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Do I want to blog about my Mom’s health, surgery?   12:48 AM Oct 10th

Can’t sleep tonight. Too many things.  Mind is racing.   3:40 AM Oct 14th

Doctor just gave us the good news! First time I’ve seen my Dad cry in years.   12:28 PM Oct 14th

Just saw Mom in CICU    1:21 PM Oct 14th

Had lunch with Kirsten. So good seeing her again.  Asks if I Twitter?   2:19 PM Oct 16th

Mom finally moved to her recovery room.  Time for me to breathe again.   12:34 PM Oct 17th

Heading back to NYC, but will be back in another week.  12:28 AM Oct 20th

Auditions, auditions, auditions.  If I have to play “Part Of Your World” one more time…   1:20 PM Oct 21st

Has it really been a month since my last blog entry?   2:43 PM Oct 22nd

Just “re-lived” the Bernstein “Mass” at Carnegie Hall. So proud of my friends. So moved by the music. 10:22 PM Oct 24th

Well, I guess DST is next weekend after all.   11:52 AM Oct 26th

Carnegie Hall: Pollini playing Beethoven, Schumann and Chopin. How classic(al).   2:34 PM Oct 26th

Hint #2: Last row of CH = leg room and behind-the-seat storage.   3:01 PM Oct 26th

Four encores! Including the G-minor Ballade! Grazie!   5:39 PM Oct 26th

Walking through Central Park.. Guess it has been a few weeks, there’s color on the trees and on the ground.   6:06 PM Oct 26th

Little girl, age 9 – “It smells like popcorn and horses.”   6:34 PM Oct 26th

Thank You, Matthew Weiner! -Can’t wait for Season 3!   10:55 PM Oct 26th

Pack-a-little, Post-a-little… Getting to head back down to Richmond for the week.   11:24 AM Oct 27th

The wheels on the bus keep going round and round. 100 miles to go.   8:37 PM Oct 27th

Being a ‘rent to the ‘rents today.   1:36 PM Oct 28th

Over at Steve’s right now taking a break from the parents. Soup’s On!   6:28 PM Oct 29th

Heard about this ( http://tinyurl.com/68y572 ) on NPR yesterday, downloaded the free(?) album today ( http://tinyurl.com/6hgqpz ) Mash-Up!   1:17 PM Oct 30th

Pumpkin & Coconut Brownie Ice Cream from Bev’s Ice Cream http://snipurl.com/4uzsi 8:07 PM Oct 30th

Happiness is a non-sold-out Bolt Bus. Two seats for the price of one.   7:31 PM Oct 31st

Off to MoMA for the last Member Preview Day of the new Miró exhibit.   2:06 PM Nov 1st

This exhibit keeps going and going and going… “Man and Woman in Front of a Pile of Excrement”   4:50 PM Nov 1st

Tracking a couple of friends in today’s marathon, and wondering how delayed the online results are.   11:58 AM Nov 2nd

Standing amid a sea of Silver, Blue, White and splashes of Orange! Inspiring!!   4:05 PM Nov 2nd

About to head out for some post-Marathon sushi with my brother and Maria.   5:58 PM Nov 2nd

Off to meet some friends for a morning-after-the-marathon breakfast. Could be interesting.   10:01 AM Nov 3rd

Times Square at 2:28pm EST – CNN Central http://snipurl.com/53wod 2:29 PM Nov 4th

Overwhelmed, but in a good way. The sense of Purpose and Hope was palpable in the midtown air (regardless of who you voted for).   6:14 PM Nov 4th

Just listening to the Cheering and Car Horns outside my apartment in Harlem!!!!!!!!!!   11:11 PM Nov 4th

OOPS! HA!!! ABC (in NYC at least) just interrupted their coverage for a Flomax commercial?!?!?!?!?   12:26 AM Nov 5th

Magnolia, Levain and Shake Shack all within seven blocks of each other… Is that a good or bad thing to know?   1:56 PM Nov 5th

