The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Balthazar and Blue Ribbon Bakery

First matter of discussion: my arm? It's too squishy. It's not just that it feels like Jell-O, but I think that some Kraft scientists messed with my arm while I was sleeping and turned it into Jell-O. I have a subcutaneous Jell-O layer. Kraft now owns my arm.


Despite that, I'm still eating. Yeah. Today I went from about 3 PM to 11 PM without eating because 1) I wasn't hungry and 2) I was in the computer lab for that entire time. 8 hours isn't very long, but by the time I got back to my dorm, I immediately filled my pot with water and tossed my last frozen pork bun into the steamer so that 20-odd minutes later I could feast on a bun of mysterious meat wrapped in sweet, soft, whiter-than-Conan O'Brien steamed bread. Mm. Besides that, I got to feast on a box of Australian goods provided by the uber-sweet Jess! It contained fruit bars, cookies, crackers, and this li'l devil:

yeast is mine

I have heard about the famed Vegemite for years; now it is mine. Unfortunately, I have nothing to eat it with at the moment (no, I'm not going to eat it straight from the tube), so until that happens, it'll just be that funny little yellow tube, radiant with the warm yeast paste glow. You know, that glow. (nods) I think it's the same one pregnant women have.

Oh, so back to the point of this entry, where I tell you about things not related to Vegemite. This is out of order (hopefully I'll get around to the meals I had earlier this week), but I'm going to write about Balthazar, where I ate for dinner Wednesday night, and Blue Ribbon Bakery, where I ate for lunch yesterday. I'll start with the not-as-good one since that seems to be the way to go.

tables bread
Balthazar, bread basket

Actually, I need to step back a bit. There wasn't anything wrong with Balthazar. The room was large and impressive (although louder than most places), the service was attentive and skilled at filling our water glasses every 30 seconds, and the food was obviously good. This is where "weird Robyn psychological problems" come in.

At some point during the meal I thought, "Huh...I'm not enjoying this as much as I think I should." Vibes. I got weird vibes. Kathy invited me out to eat with two of her friends, and for whatever reason (well, if you're my livejournal friend you'd know), I got "opposite of awesome" vibes. Weird vibes upset the stomach. And the mind. And the soul, if I had one. (KRAFT OWNS MY SOUL.) They were nice people and I'm sure they're cool since Kathy's friends with them, but the feeling just...made me uneasy. I'm not the only one who gets vibes, right? I'll acknowledge that I'm not always right when I feel uneasy, but when I do feel at ease I think it's always rightfully so. (Really, I've been in seemingly sketchy situations that upon retrospect may have looked bad, but in the end were totally fine because I knew the other person was cool.) Also, I'm rarely in a stuation where I feel uneasy because I avoid know, social things.

Oh well. That wasn't food related. It was just a reminder of how sensitive I am. You can't tell how sensitive I am from this blog alone; it's for the best. Even if you know me semi-well in real life, you wouldn't know. SO MANY PROBLEMS, SO MUCH INHIBITION. Oops.

Anyway, no more about that. I know Kathy (who is awesome!) reads this and I don't mean to portray anything negative about her friends (who I doubt are reading'm not really sure), but I figured it was an important part of my experience. Sometimes you mix well with people and sometimes you're just neutral. Hopefully you know what I mean.


Stuff at Balthazar is expensive. Yeah, I knew that...but whoa. As you read in my wd-50 experience, I don't mind expensive things if I think it's worth it. For some reason I was drawn to the dinner special, koulibiac, which consisted of salmon wrapped in a puff pastry with rice, spinach, dill, and "something else I don't remember" stuffing., mushrooms and some kind of milky sauce. I had a hard time deciding what to get, wondering if I should let price sway me or to just go for anything. I don't think I've ever spent $26 on an entree before because 1) I don't often go to places that have $26 entrees and 2) I'm kinda cheap. The dish was good--everything cooked perfectly, whatever that entails--and I ate the whole thing rather quickly.

But was it worth $26? Uh. I'm not sure. It was good and obviously took a bit of labor to prepare, but I wasn't wowed by it. Perhaps I'm not supposed to be wowed, but hell, a hamburger could wow me. There was nothing wrong with this dish; methinks I just got the wrong thing. (I heard the duck confit, onion soup, and frites were good, but I didn't want to just get frites nor did I want the entrees that came with em.) One of Kathy's friends got the chicken and spaetzle and it looked delicious. I tasted one of the spaetzle pieces and was reminded of excess tempura batter. Never having eaten spaetzle before, I don't know what it's supposed to taste like, but I wouldn't mind eating a bowl of it. My heart might mind, but...whatever.

