Welcome to Issue #16 of CAFÉ ANNE!
Readers loved Father Mike, the foul-mouthed, cigar-chomping Catholic Priest profiled in the last issue.
“I want to be that kind of miserable,” was a typical comment on “NYC’s Most Miserable Priest.”
Over on Reddit/NYC, meanwhile, reaction was decidedly negative. A typical comment: “This is sketchy as f—.”
No big profile this week. I’m spent! Instead, we have a big heap of krazy food nonsense, including an update on Father Mike’s All-Potato Diet.
IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE
• Update: Father Mike’s Potato Diet
• Foodventure: Cinnamon Bread with Marinara Sauce
• Taste Test: Café Bustelo’s Instant Café Con Leche
• Five-Star Reviews: McDonald’s
Father Mike’s All-Potato Diet
When I last saw Father Mike, he was on day two of his new potato diet, determined to eat nothing but potatoes for two weeks. How’s it going? We caught up on Friday.
“It’s going great, I’ve lost 17 pounds,” said Father Mike.
“The first round is supposed to end this Monday,” he added, “but I think I’ll keep going as long as I can. Apparently the science says potatoes are one of the most nutritious things you can eat. You can live the rest of your life on potatoes and be perfectly healthy.”
“Are you tired of potatoes yet?” I asked.
“I cheated on National Pizza Day,” he said. “I bought pizza for the staff and ate a slice. But I still lost my pound that day.”
It’s not surprising that Father Mike has lost so much weight. He’s eating about six large potatoes a day with no toppings except for hot sauce. That’s roughly 1500 calories a day.
“But it’s satiating,” he said. “The potatoes are heavy. I feel great and I’m sleeping better than I ever have in my adult life.”
I asked if he’d recommend the diet to others.
“I told you I was reading that book by Penn Jillette,” he said of the entertainer who documented his own experience with a potato diet. “One of the things he said in the intro to the book is that if you take health advice from a magician, you’re an asshole. Well, if you take health advice from an unorthodox priest you’re an idiot. But it works!”
Cinnamon Bread With Marinara Sauce
Readers who memorize newsletter content will recall that Issue #10 mentioned a new dish offered by a Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn pizzeria: cinnamon bread with marinara sauce!
Last week, I finally worked up the nerve to go try it.
The restaurant, Prince Pizza at the corner of Fulton and Nostrand, turned out to be one of those 99-cent slice places. Only now the slices cost $1.25. Inflation!
I placed my order. It was like ordering the soufflé at a French restaurant—the cashier warned it would take an extra five minutes. “I’m okay with that,” I said.
I had time to look around. It was a tiny place with two ovens and a little kitchen in the back where a man was making pies.
It was full of young men buying slices, but I didn’t see anyone else order the cinnamon bread special.
When my snack emerged from the oven, the counterman sprinkled the loaf with cinnamon-sugar and sliced it with a pizza cutter. The marinara sauce came on the side.
There was no place to sit, but there was a narrow metal counter along one side of the shop where you could stand and eat. I tore a section from the loaf, dipped it in the sauce and took a big bite.
Okay. You may not believe me, but it wasn’t half bad! The cinnamon-tomato combination—sweet and spicy—sort of worked.
I turned to the patron standing next to me.
“Hey, can I ask your opinion about something?” I asked him.
“I ordered this cinnamon bread with marinara sauce,” I said. “Would you try it and tell me what you think?”
“Uh, no thank you,” he said.
I had to know more about this dish. I went back to the cashier. “Do you know who invented this?”
He went back to the kitchen and reappeared with Andy, the owner, who was happy to discuss his creation.
“It’s because I have no icing,” he explained.
It seems that he used to make icing to top the cinnamon bread, but the dish was so seldom ordered that the batch of icing often went to waste. Andy makes a fresh batch of marinara sauce every day for the pizza, so he decided to substitute the marinara for icing.
“Do you eat it?” I asked.
“Yes!” he said.
“Do you like it?” I asked.
“Yes!” he insisted.
I decided to test the dish on another customer. Trayvon, a local, agreed to take a bite. “This is my neighborhood pizza shop I come to,” he said. He usually orders a cheese slice. He’d never tried the cinnamon bread with marinara.
“I actually like spaghetti, so I guess it will be good,” he said.
He dipped and chewed thoughtfully.