At Lincoln Center about to experience Doctor Atomic.. And watching a lot of people trying to sell their tickets on the plaza…   7:30 PM Nov 5th

Intermission at The Met: People eating,drinking, chatting… leaving…   9:43 PM Nov 5th

Back at MoMA to catch the Kirchner once again before it closes… And the Van Gogh and Miró, of course   3:33 PM Nov 6th

Back at The Met tonight for the Berlioz. Technology and Art striving for their potential. I hope.   7:15 PM Nov 7th

Ah… The (Bittersweet) Hot Chocolate – with Marshmallow – from ‘wichcraft in Bryant Park http://snipurl.com/59hf1 3:52 PM Nov 9th

At Zankel Hall tonight for Jeremy Denk playing Ives Concord & Beethoven Hammerklavier. Monster program!   7:13 PM Nov 11th

Bravo, Jeremy Denk! Bravo!   9:52 PM Nov 11th

I was looking for an excuse to be lazy today: Thank You, Rain.   1:26 PM Nov 13th

Coolness in progress at MoMA http://twitpic.com/lrk1 3:43 PM Nov 14th

I wonder if they’ll have the Basil Hot Chocolate in Bryant Park today…   1:34 PM Nov 16th

More cupcakes coming to midtown Bway & 53rd… (Magnolia recently opened in Rock Center) http://snipurl.com/5n42q 2:45 PM Nov 16th

Thank you, Mr. Carfizzi and Mr. & Mrs. (Grant) Murphy for a wonderful recital. http://snipurl.com/5nlok 6:27 PM Nov 16th

Well, I thought I got here early enough to get in line for the movie. Probably #100ish, and still 30 minutes till they open   7:54 PM Nov 16th

“Slumdog Millionaire” – SEE THIS MOVIE! Thank You, Danny Boyle   10:35 PM Nov 16th

Everyone seems to be seeing snow this morning except for me – and I like snow!?!?   9:31 AM Nov 18th

ReTweet: @BravoTopChef Get ready! Spike is back and so are his shenanigans. Make sure to follow our boy tomorrow during the show   2:12 AM Nov 19th

Best lunch deal in Chinatown – 5 dumplings for $1 http://twitpic.com/mqr2 4:39 PM Nov 19th

Warming up with a Café Mocha at Abraço http://twitpic.com/mr4z 5:35 PM Nov 19th

Hmmm… No line… very tempting… http://twitpic.com/mra7 5:55 PM Nov 19th

What I’m playing this afternoon.. http://twitpic.com/mxqr 5:14 PM Nov 20th

Dinner at El Toro Partido – Torta! http://twitpic.com/ne8e 4:54 PM Nov 22nd

O Christmas Tree Stand, O Christmas Tree Stand… (145th & Broadway) http://twitpic.com/nvns 9:15 PM Nov 24th

On the Acela down to DC for the holiday weekend http://twitpic.com/o4xg 7:13 AM Nov 26th

@BravoTopChef Thanks, Andrew!   11:02 PM Nov 26th

Eat Well. Stay Safe. Happy Thanksgiving!   11:31 AM Nov 27th

Horse-Drawn Carriage rides in Carytown this weekend http://twitpic.com/osvq 5:21 PM Nov 28th

Then down to Cafe Gutenberg for dessert http://twitpic.com/ouyl    9:05 PM Nov 28th

My dessert: Oatmeal Stout Chocolate Float http://twitpic.com/ouz6 Yes! Beer (stout) and Ice Cream (chocolate gelato)   9:08 PM Nov 28th

Back at Bev’s Ice Cream – http://twitpic.com/p3kx Chocolate Chai with…   7:30 PM Nov 29th

With a Cranberry chaser – http://twitpic.com/p3lk 7:31 PM Nov 29th

My parents’ church actually has TWO late seating breaks during the mass.   12:22 PM Nov 30th

Who knew that my parents liked Vietnamese food? http://twitpic.com/p928 12:49 PM Nov 30th

Anderson Cooper swimming against Michael Phelps on “60 Minutes” tonight.   7:44 PM Nov 30th

