Remember how I just ate that other-wordly croissant from Patisserie Claude and said that I'd cringe at the though of getting one anywhere else? Well. I did. Let's compare.
Obviously, they're not exactly the same, seeing as the Panya croissant was preggers with a banana and some wayward parasitic chocolate chips, but they're still part of the same, dysfunctional croissant category. My first bite into Panya's croissant resulted in disappointment: the texture was in limbo between soft and not-so-soft, almost stale-like quality. I don't think it was actually stale; it just took on this not very good ...mouthfeel. (Sidenote: I don't like the word "mouthfeel".) The banana was a nice touch, and the chocolate would've been better if there had been more of it (fives times as much, roughly). Too much air, not enough dough. Or chocolate. It was far from inedible--I did eat the whole thing--but it was a disappointing start to my day.
I don't know if all of Panya's croissants are in the same taste-range, but I wouldn't get another one. Stick with the curry pan, or the seasonal pumpkin muffins they're selling right now. Maybe I was unlucky and just happened to get stuck with a sub-par croissant.
Wednesday was a day of food disappointments. Let's move onto Thursday's gut-busting afternoon tea.
I ventured to the upper west side after euding a quick 15 minute subway ride to visit Alice's Tea Cup upon the recommendation of some friends, and indulge in some cute pots (each equipped with a handy "drip catcher", something I've never seen before) full of steeped vegetal liquids accompanied by equally cute, carb-alicious finger foods. I met up with Ranjit and his friend Irene, who ordered the "Mad Hatter" for two, while I got "The Nibble" for...one (glutton). We were seated ipast the main white room n the back red room, which was decorated with nicely framed photos of...people eating!
I've never had an afternoon tea set before; damn, I've been missing out. First off, the three-tier system is ingenious. How many times do you have a plate of food and then think, "Gee, I want another plate of a different tasting food, but my desk has no more space, unless I balance this place on top of this pile of CDs and get everything dirty"? Or is that just me? Shit, I could've been STACKING THEM VERTICALLY, an idea that has been in practice for some time, say, when people realized that skyscrapers can fit a lot of stuf inside them without taking up much two-dimensional real estate, yet only discovered by myself after being presented with a tower of food-filled plates.
The Mad Hatter for two ($34) comes with two pots of tea. three scones with preserves and cream, two sandwiches, a choice of a special dessert (in this case, chai spiced creme brulee) and an assortment of cookies. The Nibble ($22) comes with a pot of tea, one scone with preserves and cream, one sandwich, and an assortment of cookies. The Nibble is eroneously touted as being for those who feel "a lil' bit hungry".
A lil' bit? What? You should fast for a day before eating this; no joke. Earlier that day, all I had eaten was a few bread chunks, which were free in my "Food and Society" class (we had to read an essay about bread). (If you're curious enough, during my usual lunch break between classes I watched "Soylent Green" for my film class. Man, that's not a very good movie.) By the time we ate around 5:15 PM, I was read to dig in, as were Ranjit and Irene. I was hesitant to get the Nibble at first since I'm not one to spend $22 (+) on a Thursday afternoon meal, but I was too indesive to order a la carte. It's a good deal for $22.
Oh, it's a tea place. I suppose you figured that out. I've probably mentioned my adversity towards most non-water liquids before. Although I was considering not getting tea and just stuffing myself with some scones, it seemed rather stupid to go to a tea shop and not get any tea. The "tea" (made from a red bush herb) I ordered was "Rooibos Chocolate Caramel." Methinks the name is self explanatory as to why I ordered it. The herb is written on the menu as being high in anti-oxidants and vitamins, but I have a feeling clouding the tea with two packs of sugar and a splash of cream counteracts any possible health benefits, not to mention eating a plate of cookies, scones, and other things.
Sammiches (er, sandwiches) seem to be part of most afternoon tea meals. I almost never eat cold sandwiches. Why? Am I the only person who finds them rather unappealing and unsatisfying? If the bread is really good then maybe the sandwich will be fine, but in this case it was seven grain bread (an in between the bread, "lapsang souchong smoked chicken breast with granny smith apples and herbed goat cheese"). Hooray for fiber, but boo to not very soft, crumbly bread. I wanted a grilled sammich but you can't order those with the tea set. Damn, foiled again. The sammich was too dry for my tastes, although slathering on preserves meant for the scones made the sammich much more palatable. I did eat the whole thing, after all. In the future, I'd try a different sandwich or more likely, not order a sammich.
Besides the sammich, all was good. Friends kept telling me about how good their scones were, but they failed to mention that a single scone is roughly twice the size of a fist, or the size of a baby's head.
Resting serenely on the plate like a wheat iceberg or Mount Scone-a-lot (nah, I'm not even trying to be creative), it was almost a shame to tear apart. But not. The peanut butter and chocolate chip scone was my favorite out of the four we had gotten. Pumpkin was great, although I was hoping for more pumpkin flavor, and I found it was a little too moist. I don't think I tried the maple walnut (something or other) scone, but the strawberry one was the best texture-wise. Not too moist or dry, and the scone itself wasn't sweet, aside from the splodges of strawberry mixed in. I love sweetness but it's nice to not have it. Sometimes. It was very biscuit-like (then again, biscuits and scones are very similar, yes?). From my biscuit eating experience (of which I have very little), biscuits are usually plain and have more fat than scones. And other stuff I can't think of right now.
I ate just about everything, except for a bite of cookie. I was saving the cookies for last, but by the time I finished the scone and sandwich my stomach turned into a hot air balloon, if the balloon were full of food in various states of digestion. In other words, I was in no state to keep on eating, yet I continued to consume, unwilling to let such a beautiful plate of assorted cookies go to waste (yeah, I could've taken them home, but I dont like having leftovers).
It wasn't just the food that did me in; tea takes up quite a lot of space also. I drank four tea cups, which I assume is something like two real cups. Although I would've liked to drink more (with ample sugar and cream), I just couldn't bring myself to finish the pot. There were one or two tea cups left. That's a lot of potential urine.
The horror of being full at the end of the meal was being unable to take anything home from the bakery counter at the front of the shop. HORROR, PURE HORROR. They sold the baby-head scones, swirled-frosted cupcakes in chocolate vanilla, and red velvet varieties, raspberry muffins, peanut caramel tarts, and more! So much more! Like this cake:
I'd never even think of making a banana cake with nutella cream cheese frosting. That's a perfect combination, although I won't know for sure until I taste it. Ahem.