February 21, 2006

a bagel, hot chocolate, Zozo's and cake

Murray's Bagels

Bagels are synonymous with NYC. I didn't really know that until I read an essay about...bagels. Well, it was more about ethnic foodways in America, or something like that (I think the essay started talking about immigrants from the Middle East opening NY-style delis in the mid-west that sold bagels, or something along those lines, which I actually read again for a different class this semester yet have already forgotten because I HAD THAT LOBOTOMY), but it talked about the history of bagels and their connotations. Bagels in NYC (and at least the Tri-State/Mid Atlantic/New England area?) are just bagels, while further out they NY or Jewish bagels, fuuurther out maybe American bagels, even fuuurther out maybe Earthling food...eh, I forgot.

Although I've grown up around bagels in NJ, I didn't eat them often. Besides that my childhood wasn't rich with breakfast food, I didn't regularly ingest yeasted wheaty products (I was all about the rice, my friend). Sometimes I'd plunk down $0.50 in high school for a bagel; god knows why, as at some point I realized all the food sucked and I'd be better off eating lunch at home after school was over. Today I was feeling especially random, debating whether to grab a quick lunch/snack from Panya (mm, curry pan?) or Life Thyme (mm, salad and yogurt?). For some reason, I picked Murray's Bagels on 6th Ave instead, mainly because I had never been there before and it was somewhat on my walk from class to work.

bagel innards
sesame bagel with scallion cream cheese

I'm no bagel connoiseur, but as I don't eat many bagels to begin with, I like to get them from places that make them there. So far I've tried Ess-A-Bagel and Bagel Bob's, which were both good, although no source of...bagel-gasm, for lack of a better term. Murray's Bagel (I got sesame seed) is also very good, crispy on the outside and chewy inside. although not really a source of bagel-gasm (I don't think there is such a thing; I like most bagels). However, I opted--for the first time in my life--to add the awesomeness of a layer of scallion cream cheese spread smooshed between the bagel halves. And...this made it SO AWESOME. This cream cheese! Have I ever had cream cheese like this before? So creamy? So scallion-y? [Insert other unhelpful adjective?] NO. NEVER. I've probably only had plain, "okay" cream cheese my whole life, not anything this smooth and creamy with the property of auto-melt-age upon hitting my tongue, along with any other surface in my mouth. Mmm. Mmmmmm. Creamy scallion-y goodness in conjunction with chewy, moist bread. It's far from healthy, but...eh, whatever.

City Bakery innards

Even though I had just went there a few days ago, I went back to City Bakery yesterday (which was crazy-busy, resulting in "standing room only" for most of the stay) with Mary and Allen to try their "Even Spicier Chili Hot Chocolate". A part of me was hoping that upon drinking it, it would make my head explode, or something...less violent. I have no idea what it was "even spicier" than, but perhaps at some point they had "Chili Hot Chocolate" and people were like, "No, this sucks, make it spicier", so they kicked it up a notch (that's a pretty bad story; I hope they have a better one).

even spicier chili hot chocolate
Even Spicier Chili Hot Chocolate

...A notch above nothing? It was spicy, but not "head explodee" (yes, two e's) spicy. Dammit, I wanted explosions! I wanted my throat to burn, not just slight tingle after giving the drink sufficient time to coat my esophagus and travel to my brain! (Yes, esophagus, then straight to the brain. Biology is not my forte. Hell, I'm not trying to impress anyone.) I guess at the very least my throat did tingle, but I wanted more. I'd compare my experience to Anthony Bourdain's disappointment when eating fugu didn't result in instant, beyond-painful death, except...on a smaller scale. To be fair, the flavor is called "Even Spicier Chili Hot Chocolate", not "So Spicy Your Head Is Gonna Splode Hot Chocolate", so it's not like they falsely marketed it. Or perhaps my tastebuds just don't work correctly. Ah. So many variables. [sigh] Of course, the hot chocolate was still sinfully "I'd rather not know how many calories are in this" rich, but once again, the flavor fell flat. I guess I should stick with regular hot chocolate from now on.

hot chocolate
hot chocolate pouring

We were quite mesmerized by this tall lanky dude left with the task of pouring cups of thick hot chocolate and frothing them up seemingly forever amidst bellows of "REGULAR" and "FLAVOR SHOT" and "REGULAR SHOT" and "MARSHMALLOW SHOT" (well, not the last one...oo, a shot of marshmallow; I'd eat that) because people just kept on ordering the hot chocolate. Forever. Because it's awesome. All hail the hot chocolate pouring dude, for it is he that keeps the joy a-flowin'. At least, until he takes a break, which he probably does at some point.

chocolate chip cookie
chocolate chip cookie

Behold, my third time buying a chocolate chip cookie from City Bakery. It's good stuff; don't let anyone tell you differently. I mean, it's not good for your body, but ...some part of you will enjoy it. The part that likes butter and sugar. Yes.

