The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

pancakes and ice cream

I'm mega-tired, but I found that if I don't update this site frequently, I start forgetting EVERYTHING THAT EVER HAPPENS IN MY LIFE. Everything. My memory is kind of...on the lower end of "craptastic".

I'll start backwards from today (technically yesterday; damn, I want sleep now). While walking to the NYU area to meet up with Allen for lunch, I passed by Chinatown and its overflow of mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival that I've somehow managed to completely ignore over the past 20 years of me being Chinese, two of those years spend in Taiwan among many other Chinese people. Uh. Umm. Well, I must've known about the festival but my family didn't celebrate it. I can't recall eating mooncakes due to this holiday, at least.

mooncakes from Fay Da Bakery

I asked my mum about the holiday and she said that when she was growing up, her family had too many mooncakes as the result of too much gift giving, the gift always being the same (...MOONCAKES). She isn't particularly fond of mooncakes. The general impression I've gotten from my Chinese friends is that...they just have too many mooncakes, and mooncakes aren't one of those things you want a freezer full of (unlike ice would want a freezer full of ice cream).

Further up, I bumped into the Feast of San Gennaro. Actually, I guess I didn't bump into it as much as become engulfed (eh, it is a feast) by the armies of food stands lining Mulberry Street hawking fried anything and scary meats.

coiled meat!
get yer clams
fried stuff
funnel cake
one display of innumerable funnel cakes

Interesting. SO much food, yet nothing I'd really want to eat. Except this, maybe:

deep fried oreos
"I'm sick of all this fried seafood."

And of course, I love funnel cakes as much as the next person (don't tell me you don't like funnel cakes), but I can't eat one of those by myself. Or I shouldn't. *cough*

Allen and I met up at Veselka, a 24 hour diner-ish Ukranian restaurant, except it's much nicer than a diner. I've been there once before but I heard their pancakes were good. Of course, things like pancakes must be investigated. By my stomach.

pancake stack
banana pancakes

Thumbs up. I can't think of anything wrong with these pancakes; they were fluffy, not over or under-done, and had a good amount of bananas in them. And I ate the whole stack, so I guess that tells you something ("something" being that I really liked them, in addition to that I'm a glutton)

One problem with pancakes that I always know about yet doesn't keep me from ordering yet even MORE pancakes is that while they taste delicious at first, your stomach grows tired of them rather quickly. Initially, I always dig into my pancake stack wide-eyed, fork and knife in the cutting position, mnuth ready to digest and be stuffed with soft, warm, maple syrup-soaked wheat patties (I have a friend who calls pancakes "sponge circles", which also works) but by the end I'm thinking, "Oh jesus, so much pancake." In my opinion, the three-pancake stack wasn't a buttload (Allen's retort: "I though it was a lot"), say, maybe half of what I'd get at the Ridgewood Country Pancake House, but by the third pancake I was pretty full.

I finished it anyway. Haha. I just felt really stuffed. Before I ordered, I wanted to get a dessert of banana cream pie with the pancakes. Thank god I didn't do that.


Allen finished his waffle, so that gets another thumbs up. He said it was crispy.

...This is random, but has anyone tried to French toast-ify a waffle? Would that work? Hm.

Those of you in NYC know that the weather was complete suckage. I felt like the sweaty, wet sock of someone who had been working in a hot field for 10 hours under a flaming ball of gas (aka, The Sun). I don't actually know what the sweaty, wet sock of such a person feels like, but I imagine it's pretty bad. What does such weather call for?

pretty signage
mmmm, deliciousness

Il Laboratorio del Gelato! I had never been there (*gasp*) but Allen had told me enough things about it to make me really want to go there. So, after stuffing ourselves with circular wheat-based products accompanied by syrup and butter...

Me: Wanna go to Il Laboratorio del Gelato (in real life, I probably said "Wanna go to Il Laboraah...the ice cream place?")
Allen: Sure!

Damn, that was easy. It's really good to hang out with people who like to eat. Unless you're obese. :(

ice cream flavors

There aren't many flavors out at one time, but they rotate them on some kind of regular basis, I assume.


We both got medium sized cups, which cost $4.25 each. It's not a bad price at all considering how dense the ice cream is. You can get three flavors with a medium (two with small) and while I initially thought I'd want to try three, I changed my mind, figuring I could focus better on just two (because my brain can't handle that many stimuli, HAR HAR). Allen got pumpkin and maple walnut while I got pumpkin and vanilla.

