The Best Things We Ate, Cooked & Drank This Week: Mint Brownies, Wings & More

10/17/2014 at 04:45 PM ET

Morgan Gibson

From an olive oil cocktail to Cheetos-topped broccoli (really, that’s a dish), check out the most delicious things our PEOPLE staff couldn’t stop eating — and talking about — this week.

“When I was growing up in Houston, my mom would always take my sister and me to this little bakery that had the best chocolate mint brownies in the world. I’d never had one as good since, so — being a baking enthusiast — I went on an online quest for the best chocolate mint brownie recipe. I specifically wanted a fudgy brownie base, a thick layer of mint frosting in the middle, topped with an equally-thick rich chocolate icing, because that’s how I loved them when I was little. This recipe from Betty Crocker looked good (and not too time-consuming), so I gave it a try. It was phenomenal. Relatively easy to make, and I got to used boxed brownie mix. I’m telling you, these brownies are one of the best desserts I’ve ever had.”—Morgan Gibson, PEOPLE associate food & lifestyle editor, @morgangibson

“I fantasize about being the type of person who always has a stocked bar at home and, most importantly, the confidence to actually do something cool with it. Unfortunately, in my tiny New York City apartment, it’s often cranberry-vodkas for everyone! Well, that was the case until the bartender at Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster in Harlem made me an orange olive oil cocktail. Maybe I’m late to the game, but where has this drink been all my 21-and-over life? The citrusy cocktail was sweet and tart, silky and smooth, refreshing and surprising all at once. So for a dinner party this week, I improvised an orange-cranberry EVOO martini and it was a giant hit. (Bonus: The oil acts like an instant lip gloss enhancer with every sip.) Here’s my recipe: In a shaker, combine 1½ oz. vodka, ½ oz. fresh orange juice, ½ oz. dry vermouth, 3 oz. cranberry juice, ½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil and 1 cup ice. Then strain into a coupe and top with a drop or two more of olive oil.” —Sonal Dutt, PEOPLE senior food & lifestyle editor, @sonal_dutt

Mark Marino

“With the weather turning a bit chilly and finally feeling like fall, I thought it was the perfect time to try Park Avenue Autumn, an upscale-ish, season-themed restaurant that recently opened in my neighborhood. Oh, I could go on about the roasted butternut soup with apples and pepitas, the toasted almond gnudi with spiced apricots and cauliflower, the fig carpaccio with smoked almonds and goat cheese, and even the free-range Amish chicken (it wouldn’t let me photograph it). But for all that highfalutin’ fare, what impressed me the most was a very simple side dish: Cheetos and broccoli. Perhaps the brainchild of Chester Cheetah, this amazing baked creation featured broccoli florets smothered in a cheesy sauce, topped with cheese and Cheetos. It was so comforting I wanted to bathe in it, and the deliciousness has left its imaginary orange fingerprints on my mind, my stomach and my soul.” —Mark Marino, deputy editor

Michelle Ward

“I love football season —­ I get to watch my beloved New England Patriots play and throw a food-filled viewing party. The biggest hit with our guests is always the wings. We love to get out the grill and fire up a huge batch. As for the marinade —­ just Coleman’s mustard, Frank’s hot sauce and honey. And if we’re lucky, we have some leftover for Monday Night Football.” —Michelle Ward, PEOPLE staff food & lifestyle writer

Ice Cream Sandwich
Ana Calderone

“I’m on a bit of a hunt for the best mint chocolate chip ice cream in New York City and for this week’s adventure I found myself at The Meatball Shop on the Upper East Side. For dessert, you get to pick from a variety of ice cream flavors and two cookies to sandwich it between. I chose classic chocolate chip and soft oatmeal raisin to compliment the ice cream’s minty goodness. The whole combination was to die for, but the ice cream alone is definitely one of my favorites in the hunt…until next week!” —Ana Calderone, PEOPLE editorial assistant, @anacalderone

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alex on

You lost me at Cheetos and brocoli

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