Category: Fabulous Food


Blatant Nepotism

I figure that it’s best to just put it right out there…this food recommendation is definitely, absolutely, positively…about my sister’s new restaurant, ANNIE’S BANANNIES. Therefore, I can and should be accused of favoritism and bias. And you’d be right. I couldn’t be more proud of her, starting out in a new business in this rotten economic climate. She’s incredibly brave, more brave than I am in that way, that’s for sure, but she’s got a product that she believes in, a unique dessert, and she’s putting it out there, come heck or high water. And there’s a lot of high water, too, as it’s in Rehoboth, DE, just a block off the beach.

But, my personal bias toward my sister, and her fantabulous frozen banana dessert concoction, doesn’t prevent it from being one of my favorite desserts, so, I feel I am able to justify promoting it, shamelessly, on my blog. Why have a blog if you can’t use it to write about what you want? Right?

Her store is not, however, in DC, which is supposed to be a perimeter demarcation for the blog, but as Rehoboth is a very popular summer destination, locally, and a mere two and a half hour commute… well, for a dessert this good, and good for you, too, it may be well worth a day trip!
Annie’s place is a sure-fire place for anyone down in Rehoboth, to find a delicious frozen fruit treat at a reasonable price. It’s made from a 100% natural source: bananas. No sugar added. I mean it. The banana is frozen solid and put through a professional juicer so that when it comes out it is the consistency of frozen yogurt. It can be eaten just that way. It has a very delicate, sweet flavor that almost everyone likes, even those who are not banana fans.

Before trying this, my banana pie/tart post aside, I wouldn’t have called myself a banana groupie. But I like this. It is the perfect vehicle for any number of delicious toppings from Annie’s fully stocked fixin’s bar. She offers many wittily named combos: Grannie’s Banannies – Banana with graham crackers and whipped cream, Straw Nannie – Banana with Fresh Strawberries and Strawberry Puree, Mocha Nannie – Banana with Chocolate Covered Expresso Beans and Chocolate Syrup (for the adult palate), and so on. Or you can fix your own. All her purees are made from fresh or frozen fruit, only sweetened with agave, and all the rest of the sugared products are labeled clearly, so parents searching for a sugar free treat for the kids can be fully aware of exactly what they are getting. It’s great for lactose free and gluten free diets, too, (barring the graham crackers, of course).

So, everyone can find what they are looking for, and I really hope that you go and try it out. The address is #9, 1st Street (between Wilmington and Rehoboth Avenues) Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971. One block off the beach, one block off the main drag. She can’t be in a better place, and you can’t find a better tasting healthy dessert…even if I do say so myself, she is my little sister after all!

Hours: Starting Memorial Day weekend 11AM-11PM on the weekends, 3PM-11PM during the week.
After Labor Day, reducing hours.
Address: 9 First Street,
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
Phone: 302-260-9875
Annie's Banannies on Urbanspoon

EDITOR’S NOTE
Good news on the banana front…Annie is adding her second store, and it’s much closer to home! Look for a brand spanking new Annie’s Banannies opening for the summer in the Light Street Pavillion in downtown Baltimore, Maryland!

Pies Are Square?

Pies are not fashionable, it seems.  No one talks about pies like they used to.  A few years back, it was the great New York Style versus any other kind of cheesecake debate, and today, all the current conversation about our collective confectionary lust seems to be centered on cupcakes.

Trendy, designer cupcakes…red velvet, preferably…pint-sized parcels of individually wrapped perfection that we are supposed to feel are so delectable that they can be worth five dollars and up for the privilege of taking a bite out of them.  Unbelievably, whole stores are dedicated to them now.

Okay, maybe I’m just playing the devil’s-food advocate here, but, is this worship justified?  I think it began for two reasons, both illusory.  First, cupcakes are nostalgic.   Eating them takes us back to childhood birthday parties around the pool, recalling a time when colored sprinkles or chocolate jimmies were the major issues in our lives.  It makes us feel good to think back and lick our fingers again for a quick taste of our youth.

Secondly, in today’s obsession with staying thin by purging all fat and sugar from our diets, we’ve sucked most of the taste out of it, as well.  We can fool ourselves into thinking, “one little cupcake won’t count”…Wrong!  That single white chocolate chip macadamia nut designer dreamboat of a cupcake at the Giant Bakery may be small, but it’s a dietetic landmine, weighing in at a count of over seven hundred calories!

