New York Bagels

I recently took a trip to New York City with my mom and sisters for my mamma’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. Ever since I can remember, she’s always wanted to visit the city, but has never gotten around to it. Between you and I, I think she has always wanted to go because one of her favorite movies is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Anyhow, so my sisters and I wanted to surprise her with a destination trip for her big day. We didn’t tell her exactly where we were going but rather told here what to pack and how long we’d be gone. Once we got to the airport and printed our boarding passes, we told her she could read her pass and then we yelled out, “Surprise!!!” She practically cried and then people stared at us like we were crazy. It was awesome and grand and everything she never knew she wanted. And just in case you didn’t read all about it already or see all of my instagram posts during the trip, you can check it out here

My sisters had never been to New York either so I wanted to make sure we did as much as possible and visit all of the places they wanted to see. The great thing about visiting a city with people who haven’t before, is that you get to experience it for the first time all over again. We did most of the tourist things that I didn’t even do the times I’d gone before. So that was nice. Aside from all of the incredible sights we saw and museums we visited and walking we did, the best thing about New York is the food. There are literally a million places to eat. Everywhere you turn there’s something else. So of course that makes it a bit hard to settle on something. We did have some incredible food while on our trip though. Almost too much food. Almost. I say that with a grain of salt because there isn’t such a thing as too much food. Well…maybe on Thanksgiving, but even then I’m not sure. 

One of my favorite meals was in the East Village at a small restaurant called Caracas Arepa Bar. It’s a little spot with barely any space for sitting, let alone walking, but oh man was it good. I ate all of the arepas and a micheladas. The place had to close down for the day after that because I ate them all (not really, I wish). I did eat delicious Lobster Bolognese at City Crab and Seafood Company for my mom’s b-day dinner celebration, though,  along with a few (okay more than a few) Moscow mules. One late night I convinced my mom and sisters to eat hot dogs and tater tots with me from Crif Dogs. Any place with tater tots is an ace in my book. The best thing I ate during the entire trip was a bagel at Tompkins Square Bagels that I washed down with a fresh watermelon juice with a hint of lime. Winning combination. It was an everything bagel with the works. We loved them so much we went back the next morning and did it all over again (on my sister’s persistence). The second morning I had a breakfast sandwich with an everything bagel and it was even better than the first time. So here I am now, back home wishing I was still in New York and dreaming about those bagels. Except now I’ve made my own at home and came to the conclusion that I need a New York style bagel every morning for the rest of my life. 

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Carrot Cake Scones

I’ve been making scones for as long as I can remember. I used to sell homemade baked goods out of my tiny kitchen when I was in college, to help my mom with my tuition. She had already put my two sisters through college, by the time I got around to it, so I wanted to help out any way I could. I’m sure it was illegal and it inconvenienced my family because I’d be in the kitchen for hours and hours, but I did it anyway because I was a rebel like that and I actually enjoyed it most days. It was a nice break from all the homework and studying. Really it was just a way for me to procrastinate the things I had to get done. There were two items that I had to make on a daily basis because people ordered them a lot, scones and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I’ve made so many batches of both that I now have the recipes permanently engraved in my brain. It’s helpful. It got to the point where I refused to bake scones because I got tired of making them. At the time I offered the classic flavors, cranberry, blueberry, (and my all time personal favorite) cherry dark chocolate chunk. My family has since then made it a point to relentlessly try and coerce me into baking scones for them or their coworkers, and sometimes I do it. Other times, they’re not as successful. Sorry family.

I’ve taken a break from my scone strike, however, to bring you these Carrot Cake Scones. I think it’s worth breaking my promise to never make scones again, but let’s not get used to it. It’s a phase that will pass. I grate fresh carrots and mix them into my go-to scone recipe, with a few other twists, like a blend of spices, raisins and cream cheese frosting on top with chopped pecans make them taste just like a classic carrot cake. Which happens to be one of my favorite cake flavors. So if you like carrot cake and you like scones, then I don’t think I need to say anything more to try and convince you to make them. They can speak for themselves. “Make me. Make me. Eat me. Eat me.” Can you hear it? 

This is our second to last Easter Brunch Bonanza post/recipe and I’m a little sad about it. Sure, I’ve saved the best for last (stay tuned tomorrow to find out), but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s almost over. I’ll still bring you awesome and delicious recipes that’ll get you excited though, and these springtime recipes from this week will now forever live online for all of your brunch needs so there’s no need to cry about it. Let’s get these scones started though, shall we? They wont stop calling out our names until we eat them. 