Back on the bus back to NYC. Thankfully no one got trampled once the driver opened the doors, but there was definitely a throng.   7:29 AM Dec 1st

Take a Moment to Remember – World AIDS Day 2008.   9:44 AM Dec 1st

Happiness is a D (or A) Train across the platform.   3:49 PM Dec 1st

Anyone else going to the World AIDS Day “Bacharach to the Future” Benefit at New World Stages tonight? http://tinyurl.com/5jrv2j 3:54 PM Dec 1st

Condee Rice playing Brahms? I knew she was a good pianist, but… The Quintet is a LOT of notes! http://tinyurl.com/5q96px about 16 hours ago

Just saw a cop tie an elderly man’s shoes – I love New York City!   about 11 hours ago

It’s beginning to look a lot… http://twitpic.com/ps3q about 8 hours ago

I really should be asleep by now, but just came up with an idea for a new – and long overdue – blog entry.   about two hours ago

Well, I guess I am going to finish this blog entry tonight, well, this morning. -Who needs sleep?  27 minutes ago

Done! Publish. less than 5 seconds ago

http://twitter.com/JoseSPiano

As I looked into the display case and noticed that the top shelf was quite noticeably empty, my heart sank.  And then I started to laugh at myself.  I had stopped into the newly re-located Madeleine Patisserie on 23rd Street; it had just moved two doors down from it’s original address.  I discovered Madeleine Patisserie for myself about a year ago after reading a blurb about the then newly opened shop a few weeks earlier in The New York Times.  I was just walking around during a lunch break… Oh, a bakery!  Needless to say, I just had to check it out as soon as I noticed it’s blue awning and semi-subterranean storefront.  Once I descended the small set of stars and entered the shop, my eyes were immediately drawn to the big display case.  On the bottom shelves was a colorful and enticing selection of fruit tarts, but what my eyes and taste buds were focusing on were the trays of French macaroons on the top shelf.  It was a veritable rainbow of colors and flavors – at least twenty different varieties.  Although macarons seemed to be the specialty of the house, this bakery/cafe does sell some fine examples of their namesake madeleines.  They also come in a variety of flavors, all of which seem to be perfectly concocted so that the natural muting qualities of butter don’t overwhelm the essences and flavorings that infuse those two- or three- (or one-) bite "little French cakes".  The espresso-walnut one I sampled today was… Oh, where was I?  Oh, yes – I was laughing at myself.

While I walking around Chelsea a few weeks ago, I had noticed that the original location of Madeleine Patisserie had shuttered.  As I looked into the windows, I took in the the absence of the comfy chairs, the tables, the shelving and that display case.  Thankfully, there was a sign taped to the door indicating that they were moving two doors down.  Well, I walked two doors down and found no sign of a nouvelle Madeleine Patisserie.  I walked two doors down the other way, no pastries there either.  I guessed that they were still in the process of moving.  Actually, I hoped that they were still in the process of moving.  With the ever volatile real estate market in New York City, Chelsea could very well have been deprived of yet another source of baked indulgences.

Since I ended up with a longer than usual lunch break today, I decided to go on a follow-up stroll.  I first came across the new occupants of 128 W. 23rd, an African Art Gallery from what I could tell.  Then I shifted my gaze east, two doors down, and, happily, my hopes were not dashed.  I noticed the familiar blue awning with it’s familiar lettering. I quickened my pace and found myself standing in front of their new storefront a few steps later. The new digs were a bit smaller, narrower than their previous location, and it appeared that the seating was reduced to a few perfunctory tables and chairs. I opened the door and entered with a bit of hesitancy.  Would their offerings be reduced too?

