The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Smorgas Chef and Bouchon Bakery

Saturday morning my alarm went off at 9:15. Snooze button alert.


At 9:45 I stirred and realized I didn't put my alarm back on. It's amazing that I can actually wake up without an alarm, sending me into a hyper "OMG I HAVE TO CHANGE INTO CLOTHES SUITABLE FOR THE OUTSIDE WORLD TO SEE ME IN AND PEE AND DO OTHER STUFF REALLY QUICKLY" mode. I actually didn't have to be in the lobby to go to brunch until 10:15, but I'm slow. Very slow. Trust me; we're all surprised I even got into college.

Smorgas Chef
Smorgas Chef

Bryan Waterman, one of my dorm's faculty residents, and his wife, Stephanie, took Patricia and me out for brunch at Smorgas Chef. It was a very generous way to get us more acquainted with the dining choices around the Financial District (although sadly, Patricia and I are moving to different dorms next semester...which means we'll have to discover more food) and was probably the first time I got a good meal on NYU's dime. The Watermans are some of the most awesome people we've ever met, so naturally our brunching (yeah, I know that's not a real word, but has that ever stopped me from verbifying nouns before?) was awesome. Besides good food, you need a foundation of awesome people to have an enjoyable meal. Admittedly, milkshakes don't hurt either...becausethey'reawesome...

I'll get a larger vocabulary someday.

Smorgas Chef's brunch menu includes omelets and "Scandia Benedicts" in addition to their regular menu of sandwiches, salads, and meat-based entrees. While I think chicken eggs are pretty cool (they're my favorite kind embryo), waffles always win. Why? You don't question the waffle. They automatically win, just like Chuck Norris.

waffles with fruit wafflesss
waffles with fruit, waffles with less fruit

I ordered the fruit waffles and Patricia got the vanilla waffles. The vanilla waffles came with either maple syrup or cloudberry sauce (I have no clue what a cloudberry is) while the fruit waffles came with either ice cream or fruit. As you can see, I went with the healthier option, but god knows I was tempted to eat ice cream for brunch.

On retrospect, I probably should've taken advantage of the option. It wouldn't be acceptable to eat ice cream by itself first thing in the morning, but put it on a waffle and it's automatically okay. I TOLD YOU THAT WAFFLES WERE MAGICAL! They've contorted all that we know about what's appropriate to eat in the morning and allow us to indulge in things that you probably shouldn't eat at any time of the day. Here is my simple waffle eating guide:

Scoop of ice cream: Not okay.
Scoop of ice cream on top of a waffle: Okay!
Bowl of whipped cream: Not okay.
Bowl of whipped cream on top of a waffle: Okay!
Scoop of ice cream topped with whipped cream: Not okay.
Scoop of ice cream topped with whipped cream on top of a waffle, then deep fried and dusted with confectioners sugar with a drizzle of chocolate fudge, served by a penguin: Dude...what?
...I mean, OKAY!

Alas, I just got fruit. But it was good! Apple, pear, strawberry, and blueberry were artfully arranged on top of the double stacked waffles. I've rarely had flat Scandinavian-style waffles before as most places seem to have foot-tall Belgium variety, but I like this style. It's like a pancake, but slightly crispier and with pits. Acutally, it's not really like a pancake. ...They're both round, okay?

double the waffle

The moment none of you have been waiting for: innards! Waffle-y innards! Shortly after taking this photo, I ate the whole thing. Not that you'd expect anything else from me.

the eggs are going to explode
the eggs are gonna splode

For those of you who like bulging eggs, this is your place. They didn't actually explode with geysers of yolk, but they looked like they might. No, wait, they did explode... with flaaaavooor. What kind of flavor? Scandinaviaaa. ...Okay, I have no idea what these tasted like since I didn't eat them, but I think Bryan finished the whole thing, which is a good sign. Stephanie finished off her Hamlet (omelette with roasted ham, asparagus, wild mushrooms & tomatoes) and of course, my waffles had no chance of surviving. Patricia left behind some of her waffle stack, but I think she liked them. She just has...I dunno, a smaller stomach. (By the way, I need one of those.)


Stephanie's tea came in these cute, cartoon-y metal tea set. While it looks like the pot and cup would get too hot, they actually keep cool! Or something. I didn't touch them to confirm, but I don't think the set would be usable if they burned human flesh.

inside bar
restaurant innards

Smorgas Chef may be a little pricey, but the environment is warm and cozy and the food is well prepared and satisfying without putting you into a food coma. Also, if you love Coldplay, you will just fall in love with this place and wanna have babies with it! We heard the same Coldplay song 10 times. Or 5. Or less. You know if you lose count you've heard it too many times. They also played Air and Yo La Tengo, among other things, so it was all good.

pick up orders corner
pick up orders, corner

Last Monday I went to Bouchon Bakery on opening day with Kathy; who else would accompany me to a gajillion course meal at a bakery?