“It’s not bad,” he said. ‘The cinnamon gives it a sweet taste. I was going to say maybe you don’t need the sauce, but it still kind of tastes good with the sauce.”
“Would you order it?” I asked.
“Probably without the sauce,” he said.
I didn’t want to carry the remainder home on the bus, so I offered Trayvon the rest of the box.
“No,” he said. “I’m good. Thank you.”
CAFÉ ANNE is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support the newsletter, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Café Bustelo Instant Café Con Leche
Issue #10 also detailed how my campaign to get Café Bustelo, the world’s best coffee, to sponsor CAFÉ ANNE seemed to be gaining traction. A mysterious gift basket had arrived at my door, direct from Café Bustelo HQ in Orrville, Ohio.
I intuitively understood the implied assignment: to test all these products, review them, and LOVE THEM NO MATTER WHAT—sort of the way you love your kid even if he winds up in jail.
For the first taste test—of the brand’s instant Café Con Leche—I recruited my little brother Phil and his lovely wife Kate.
We studied the ingredients.
“Hydrogenated coconut oil, instant coffee, corn syrup solids…the main ingredient is maltodextrin,” said my brother.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“I don’t know.”
You make the drink by emptying a packet into hot water. It took a lot of stirring to dissolve the clumps. We used a whisk.
Phil and Kate, self-described “hot beverage experts,” predicted they wouldn’t like the instant café con leche. It is, after all, instant coffee.
They took a sip.
“Salty!” said Kate.
“Much better than expected. Weirdly salty,” my brother agreed.
I took sip. Salty! A little sweet, but not overly so. And creamy—the kind of creamy that coats the tongue forever.
“I would never buy it. Never in a million years,” said my brother. “But I would totally drink it. I think it’s on the same level as cocaine. It’s reprehensible. But if you got it, I’ll take it.”
Joking! No one in my family would ever indulge in anything stronger than instant coffee.
We discussed our picks for Best Hot Beverage on the Planet. Phil, aka Mr. Hotshot Fancy Global Traveler, nominated the cappuccino in Italy. I chose the Café Bustelo I make in my stovetop percolator: “It’s a ten every time!” I said.
“I think you’re romanticizing,” said Phil. “It’s like mom’s home cooking. Obviously it’s a ten in your mind, but I don’t think it’s an objective ten. Sorry.”
An awkward silence descended.
“Oh Anne, I didn’t mean it,” said my brother. “Obviously it’s an eleven!”
It wasn’t until the next morning, after I’d had a chance to sleep and meditate, that I realized Café Bustelo Café Con Leche is actually the answer to a prayer.
The one upside to instant coffee is that it’s available in an emergency—just add hot water. The downside: no milk! But with Café Bustelo instant Café Con Leche, I can have hot coffee with SOMETHING THAT RESEMBLES MILK anytime, anywhere.
Conclusion: I heartily endorse CAFÉ BUSTELO’S instant CAFÉ CON LECHE and also award it the Nobel Peace Prize.
Next up: Café Bustelo Brazilian Blend. Stay tuned!
CAFÉ ANNE typically brings you the one-star reviews people leave online for mankind’s most glorious achievements—such as Tolstoy’s “War and Peace.” But because this is the KRAZY FOOD ISSUE, I’m switching it up.
Below, five-star reviews folks left online for various McDonald’s locations in New York City (which garner, on average, 1.5 stars).
Say what you will about the fast-food chain, it’s charming how appreciative these reviewers are. We should all be so easy to please!
“I ordered the McChicken sandwich. Perfect amount of condiments applied. A+”
—Ken W., Yelp
“This site was so crowded, even the drive-through. But they handled it!”
—Adrienne T Yelp
“Appreciate the fact that they respected my request of no salt on the fries.”
—Christoph W., Google
“The ATM at this location charges only $1.19 for a service charge!”
—Rachel V K, Google
“The people are really nice when I ask for extra napkins they give me lots.”
—Chester B., Yelp
“I have always gotten the sauces I ask for at this establishment.”
—Gabriel K, Yelp
“Although it seemed like my order had been forgotten, the manager was super responsive when I asked for her assistance.”
—Edwin Algarin, Google
“Two men in particular were very personable and very helpful. I liked how efficient they all were, they worked together great. The way he calls out the numbers I felt like I was in an auction!”
“McDonald's is a really nice place, I will be back!”
—Celia B, Yelp