So I guess my recommendation would be to not get the koulibiac, unless you're as curious about it as I was. There's nothing wrong with it, but...I don't know. I honestly can't think of much else to say about it.

caramelized banana tart with ricotta...something inside the tartcaramelized banana tart with ricotta

And then all was made right with the world when the dessert appeared. God, I love dessert. I would've rather eaten three desserts for the price of one koulibiac (damn, wouldn't most people?). This caramelized banana tart atop of a frozen ricotta disc was beautiful to look at, although no dessert is too beautiful to prevent me from stabbing it with my fork. The perfectly arranged thin banana slices were coated with a thin caramel candy shell. Breaking the top reminded me of digging into a freshly burned creme brulee. I think I would've liked this more if there were some kind of cream between the banana layers and the cookie (the answer to all of life's problems: add cream), but it was fine without it...because the frozen ricotta disc made up for the creamy factor. Faintly sweet with a light, fluffy texture, it went really well with the tart in taste and cool temperature. AND CREAM. I LIKE MAH DAIRY. AND FAT OF BOVINE ORIGINS.

Hooray for dessert. When I say I want to go to restaurants and just make up my own "dessert tasting menu", I'm not joking. I just need to find someone to go on a dessert hunt with me; the more people you eat with, the more you can sample!

Blue Ribbon Bakery
Blue Ribbon Bakery

I went to Blue Ribbon Bakery for lunch yesterday with Patricia and three of her friends that I had never met before. The additional three friends weren't planned, but I was cool with all of them. I mean, no weird psychological things coming up here, OKAAAY? Just wanted to let you know that the weird vibes don't come up every time I go into public.


At 1PM, we had no problem getting a table downstairs. I was only vaguely aware of the downstairs seating area, which is nestled in this lovely rustic "everything is made of bricks" environment. It was very cosy and warm feeling. Walking down the hall to the bathroom (which was also very nice and clean) you'd pass the most awesome thing ever: BAKERY. Magical bakery! I half expected elves to appear, arms carrying piles of bread...wait, that doesn't make sense. Something about it felt magical and out of another time and place. Yeah, I'm weird.

bread basket
bread basket

Their free bread basket is awesome. (I should've mentioned that Balthazar's bread basket was also awesome. Oh god, yummy bread...makes me so happy.) Besides the two breads you can see in the photo, there were some smaller slices of some kind of chopped vegetable flatbread. IT WAS SO GOOD. I wish I had a better description, but you'll just have to try it for yourself.

chicken salad sandwich BLT yellowfin tuna sandwich
chicken salad sandwich, BLT, yellowfin tuna sandwich

We all got sandwiches. Why? SANDWICHES ARE AWESOME. I didn't get to take a photo of one of them, but they all looked different, although were about the same size (which was larger than how they appear in these photos, I think). I feel like every sandwich had its own personality. "This one comes with a salad; it's kinda healthy! This one comes with fried shoestrings; it's gonna clog your veins!" Mm.

The Blue Ruben ruben innards
The Blue Ruben

Clogged veins, here I come. I went for the Blue Ruben, composed of "Chorizo, Cole Slaw, Cheddar on Baguette". I've never had a ruben sandwich before, but they're not usually as appealing to my tastebuds as this one. Bread plays a huge role in rating the deliciousness of a sandwich, and I'm not a big fan of your typical rye bread. A baguette on the other hand is always welcome to enter my stomach. Repeatedly.

I loved this sandwich. Although it may seem like there wasn't a lot of filling, it was just enough for me. I've never had cole slaw in a sandwich before, but it went well with the thinly sliced chorizo and melted cheese. Everything just went so WELL together, especially when hugged by a crispy, toasted baguette. The sandwich came with some brown sauce that I couldn't identify, so naturally I dipped the sandwich in it and it tasted awesome. It tasted...brown. If you know what the sauce is, please let me know.


Even though I felt satisfied after eating the first half of the sandwich, I just kept on going. I ATE THE WHOLE GODDAMN THING. (Patricia exercised more sense than I did and saved half of her sandwich for later.) I don't think I finished the shoestrings (why have I eaten so many things that come with shoestring fries as of late?), but they were good. They tasted like...well, crispy fried potato sticks, which means they burst with fatty goodness. Oh lord.

Banana Walnut Bread Pudding
Banana Walnut Bread Pudding

Alas, the real reason I wanted to try Blue Ribbon Bakery wasn't for the sandwiches, but for the infamous bread pudding. I read that this pudding was worth killing babies for. ...Okay, I didn't, but I bet someone out there had the idea at some point. ("The baby was ugly!") Luckily Patricia agreed to split dessert with me (before even knowing what I was ordering) or else I would've wanted to explode from eating the whole thing.

