"Hey, these are the same colors as Dunkin Donuts!"
"But there's no white."
I think it's close enough. The pink-orange-brown color palette works pretty well though, don't you think? Does it make your stomach churn with meat-digesting powers? IS YOUR BELLY SEETHING? If so, you might want to get that checked out.
Yesterday for dinner I went to Burgers & Cupcakes with Amy, her sister Helen, Nick, and Janet. The purpose of this dinner was to take advantage of our youthful metabolism and "not exactly indestructable, but for the time being we'll pretend it is" health by scarfing down burgers and cupcakes. That is the name of the place, ye know. Sadly, we would not be rewarded with cupcakes to go alongside our burgers, but I'll get to that later.
Amidst the wide variety of burger choices—ham (or...beef, rather), veggie, turkey, salmon, lemon grilled chicken, and portobello mushroom—I went with the standard ground beef patty, or as my mum might see it, "death wish in a bun". All burgers come with lettuce (which resembles a small baby greens salad), tomato, onion, and pickle that actually tastes like it was once a cucumber and not an acid-soaked plastic flap. I added swiss cheese and grilled onions to my burger (and ended up leaving out the raw onion or tomato) for $1 per topping, which I thought may be a smidge expensive, but...eh, I'm never going to make my own burger, so I shouldn't complain.
Sorry if that photo offends the vegetarians here. Burgers demand an innards shot. I was the only one to ask for a rare burger (come on, don't you want to risk getting E. coli) and my disregard for everything I learned in my food safety classes rewarded me with a patty seeping with cow juices. Seeping, not dripping; I don't want to eat food that pees on me. The burger was very juicy, pretty thick compared to other similary circumferenced burgers I've eaten, and despite the juice soaking into the bun (which you can observe in the photo), the toasted bun didn't disintegrate under the destructive power of meat-and-fat-infused water. A few wipes on my napkin were enough to rid my hands of burger residue so that I could pick up my camera and ensure that it wouldn't get too grimy (although I could probably use a camera condom for all the food photos I take). The swiss cheese, whole rounds of grilled onions, and baby greens were better toppings than I've had on other similar burgers (ie, I wouldn't compare it to The Spotted Pig's burger, which was just smothered in cheese anyhoo).
What's a burger without fries? Slightly reasonable. Adding fries makes the meal more likely to result in "funny, my stomach has turned into a brick" syndrome, but I shared them with Nick. That is what you do when you eat out with other humans; you must share the fun and the deep-fried pain. For $2 you get a cute little basket of fries that with the inclusion of the skins look like they were once part of a larger potato as opposed to baving been mashed up and molded into sticks. Probably due to my uncouth upbringing of McDonald's and...more McDonald's, I tend to prefer McD-style fries over these type. These were fine, although I would've liked it if they had been a little crispier.
Amy and Helen shared cheese fries, which came as a bowl of fries draped in melted cheese. I've never had cheese fries before, but I can combine the tastes of fries and cheese with the power of my brain (eh, I'm sure you could do that too) and...it sounds pretty good in the deathly sense. Janet ordered regular fries that were strangely pallid compared to my golden orange batch. Maybe hers was fried in a fresh vat of oil? Or maybe the oil wasn't hot enough when the fries were dunked in? Or they weren't fried long enough? They were limp, but we still happily snarfed them down (my exact words were probably, "Mm....still good!"). No fried starchy substance is safe from our stomachs.
Just so you can see some other burgers, Nick ordered a hamburger with swiss and grilled onions and Amy ordered a veggie burger that was disturbingly red. When asked what it tasted like (we figured...tomato?), she said it tasted like potato. Innnteresting.
When we were all done, our waitess asked if we wanted cupcakes. Hells yeah!...only problem is that there were only three cupcakes left (two small and one large) for five cupcake-hungry people. Er. Um. We passed on the cupcakes knowing that there was a Cupcake Cafe up the street.