SAMSUNG!...I mean, Bouchon Bakery
MY FAVORITE THINGS!!! sammiches favorite

While we considered eating at the full-service cafe with the looming SAMSUNG sign hovering above it, we opted for the take-out bakery because 1) it was cheaper and 2) it was cheaper. It was also more fun because we got to talk to the fooding queen (and coolest person who works at Bouchon), Sarah. What did we eat? WHAT DIDN'T WE EAT?

first course sticky bun innards
brioche muffin innards
the first course

Kathy started with a small brioche while I went the more gluttonous route of a banana muffin and pecan sticky bun. Everything was awesome. That's pretty much what I'm going to say for the rest of the entry, if you'd rather stop here. Considering what a time waster it is to read this blog, you should probably be doing something more important right now. Do you know where your kids are? Maybe you should check on them. Don't have kids? Pretend that you do and that by reading this blog, you're neglecting them.

Oh, the food! The brioche was pretty much perfect; light, airy, eggy, tasty. The sticky bun consisted of layers of soft dough smooshed with thick caramel. However, my favorite was the muffin, which had a perfectly uniform crumb and, for lack of a better description, a very distinct, ripe banana flavor. I'd say it was the best banana muffin I ever had and would've only been better if it had nuts and a crispy top. However, those are just personal preferences. Maybe you hate nuts and crispy which case you're insane.

pastry case chocolate cake thing
pastries and more pastries

After we finished our first course, we went back for more. You would do the same, unless you're...sane or something. Luckily for Bouchon Bakery, Kathy and I are not.

Paris Brest Paris Brest
Paris Brest

Kathy opted for the Paris Brest, a cream filled bicycle-wheel shaped pastry named after the French city, Brest, in honor of the bicycle race that took place there. This must be a popular dessert as I've seen it in French and French-obsessed Japanese bakeries alike, but neither Kathy nor I liked this very much. Although we give the impression that we love all things sweet and carby, this type of pastry doesn't fall into that sphere. Neither of us are very into cream puffs. My problem with airy puff pastry (I like the buttery, layered kind better) is that it's...airy. A shell. A shell with stuff in it, stuff I'd rather eat without the shell. I'm sure this is a good Paris Brest, but it's just not my kind of pastry.

apple tart things
apple tart things

I'm not very into apple tarts either, but this caught my eye. Sarah hadn't tried it yet, so it was up to Kathy and me to rate its deliciousness.

apple tart innards
apple tart innards

I don't know the exact description from the Bouchon Handbook, but the tart has some kind of meringue-based top layer over thinly sliced apples in an apple-sauce coated tart shell. Does that sound good to you? Well...IT IS. I'm not going to poetically describe every aspect of the dessert, but it was great. Buttery crust filled with apple processed in two different ways! Eat it now.

last course
last course

Yes, there is a last course. We though it would be a good idea to eat something that wasn't sugar based, hence the sandwich. The ham and cheese sandwich with sweet butter and dijon mustard spread was fine, but not mind blowingly good. I think sandwiches need to be fresh and preferable hot with gooey, melty cheese to be awesome. Ah well. The lightly lemon-flavored madeleine was fine, although for whatever reason I'm not a big fan of madeleines, so I can't adequately rate it. (My mom on the other hand loves them, along with the similar financier. Our incongruous preferences come in handy as we'll never eat each others pastries.) We would've preferred more filling in the caramel macaron, but it was definitely something I'd want to eat again. You'd have to eat it to know what I mean, but the caramel taste was light and pure tasting. Hell, I don't even know what that means.

I think we each spent around $20 to share these eight items. Yeah, eight is a lot, but we split everything! THAT MAKES IT OKAY. I don't think I could eat four full-sized things yet sharing eight things was perfectly fine. ...Okay, I probably could eat four full-sized things, but I'd get sick of them more easily.

My god, this entry was long. I shouldn't update this site for a while since I'm supposed to be doing homework. That's why I'm in NYC, right? To learn? And get graded on how well I'm able to retain stuff? Or pretend that I can?


santos. / March 20, 2006 9:48 PM

i love that you captured a photo of some guy who seemingly coordinated his shirt to the bouchon decor. i hope he works there.

what's up with that crazy samsung sign?

mumu / March 20, 2006 10:00 PM

the waffle innards picture is gorgeous. I need some brunching NOW. And I would love to have that out-of-wallpaper* teapot and cup.

lutkie / March 20, 2006 10:56 PM

Robyn!! You have been up to so much yummy, as usual. I've had a few little excursions...but I don't have time to post them right now...two midterms thursday...blast! Are magnet tickets all gone? I totally wore the gimme pancakes shirt today, and lots of people liked it. Party on.

mona / March 20, 2006 11:06 PM

that breakfast at smorgas chef seems out of control. and i love your innards pix. holy crappppp! those eggs kinda remind me of the erupting sundae i had at br bakery. and judging from your pix of bouchon bakery treats looks like i'll have to head there soon.

roboppy / March 21, 2006 7:33 AM

santos: Oh, that guy is a total fanboy!...he works there, yes. That square hole is just for servers to pick up food and bring it to the cafe on the other side of the floor, hehe.