Banana Walnut Bread Pudding all gone

Oh yeah, this was AWESOME. I didn't know it came with a large plop of vanilla ice cream, which increased the awesomeness by a lot. I may have eaten it too quickly for the tastiness to fully register in my brain, but I just remember warm banana chunks, walnuts and uber-moist bread pudding chunks swimming in caramel sauce and melted ice cream. Awesome1000. $12.50 is a crapload for dessert (although technically I paid $6.25), but I wouldn't hesitate to get this again. Hell, I want another one. Now. Okay, soon. Not right now, since it's past 2 AM.

I want all their desserts. No joke. Anyone wanna go out for a "let's order everything on the dessert menu" meal? You know I'm serious.

We all left Blue Ribbon Bakery extremely happy and stuffed. This goes on my "list of restaurants I want to go back to soon"...figuring I get through everything else first.


Marvo / March 17, 2006 2:42 AM

I'll give you a dollar if you eat the Vegemite straight from the tube. Also, those shoestring fries look good. But they would be better with Vegemite straight from the tube and a one dollar bill in your possession.

Sara / March 17, 2006 6:50 AM

Somebody please explain what Vegemite is!! I've heard about it so many times, yet I still don't really understand what it is composed of/proper techniques of ingesting... Right my ignorant ways!

aussieyam / March 17, 2006 8:07 AM

Your pics are totally drool-worthy!

Btw., that Vegemite is potent stuff. Be careful with it. Use a tiny amount and spread it evenly. Unless of course, you are in the mood for jugs of water.

Here 'Down Under', we like to have it spread on bread and then, toasted with cheese. It really isn't too bad. In fact, when I lived in Japan for three years, it was the one thing I really missed!

Yeah, we're a bunch of plebeians down here.

PS: I love your Blog. Your posts are wry and hilarious. Keep up the good work!

Ash / March 17, 2006 8:33 AM

I know of the VIIIIIBES. I'm not exactly the most social creature either, so this tends to happen. :/

Terrific hunger-inducing pictures, as always! :)

Kathy / March 17, 2006 10:58 AM

I didn't even know there was a downstairs! Crap. I hope it wasn't too awkward at Balthalzar...I understand where that funky feeling comes in. almost felt like we would have more fun if it was just the both of us. hehe.

janet / March 17, 2006 12:22 PM

Arrrrrr! The pictures make me so mad I missed Blue Ribbon and pudding and fries and aewpofiawjepfoijawef. Stupid job. Looks awesome!!!

huh! weird vibes at balthazar! i've been wanting to go there forever but my wallet wags its finger at me. so maybe it's a good thing i haven't checked it out yet. though maybe there can be better vibes. i'll bring a vibraphone! oh-ho-ho. so corny.

Ani / March 17, 2006 1:40 PM

I get those feelings every once in a while too. It's ok:) I've wanted to try Koulibiac since I saw Martha Stewart make it. Now I know where to find it. I noticed you had two banana desserts. Mmmmm warm bananas.

Rose / March 17, 2006 1:56 PM

I love Blue Ribbon Bakery's downstairs seating. It's so cozy and when you go to the bathroom you walk right by the ovens with the bakers making that absolutely delish bread. It was one of the best brunches I've had in the city...the other best brunch i'm going to blog about soon :-)

roboppy / March 17, 2006 3:59 PM

Marvo: A dollar? Hmmm...


...NOOOO! HAHAHAHAHAA! Actually, I am curious to taste it straight. Cos I'm stupid. But I don't think I'd do it unless someone else did it with me, so we could both suffer the yeasty consequences.

Sara: Wikipedia to the rescue! It a salty paste made of yeast!...yum? I guess I'll spread it on toast.

aussieyam: Actually, I need a reason to drink more water. Maybe I should slater this stuff on my bread? And then immediately shrivel up. I'm very tempted to make a bread, cheese and Vegemite sammich; all I'm missing is the bread!

If I lived in Japan, I don't think I'd miss anything! Or maybe at some point I'd long for "real" pizza...or get used to Japanese pizza. And everything else. Oh god, I love Japanese food.

Thanks for checking out my blog, glad you like it!

Ash: The viiibes! They sucketh!

I hope you're not too hungry now. I am MEGA full after eating a gigantic piece of French toast...and other things for lunch. That chocolate milkshake probably didn't help.

Kathy: Ahh, Balthazar was okay. I mean, I had to try it at some point, eh? If I go back maybe I'll just get DESSERTS, HEEHEE. We could do that if it were just the two ofus, eh? And then take a gazillion photos and not feel too weird...

Janet: JOBS ARE STUPID! But the job will let you spend moolah on things like...pudding and fries and mm! You'll get your chance. INVITE ME WHEN YOU DO.

Vibraphones are awesome!

