I've had a lot of time to think about this review. ...And I still don't know how it's going to turn out. Basically, Saturday was an all around weird day that began with an odd brunch at Hip Hop Chow, where my friend Evelyn and I had a less-than-awesome experience. However, the sub-awesomeness seemed to just happen to us and nooo one else, hence whatever I'm going to write probably doesn't reflect the general experience anyone else would have at Hip Hop Chow.
Hohum. So what happened?
We got there around 11:50. There was one other party inside, but soon after we were seated (I chose the spot closest to the window of course, for NATURAL LIGHTING) other people came in until just about the whole restaurant was filled.
Our complimentary brick of golden cornbread came at around 12:10. I don't remember if it was before or after we received our cornbread, but at least 10 minutes (I'm thinking it was more) after we placed our order did the waiter inform Evelyn that the kitchen did not have the asparagus that was supposed to be part of her "asparagus and mushroom fricasee with poached eggs" dish. She was given the choice of ordering something else or having grilled squash instead of asparagus, so she went with the squash. We were perplexed as to how it could take so long to figure that out that there was no asparagus or for someone to inform us of this little detail (there was only one waiter for the small restaurant), but we weren't that annoyed. We're easy-going. Yeah.
ALERT: THIS IS WHEN YOU STEP INTO A TIME MACHINE TO GO INTO THE FUTURE BY 55 MINUTES
At around 1:05 we got some of the food we ordered. During the 55 minute interim, seemingly everyone else in the restaurant got their food. Seriously. Up until we were served, looking around the room with sad, hungry eyes, we noticed that other people were...eating stuff. Yeah, who would've guessed that people would be eating in a restaurant? Hot damn! We were so thankful when we were finally blessed with food. As for why it took so long, we weren't given any reason why. Maybe fricasee takes a really long time. Reallllly long. If Evelyn had known, she may have gotten something else.
Evelyn liked her fricasee, which the menu further describes as "served on puff pastry topped with hollandaise sauce". Look at dem yolks go! My side of mac & cheese was pretty good too. Granted, I don't have much to compare it to, but the crunchy bits on top were a nice touch and...really, I don't know how else to describe ziti baked with cheese. Imagine it—I'll give you time. [gives you time] It's good stuff, eh? I wouldn't have minded more cheese, but there was certainly enough of it.
Notice that it's a side of mac & cheese. It's a side to my main dish. ....Yeah, where is my main dish?
ALERT: THIS IS WHEN YOU STEP INTO A TIME MACHINE TO GO INTO THE FUTURE BY 20 MINUTES
It took a while for my lovely banana and rum caramel waffle to actually get within my fork-space. Sometime in the 20 minutes between getting the mac & cheese and the waffle, the waiter informed me that he accidentally gave my waffle to another party (and I guess...they took the wrong waffle?) and instead offered me the abandoned pear and almond waffle (or I could wait longer for my original waffle). I didn't really care, so I accepted it. While preparing to take a photo of the waffle, he came back with a new plan; another customer, the mom of the chef, felt bad and offered her banana and rum caramel waffle to me. ...Okay, I suppose that works out too. Basically, I got to wait some more for my waffle. It probably wasn't a long wait, but by that time (remember, we've been at the restaurant for about one and a half hours by this point) I was kind of out of it.
As you can see, I did get my waffle. Frankly, it's a good waffle. I especially liked the cream, which wasn't that thin, runny melty junk you may get elsewhere. I smooshed my waffle chunks in the thick, sweet, creamy blobs of delicious whipped dairy product origins. There was a good amount of bananas on top—not too much or too little—and the rum caramel wasn't too rummy, which some people may like, but would've made it worse for me.
While I could've gotten extra syrup to go with my waffle, it was already garnished well enough with the caramel, cream, and bananas. Just enough sweetness, bananas, and creamy deliciousnessss.
The waffle and the mac & cheese (and that cornbread chunk) were just satisfying enough to not leave me hankering for a piece of cake from a nearby bakery nor with the need to be forklifted out of the restaurant. Then again, maybe that was because I was given ample time to digest everything after all the waiting...which could be interpreted as a good thing. But then maybe not, because in no way would we have expected to spend two hours waiting for poached eggs, mac & cheese, and a waffle. As I mentioned before, it seemed as though everyone else was served before us for reasons we couldn't figure out.
The story isn't over yet, oh hooo noo! Evelyn ordered the prix fixe, which in addition to her main dish came with coffee, orange juice, and grits. Or at least that's what the menu said. She got her coffee, but the other two things seemed to have disappeared into an alternative dimension of forgotten orange juice and grits. It's not much of a prix fixe if two items are missing, eh? She asked the waiter if he could discount the meal, which is how we ended up with 10% taken off our bill. Don't ask me what the "Macy's Promo" is; I HAVE NO FREAKIN' CLUE.
So. That concludes the strangest brunch I've ever had. Disregarding that everyone else seemed to get their food in a timely manner, I'd say that was one of the worst experience I've ever had. The food wasn't bad and it's not like the waiter was out to make us suffer, but something was definitely off. Remember, we went in when there was only one party. Other people got their food before us. I ordered a freakin' waffle! Anyone have any ideas what could've been wrong? I've never worked in a restaurant before, so I don't think I can speculate. I've never been a waiter (nor do I think I'd ever be one), but I suppose being the only guy to handle a whole restaurant, even if it is small, can be difficult.