I first encountered the baskets and trivets filled with baguettes, batards, croissants, pains au chocolat, financiers, and various other puff pastry creations; the small, individual jars of jams and jellies, and the white, pink, yellow and blue packets of sweeteners for your coffee and tea.  A few feet away was the display case.  My eyes quickly scanned the shelves.  The familiar selection of impeccably assembled fruit tarts were on the bottom two shelves.  On top of the case was a row of jars filled with today’s selection of madeleines (six flavors), meringues (plain and coconut), and generous rounds of gallette bretonne (French shortbread). When I started concentrating on the top shelf, at first I thought my eyes were deceiving me.  All I saw was a span of mirrored steel.  It was empty.  Nothing.  That’s when my heart sank.  And that’s when I laughed at myself.

My heart sank because of a macaron!  Rather the lack of a macaron.  How foolish is that?  How stupid?  How third grade!  How wonderful!  But wait!  It gets better!

With a hopeful suspicion that the macarons were being kept in the back somewhere, I asked Maria if they had any today. She informed me that they did not have any today, but would, hopefully, have some by next week.  It turned out that they had just completed the move this past Sunday, and today (Tuesday) was only the second day they were re-opened for business. Of course, hearing "Yes, we have no macarons today," and that it would be at least another week before the top shelf of that display case would be filled again did nothing to raise my spirits.  I believe I even frowned.  And then I giggled.

Yes, there are more serious, more adult sources of disappointment – and joy! – but as I immediately assessed my reaction, I could not help but laugh at my own folly.  I’ve always known that I love food, but was it really possible for me to miss food?  I guess so. And at what point in my life had a craving become an object of my affection?

Since I was not able to enjoy a cassis or lemon-chocolate or lilac macaron today – and since I was not going to walk out of there empty-handed – I decided to sample a trio of today’s selection of madeleines: Chocolate, Espresso-Walnut and Rose.  Maria placed them in a small white paper bag, rang up my order at the register, and I headed back out on to 23rd Street.  It wasn’t too long before I opened the bag, stuck my hand in and selected the Espresso-Walnut one. As I took that first bite, in my mind’s eye I could see that simply satisfied smile coming over my face; and I knew that if a camera was on me, it would capture the glint in my eye, the slight filling out of my cheeks, and my buttery-crumb-coated goofy grin. If I had happened to be walking with a friend, I would have immediately broken off a small bit for him to sample, or least have exclaimed, "This is really good!  You should definitely try one the next time you go there!" But since I was walking by myself, I did not have to make that decision.

Next up was the Chocolate one which gently and sufficiently satisfied my daily chocolate quotient.  Finally, the Rose.  Many times, floral flavored and scented sweets can end up leaving me feel like I’ve just consumed a bit of furniture polish, dishwashing detergent or a votive candle instead of a lilac pastille, an orange blossom gelée or geranium sorbet.  I had not tried a Rose one before, but, frankly, I was in the mood to be slightly adventurous today.  I sniffed it before I placed it in my mouth.  It smelled like a Rose.  I then took a bite of it.  It tasted like a Rose.  Well, at least what I imagine what it would be like to bite into a long-stemmed American Beauty. Again, that goofy, can-it-really-be-this-good? smile came across my face, and, again I fully suspected someone to come up to me and capture my expression on camera.  There just had to be some sort of documentation of my glee!

I looked at the remaining half, and was sort of taken aback by the very pronounced pink-red color of the cake.  It wasn’t exactly unnatural, just unexpected. I nibbled slowly at what was left of that combination of butter, flour, sugar, rosewater(?) and a few drops of food coloring. I wanted to make it last as long as possible; at least until I had returned to the studio for the second half of my day. By the time I had reached the lobby of the building, I had indeed finished the madeleine.  I had consumed all three of them during the course of my walk down 23rd Street, up Seventh Avenue, and back across 26th Street. As I entered the lobby, I became aware of the chill in my fingers. It was a bit colder today than I had thought, and I had not included my gloves as part of my outerwear selection for the day.  Even though the end of meteorological Winter just a few days away, I had already experienced a harbinger of Spring.  In fact, I had just tasted it.

