The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

pre-Thanksgiving + Thanksgiving

As soon as I stepped into NJ, my immune system broke down and mucus spurt forth from my nasal floodgates. What the hell is that about?

I'm back in my dorm after spending a gluttonous few days at home for Thanksgiving. It wasn't Thanksgiving that was so gluttonous though; it was simply being at home, where there happens to be a kitchen full of food I'd never have in my dorm, some of which I made, thus reminding me why I shouldn't bake. I've taken more than 100 food-related photos over the past few days, so this entry's gonna take a while. Maybe you should take a toilet break first.

snowman poop

My mum and I went to Chef Central on Wednesday since I wanted to go out and that was the only place I could think to go (I think normal people go to the mall or something). They sell craploads of chef supplies, kitchenware (like this super useful mango splitter and the awesome creme brulee torch), cookbooks, gourmet food, and...snowman poop. That's definitely new. Either snowmen didn't poop before or someone just found a way to market it to the American (and French-Canadian?) public. I think "snowman poop" with hot chocolate would bring to mind "snowman diarrhea" but that idea may be too...advanced. Pppssh. You just wait; "snowman diarrhea" will take the world by storm.

On the way home we decided to stop by Le Jardin du Chocolat in Ramsey, only to find that it had transformed into another business that didn't sell chocolate. Horror. What's the new business? WHO CARES; it ain't chocolate, that's for sure. The shop, which to my knowledge was the only gourmet-type chocolate shop around Bergen County, had been open for around 4 years if not more. My mum said she went there not too long ago, but obviously it had been long enough so that the shop could completely clear out and be serviced by chocolate exterminators. Sad, we were.

Then I remembered seeing a chocolate shop/gallery in nearby Wyckoff. Hmmm. Let's go!

Chocolat Moderne
The Chocolate Gallery

It's mainly a gallery, but they also sell chocolate. I could honestly care less about the art, none of which was my style (because I'm not that fond of impressionist style, or still lifes), so I went for the chocolates and free samples. And by free samples, I mean entire bonbons and truffles. Sweeeet.

Sure, I'll take one!
Payard chocs
Payard chocolates

Brands they have include Payard, Neuchatel, Neuhaus, Seattle Chocolates, Lake Champlain, and Chocolat Moderne. My mum bought some Payard boxes and I got a Seattle Chocolate truffle bar. There was just one woman working there at the time who wasn't the owner of the store, but when we had questions she couldn't answer she called the owner. I can't imagine they get a lot of business since they're not on a major road (I only noticed them because the gallery is close to my orthodontist), but if you like chocolate and live somewhat close by, they're working checking out.

baked cookies
chocolate chip cookies

I've probably mentioned this before, but I don't bake because, assuming I'm not baking just one cookie (which would be sad), I'll be left with a cookie buffet. I know you're not supposed to eat the entire batch of cookies, but it's hard to resist when they're right there, soft and fresh, in large quantities, borne from my own labor. DAMMIT, THEY'RE MY COOKIES! I creamed the butter and sugar!...with a machine...BUT I PRESSED THE DAMN BUTTON.

I got the recipe from words to eat by and they came out rather good, although I'm sure Debbie's tasted better since she probably has more experience baking. Hell, there are probably five year olds with more baking experience than I have. I changed her recipe a little, as I didn't have light brown sugar and ended up using less sugar overall (is it funny that out of all people, I tend to decrease the recommended amount of sugar when I bake?), and I used less chocolate (which was stupid). I baked them for closer to 20 minutes than 13 as the recipe says since they didn't look done. Then again, I'm not familiar with cookie baking so maybe they were done before then. I'm not an intuitive baker or cook by any means.

stack o cookies
stack of cookies

The cookies tasted good, but the texture was crispier than I prefer. The texture suffered the next day, but I guess that's expected when stuff shifts from the "freshly baked" end of the spectrum to the "exposed to oxygen and whatever toxins are floating around in the air" end. Luckily, the flavor was still good, and by good, I I don't know, not bad? The cookies are four days old now but I'm still eating them because I made them, dammit! (I ate five on the first day. Oops.)

