This morning after mailing a package at the post office on 4th Ave and 11th Street, I thought,
"Hm. Should I get food?"
The answer should have been no. Or, more forcefully, NO ROBYN JUST RUN, RUNNN FAR AWAY FROM THE FOOD, OR BABY BUNNIES WILL SOMEHOW SUFFER AT THE HANDS OF YOUR GLUTTONY, EVEN THOUGH THAT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE. I'm not hungry in the morning and eating when I'm not hungry just ruins any possible hunger that may come later in the day when my stomach is 1) in a churning mood and 2) I'm less comatose. (Actually, I wake up in the morning pretty easily. I just happen to walk around in a zombie-like state.)
Naturally, from 4th Ave and 11th Street one walks to University Place and 13th Street. Huuuh? Well, you know me; I like to try new things. I had never gotten Joe's hot chocolate drinks before (or any beverage from Joe), but I figured they must have some. I'd much rather go to Jacques Torres for hot chocolate, but they don't open in the wee hours of the morning. People generally perk up with coffee, not molten chocolate. Damn fools. Someone needs to promote hot chocolate as the quintessential morning beverage.
Their menu offered "European drinking chocolate" above "hot cocoa". Ahh! Hot cocoa! I had a feeling that "hot cocoa" wouldn't have a high enough chocolate percentage to satisfy my chocolate desire (not that I had much of one at 8-something AM), thus I went for the "I dunno what it is but I'll get it anyway" "European drinking chocolate". The barista explained to me that it was a thick hot chocolate drink that came in a tiny espresso cup. Innnteresting. Since I had the choice of regular or spicy, I went with spicy. $3.52 later, I was given...
...a tiny cup of pudding-esque chocolate substance and a tiny spoon to eat the pudding-esque chocolate substance with. I invite you to observe the viscosity:
Whoa. Alright. The chocolate had a great taste, which I'd describe if I didn't lose all those brain cells in "The Great War". Maybe it's safer to say that there wasn't anything offensive about the taste. Not too bitter nor sweet, not too chocolately nor not chocolatey enough. I was going to say that it had an earthy taste, but by that I mean substantial, not ...um, dirt-like. It tasted brown. Pretty good stuff.
BUT ALAS. This isn't something you can comfortably drink. It's not quite pudding and it's not quite a liquid you can sip from a cup. If you think City Bakery's hot chocolate is thick, at least you can drink it. You have to suck this baby down or daintily lick it off your tiny spoon (you're apt to eat it in a dainty manner beacuse of the daintiness of the cup and whatnot). Admittedly, I find this viscosity level odd because I'm not used to it. If you're from Europe, please chime in on whether this is how you drink your hot chocolate. Yes, ALL OF EUROPE. THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. Speak up, damn you.
Bottom line: it's not bad, but since it's not what I was looking for, I was disappointed. If you want a shot of chocolatey pseudo-pudding drink that you can scrape out of the cup with a spoon for $3.52, go for it. It was worth trying once, but I wouldn't get it again.
Yesterday I did another random food-hunt by going to Muffins and More on 4th Ave. God knows how many times I had passed it without even checking out what they had. Hello, muffins are awesome! Indeed, they do have "more"; inside you'll find a substantial sandwich menu and other baked goods, like scones and rice krispies treats. However, I figured I'd go with their moniker and get a muffin.
At $1.95, their muffins are more expensive than most places (from my experience, $1.75 is the mean price). I kept thinking to myself, "I hope this muffin is awesome." Yeah, I'm pretty weird.
Result: the muffin was awesome. The carrot muffin didn't skimp on the raisins (which is good if you like raisins...which means you'll hate it if you're Garfield) and was moist all throughout except for the crispy cookie-esque top. Ahhh, I love a crispy muffin top. And CRISPY MUFFIN TOP LOVES YOU. Of course, it's also got carroty goodness. It's got everything going for it. I'm definitely gonna try another muffin, or perhaps a scone. Or sandwich. Or ALL OF THE ABOVE.
On Monday after class, I stopped by Balthazar Bakery with the intention of picking up a chocolate loaf to split with a friend. Unfortunately, they only have that on the weekends. [shakes fist] To make my trip worthwhile, I decided to get a plain scone. I had only tried a sticky bun from Balthazar before and found it disappointing (maybe it was too...old). BALTHAZAR, TIME TO REDEEM YOURSELF--SCONE STYLE.
Yeah, this so passed the scone test. I'm definitely putting this in my list of "best scones", along with Financier, Levain, and Bouchon. What made it so good? Perhaps it was the butter, or the just-right tenderness, or the not-too-moist-or-dry-ness, or the crispy golden sugar-topped crust, or...OH, I guess it's all of that. Get yourself some awesome scone action for $2. DO IT.
I was going to write a long, semi-thoughtful response to this book I just read and ramble about the meaning of baked foods, but I'm too lazy. Lucky you.