Zozo's Fresh Food Diner

On sunny and chilly Saturday afternoon, I went to Zozo's Fresh Food Diner in the Lower East Side with Wei for some burger and milkshake action. I really liked the interior design of this place; long, clean and sleek, but not in a minimalist/modern way. It has a sunny West-coast feel, aided by the...um, sun shining through the windows, but I feel like even on a cloudy day it would still feel bright and light-earthy (as opposed to a woody, dirt-filled forest feeling, akin to my backyard in NJ).

burger and other stuff
blackened with cajun mayo

I ordered a blackened with cajun mayo burger, which came on an English muffin bun with tomato slices and baby greens toppings on the side.

burger innards
burger innards

I suppose if you don't get it blackened, it will be less black. As you can see, I like my burgers tomato-less (click on the photo for excessive discussion about this topic). All my life, I've always been adverse to plain tomatoes. To me, in a burger or any kind of sandwich, they have a tendency to make things soggy and due to their slippery/Satanic nature, they likes to plop out and make your eating experience messier than you'd wish. In other words, they're pure, untamed evil. I don't really mind the taste of tomatoes, but raw, unadorned ones give me weird vibes; even the smell puts me off. Cooked is fine, dried is okay, sauce-ified I can do, but raw, not so much.

Oh, as for the burger? It was good. It was moist enough for me to designate it as moist, although just a weeeee bit more moisture would've been nice. I think more sauce would've helped too, as I couldn't taste much of its flavor (and I ended up putting ketchup on the burger; ketchup doesn't taste like raw tomatoes, mrah!). I really liked the soft, chewy English muffin bun and would love it if more sandwiches came that way. One problem I see with this burger is that it's rather small and I think many people could easily eat two...except for $7 a burger (probably more depending on which one you get), people probably won't do that.

fresh mint shake
fresh mint shake
frothy on top

As I've given myself the mission to try any milk shake that sounds good for the sake of finding the best milkshakes in NYC and sharing my research with the world (yup, it's a completely unselfish venture...[nods slowly]), I went for Zozo's fresh mint shake. While it's definitely got the fresh minty taste, the texture was too thin for me to truly enjoy it. The shake wouldn't stay in the straw! The straaaaw! OH LORDY. Wei got a mango milk shake, which was able to defy gravity, but I guess the mango pulp would contribute to that, unlike mint leaves, which...wouldn't, and these shakes aren't ice cream-thickened). So perhaps the mango milkshake is good, but skip the mint.

pistachio bundt cake
pistachio bundt cake

After Zozo's was a short walk to Sugar Sweet Sunshine for a bakery fix. I had my eye on the pistachio bundt cake for ages (partially because it's called "bundt" and I like that word) and finally, WE MET. IN DIGESTION BLISS. It was very good, although I gotta say, cake without frosting is...not very exciting. But it costs less! Hoorah! Pistachio bundt cake is good stuff.

I have perhaps a weird thing peeving me that I've overthought, but since this is my blog I get to spill out my brain puke to you unfortunate readers. The girl who cut my bundt cake (BUNDT BUNDT BUNDT, SHOUT IT LIKE YOU MEANT IT) didn't charge me right away, which I thought was odd. After Wei got his slice of cake, she charged him for both of out cakes without asking/telling either of us. I've paid for other friend's stuff before, but I'm always asked beforehand if I don't actually tell the cashier that I'm paying for both. In this case, Wei didn't even know he was paying for me and the girl only told me after I took out some money.

"He paid for you."

Oh. Um. Thanks for...telling me. At first it just seemed like Wei was overcharged for his cake.

Anyway. See, it's a very minor thing, but I've been to Sugar Sweet Sunshine at least 10 times by now, and maybe all my bakery visits in NYC would total around 50 by this point, and that has never happened before. I'm sure the girl who rang up our order is a cool person, but I got un-happy-sunshine vibes from her (unlike some of the other people there, who extrude happy-sunshine vibes). :( Yes, I get vibes, probably due to a chromosomal mutation. Eh.

