Potluck, Gazalas Place, and Amber

by Ada on August 22, 2010

Thursday afternoon my office hosted a pot-luck lunch and all the staff members brought in a dish. The night before I anxiously scrounged my fridge hoping that the pangs of inspiration would strike. Just then I noticed a large pile of bananas growing brown with ripeness atop my kitchen counter. Two words. Banana bread. Not so fast. Banana bread seemed too simple, too easy for a pot-luck lunch.
How could I bring traditional banana bread to an elevated, more sophisticated level? Two words again. Peanut butter.
I began by whipping together a batter containing flour, a smidgen of sugar, apple sauce, four nanners, and chocolate chunks. I then spread the batter onto a cake pan, rather then in a loaf one.

Once the cake appeared golden on top I removed it from the oven and let it cool. I then proceeded to cut said cake into cute little squares. The final step consist of slitting a minuscule hole into the center and stuffing it with organic peanut butter. There you have it, Elvis Squares (or monkey bread as my boss called it)! So simple, yet so satisfying;)
Other dishes included a refreshing mango salsa
An extremely yummy tofu/spinach dish
tofu/veggie lomein
Curried veggies (which I also made)
black bean salad
Polish pastries
There were also a couple of cakes and pies present. I left the pot-luck overly stuffed, but it was well worth it since everything tasted so good. My co-workers and I rolled ourselves out of the office and headed into Brooklyn where we volunteered for a soup kitchen for people living with HIV and AIDS. The organization is really great since it specifically focuses on offering nutritionally sound meals. It was a very nice experience and I hope to return this week.

After we finished my friend and I decided to walk from Brooklyn to Manhattan, rather than hop on the subway. The walk turned into quite the adventure, though we didn’t get too lost;)
Our walk brought us over the majestic Williamsburg Bridge as the sun was setting. This sign is illegible, but it reads “Now Leaving Brooklyn. Oy Vey!” Funny, no?
We took our time and absorbed all the beautiful shots of the skyline.
Friday night I met up with my friend Deena, who is sadly moving to California:( We had a farewell dinner at Gazalas Place, a cute little joint in Hell’s Kitchen. We began with a spinach and goat cheese stuffed burkeka, which possessed a similar texture to a croissant. I love the spinach/goat cheese combo, so I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.
We were also given a corn salad, which was nice and refreshing.
For my main course I selected the veggie combo which came with Turkish salad, babaganoush, tabbouleh, and cegars (phylo dough filled with potatoes). Unfortunately none of these items were very good and the dish was WAY over priced at fifteen dollars.
After our dinner we took a nice stroll and ended up at Holey Cream a donut/ ice cream store famous for their donut ice cream sandwiches. Neither of us were feeling gluttonous enough for that, but we did indulge in some fro-yo;)
Aren’t these donuts the cutest?
I was going to stick with vanilla, but the woman behind me insisted that I try the peanut butter. I’m glad she told me, since it was indeed quite good!
We walked around a bit and I then I returned home and crashed.
This morning I arose at 6am and headed to the pool to meet my swimming friend. We swam for two hours and completed over 5,000 meters, which felt quite good. I had plans for a day trip today but, unfortunately, they fizzled out so I was left with a free day.
The Madre and I drove to the uptown Fairway where we proceeded to load up on groceries.

As you can see, it was quite the shopping spree.
Today involved a couple of ice cream runs, including Moose Tracks
and vanilla soft serve. What can I say, I love ice cream!
Tonight I met up with a couple friends from high school for dinner at Amber. Though Amber is generally better for hot foods rather than sushi, we all were in a raw fish mood. I opted for a yellowtail avocado roll
with a piece of eel
and a piece of tobiko
It was really nice to see my high school friends and catch up with them!
On my way back home I grabbed a pint of banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery, the perfect sweet ending to a Saturday.
I hope everyone is having a nice weekend!!!

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Amber on Urbanspoon