The Old LocationThe New Location

I ended up back at Madeleine Patisserie after my afternoon session of auditions had finished.  Alas, still no macarons gracing that top shelf of the display case – Hope springs eternal! – and it looked like they had done a pretty brisk business since my last visit a few hours earlier.  There were just a few plain croissants left in the baskets behind the counter, and the display next to the register was a fraction of what was there during my first visit of the day.  I also noticed a sign taped to a curtain that lined what I thought was the back wall of the new space: "Seating Area Coming Soon".  For today’s final selections, I chose a coconut meringue and two chocolate chip financiers the size of a truffle (or a chocolate covered cherry, whichever you prefer).  Since I had ordered two of them, I first sampled the financier.  Again, I was smiling uncontrollably as I took that first bite. A true perfect bite of the usual baker’s staples with the addition of ground almonds and a sprinkling of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Then came the coconut meringue – all crunch, sugar, air and toasted coconut.  I imagined that this is what coconut-flavored cotton candy would taste like if it had a hard candy shell.  Once I had finished the meringue, there was no sense in saving the remaining financier for later.  And by that time, I had managed to walk all the way up to 44th Street where I proceeded underground to hop on the A Train for the rest of my trip home.  As I wondered if my fellow riders had any idea why I smiling so much, I made sure to check the front of my coat for any traces of meringue dust and cake crumbs.

Well, I guess this post should actually be titled just "Eating in Memphis – Days 2, 3 & 4", but for the sake of continuity I shall continue the series.

Due to my schedule, and also due to the fact that I did not want to deal with cabs – and cab fares – nor with the hassle of arranging and securing a rental car, I did not make it to some of the places I had quasi-planned to visit while I was here.  However, in retrospect – and I still have one more day to go here – if I had made it to every place on my list, there would have been no way I could have happily enjoyed eating all the foodstuffs from all the places on my list.  That would have been just too much food, too too much. Schedule-permitting, I will be back next year, so I can always cross and re-cross some of the places off my list.

If there’s any place that I do wish I could have gotten to this visit, it would have to be Dinstuhl’s Fine Candies.  Dinstuhl’s is famous for their Cashew Crunch and Chocolate-Covered Strawberries and Chocolate-Covered Raspberries, however, my favorite are their Chocolate-Covered Grapes.  Yes, Grapes!  -Just think of them as re-hydrated Chocolate-Covered Raisins.  *Alas, Dinstuhl’s website no longer – at least not presently – has a page for their chocolate-covered fruit pieces.  I wonder if they’re not shipping them anymore?

But, again, I did partake of some pretty good eatin’ while I was in town.  In addition to my first ever visit to Catfish Cabin, I made it back to two Memphis Institutions: The Cupboard and Huey’s.  The Cupboard is a classic "meat and three".  They moved into an old Shoney’s building a few years ago, but, from what I can tell, the food is still just as good as it was across the street and a few doors down in smaller quarters.  However, I do miss the "sloppiness" of the cornbread gem muffins – those crispy, muffin-top "crackers" were always a true treat.  Huey’s is known for their burgers, and for their "toothpick ceiling".  When I was here two years ago, I remember reading about how Huey’s had switched over from in-house, hand-formed hamburger patties, to ones made off-site for them, and, alas, I could tell the difference that change made during this visit.  It was not a bad burger, just not as good as it was the first few times I ate there.  However, the onion rings were still killer.

I also made my first visit to Marlowes this weekend.  I had heard some of the theatre staff talking about this place, and after looking it up on the web – and after realizing that most of my first dining choices were closed on Sundays – I took a chance, called them up, and arranged for one of their Pink Cadillac Stretch Limousines to come pick me up at my hotel.  The meal was great, but the limo ride was truly the most memorable part of the experience.

In order not to fill the main page of my blog up with additional pictures of my food selections here in Memphis, I’ve gone ahead and set up a separate page for anyone who wishes to view my "guilt".  Just click below.