I suppose B&C is still finding its legs as according to the waitress, they tend to run out of cupcakes around dinner time. If it weren't a new restaurant I would feel compelled to take a giant marker and cross off "& cupcakes" from its window (or take a sledgehammer and break the window, weehee!), but I think they'll shape up and actually make enough cupcakes to match their burger output. If not, they should get rid of the cupcakes part of the name, although that would only leave "burgers", which isn't an optimum name for googling. We were somewhat appalled that they failed to make enough cupcakes but...[breathes in, breathes out]...it's cool. I'll check back another time. Nick has luckily tried the cupcakes twice already (obtained during lunch time), so he gave me this description:
The frosting/cake ratio is almost 50/50! Took a ruler and measured the thing. Total height of the cupcake: just under 3 inches (like 2.9"). Total height of the cake part: 1.5". Total height of the frosting: do ye math.
I seethe with jealousy. [seethes]
Anyhoo, back to the story. As we walked up 9th Avenue, I could see the shuttered Cupcake Cafe from afar. Holy shizz! Are we meant to have cupcakes or not?
Ah! Alright, we were meant to have cupcakes.
We walked towards the back room past a few empty display cases (I suppose they're still cleaning up from moving in?) where trays of cupcakes waited to...not be eaten, as the place was closing soon (if you want one of their cupcakes after 7 PM, you're out of luck). It felt a bit creepy in the dark, woody room crowded with small tables and chairs since there weren't any people around, but that kind of environment might be cosy during busier hours. Or it might always be odd. I liked the makeshift tub-cooler.
We each bought a large cupcake ($3.25) except for Amy, who went with the small and later lamented that she didn't get a large. The large one is pretty freakin' huge, but the small one is wimpy. You may as well pig out and get the larger one.
Since the place was closing, we had to take our cupcakes elsewhere to actually ingest them. We carried our cupcakes across the street to the Port Authority Bus Terminal, where I'm sure no one ever hangs out to eat cupcakes...UNTIL NOW. We're so cool, soon everyone else will be doing it. Or not. Probably not.
Cupcake Cafe's cupcakes are different from most others I've had. One thing that sets them apart is the carefully crafted frosting flowers. They're almost too pretty to eat...but hell, nothing's too pretty to eat, so chomp away. The frosting is uber-buttery, which may or may not be your thing. All frostings are my things. Yes. The cake is denser than most and has the texture of cornbread, as Nick pointed out. Amy said that maybe the dense texture was a sign of the early stages of turning stale. Like any cupcake, it would benefit from a quick nuke or re-baking, but it was satisfying as is. Naturally, I consumed the whole thing.
I've never tried 'wichcraft before, but I couldn't pass up this sandwich place after finding out that they just opened a new location near NYU.
After much blank staring at the menu, I ordered "grilled fontina black with trumpet mushrooms & white truffle fondue on pullman white bread". The sandwich was perfectly grilled, resulting in ridiculously stringy melted cheesy pulling action. I don't know what white truffle fondue is, but I suppose it's buried in the mushroom-spotted cheesy viscera. Tasty. I'd eat it again...
...But for $9.75, I don't think it was worth it. I can't judge 'witchcraft overall after only eaten one sandwich, but they all seem to come in one size ("small") for more money than I'd pay for most sandwiches. Really, that costs as much (or more) as inoteca, and I thought their sandwiches were small (but they might be larger than 'wichcraft's; I don't remember). The sandwich was yummy (although I prefer rolls/baguettes to sliced bread), but I don't necessarily want a larger one—I just wish it were a little less expensive.
Tony ordered "roast beef with grilled red onions, radish slaw & black pepper aioli on ciabatta roll" and Cindy got "chicken breast with roasted red pepper, mozzarella & pesto on grilled country bread". Yummy, but still kinda pricey by hovering around $10.
The baked goods looked pretty good, so maybe I'll return to try a scone or a cookie. But for a sandwich? Ah...I don't know. If they have a sandwich that you think I must try due to being beyond-fantabulous, please let me know.
Otherwise, I could go to Pamela's Bake Shop on West 4th Street and for a few bucks less get a sandwich that's a little different, but just as satisfying.