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Chunky Monkey Sticky Buns

I’d never tried Ben and Jerry’s ice cream until I met Julian a couple years ago. It’s his favorite ice cream of all time. I don’t know how I went through my entire 26 years of existence without trying this deliciously irresistible treat. I guess you can say I was missing out on something incredible, on both aspects of my life. Needless to say, when I took that first bite of Ben and Jerry’s, I became hooked, instantly. Obsessed isn’t really an appropriate word to throw around. I feel like that doesn’t adequately describe my feelings for this icy cold dessert, so I won’t call it an obsession. I change my mind. Instead, let’s refer to this newfound love affair of mine as an admiration. I think that sounds better, don’t you? I still remember that first flavor I tried, Cinnamon roll. I picked it out of the crowd because cinnamon rolls are one of my favorite desserts, so I thought to myself, “Why not try a cinnamon roll flavored ice cream, Jonathan?! That sounds like the greatest thing ever invented.” So I picked it up and never looked back. After eating the entire tub in less than five minutes, I remember thinking I found my new favorite ice cream flavor, and nothing could change my mind. Nothing. As far as I was concerned, I’d only ever have eyes for that cinnamon swirl and no other ice cream could make me think otherwise. Then one day I needed to get my fix so I took a trip to the grocery store and the most horrible thing happened. All of the cinnamon roll Ben and Jerry’s was gone. GONE. Nowhere to be found. I almost cried. Okay, I cried. After I gathered myself together, I picked up chunky monkey instead (thinking ugh, what a subpar choice) and I instantly forgot about the other one. What was it again? I can’t even name it anymore. It isn’t worth it. Chunky monkey is life.

Confession time: This is actually the first time in my life that I’ve ever made sticky buns before. I know I know, I’m over here going on and on about sticky buns as if I’m some sort of sticky bun expert or something. Is it possible to become an expert after only making something once? Yeah I think so. Maybe I’m just saying this because I wan’t to be referred to as an expert of some sort. It’s been a life goal of mine and I think with this post I’ve earned it. (Humble brag). I’ve been wanting to attempt a sticky bun recipe for a very long time now, but something kept me from it. I think it’s the whole making of the caramel and inverting of the buns that really scared me. I still get nightmares every now and then. Plus I kept reading all these scary reviews online of people and their horror stories involving dry buns. That’s tragic. I remember thinking, how can sticky buns be dry? I didn’t have the strength or the courage to overcome that fear so I just kept putting it off. Until the other day when I was trying to figure out what to make and photograph for my post, to share with you guys. I started brainstorming all sorts of different ideas and this one crazy idea just wouldn’t go away. All of a sudden I was envisioning some sort of chunky monkey dessert. Mainly because I was really craving a pint of chunky monkey, but also because I love the flavor profiles, which deserve to be showed off all day every day.

Too many sticks of butter, a couple pints of heavy cream and a lot of brown sugar later, I came upon the ultimate sticky bun recipe and still wasn’t sure if it would go over well. I shared a few photos on instagram and it’s almost like you guys read my mind because you reassured me that everything was going to be alright. Y’all went nuts over a vision I got in passing and it made me realize that I should really listen to my instincts more often. It’s like my mamma always says, “You should always go with your first choice.” And so from now on that’s what I’m going to do, although sometimes my first instinct is to deep fry everything and somehow that doesn’t seem right…or healthy. So maybe I’ll practice this new rule in moderation. One thing that I won’t censor and moderate are these Chunky Monkey Cinnamon Rolls because I’m now convinced that this would be my last meal on earth. An entire pan right out of the oven because there’s nothing better than this in the entire world. Nothing. 

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The Classics: Cinnamon Rolls

I want to start this off by thanking everyone who participated in the giveaway last week! The response was overwhelming and totally humbling. Thank you for taking time out of your day to leave a comment! What’s more, you guys didn’t just leave one worded messages, but instead gave me all of the details. I loved that! I enjoyed reading them all, because I definitely did take the time to read every single comment, from beginning to end. In fact, it was the highlight of my week, so thank you. It was also the highlight of my mom’s week, because she read them all too. I’d get a call from her every hour with, “Jon did you read that one comment?! Awwww, this one comment is great you should pick this one! These comments are so sweet! Jon can I pick the winner, huh huh huh can I? Can I?” It was a great experience over all, so thank you for making the first Candid Appetite giveaway such a success. You guys rock! There will definitely be more giveaways in the very near future, now that I know you guys like free stuff. I mean who doesn’t?!?! So in the end there could only be one winner (bummer I know), and my mamma ended up pulling out of a hat, Emily S. from Durham New Hampshire with her favorite dessert being the classic brownie! Let’s all give her a round of applause. Your book is on it’s way! 