Posted by roboppy at 11:06 PM



That hot chocolate looked damn good. Too bad it didn't taste damn good. Also, it looked like you ate a lot of green and brown colored stuff.

Posted by: Marvo at February 22, 2006 12:00 AM [#]

Ahh...bagels. I don't think I've had any since that trip to NY many years ago that I told you about. I remember those simple but utterly enjoyable walk-while-I-eat breakfasts of cream cheese bagels and iced coffee. I think it is time to try make some.

Posted by: mumu at February 22, 2006 12:03 AM [#]

dude you so have me craving a milk shake at midnight no less...though i can't think of a good place in boston to get a fix urhgk

and i love panya!!!

Posted by: mini at February 22, 2006 12:09 AM [#]

So what's your favorite thing at Sugar Sweet Sunshine?

For throat-burning hot chocolate, try Vosges!

Posted by: kathryn at February 22, 2006 12:28 AM [#]

First off, what's up with you guys all making comments within 30 minutes of each other? KINDA CREEPY. Or cool.

Marvo: Oh, it tasted good, but it wasn't up to my expectations of throat-searing joy. The moral of the story: have low expectations; you'll never be disappointed! "Hey, this hot chocolate at least tastes like chocolate. I thought it'd taste like dirt" Mmmm hm! And yeah, I did have a bit of a green and brown thing going on. Um...hm...

mumu: You're going to make bagels? Or ice coffee? I wouldn't make either...man, I haven't even baked my own bread from scratch yet! Mrah. As I was walking towards Murray's, I passed a guy eating his bagel while walking down the street, hehe. I rarely walk and eat at the same time (too distracting for me) but I see it all the time. I'm not hungry/in enough of a rush. LIFE = NOT BUSY, just full of procrastination.

mini: If I wanted a milkshake at midnight, I wouldn't have anywhere close to go either. Probably a good thing cos...milkshakes at midnight wouldn't equate to a happy tummy, hehe. I HAVEN'T HAD A MILKSHAKE IN FOUR DAYS, OH JEEZ.

Panya! I haven't been there in months. :(

Kathryn: Ahhh, what is my favorite? Mm. Mmdeedum. I'd say the yellow cake (has a real name, but I forgot what it was) and the coconut cake. I like slabs of cake more than cupcakes. There's more frosting...and there are two layers. TWO. I NEED TWO. Oh god.

Oo, Vosges! I've never tried their hot chocolate, just a truffle or two a loooong time ago. I'll have to check it out.

Posted by: roboppy at February 22, 2006 9:10 AM [#]

dang girlfriend, you DO eat everythang:) haaaa...
i am dying to go on one of these day-long eating adventures with you. one of these days.

Posted by: mona at February 22, 2006 10:23 AM [#]

I love a good pumpernickle bagel with scallion cream cheese!

Posted by: Ani at February 22, 2006 10:31 AM [#]

I chance upon your blog by wayroundabouts onfood. I was looking for some recipe on some fictitious cake (i only heard it once and thought i'd google it, hence the fictitious term), and saw a link that says 'the girl who ate everything' - for a while i thought it'd be a making of a b horror flick. long story short - i click it, read it and totally enjoyed your style of writing. made me to either eat or fly to the east coast. at any rate, you exude fun - your blog is totally enjoyable. the pictures are way awesome too

Posted by: jeana at February 22, 2006 11:22 AM [#]

You're making me pine for bagels.
And City Bakery's oatmeal raisin cookie.
And Sugar Sweet Sunshine! *sob*

ps. it sounds like the cashier thought you guys were on a date. lol.

Posted by: AugustusGloop at February 22, 2006 6:41 PM [#]

mona: :D I haven't had BBQ yet though! If you have places to go to in mind, I'd definitely go fooding....one of these days. Right now I feel like I'm gonna 'splode from eating too much bread. :O

Ani: I've never had a pumpernickle bagel! Perhaps I'll try that next time...

Jeana: Thanks for...stumbling by. :) Fictitious cake? What sort of fictitious cake? "The Girl Who Ate Everything" would make a pretty bad movie, or maybe AN AWESOME NAME FOR A BAND.

...I like to turn crappy phrases into band names. Don't know why. I mean, some people could use better band names. There are so many horrible ones out there.

AugustusGloop: You make me pine for...SYDNEY. I've seen the deliciousness you've got over there! Rawr.