So...those were the pre-Thanksgiving food related things. For Thanksgiving I found out at the last minute that my mum, brother and I (dad is in Taiwan) would be joining my mum's uncle's family for a late buffet lunch at a country club near their house in Staten Island. (Oh, how I love country clubs and having to semi-dress up. ...not really. I haven't been to many country clubs in my life but with the exception of The American Club, which I was never a member of, but could "sneak" into with friends, they've tended to give me an odd feeling. Is it just me or do they always look the same? Oh, I just though of a reason why the American Club was cool: they had Japanese curry.) They also had a post-Thanksgiving dinner at their house today, but besides that my mum was dropped me off at my dorm, we weren't crazy about going to another dinner full of chatting and increasing one's caloric intake when we should really be purging. (I think they like to entertain people. The idea is foreign to my family, haha...BECAUSE WE'RE ANTISOCIAL.)

buffet room
buffet room

Like all buffets, there was way too much food. Besides the regular hot dishes and salad bar, there were bread baskets, a meat carving station, oyster and shrimp cocktail bar, cold cuts, soups, and 75 golden camels...wait, that's Aladdin.

dessert table

Oh, of course there were dessert tables, three nearly identical to the one above, and an ice cream station. Desserts included pumpkin pie, apple pie, some other kind of apple pie, maybe a blueberry pie, coconut custard pie, pecan pie, cannolis, napoleons, cream puffs, those Italian cream puff things, rice pudding, vanilla pudding, chocolate mousse, brownie-things, cookies, a legion of people afflicted with get the picture. I had eaten here once before and I remembered the desserts being better. Sadly, it was all pretty mediocre, although I did really like the apple pie with streusel topping (I didn't try the double-crust pie).

first plate
first place

Unsurprisingly, I got one plate of savory food and two plates of desserts. To be fair, the dessert plates are smaller and I didn't eat everything...just almost everything. You can probably tell that there's an absence of turkey on my plate; I forgot about it. Yup, I forgot about the most (or one of the most) symbolic American foods. well, it's not like I don't know what it tastes like, which for the most part is chicken. I wasn't particularly fond of any of the savory items so I just went for whatever seemed semi-healthy or tasty. See, there are vegetables on my plate! WOW. *smattering of applause* Actually, I lied, as I really liked the sweet potato stuffing. I suppose stuffing is supposed to stuff something. Well, it stuffed my spoon, is that good enough?

dessert plate #1
dessert plate #1

Clockwise from top left: cornbread (alright), apple pie (pretty good), cookie (not so good) on top of brownie (eeeh), funky cream puff (not so good, although I think that's just a matter of my taste) and normal cream puff (alright). You've just experienced my 2-second food reviews. Inspiring, no? No.

Okay, to expound upon the less favorable desserts, the cookie was too hard, the brownie was...I dunno what it was, and the funky cream puff was soaked in some sweet syrup and had a challah-like texture, which just isn't my thing. I didn't finish it. *gasp*

dessert plate #2
dessert plate #2

What do you know: I went back for MORE. Clockwise from top left: pecan pie (I really liked this, but I do love a good pecan pie), chocolate mousse (good), vanilla pudding (like a viscous vanilla sauce, which is fine with me), and coconut custard pie (not so good, but maybe I don't like coconut custard pie). I've rarely had pecan pie in my life but this one was very sweet and bursted with caramel-pecan-ness. It may be too sweet for most people, which was probably why I loved it. The coconut cream pie tasted just like the combination of coconut and custard would, but it disappointed me and I certainly didn't finish it. I shared a bit of my mum's napoleon and didn't like that either, but I've never liked napoleons. It has something to do with, pastry part.

So that was my Thanksgiving. I cut out the crap for you, such as most of what happened over the course of the three-hour meal. AT A BUFFET.

you know you've been here too long...

Where did everyone go? I don't know, home perhaps? Of course, it was nice for my great uncle to invite us and we were happy to be there, but three hours is pretty long for a buffet, especially when I don't understand 75% of what's being said at the table and everyone thinks I'll somehow learn Mandarin by the "soaking in what everyone else is saying" method, which, after 20 years of failure to learn Mandarin has taught me, doesn't work.