Memphis Meals

Well… It’s that time of the year again. The annual Unified Professional Theatre Auditions (UPTA) take place this weekend in Memphis, and I am back for my fourth (fifth, sixth?) year of playing for them.  Unlike UPTA’s older sister, SETC, which "travels" from state to state, year to year, these auditions started in Memphis, and have stayed in Memphis since they began.  I came on board a couple of years ago, and besides finally getting to go to Graceland, I also became acquainted with some of the fine and not-so-fine dining establishments here in Memphis. And when I say "not-so-fine", I don’t mean that as an insult. In fact, it’s really more of a compliment, even if it does sound a bit backhanded. Perhaps, "not-as-fine" is a better qualifier: no cloth tablecloths, large plastic drink tumblers, silverware wrapped in off-the-roll paper towels. Just good, old-fashioned, traditional down-home food served in down-home settings. Even though Memphis is a BBQ town, there are also a couple of other specialties to be enjoyed: fried chicken, cornbread gem muffins and even chocolate-covered grapes(!).

On the day I arrived, I had originally planned to head down to Beale Street to get some BBQ, but due to a transportation glitch, I ended up heading to a place closer to my hotel for dinner. After walking along the non-sidewalked streets, and across a "small" highway, I ended up at Catfish Cabin. This was my first time there, and were it not for the almost totally "breaded and deep-fried" menu, I probably would eat there again sometime over the next couple of days.  Truly, some good eatin’!

It is a true old-style, Southern restaurant.  The decor was basic: the usual faux-nautical dark wood walls, yellowed vinyl red-and-white-checked tablecloths, a roll of paper towels on each table.  I had originally ordered Combo #5: catfish fillets, shrimp and oysters – all fried –  which also came with hush puppies, french fries and coleslaw. Alas, a few minutes after I had ordered, the head waitress started walking from room to room announcing, "We’re out of shrimp! Out of shrimp!" After another five minutes, my waitress came back to my table to inform me that they were out of shrimp. Oh, I guess I wasn’t supposed to hear that previous announcement. Since I had had time to think about it, I decided to forego swapping out the shrimp for chicken fingers, and just decided to get a catfish fillet and oyster plate.  And what a plate that turned out to be!

Is that enough "golden brown" on one plate for you?  However, there were bits of green and yellow in the hush puppies (diced jalapenos and corn), and the coleslaw had carrots in addition to the cabbage and mayo-mustard dressing. It was a very good, and very filling meal. -All washed down with Sweet Tea, of course. Even though I wanted to clean my plate, to not let a bit of that crunchy goodness go to waste, alas, that was not to be due to the size of the portion. They did have some "famous" desserts listed on their menu, but there was no way I going to go there. Just no more room in the "in".

Well, I guess you could call this the "optional audience participation" part of "A View From The Piano Bench". From time to time, I thought it would be nice to share a favorite recipe. So, without further adieu…

But first…

I came across this recipe a couple of years ago while watching Sara Moulton’s show on the Food Network, "Cooking Live" (which is no longer in production). Wayne Harley Brachman was the guest that day, and this is his recipe. I was intrigued by it since it only called for one stick of butter, and one egg. Most cookie recipes I had come across up until that time usually called for at least two sticks of butter and two eggs. One stick of butter and two cups of oats: Healthy! Well, the finished product looked good on TV, so I decided to give it a try. It immediately became one of my favorites, and a favorite of many a cast and crew at Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre, the Kennedy Center… ("Oh! He bakes too!")

The ingredient list is composed of pantry staples – although, there have been a few times when I’ve found myself running to the store after setting up my mise en place to fetch some maple syrup. It’s also a pretty flexible recipe. Well, I make it flexible. Sometimes I will vary the type of chocolate chips – milk chocolate, semi-sweet, dark (or a combination of milk and dark!). Other times I will swap out almonds for the pecans. I’m also fond of gilding the lily by adding a healthy scoop of toffee chips to the original recipe. And to totally switch it up, white chocolate chips, dried cranberries and pecans work well together too.