As for the date thing, that would be weird! I've eaten with male friends before and never had that misunderstanding. Mrrh. I've actually never been on a date, although I think one time the OTHER person may have been leaning towards that...which would've been odd.

Posted by: roboppy at February 22, 2006 9:10 PM [#]

Mmmmmm! Mint milkshake. Must have.

Not that you're collecting bagel places necessarily but I have two for you if you are: Bagels on the Square, close to NYU (6th Ave) and H&H on the UWS. B on the S has more varieties of cream cheese than Baskin & Robbins has ice cream and their bagels are enormous. H&H I just really, really like. Good luck with that bagel-gasm. Do tell.

Posted by: mzn at February 22, 2006 9:12 PM [#]

Ahhhahah! Robyn, I'm having such a busy week! I have had so much work (school and job) and then friend visit. I haven't had time to write about anything, just barely post pictures. My dad is going to be in town this weekend and I have two tests on monday so I don't for see any food adventures. But next week we should do something! I like Murray's bagels...but scones rock bagels anyday. Happy eating, hopefully I will get to read your blog and fill mine in within the next week!

Posted by: lutkie at February 22, 2006 11:25 PM [#]

Being of jewish blood (and faith), I am of course a bagel queen. I eat them almost everyday (though not always the best fresh ones--just don't have the time to walk 10 blocks), but my favorites are the ones I bought in Montreal. It seems they make their bagels there differently (don't ask me how--i'm sure you can google it). It was delectable--topped with lox and cream cheese!

I like Murray's, though I find it a tad expensivo. Hot and Crusty isn't bad and I don't live far from the H&H Bagel factory--i'll normally go in and buy a dozen and then have friends come over for brunch.

Can you believe I've never been to City Bakery? And I keep hearing about their cookies. I really should go over there.

Posted by: Rose at February 23, 2006 11:12 PM [#]

mzn: Oohh I'll collect bagel places if people tell me where to go. :D Thanks for the recommendations! I'll have to check out Bagels on the Square, that's way too close by. MM, CREAM CHEESES!!!

Sarah: We probably needed a break. ;D NEXT WEEK, MMM!

Rose: Oo, bagels every day! MAYBE I SHOULD ADOPT THAT! I don't have any routine; is that weird? I feel like most peopel do, like "I drink tea every morning" or "I drink coffee every 5 seconds" but I have nothing like that. :| I don't necessarily eat bread or chocolate every day, even though I love them, and I try to eat fruit every day but there are times when I don't. Water is the only thing I definitely ingest every day!

Someone else told me that the bagels in Montreal are good!...I think. Sounds familiar, hehe. Man, I wanna go to Montreal. FOR FOOD.

Yeah, Murray's was a bit expensive for a bagel...which isn't saying much since they're so cheap anyway, but mrrh!

Go to City Bakery! (TAKE ME WITH YOU.) I don't mean to overhype it--a lot of people don't like it that much (a lot of people don't like the service, although I haven't had much problem with it), but it's good. It may be a little pricier than other places but I love their cookies! And their hot chocolate...little else compares. La Maison du Chocolat has god hot chocolate but it costs twice as much, so...screw that.

Posted by: roboppy at February 24, 2006 8:02 AM [#]

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previous entries

» 03/19/14: Taipei 2011, Day 5: Mussels, Fried Oysters, and Extreme Soft Serve in Danshui

» 03/09/14: Taipei 2011, Day 4: Keelung River Bikeway, TAS, Beef "Pie," and Din Tai Fung

» 02/14/14: Behold French Fry-Stuffed Fat Sandwiches From RU Hungry in New Brunswick, NJ

» 01/27/14: Taipei 2011, Day 3: Taipei 101 Food Court and Dim Sum Dinner

» 01/15/14: Hong Kong Recap: Favorite Bites, Sweets, People, Etc.

» 12/02/13: Taipei 2011, Day 2: Shaved Ice Two Ways, 7-Eleven, Shilin Night Market, Etc.

» 11/05/13: My Favorite Places to Bring Tourists on the Lower East Side

» 10/23/13: How I Made My BMO (Adventure Time) Costume

» 10/20/13: Taipei 2011, Day 1: Fried Crullers, Bear Head Doughnuts, Scallion Pancakes, Etc.

» 08/19/13: Indessert, My New Favorite Dessert Shop Serving Tong Sui in Chinatown

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