Still. When I think back to it, all that comes to mind is, "WTF?" It could've been worse, but nothing was done to ameliorate the insanely long waiting time, among other things. Of course, my friend shouldn't have to pay full price for a dish that wasn't fully there. I think that other people would have gotten more impatient or angry, but Evelyn and I were more...confused and annoyed. Reviews on menupages and Citysearch are largely positive, so I feel like I had a uniquely bad experience. [sigh]
Oh well, at least the waffle was good. We also loved the cornbread, which was uber-moist, tender, fluffy, and injected with the deliciousness of fat. It's probably for the best that they only gave us one wedge or else we could've filled up on the stuff.
The rest of the day was hazy. Literally, the weather was crap. The crap translated to an ill-fated trip to the photography lab where I developed an awesome roll of film taken over the past two days of food, food, and...oh yes, food. I borrowed a camera from the lab because I just found out my camera, the one I've been using all freakin' semester, had a defective lens, which explained why I couldn't take any close ups of anything (however, I can take shots waay out here).
What's the worst thing that could happen to your film? Or the second worst thing? Welllll, let's see. I got to the end of the development process, took the lid off the canister majiggy, squirted in some photo flo, took out the reel, unrolled my film, and...
VOILA, BLANKNESS. Oh shit. I think I was too disappointed to be disappointed, if that makes any sense. My blank, completely unexposed purple-tinted film would've laughed at me if it had vocal chords. Or emotions. I suppose the film wasn't loaded correctly, which is funny because I'm pretty sure I watched one of the girls who works in the photography lab do it for me (I wasn't familiar with how to load the film since I hadn't used the camera before) and it looked kosher. It's not her fault though. Nor mine, perhaps.
...Whatever. I'm not a photography major. (sigh)
Alas, something good did happen that day. I met Jessica at Borders (which I found out is just a 10 minute walk from me) to do a quick food trade. In exchange for some Bouchon Bakery goodies, she gave me a bag of 11 homemade macarons with nutella or lemon filling. A day later, there are only two left...because I alone ate the rest, if you need clarification. These little babies are goooood. And if they were actually the size of babies, I would either be really happy, or die. If you live in Manhattan, I would suggest buying her baked goods.
Today I spent no money on food, instead living (somewhat) off the craploads of Hawaiian snacks Kathy sent me and finishing off the last five frozen dumplings I had. Right now I'm full of rice crackers, dried apple, vegetable dumplings, and macarons. Don't try this at home, kids.
Check out Rob's photos at Taste of Chinatown. I suppose during all that fun I was fruitlessly developing my film. (sniff) Maybe I'll check it out next spring.
Before I forget, I did get to eat that Ebony & Ivory cake I bought at Black Hound on Thursday afternoon. While it initially looked small (in my opinion!), as in I'd have no problem eating the whole thing, it was actually really filling. Too filling. The three layers of chocolate cake separated by white chocolate cream, encapsulated by a layer of bittersweet chocolate cream and covered in toasted chocolate cake crumbs was...well, obviously awesome, but disappointingly by the time I was 3/4ths of the way engulfing the cake my stomach said, "Oh my god, STOP, STOP NOOOOW." My brain said, "Hey, there's only a little bit left!", but as I slowly continued shoving forkfulls of cake into my mouth, my stomach became more opposed to the fork shoving. One bite remained when I decided I couldn't go on. The cake. Had. To go.
I failed, but at least I know my limit now. If I want another Black Hound cake, I have to share it with someone else. You could suggest cutting it in half and saving the other half for later, but that won't work. I'll want more than half of the cake even though I know I can't eat an entire one. Self control is problematic, yes'm.
My school likes to do silly things throughout the year to remind us that our tuition is being put to good use. The main part of the Strawberry Fest that takes over a chunk of West 4th Street each spring is the ginormously long cake. It's ginormous. And long. Besides the cake, there's also free popcorn, ice cream, candy, and...uh, strawberries. But all I wanted was cake.
Was it good cake? Well, it wasn't bad. And how can I complain when something is free? The main point of the cake though is that it's obscenely huge, not that it tastes like awesome. Without speculating what the ingredients were (because I'd rather not know), I'd say the cake was pretty good, but not as good as last years:
As you can see, last year's cake had more strawberry-ness and fluffy frosting action. I wonder why they changed it.
And thus concludes another non-exciting food tale in the non-exciting life of the non-exciting Robyn.
If anyone wants an update about my summer plans (uh...right), I may be in Bergen, Norway from June 13th to 17th, if not longer. I found at least one friend to join me, and the extended stay depends on whether another one of my friends can come. While in Norway, I may get to eat sheep's head. Oh yeah, you know you want it. Besides Norway, my not-well-planned-plan is to go to London, which I have obviously not planned at all. Norway is easy because as I explained before, for better or worse I can "rely" on Morten to make my stay as Norwegian and non-tourist-y as possible. While many people would advise me not to rely on him, honestly...that's not a concern of mine. Not that I need to prove to you that Morten is a good friend, but if/when I go, I will of course blog all the sheep head/other stuff eating activities that occur. Look at him while he helps his girlfried climb a rock, or throws her off the rock...I think it's the first one. Anyhoo. I know I can trust these people. And I totally intend on climbing a Norwegian rock despite being vertically challenged.
On a not so related note, I just found out about the movie Hard Candy, which is about a pedophile who meets a teenage girl he chats with on the Internet and....well, I already found out the ending to the movie and it ain't pretty.
FEEL GOOD MOVIE OF THE YEAR.
Lying deep inside the body, wrapping around the liver and other major organs, visceral fat acts like a kind of organ itself � spewing out bad hormones and squashing the production of good ones. It sets up the body for sickness as the years roll by and additional fat accumulates.
Visceral fat sounds mega creepy. It's a separate organ! I'm doomed.