I have found that regular rolled oats work best in the finished product, but if you happen to have a canister of quick-cooking oats you want to use up, no harm, no foul. Although, the recipe calls for a mixer, it can easily be put together by hand – the creaming of the butter and sugars is the part of the recipe requiring the most elbow grease. Parchment paper comes in handy for "staging" the next batch while one bakes in the oven, and it makes clean-up a breeze too. The 9 minute cooking time has never really worked for me – and, trust me, I check my oven temps – but it may work for you. Otherwise, 11 minutes seems to be the optimal time, switching and turning the pans after the first five or six minutes to promote even cooking and browning.

The recipe doubles beautifully too – which is what the accompanying pictures reflect.

Don’t forget the milk!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Recipe courtesy Wayne Harley Brachman

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled (old-fashioned) oats
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Set 2 racks in the middle and upper thirds of the oven and preheat to 350F degrees.

In a medium bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats, and pecans together with a whisk or fork. In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together for 30 seconds until blended. Beat in the egg until smooth and barely fluffy. With mixer running on medium high, drizzle in the maple syrup and vanilla until incorporated.

Turn the mixer down to its lowest setting and gradually add the flour-oatmeal mixture. Blend just to combine, then mix in the chocolate chips.

Drop walnut-sized balls of dough onto a nonstick or parchment-lined cookie sheet at 3-inch intervals. With moistened fingers, flatten and round out the cookies a little.

Bake for 9 minutes, turning the pan once for even baking. The cookies are done when they are lightly browned on top. Set the cookie sheets on a rack to cool.
Yield: about 36 cookies

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Do Not Look In The Window! Do Not Drool On The Glass!

Over the past couple of months, the area around 72nd Street & Broadway has become a Dieter’s Temptation Island. Anyone planning on sticking to their New Year’s Resolution to cut out "The White" (sugar, flour and shortening) is strongly advised to keep walking past some of the new store fronts that have opened in this portion of the Upper West Side. However, if you do wish to test your resolve and/or carb-butterfat-consumption limit, have I got a Walking Tour for you!

The recent opening of Magnolia Bakery’s UWS branch seems to have signaled some sort of truce in the Cupcake Wars of years past. Or not. In any case, having Magnolia so close to one of it’s many offspring, Buttercup Bakery, means that UWS-ers no longer have to head down to Bleecker Street in order to get their originally-fueled-by-"Sex & The City" sugar fix.

This CupCake & Cookie & Chocolate (oh, yes, there’s Chocolate too!) Walk starts at Magnolia Bakery’s new location. The remaining stops may be taken in order as you zig-zag up and over to 72nd, up Amsterdam, and then over to Broadway, or you may wish to circle a block two between gobs of buttercream. Of course, whether you choose to stop-in and consume or not is totally up to you. And possibly your cardiologist.

You can start this CC&C&C Walk at 72nd Street at Broadway (1/2/3 trains) or at Central Park West (B/C). Either way, you can get a nice warm-up walk on your way to Magnolia Bakery. After your CC&C&C Walk is completed – and mind you, you don’t have to complete this all in one day – it’s probably best to walk back down Broadway to Columbus Circle to catch your train at 59th Street. (Just be sure not stop by Bouchon Bakery on the third floor of the Time-Warner Center.)

Magnolia Bakery – 200 Columbus Ave. (at 69th St.)

Buttercup Bake Shop – 141 W. 72nd St. (between Amsterdam & Columbus)

Grandaisy Bakery – 176 W. 72nd St. (Amsterdam & Columbus)

Jacques Torres Chocolate – 285 Amsterdam Ave. (73rd & 74th)

Levain Bakery – 167 W. 74th St. (Amsterdam & Columbus) – COOKIES!

Crumbs – 321 1/2 Amsterdam Avenue (75th & 76th)

Grom – 2165 Broadway (76th & 77th) – Gelato (and Hot Chocolate).

Beard Papa Cream Puffs – 2167 Broadway (76th & 77th)

If you would like to pick up a bottle of something red to counteract the effects of all that buttercream, I recommend stopping into Pour (Amsterdam at 75th). If you time your trek right, you might end up stopping by during one of their daily wine-tastings. And sometimes they even serve hor d’oeuvres. Salty ones.

Levain

Part of one of Levain’s Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

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