Now, I’m not saying that it wouldn’t be worth it, all I’m putting out there is a request for honesty.  We should admit the addiction and open our minds to other, more obvious, yet more neglected baked ambrosia.

This carb-fueled campaign to rediscover the pie began on Thursday, when I was chased down F Street, NW, by an employee from Firehook Bakery.  Now, I consider this unusual behavior in a retailer.  Most tend to ignore me until I jump up and down waving a credit card in their faces.  I realize that my hips may proclaim me a devotee of all-things-sugar, but I don’t, as a norm, draw bakers out of their establishments.

And no, I hadn’t committed a five-finger discount and indulged my cruller-o-maniacal fantasies (“Honestly, Officer, those doughnuts just rolled into my pockets, I’ve never seen them before!”).  Instead, I had indulged in a bit of dessert nostalgia myself.  Chatting with my co-worker and fellow carb-croney, Connie, I pointed out Firehook Bakery to her as being the purveyor, in the past, of the best…I mean it, gotta capitalize it…THE BEST Banana Cream Pie (with chocolate shavings) that I have ever tasted.

Connie, naturally, looked skeptically at me.  “Chocloate shavings?” she said. 

“Yes,” I asserted, “no kidding…chocolate shavings.   That’s the important thing to remember.”

“Wouldn’t you rather get a cupcake at Cake Love?”

“No,” I said, knocking my head in frustration against a nearby glass partition and scaring the lady waiting for the bus. “You just don’t get it.  This is THE BEST Pie I’ve ever had.  Truly unique.  Not just banana cream, but very ripe (but not over-ripe) bananas, halved and arranged on the top of the chocolate cream in a starburst of lusciousness.”

“Oooh,” Connie said, “mmmm!”  She was on the verge of becoming a convert.  I could tell.  I pushed in for the kill shot.

“Did I mention the ring of whipped cream rosettes around the rim, and the lace-like shavings of dark chocolate garnishing and enhancing the delicate flavor of the bananas?”

“No, you hadn’t.” She said, toppling metaphorically over the edge.  “What are we waiting for?”  We went inside Firehook.

Eagerly, I posed my descriptive question to a lovely and helpful employee behind the counter.  We held our breaths; collectively hanging on the words about to issue from her lips…She had no idea what pie I was referring to.  It didn’t seem to help with my repeated assertions that it was THE BEST Pie that they made.  But she told me that as she had only been with the company for two years, that she’d be happy to ask the management about it, if we’d check back in with her.

Connie and I sadly nodded, crestfallen, and went back out onto F Street, having to face our lunch break with merely the prospect of THE BEST affordable Shrimp Tempura Roll (Kabuki Sushi) and splitting a bag of THE BEST French Fries (Five Guys, both at National Place Food Court, F St, NW near 13th).  But as we waited, unsatisfied, for the light to change; behind us, we heard the patter of running feet, and a plaintive cry of “Wait!  Madame!  A moment!”

We turned, surprised to see our sales lady hurrying out of the bakery towards us with an expression on her face that brought hope to our hearts.  “Ladies, I had completely forgotten the banana tarts!”  It seems that these half-sized wonders never fail to sell out before the morning rush is over, and so she forgot them, but it sounded just like my described Dream Pie, and she’d be happy to make it up in the nine inch size for a mere $25.  She smiled, we smiled.  THE BEST Pie was back, and with customer service like hers to be had, we knew we’d be back at Firehook Bakery in the very near future.

 “Vive la tarte!”

Banana Crème Tart, orderable online. And no, I don’t own stock in the company. Darn.  http://www.firehook.com/e-com/index.cfm

Easter Brunch Offering


So, THE BEST Banana Creme Tart, as I must now correctly identify it (my sister Joan, the trained baker in the family, tells me that the difference lies in the amount of sugar in the dough of the shell, more like a cookie than a pie shell…yum…and the thickness, hence the lack of a pie pan) was no longer decorated as I remember originally discovering it, years ago. However, it still tastes just as delicious as I remembered and was well worth the longish trip to DuPont Circle to pick it up and deliver it by Metro. A wonderful addition to the Easter Brunch Table, to be enjoyed by friends and family. Thanks, Firehook!