The Best Use of Pretzels This Holiday Season

IMG_5970The International Culinary Center is across the street from where I take yoga. They have a restaurant that I have never been to, but have always wanted to go to, that is run by the students called L’Ecole.  A 3 course lunch only costs $32 with option to add wine pairings (the school has a sommelier course bien sûr) raising the tab to either $56 or $68 depending on how fancy you want to go. They also offer a 2 and 4 course lunch so you have lots of options.  By NYC standards this is very good value.  So if you live here or are visiting check it out, they serve lunch and dinner Monday to Friday and you can make reservations here.

I digress…after yoga I peaked into the window which always has a display of student creations, which tend to mostly be Wedding Cakes.  Given the season they had been replaced with a huge ski slope winter scene (above).  Certainly the largest, mostly food, festive, seasonal creation I think I have ever seen.

What impressed me most was their take on a gingerbread house, er, I mean a pretzel house?IMG_5971I love how structural it is, who ever made this has a career in architecture if they decide to give up on pastry.IMG_5972My guess is it was several people who worked on this.  Personally I wished they didn’t use plastic elements like the ski lift in it, just aesthetically I feel it’s unnecessary, even tho it’s very clever.  It just amazes me how pretzels can be put into a context where I totally buy them as “logs”  and the almond bark chimney is brilliant.  IMG_5973Are those big green strawberries in the flower box outside the window?  Truly a masterpiece of taking everyday candies and snack food and transforming them into a winter wonderland!

So do you think there is gingerbread behind all those pretzels?  I would ever try to make something like this, I’m still working on layer cakes 😉  Anyone out there do Gingerbread or other types of house/landscapes like this for the holidays?

 

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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