(I think some grammatical errors were made somewhere in there, but whatever.)

Other stuff happened this past week, but I'll talk about it later. Do you know how time consuming it is to write about what you eat all the time? Quite. Maybe I need a new hobby, like doing homework. Or exercising. Or stomach pumping.


Augustusgloop / November 27, 2005 1:15 AM

LOL. No, no, no new hobbies. I LOVE your posts! My heart skipped a beat as I saw the free chocolate sample sign (omigod, how could you resist?) and the buffet station? OMG. I almost went into cardiac arrest from excitement!


sorry, I got excited again and scrolled up for another longing look at your photos. *drool* No, no new hobbies please. You just keep up the good work!

Nerissa / November 27, 2005 12:35 PM

Just wanted to point out that the French on the snowman poop package was much classier than the English. At least all their's said was "snow balls"

I nearly fainted with all the desserts in the picture. :-9

As always, your writing tickles my funny bone right away

janet / November 27, 2005 1:48 PM

man, you hail from the cool part of new jersey where there are lots of awesome eateries. stupid central jersey is full of diners and chain restaurants...

if you bake cookies and keep them in a container with a slice of bread, they'll stay softer. the cookies suck the moisture from the bread or something but i dont really know how it works scientifically.

mzn / November 27, 2005 5:00 PM

I'm with you on the cookies: don't bake them if you're going to eat them all. I did that a while back with brownies and it was awful. Eating twelve brownies is definitely worse than eating no brownies at all. Yikes.

I don't think turkey tastes that much like chicken. I guess it tastes more like chicken than like chocolate or whiskey, but you know what I mean. I would give it another try.

Wei / November 28, 2005 12:03 PM

Turkey has its own unique taste. I think when people say "insert random food item" tastes like chicken, they're actually talking about the texture rather than chicken itself since chicken isn't the most savory item.. heh. I'm so jealous that your folks allowed you to do 2!.. TWO plates of desserts. Usually, i'm the oppsite, 2 plates of "regular" food and 1 plate of dessert. Oh.. and \o/ for the pecan pie.

roboppy / November 29, 2005 2:16 AM

Augustusgloop: Don't worry, no new hobbies! SAME OLD "EATING TOO MUCH"! :) (And hopefully you'll join me? Hehe.) Yeah, it's really hard to resit chocolate; there's no point in trying.

Nerissa: Ah, French is classier, thanks for pointing that out. I guess Americans need something more grotesque. :P "Stuff that comes forth from the digestive tract of a snowman." Glad you enjoy my writing!

Janet: Ohh, I wouldn't say that north Jersey is cool. It's quite different from the rest of Jersey, I'll say that much. It's so freakin mall-saturated though..and highways...and squirrels...

Thanks for the cookie tip! I think I heard that somewhere before but never tried it. I guess it doesn't help that I dont have bread around. I better get some. And some cookies. Yup.

mzn: 12 brownies? Good lord. [imagines a brownie mountain] I really want a brownie.

It's easy for me to compare stuff to chicken. They're both white meats, prone to being cooked dry. Duck definitely doesn't taste like chicken, but it's ...dark, and fattier. Chicken and turkey don't taste the same but they both have that "easy to eat"....feel. Or something. ARRGH I DUNNO THEY'RE BIRDS.

Wei: Yeah, it has a lot to do with texture. I think rabbit kind of tastes like chicken. The texture's kind of similar! And of course my mum wouldn't stop me from eating two plates of dessert , hehe. Pie is the awesome; I could go for some now.

Jane: Ooh, it was. All those cakes on your website are making me jealous though...

misoponia / December 1, 2005 12:32 PM

Whoa...I've actually been to the American Club..last summer, actually, towards the end when the moms of the students my dad and I tutored for a couple months wanted to treat us to lunch. Their kids are all at TAS which means that.....they all live much classier lives than we do. ;D We ate at Baci! I wasn't sure that it was even the same club until I saw pictures of Baci. I didn't realize that they had multiple restaurants, though.....or that it was so big. :o

Your cookies look like heaven.

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