May 16, 2006
fooding tour: Rice to Riches, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, Bouley Market, and Once Upon a Tart
As of right now (May 16th, 10:38 AM), my website isn't working. I'm writing this entry in gmail (thank god for autosave) figuring that my site will come back to life soon. Or else...
...I'll be really sad. And want to kick servers and stuff. Website failure-induced violence is not pretty.
Before I get onto the fooding, take a listen to Band of Horses. I'm listening to them right now and surprisingly liked them right away. It's surprising because 90% of the time I listen to something and think, "Crap, I think I should like this, but I don't." On an unrelated matter, I probably like 90% of the cookies I eat.
Ah, let's check the ol' website again. [clicky] " 404 Datei nicht gefunden"...that's not good.
Last Thursday I went a-foodin' with Kate, her brother Jon, and Sarah. Our first stop was Rice to Riches, which is apparently "occupied by compulsively obsessed dessert loving people with no self-control or discipline". SOUNDS LIKE MY KIND OF PLACE?
I've been here at least three times in the past and I feel like every time I come back, the price goes up. The rice pudding price per ounce must be at an all-time high. ...Actually, that $5 bowl has probably been there for a while. The first time I went to RTR two years ago, the smallest size was...larger. You could get two flavors and you definitely had to share, unless you loved rice pudding so much that you'd swim in a vat of it. Even though they made the smallest size smaller, it's still large enough for two people to share. Sadly though, you can only get one flavor.
Sarah and I shared the banana coconut while Kate and Jon each got their own bowl of chocolatey creamy rice grains. The banana coconut had lots of banana flavor, but I think it could've used more coconut.
I don't eat rice pudding often since on the scale of "stuff that Robyn likes", it ranks lower than the easier to find "ice cream" and "cookies", but Rice to Riches makes the best rice pudding I've ever eaten. It's not good enough to use a pudding hat for continual pudding consumption, but few things are. Also, that's kind of disturbing.
[ALERT: MY WEBSITE IS WORKING AGAIN. Obviously. Or else you wouldn't be reading this.]
We went to Balthazar Bakery down the street to rip into a long, crusty baguette as a sort of palate cleanser in between all the sweets we'd eventually eat (actually...I just wanted bread). Don't worry; we put it out of its misery fairly quickly. Of course it was a good baguette—I only wish I had a tub of butter with me to slather the bread with. Or a pot of olive oil. Or a pot of oil infused by a tub of butter.
...Alright, that's going a little too far. I think my stomach lurched a little there.
Next stop: Il Laboratorio del Gelato. It may not be as good as the stuff in Italy, but it's good enough for those of us not fortunate enough to have visited Italy and happen to be in NYC. If you need a part-time job, they're hirin'! FREE ICE CREAM, ANYONE? I had never seen the olive oil flavor before, so I tried a sample. It gave a tingly sensation, but didn't taste as strongly of olive oil as the gelato at Otto. Few substances can compare to the deliciousness of Otto's gelato.
So...I went for something completely new: Mexican cinnamon ice cream and lemon basil sorbet. I don't especially like sorbet, but I figured I'd steer away from uber-lactose-creaminess for once. Also, I was intrigued by the lemon and basil combination. Even though these flavors didn't necessarily go together (eating both flavors in the same spoonful didn't create a complementary taste, but rather just dulled both of them), I enjoyed them...separately. The cinnamon flavor lingered in my nasal passages after I ate it and for lack of a better description tasted so much like real cinnamon, if it naturally came in ice cream form. It's like cinnamon with super deluxe concentrated awesome power (and other words that you may find on Japanese snack packaging). The lemon basil sorbet was uber-strong. The tartness wasn't painful—it was just enough to make you go, "Holy crap...that's a lot of lemon." I guess it was the perfect amount of lemon-ness and not too sweet.
Overall though, I'm so not a sorbet person. Ice cream and all the creaminess it entails is like a warm, playful, fluffy puppy while sorbet and its frostiness is more like one of those hairless cats who probably isn't known for having a high level of funness. That sounds a bit harsh, but hopefully you know what I mean. I probably just haven't had spectatular sorbet yet. Someone gimme some happy puppy sorbet, now!
We walked over to Babycakes, whose window featured a baby of non-human material holding a leaning tower of miniature chocolate cupcakes. The cupcakes are real—hopefully the baby is not. Or maybe the baby did something very wrong.
I don't know what that is, but it made me go "awww". And then I backed away because I could feels its eyes stare vapidly into my skull, probably inflicting some brain damage in the process.