Ani: I've never seen koulibiac on a menu before! It sounds like it could be an assignment in my cooking class...FROM HELL. Pretty good, yeah...

Oooh banana! Yes, I love banana based desserts. I don't usually like fruit deserts but banana is starchy and SO GOOD, although that's just whe it's ripe. Today I had not very ripe bananas on my French toast, wah!

Oh god, who doesn't love bread?!

Rose: YES I LOVE THOSE OVENS AND WHATNOT!!! I would never want to actually work in a bakery like that (well...I'd fail at it, somehow), but it's a beautiful sight.

Ahh, I'll have to read about this awesome brunch of yours!

aussieyam / March 17, 2006 4:53 PM

Vegemite tastes like solidified soy sauce, but with a more yeasty aftertaste.

I hope that doesn't turn people off. =D

Roboppy: living in Japan is great for foodies, true! But there's nothing like a toasted Vegemite and cheese sando. :-)

David / March 17, 2006 11:31 PM

I'm not just lurking :)

I love your blog. I'm pretty fond of your life, too. How do you have so much time to go out? And better yet, how does a college student afford it? I think my diet consisted of Top Ramen, Kraft Mac and Cheese (they owned my soul prior to yours) and Domino's pizza in college.

Anyway, I can't remember how I found your blog, but I'm glad I did. Having just moved to New York, I'm using it as my food guide.

I look forward to your next post!

roboppy / March 18, 2006 12:49 AM

aussieyam: SOLIDIFIED SOY SAUCE? Whoa, that sounds...uh. Uhhh. Not so good. But now I'm looking REALLY FORWARD TO EATING THIS STUFF. Kinda.

foodcrazee: You're around lots of amazing food too! ;D Too far for me, doh.

David: Aha, unlurked! I WIN. A PILE OF BACON.

I'm happy you love my blog! It loves you back! Kinda. I mean, if it had emotions...which it doesn't. As for how I have so much time to go out, this happens to be my spring break...the kind where I worked for a few days, got very little sleep and didn't hop a plane to a sunny, carefree resort. Oops. On a regular basis, I just procrastinate. Procrastination is key.

As for how I afford things, I've racked up a very huge bill of stuff I owe my mum. Actually, I don't have to pay for food (as in, parents do that, not because I steal it all), although now that food has switched from being "thing that sustains life" to "thing of excess and pleasure", I ought to pay for more of it. I can't say I spend my money on much else besides food. ...Oh, I guess there's school. Um.

Easy Mac appears to be a college staple. I've never had it...which I guess is a good thing. ;)

Jen / March 18, 2006 1:04 AM

I've never had Easy Mac either! and damn proud...I think. I can't even imagine what would happen if I went to school in nyc. It would be hedonism 24/7, with no time for work and no money for other things. I guess the whole Ithaca thing works out--since I make up for the lack of food with overindulging during breaks.

Vegemite--I'm dying to know what the hell it tastes like.

piccola / March 18, 2006 8:26 PM

OK, that's it - I need foodie friends. How come no one at Columbia wants to go restaurant-exploring on the cheap??

That said, let me know if you need an extra food buddy. Especially if there's bread (or any dough-based product) involved.

roboppy / March 19, 2006 4:28 AM


I don't have much time to do anythign else Eat. And blog. Which is why my schoolwork is majorly doomed at the moment.

I tried a bit of the vegemite on a sesame rice cracker and it tasted kinda salty and fermented. Hm. I need to try it on a piece of toast though so I can REALLY TASTE THE VEGEMITE FLAVOR.

piccola: Foodie friends are EVERYWHERE! Ish. Well. I found them through the Internet, so I guess they're not really easy to find. :| One of my best food-happy friends goes to Barnard. There must be people up there! If you ever want to come downtown to eat somewhere, I'll be heeere...waiting...with my fork.

Liz / March 28, 2006 8:06 PM

Great pic of you with the vegemite tube.

I can only read your blog after I've already eaten, because otherwise I might get this urge to scamper to the bus station and flee to NYC.

ganda / April 3, 2006 12:51 AM

i've never had vegemite but i did eat marmite every once in a while when i was in london. it's best spread very thinly over buttered white toast, with a cup of PG Tips tea with milk. mmmm......

have you ever had maggi/golden mountain sauce? to me, marmite tastes like spreadable maggi sauce. i LOVE maggi sauce.

largery margery / May 2, 2006 11:40 PM

yo, I think I know where the weird vibes were coming from at your Balthazar dinner. It was probably the people but ALSO you may have been too kind to the koulibiac, koubliciliac, kublicophiliac, looks like kublikhanjustkilledayak. I am no stranger to places that serve 26 dollar entrees and this looks like something I ordered the last time I ate at Denny's. Bless you sista for eating the damn thing and living to tell about it.

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