savannah Bee Company Store, which sells honey and honey products, only. I was fascinated by the concept as I have never known of a store solely devoted to honey.

Savannah Bee Company.
A honey bar is set up in the front of the store where you can sample different flavors and categories of honey. They also sell biscuits drenched in honey (I had a few warm biscuits topped with Tupelo honey) and honey beverages, like honey lattes.

The honey iced coffee is made by mixing honey into hot coffee and then chilling it. For me, it tastes more floral than sweet, which I like. Besides honey, agave is worth using and as much as I don’t approve of plain white sugar, I will always accept it over an artificial sweetener.

Don't get me started on artificial sweeteners.

Savannah Bee Company
Tupelo honey. A spoonful of honey.
Clockwise from top left: Honey iced coffee; Inside the the Savannah Bee Company store; Honey and biscuits (2).
For more honey fun I went to Astoria last week for a delicious and healthy Greek dinner and dessert (not so healthy). Sometimes when I’m craving grilled fish it’s tempting to hop in a cab and go to Queens, rather than brave the traffic and head to Milos in Midtown. I am not a big fan of Trata and the fish is better and more reasonable at Elias Corner in Astoria. Go for the fish. All the food is worth trying, but the fish is exceptional.

A Greek salad and a side of beets or lemony potatoes are the only additions you need. The whole red snapper, which serves 2-3 people, is presented rustically, simply seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil. Elias Corner is a casual spot with no real atmosphere to speak of, except for the slightly jarring display of fish on ice when you enter. There is no menu and it’s cash only, but the prices are low. They even have some outdoor seating and when the weather permits, it's a lovely option.

Elias Corner
24-02 31st Street
Elias Corner. Fresh fish on display.
Greek salad.
A healthy plate of beets and greens.
Red snapper. Fried red mullet.
The perfect plate. A good value.
For dessert, I like to head a few blocks up to Lefkos Pirgos. It’s a fantastic bakery and café serving up Greek pastries and cakes. I love their baklava and donuts drenched in honey. A trip to Greece is the only thing left on my plate.
Our table of Greek treats.
Lefkos Pirgos
2285 31st St
Lefkos Pyrgos. Baklava.
Fried dough with honey. Mini-donuts drowned in honey.
This is shocking for me. Apparently the best peaches are not the Georgia kind, but from Yangshan. In Yangshan (Shanghai, if you're wondering) there is a big bumper crop of water honey peaches that are fantastically juicy. It’s frustrating that these peaches are highly perishable and therefore we can’t enjoy them here in the Big Apple. Alas, we can press on with long shelf life-minded fruits that we've grown accustomed to. [Wall Street Journal]

I don't know anyone who is excited about the new T.G.I. Fridays that’s possibly coming to Union Square. I suppose it's good in that it will bring more traffic to Union Square, but (and that's a big but) the food leaves much to be desired. [Crain’s]

Something to think about the next time you buy Fiji Water. The article is long but well worth the read. And eye opening. [Mother Jones]

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