We didn't feel like eating any of Babycakes' delicate tummy-safe goods, but it would've been easy to be lured by the amazing smell that filled the bakery. It smelled better than most bakeries I had been to. It smelled like...love. And happiness. And baking-ness. But baking-ness is love and happiness, yes? Perhaps next time I will try a gluten-free cookie.
We subwayed to the other side of Manhattan to visit Bouley Bakery and Market where Kate happilly got her hands on a chocolate viennoise. I didn't have anything in mind to get, but when presented with muffins and cookies, there's really no question. Sadly, the chocolate muffin was kind of meh—I found it too dry and not sweet enough (it reminded me of cocoa powder). Thankfully, the peanut butter cookie was a completely different story.
For just $2 you too can have this golden, peanut butter cookie slab. Like other cookies I love (City Bakery, mainly), this cookie was thin, crispy on the outside, somewhat-undercooked chewy on the inside, and its pores seeped with fat. Just like mine...wait, I take that back. This baby goes on my "something I'd eat again" list, which means I recommend it highly. My assumption is that they have other kinds of cookies, thus it is now my goal to try every single one.
After parting ways with Kate and Jon, Sarah and I went to Once Upon a Tart. This was Sarah's last day in NYC before going home to Kansas (although she may come back later this summer for more fooding) and she really wanted to try their goat cheese with roasted portabello mushrooms and radicchio sandwich. It was good, generously stuffed with fungal matter and soft, aged curdled goat mammary gland liquid (ye just know I was trying to figure out the best way to describe the sandwich...uh, I failed), but I doubt I could ever love this sandwich to death (or at least not as much as Sarah) since I'm not a big fan of goat cheese. I don't dislike it, I just like other cheeses more.
I EMBRACE ALL THE CHEESES! GIMME YOUR CHEESE!
We split the pumpkin praline muffin back at my house. It's a beaut, eh? The muffin, not my house.
It certainly wasn't a bad muffin, but it sadly didn't live up to expectations of mass muffin deliciousness based on previous muffin eating experiences from Once Upon a Tart. We expected a thin, slightly crispy exterior and a stronger pumpkin and praline flavor. From my experience, baked goods with pumpkin tend to have a strong pumpkin flavor, yet this...did not. WHERE DID IT GO? The muffin could've used more nuts along with pumpkin-ness. We wouldn't put this on the "eat again" list. However, I would recommend the apple cranberry muffin I ate previously. Mmm...chunky.
Yup, that's it. For now. It's my lunch break so I think I'll mosey out to student services to ask WHY MY DAMN TRANSCRIPT HAS AN INCOMPLETE GRADE ON IT. My independent study project is quite complete. NYU, DO YOU SEE THIS? DOOO YOUUU?! ARGAGHRRAHGHARGH!!!
[checks online transcript] Yup, still not there. What is there though is my latest grade: A- in food science and tech! Haha! Oh my god. I hope that's not a mistake. The only two grades I haven't gotten yet are for the two classes I sucked most horribly at. Damn.
Update (1:30 PM): I went to student services to inquire about my lost grade. They said they never got the form, or that it's "floating around". Nice to know! I went to my department and luckily got my advisor to write up another change of grade form. Sweet! I tucked it safely into my bag and brought it back to student services, where I was told that students aren't allowed to have change of grade forms. OKAY, I GET IT, NYU HATES ME. I brought the form back to my department and told them someone else had ot deliver it for me. The end. Hopefully the grade will get changed today and the study abroad office can look at my application and deem me suitable to SEND TO FUHRAAANSUUUH.
The next section has some food news related ramblings. They might interest you. Or not.
...Wait, not it's not. In internet speak, this is where I (and you) go double-you tee eff because...that's the only response I can come up with right now.
...Okay, I'll come up with some others. You probably could too. Along with the CSPI. A part of me wonders, "Who would actually believe this is all natural?" Probably not you or me. But out there? A disturbingly large number of people? The word "natural" doesn't have specific guidelines enforced by the FDA, but the word along with the 7UP commercials showing groves of cans being plucked off by farmers mask the unhealthfulness of the drink a smidge too much. Or many smidges too much.
Oh well. That is your "stupid thing in the food industry" news of the day.
Update (2:11 PM): HOLY CRAP, will someone think of the children?! SAVE THE INTERNET, DO IT. IN CAPS.
The nation's largest telephone and cable companies � including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner � want to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites go fast or slow and which won't load at all.
They want to tax content providers to guarantee speedy delivery of their data. They want to discriminate in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone services, and streaming video � while slowing down or blocking their competitors.
These companies have a new vision for the Internet. Instead of an even playing field, they want to reserve express lanes for their own content and services � or those from big corporations that can afford the steep tolls � and leave the rest of us on a winding dirt road.
That totally blows.
Posted by roboppy at 12:24 PM
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