Allen told me that once you eat Il Lab's ice cream, you don't want to eat any other ice cream. And...he was right. One thing he wasn't right about was that the vanilla ice cream would burn my throat (technically he didn't say it would burn mine, but it burned his and I was hoping for some burning because that would've been interesting, and I like saying "burning"). But back to the greatness of the ice cream.'s really good.

Okay, I can afford to be more specific here. For one thing, it's dense. The cups don't look very large but when you hold a full one in your hand, the density is apparent and you realize that $4.25 is a good price, especially considering how much ice cream costs in most shops. Another thing is that the ice cream is solid (I know, I just said it was dense,; you can bite into it. Of course, you can bite into all ice cream but in comparison to ice cream from Cones (which was super-soft/melty and solid at the same time in a way I can't really explain), this was a lot more appealing to me texture-wise. And the taste? Well. No throat burning, but it was probably the best vanilla ice cream I've ever had, and DEFINITELY the best pumpkin ice cream. While it shouldn't be surprising, the pumpkin ice cream really tasted like pumpkin (I like to be stupidly obvious). I was taken aback by how much it tasted like squash; basically, it wasn't anything like other pumpkin-flavored dessert I've had, which probably taste more like pumpkin spices than pumpkin itself.

Good lord, I want more. While I'm sure I'll want some wacky ice cream flavors full of nuts and goo every now and then, for basic unafulterated ice cream, I can't imagine going anywhere else. It wouldn't be worth it.

(wants ice cream)

So that was my whole afternoon, pretty much. My plans to actually do some homework were thwarted by much walking and ice cream eating. Which is awesome.

...damn, I'm going to fail.

(looks at watch)

...damn, I'm not going to be very well rested.


Mel / September 18, 2005 2:37 AM

I'm going to religiously keep up with your site :) I had to see what the Veselka was (had a classmate with that last name before, just a random thought) and I just had to read about the gelato. Augh I want to have some NOW.

PS. Mooncakes are a bit similar to fruitcakes, regarding the fact they they usually end up in the freezer (til next year when you can give away what you received, just not to the same person hahahaa, evil).

kathy / September 18, 2005 3:48 AM

Hey there!

I've been reading your site for the past year, having been a student at NYU Stern. (I transferred schools to Claremont McKenna back in CA this year). You mentioned a Food & Society class a couple posts back - I took that class from Professor Berg last year, is she still teaching it? It was a pretty fun class, esp with the weekly food tastings. I would have loved to major in food studies (but my parents would have had a heart attack) but definitely give you credit for doing so! You're classes sound intense, but if food's what you love, its the only way to go! I just wanted to say that I''m an advid reader of your site and personally love to pig out on sweets and pastries - you hit all my favorite spots: sugar sweet sunshine, Fay Da, and donut pub!

violet / September 18, 2005 9:49 AM

oh man. we just got pumpkin gelato in where i work. brilliant. i love pumpkin, though. love it.

i must say that those are some very attractive looking pancakes. i love a banana pancake.

mooncakes.. i've never had one though ive heard about them before. some people seem very unenthusiastic about them out in the bay area. am i missing much?

Amy / September 18, 2005 6:19 PM

Gelato is not ice cream. Gelato is made from milk, not cream. Get it right....

Anyhoot, YAY GELATO.

Emmalee / September 18, 2005 6:27 PM

I moved to the East Village about...3 weeks ago, and Veselka was one of the first places I went! Sentimentalism aside, have you tried the plum dumplings? Very good, made with potato flour. I love your blog, by the way.

tian / September 18, 2005 10:12 PM

you're one amusing gal! .. i think when it comes to food, it has to be enjoyed slowly .. and although you talked about guilt, i'm glad to see you enjoying it so much. i hate skinny girls who don't eat.

and mooncakes .. ahh i love them .. i grew up with abundance of them during mooncake festivals and never got sick of em. if you get really good ones, they're bloody good. start off with the plain lotus seed ones. it may take a while for the taste to grow on you. but do experiment and don't give up on em!

keep on writing ~~

Wei-yang Wu / September 19, 2005 5:07 PM

Mooncakes are defintly the equivalent of fruitcakes. And I love to eat them.. both. :)

I guess I'm one of those people that say, if its a good thing, more of a good thing is even better. =D

lori / September 22, 2005 5:43 AM

I love them mooncakes...I want some of those deep-fried Oreos. Lastly, I do think French-toastifying a waffle would work. Want me to try?
BTW, I usualloy eat my pancakes stacked, so I'm like eating two at the same time. You ate them one by one? No wonder you couldn't finish them! :P

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