I went to the farmer's market in Union Square this morning at 8:30 AM with the intention of just buying produce. You know, that healthy stuff that grows out of the ground and whatnot. I bought 6 ripe yellow peaches and a small bunch of broccoli fit for one meal.
And then out of the darkness and hoards of fruits and vegetables came PILES OF SCONES, just begging to be eaten. Or begging not to be eaten. Or not begging anything since scones don't talk. But if they don't talk, Iwouldn't have heard the chocolate hazelnut scone say, "Hahaha Robyn, you're going to buy me and eat me and then get fat because you shouldn't be eating me."
And then I ate it. I actually consumed it over the course of what may have been an hour, slowly picking away at it while fiddling on the computer at my job (which involves computer fiddling) while trying to not to cover my mouse and keyboard in scone-residues. It was a very stomach-satusfying scone ingestion period. The scone itself was good; not great, but better than average. I would've liked larger chocolate chips but the presence of whole hazelnuts was a nice touch, as I was expecting little bits (some people might prefer them chopped but I like WHOLE NUTS, YES'M, gimme). By the time lunch time came around at 1PM, I was disappointingly not very hungry. Damn. I figured I may as well eat something since I couldn't keep working, but where to?
I had been interested in trying out The Plumpling House for weeks due to its interesting menu of unconventional dumpling fillings (cheeseburger?), but could never find the right time to go. As it's situated about a minute away from where I work, I couldn't think of any reason not to go today. It has odd set up as it shares its space with the BB Sandwich Bar, another place I've been meaning to try out. Next time I go back, maybe I can get a sandwich and a few Plumplings?
First off: plumplings only vaguely resemble conventional dumplings; don't eat a plumpling expecting it to be like something you'd get in Chinatown. Another difference from Chinatown is the insanely perky (in a good way) service you get. I mainly talked to John, who had actually emailed me before since my blog would come up when googling "The Plumpling House", despite that I had yet to visit it. He may have been the most friendly and vibrant person I've ever encountered in a food service place before, happily greeting all the customers who came in. He prepares fillings for the plumplings and has previously had cooking jobs. Of course, I asked him about his baking ability, *cough*, his reply being that he wasn't very good at it but could whip up a mean cake. Hey, that's better than me!
I tried 8 plumplings over the course of my lunch break. Yes, that sounds excessive, but it wasn't planned; after finishing my initial 5 savory plumplings, I went back to try the three dessert plumplings. (Trust me, I'm well aware of my excessive eating, as it's reflected in my ever-increasing girth.)
Actually, part of the reason that I went back for more plumplings was because I ordered 4 savory plumplings and one dessert, but found that I was given 5 savory. Ahh...nah, I didn't care that much, but you see, THERE IS A REASON TO MY GLUTTONY, besides that my stomach is useless in telling me when it's full. As you can see from the photo above, they really smash in the filling. The first one I tried was the chicken parmesen. I'll describe it as this: it tastes just like chicken parmesan, which is great if you like chicken parmesan and just want a few bites of it. I like chicken parmesan, although I wouldn't say it's one of my favorite things to eat. I've have it once in the past 3 years, at most. Judging the filling purely from a "did it taste like how I thought it would taste" perspective, I'd say it was great.
My favorite filling was the gryere, asiago & caramelized onion plumpling. Apparently, this is their most popular filling, and for good reason; the dough is stuffed with onions and just the right amount of cheese for me, i.e. not like a mozzerella stick but definitely...cheesy. (...yeah, that's a completely crappy description, oops.) One of the guys who worked there described it better: it's like eating French onion soup, were it not soupy. Yes. That's it. Non soupy French onion soup in dough. A funny thing that John mentioned is that the owner of the place didn't think that flavor would be popular at all, or perhaps people would dislike it.
The other filling I really liked to the point that it surprised me was the mango BBQ pulled pork. I already mentioned that there's a lot of filling in these things, but seriously, the insides were totally dense with soft, juicy pork. I don't know what else to say besides that I really liked it, and I don't count pork as one of my favorite things to eat. However, I've rarely eaten barbecued pork; I need to try a BBQ place at some point and become better acquainted with the world of meats.
While the fillings are great, I must complain about the dough; it was hard to cut through. While you could stick one with a fork and eat it that way, I'd prefer to cut it in a few pieces first. You better have a steak knife if you want to cut these without too much effort. I ended up putting them apart with my fingers, which got messy. I'd be MUCH MUCH happier if they could figure out a way to use a softer, thinner dough, and yes, this is coming from someone who really likes dough. Hell, sometimes when I'm eating out with Diana and she doesn't finish her dumpling dough, I eat it (because I'm a glutton and I'm comfortable enough around her to eat her food). The plumplings are cooked in a modified belgium waffle maker, so a regular dumpling skin wouldn't work. Damn, what if they pan-fried or boiled the dumplings? Hmm...man, I'd try that. You'd get a totally different texture.
Oh, I'm not done. Remember the dessert plumplings? I got one of each flavor, with oatmeal cookie dough being the clear winner, at least if you like oatmeal cookies. However, the dough sadly detracted from the tastiness of the filling. And it was really good filling. Damn, I'd just want it in a pudding cup, perhaps with whipped cream. (rubs chin) ANother problem with the dough was that it retained a slightly savory taste from the other dumplings cooked in the same plumpling maker. I think it'd be better to have separate ones.
The chocolate plumpling was just insane; as soon as I plunged my plastic knife through the skin, the scent of chocolate wafted out, obviously because THERE'S A BLOCK OF GOOEY CHOCOLATE IN THERE. While I'm not expert, I've eaten a lot of chocolate in my life (at least more than the average American with a Chinese upbringing, I think) and this chocolate tasted really good. In my opinion, not too dark, not too sweet, probably a good balanace to please the most chocolate lovers. I'd be interested to know what kind of chocolate they used.
So that was my plumpling experience. Oh, I have to mention the Chowhound reaming that John told me about. Damn, that's harsh. Obviously, I didn't try every filling so maybe they're not all great, but I didn't see anything at fault with the fillings I tried. I'll also admit that I've never had dog food. At least try the cheese and onion one if that interests you at all, and if you have a sweet tooth get the oatmeal cookie dough. I didn't try any of the sides but I'd assume that they're good, figuring they're not stuffed in dough pouches.
After eating a small plum, a peach, and half a container of greek yogurt, I ate this entire mooncake. Yes, I'm WELL aware of the caloric and unhealthy-ness density of mooncakes and how no one is supposed to eat an entire one by themselves (the only thing I didn't eat was the yolk, kind of ironic seeing as that's the part people want, whether because they like the way it tastes or because of its symbolism), but I ate the whole damn thing and felt pretty much okay afterwards, aside from the shouting in my head that went something like "HOLY CRAP, YOU ATE THE WHOLE MOONCAKE, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, NOW YOU MUST FAST, OR PUKE." Don't worry, I didn't puke, nor will I fast. I'll just hang my head in shame.
...uh, the mooncake was really yummy, which obviously had something to do with my EATING the whole thing. I got it from the Vietnamese bakery/jewelry shop on Mott Street. "Hey, it's green; I'll eat that!" Yeah, I'm not very choosey. I barely exercised today so I'm not sure what's going to happen after all of today's eating. Perhaps I'll wake up tomorrow as a blob.