The crazy Samsung sign was put there by our Korean overlords. hehe. ...I mean, there's a Samsung store on the floor, so it's not totally random. :)

mumu: Yes, you do need brunching. WE ALL NEED BRUNCHING. The teapot is slick, eh? I've never seen one like it before.

Sarah: PEOPLE LOVE PANCAKES. Everyone, you should be like Sarah and get a Poofy pancake shirt.

Mona: I SO need to see this "erupting sundae". And then eat it.

Cathy / March 21, 2006 8:24 AM

Wow, now that is a bakery binge! Those egg things your friend had reminded me of eggs benedict, which is good because I love eggs benedict. Once again, thanks for the pastry porn!

mini / March 21, 2006 9:50 AM

dude your breakfast stuff (especially the eggs) looks way amazing. certainly better than the french toast and pancakes I had for brunch last weekend ... to think I thought it was good HAHA

Susie / March 21, 2006 9:52 PM

Holy cow that waffle post was awesome. You're the only blogger I know who has consistantly hilarious food porn. Rock on,

Therese Sua / March 21, 2006 11:19 PM

I love your entries!!!! I'm a foodie, myself...though vegetarian (are you, too?) and trying not to let my foodie-ness show too much (hence the torture at the gym, wehehehe). I'm taking up Communications and minoring in Literature. From there, I'm thinking of going into the Food business. (Where does it connect?!?!) But there you go. :)

roboppy / March 22, 2006 8:29 AM

Cathy: Bakery binges are the best kind! :) Really, it's sum, but baked goods. So it's actually not like dim sum. NEVERMIND.

mini: French toast and pancakes sounds so awesome though! Aww. I'm sure it was good.

Susie: Thanks! That means a lot coming from you.

Therese: FOODIE, YAY! Vegetarian? I don't eat much meat, but I definitely eat it. I did do veganism for a while, hehe.

Wow, I should go to a gym. Someday. ....Nah.

Whoa, you sound ambitious. I'm majoring in Food Studies and studying NOTHING ELSE. All the other crap I do won't count towards a degree in anything, haha! Ha. Oh. Wah.

Deb / March 22, 2006 2:11 PM

Fantastic, per usual, Robs. Great pastry photos. Thanks, as always, for providing such useful links. I'm going to check out the baking supplies link right now!

Wei / March 22, 2006 3:51 PM

Wow.. that waffle looks really tasty. I think I would've went for the ice cream/non-healthy option heh. But usually, I just slather a ton of whipped cream/syrup on.

roboppy / March 23, 2006 8:22 AM

Deb: Thanks! The baking supply store is insaaane! You should visit it if you're so inclined...or if you need a lot of baking cups or sugar or whatever else they have.

Wei: If I ever get another chance, I'll order ice cream! Whipped cream is good too.

Annie / March 29, 2006 1:49 PM

I went to Bouchon last Saturday and found almost everything to be WONDERFUL. I concentrated more on the savory than the sweet; roast beef sandwich was a great balance of creamy/sloppy (mayo, horseradish, rare beef) and crispy/refreshing (good bread, shredded lettuce, well-donw bits of beef). Potato/leeek soup (Vichysoisse if you have it at room temperature or chilled was wonderfully complx, not to heavy, not too potato-ey...and it's really hard to get this soup right. (But when you start out with 5 kinds of onion...leek, shallot, chives, garlic and sweet onion...and cook them gently in the best sweet butter, you're going to end up with something really good.) I even bought a Bibb lettuce salad, which was nothing but Bibb lettuce, which I could have bought downstairs in Wholefoods, but it just looked soooo good. Bouchon RULES and so does Chef Keller. And so do you! Keep writing!!

Tomas / May 13, 2006 8:45 AM

Cloudberriiiiieeeeessss!!!!! :)

I know what they are. I used to pick them myself in the mountains of northern Norway as a kid and sell for huge sums of... sums of money! They are one of the berries with the most aromas in the world. I don't personally love them, but many of my relatives do. They are used either for jam or eaten whole with cream and sugar. There is a LOT of difference between wild mountain cloudberries and the cultivated sort, like comparing a perfect rose and a slightly brownish dandylion, but most of the flavor do remain anyway.

The wild berries are in fact in such demand that it is common for ground owners to agree to not pick it until a certain day, preventing everyone from picking them while they are not ripe just to "get them before they are gone". At least that's how it is at the place my grandparents live and when that picking day comes its UP IN THE MOUNTAINS AND GO GET THOSE BERRIES!

Also, I really want waffles now!

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