Anyhow, enough about that. It’s time for another installment of my favorite new series called, The Classics. This time around it’s brought to you by the biggest cinnamon rolls you ever did see. They’re as big as my head and I can’t get enough of them. I’ve recently decided to declare today National Eat As Many Cinnamon Rolls As You Can Day, and I think we should ALL celebrate by eating as many cinnamon rolls as we can possibly fit into our faces. I know for sure I can eat six giant rolls without a problem. Don’t ask me how I know this….I may or may not have eaten all of these myself. And I regret nothing. 

I think I’ve mentioned once or twice before (maybe a million times) of how much I love cinnamon. It’s my favorite spice in the world, especially in the fall. There’s just something so great about it this time of year. Sure, it’s still a million degrees outside here in Los Angeles, and sure it still feels like a never ending summer, but in my mind it’s totally autumn and I’m spending my nights in front of a fire drinking lots of hot cocoa topped with a mountain of whipped cream and dusted with lots of cinnamon, eating a giant cinnamon roll. In my mind that’s how it’s happening. In real life, it’s so hot, I’m eating them in front of the air conditioning vent. Someone save me. 

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Blueberry Cobbler Biscuits

The thing about biscuits is that you don’t know whether to eat them in the morning for breakfast or devour them at dinner as a roll to sop up all of the yummy sauce left behind. I’m getting off track…what was I saying? Oh, do you lean them towards something sweet or something savory? I don’t really care because just as long as biscuits are involved I’m not complaining. Whoever invented biscuits should get a huge monument built in their honor. Like a big statue or something, at least. I know that in different parts of the world, biscuits are completely different. It’s more of a cookie or a cracker of some kind. But here in the states, for the most part, we’re talking about buttery fluffy quick breads that I just want to stuff my face with. 

These are a cross between a few different desserts. It’s like blueberry crumble meets blueberry cobbler—because cobblers are usually topped with biscuits—meets blueberry streusel muffins meets buttermilk biscuits. I chose blueberries because they’re currently in season and are on sale everywhere I turn. Literally, everywhere. They’re practically giving them away. So I thought it would be a good idea to come up with something sweet to use up all those free blueberries. Here we are now, knee deep in blueberry cobbler biscuits. Not really knee deep, but how cool (and delicious) would that be?! I’m making a mental note right now, as I type this, to make that fantasy a reality. Jonathan Melendez: Making dreams come true since August 2014. 

True fact: My mamma’s favorite berry is a blueberry. She also shares my love (and passion) for biscuits so this recipe actually goes out to her as a BTW, FYI, and P.S. It’s the least I could do after she gave birth to me and fed me and clothed me and provided a roof over my head for all those years. I mean, biscuits pretty much makes us even. Right mom? You don’t have to answer because I know they do. That’s how magical biscuits are. Get in on all this magic. 

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Mini Challah Rolls

I have to confess something to you. I actually made these mini challah rolls, not only because they’re cute—because they are pret-ty darn adorable—but also because I had an ulterior motive when making them. I didn’t bake these buns so that I can serve them as dinner rolls, no not at all. Although, that would’ve been a delicious idea all the same. In reality, I made them as a bun for a delicious slider recipe that is coming to the blog really soon. Like coming next week soon. A new slider to the site?! Get excited, it’s kind of a big deal. I didn’t want to just bring you some sliders without giving you a bun recipe to go with it, first. So here we are. 

If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you’ll know just how much I happen to love sliders, like these BLT Biscuit Sliders or these Pot Roast Sliders. I’m sort of obsessed, and not in a good way. I’m looking into support groups. I’m especially obsessed with the different types of bread you can use in each, or the different delicious sauces to pair them with. This is one of the reasons why I haven’t just used the same bun recipe over and over again. That sounds boring. I want to give you guys something new and exciting. The great thing, though, is that you can totally swap out the bread and sauces between each slider recipe on the site. It’s all about options, friends. Slider options. 

I decided to break this slider post into two parts. Part I being these awesome buns, and Part II being the actual slider recipe itself. I did it to brutally torture you, of course. To drag this delicious recipe on and on. And to keep you guys in suspense. (Insert evil laugh here). I won’t tell you what the sliders will be, because it’s a surprise, and I want you to be surprised, but I will give you a hint, because I’m nice like that. It involves grilled shrimp and green tomatoes and that’s all I’m saying. Let’s make some buns, yeah? 

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