I ate that sandwich about a month ago, but failed to mention it. FOR SHAME! This grilled portabella mushroom panini with mozzerella cheese, pesto mayo, and red onion on focaccia was filled with...er, filling (what's the point in repeating the list?), meaning it was awesome when coupled with the chewy, slightly crispy grilled bread. I think the pesto mayo put it over the edge. Mayo is magical. Use it with pride; just don't overdo it.
Too lazy to use google? FINE!
random food related stuff
Diet-blog informs us, "Sleep and Stay Slim". SLEEP! I CAN DO THAT! I must agree "that weight management is so much more than just diet - or even exercise." Not that I think exercise is bad, but when I was at my lowest weight in 12th grade, I didn't do any extra exercise; my weight loss relied solely on changing my diet. I highly doubt I got much sleep either since I was in high school (waking up before 7 AM spells FUN!!!). Diet is my key to losing weight, but as you can see...er, it's hard for me to get back into that vegetarian/raw food state of mind. However, it's not hard to go from raw fruits and veggies to cooked slabs of meat (at least it wasn't a problem for me). For a short period of my life I look like this (surely you can recognize which one I am) and today...um, I look like that, but more bloated.
Being slimmer got me nowhere except into smaller pants. And I guess my lungs were less mucus-filled. [sigh] That was pretty nice. I spent this morning morning in a perpetual state of wheeziness, which—coupled with my mum's lecture about my crappy eating habits that made me feel like a stupid moron (as opposed to a smart one)—put me in an extremely sour mood all morning. Add to that my state of semi-sickness from allergies and that I traveled an hour to work only to find that there wasn't much work for me, meaning that I came home early when I could've kept the REM state going on for a couple of extra hours. Oh well...there are worse things. I just wish I didn't live in NJ where I'm an unwalkable six miles away from the train station.
Life could be much worse. I should shut up.
Check out The Paupered Chef's Shake Shack Alternative Map. Sweeeet. I like the Shake Shack (and I still have a freakin' gift card), but not so much that I'll wait half an hour or more for a burger.
Anyone wanna help me make an "awesome bakery" google map?
In "Life in the Fast Food Lane, Frank Bruni chomps down a gajillion fatty and sugary calories from 42 stops over 9 days so you don't have to. Which is great, because I wouldn't. He gives the thumbs up to Dairy Queen, which due to my suburban living only exists a 10 minute drive away from my house. (This one-up over NYC isn't much to brag about.) Although I've lived here for most of my life, I've probably been to DQ less than 5 times. If anyone wants to join me, I would love to go and try this...this "Blizzard".
(Actually, I've had the Blizzard once, but it maybe have been five years ago, thus I recall nothing. Hell, what did I do yesterday? Dunno.)
If you haven't been there before, Eating Asia is awesome.
Thanks again to everyone who signed my frappr map! I didn't expect to get that many visitors so quickly. KEEP GOIN'! I read all the shoutouts, so to reply to most of them I'll say "Thanks!', "Hi!", and "Yes, innards are awesome."
comments are people too
Cool beans, Will Goldfarb left a comment! Unless there's more than one. (Do you know how much my name sucks? Having "Lee" as a last name is useless; it covers multiple cultures and is both a first and last name. "LEE" IS THE BLACK HOLE OF IDENTITY.) I didn't think "nerdy" was an inappropriate term, although I failed to check with wikipedia first. I suppose having Steve Urkel as your mascot is not very encouraging.
I wouldn't mind being a geek or a nerd, but I'm not intellectual or passionate enough about anything to fulfill either of these terms. I think. Anyone beg to differ? I think my interest in web standards is slightly geeky, but I've become lazy with that (put this page through a bunch of validators and I'm sure it'll fail). I have a weird interest in experimental electronic music, but it's only a tiny slice of the genre that appeals to me, the kind that elicits the response, "EHEHE, IT'S BLOOPY!!!!" I feel somewhat alone in this genre because rarely does anyone share my interest in Plone (one of my favorite groups in the history of group-ness), and everyone besides my friend who got me into them has been male. Strange?
I'm weird, but still too normal. NOOOO!!!!