The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

'sNice, cupcakes and bings

UPDATE (8/14): It all works now, and I even inputted the lost comments and replied to them! BECAUSE I AM DEDICATED ...TO YOUR COMMENTS. And you.

UPDATE (8/11): Don't leave a comment! (Not that you can since I closed, I'll explain why.) Something is wrong and preventing comments from showing up if you posted them after noon (four people I think?). I still have them in my inbox, but they're not stored on the site for some reason. Booo. I shake my fist at the Internet.


'sNice is a very appropriate name for a place that specializes in sandwiches. As you know, sandwiches are nice. ...No, not just nice, awesome. Like, "It turns out that Fluffy didn't get run over by a car; that was someone else's cat!" awesome! (Awesome for Fluffy and his owner, not the other cat so much.) I doubt the name 'sAwesome was ever considered, which is fine since 'sNice sounds a gazillion times better. But it's not just's awesome. Think of Fluffy.

[In case you can't tell, I'm tired! Heehee!]

Outside 'sNice I met (a planned meeting, not a random blogger run-in) the adorable, "looks about a decade younger than she actually is" Rose, who despite not having updated her blog in a few months is alive and well. Her computer, on the other hand, is...not. Or was not. Hopefully she'll be back on the blogging scene soon.

counting game
how many laptops?

It's quite obvious that there's free wifi once numerous glowing screens populate your field of vision. For whatever reason the scene felt less yuppie-ish than Doma, although I'm sure the high Apple-to-PC ratio of the two cafes is similar. As much as I love Doma's food, the place is small and gets crowded easily. The mass of bodies and laptops may lead to the other problem of increased temperature hovering around that of the second level of hell. Thankfully, 'sNice is spacious and has plenty of seating.


I just like how that photo turned out. Yee-up.

hoho, my sandwich!
my sandwich is freakin' awesome

While 'sNice's menu has a wide range of vegetarian-friendly choices (as in tofu-filled and whatnot), the only sandwich that really jumped out at me and punched me in the head while screaming, "EAT ME YOU KNOW YOU WANNA" (sandwiches are violent) was the "Fontina Sundried Tomato Pesto with Caramelized Red Onions and Arugula Panini". How could I resist that? Especially with the head punch. For $7, this is a great sandwich. The toasted, compressed bread was sturdy enough to neatly hold in all the fillings, but soft so that it wasn't a chore to chew. The antithetical (a word that may or may not fit here) combination of soft innards protected by a crispy crust made me ever so happy. Gooey cheese smooshed over sweet onions also conjure elated feelings. Unless you're...evil. Don't be evil. You must love the combination of cheese and onion.

not my sandwich!
not my sandwich!

Rose's sandwich, "Tempeh Reuben with Kraut, Thousand Island Dressing and Swiss cheese on Whole Wheat", while also good, failed to bring about as many happy sandwich feelings as my panini. My stomach isn't ready to deal with tempeh or kraut, as evidenced by the sour kraut-flavor of my burps for the rest of the night. I was surprised by how good the sliced bread tasted; there are few sliced bread sandwiches that I like (they don't taste as good as those made with individual "roll" types of bread to me). You couldn't tell just by looking at it that it was toasted eeeeever so slightly as to make the outermost micron-thick layer of bread just a little crispy while giving the rest of the bread that nice "baked" taste and texture that comes about when you toast things. As long as you don't over toast them and end up with carbon.

If you couldn't already tell, I really like bread.


We topped off our relatively healthy dinner with a tray of cupcakes Rose picked up from Cakes 'N Shapes in Hell's Kitchen. She wouldn't have bought six identical cupcakes and lug them downtown if they didn't provide some sort of revelatory cupcake eating experience. The no-frills, vanilla frosted chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles may not look special, but don't be fooled! Don't you remember the story of the Ugly Duckling? Replace the ugly duck with a normal looking cupcake, it doesn't fit exactly since the duck doesn't get eaten (except in the special version of the story indended to make children cry), but eat the cupcake and then BE AMAZED! Amazed by the supreme moistness and lightness of the cake, the perfect amount of sweetness, the lack of messy crumbs, the fluffy texture like a comfy pillow for your head...except that its in your mouth.

We each ate two. [cough] Rose gave me the remaining two to bring home. My mum, who generally doesn't like cupcakes, was also impressed. Cupcakes make the world a better place.

Not sure if it has a real name?
house of bings

Although there isn't a clear sign, NY Times informs me that the new bing place on the corner of West 3rd Street and 6th Ave is called "Roll and Dough". I'd rather just call it "Bing" (and I will), or better yet "Bing!" since I think the name resembles onomatopoeia more than the name of a food. In Chinese, bing is the term for flatbread, my favorite form being the fat-oozing pan-fried scallion pancake (hooyeah, you know you want it). However, the flat, sesame seed-encrusted, meat/veg/sweet filled type of bings is fast becoming one of my favorite foods.

rows of bings

[squeals, hopefully not in a pig-like way]

innards, yes

I tried a spicy beef bing on my first visit last Friday. Thin, chewy, slightly crispy dough held in moist, tender chunks of beef with a pleasantly spicy flavor, thankfully not to the level of being mucus river-inducing. The structure of the bings results in one of the least-messy and easiest sandwich-esque eating experiences you can have. No wayward crumbs or sauce goop to worry around. It's also uber-cheap for around $2 or less per bing.

banana bing taro bing
sweet bings

On Monday I shared a few bings (among other items) with Tony and Hoan for lunch. The banana chunk-filled bing felt like it could use an extra flavor, but I think that's the non-Chinese part of me speaking. What would you think about bananas with cream, nutella, or honey all smooshed together in that little patty? Yums? Banana on its own is fine of course; I've just been conditioned by many years of eating banana-based desserts. I wouldn't add anything to the sweet, taro paste-filled bing. If you've never had a taro-based dessert before, you may want to start here. (If you want a savory taro snack, try Terra Taro Chips, my favorite type of chip. Totally pwnz the potato version in my opinion.)

makin dumplings
makin' little dumps

The other draw besides bings are the handmade dumplings (or as I like to call them, "little dumps". By now you may have noticed that I like to make things sound less appealing than they actually are). Dumpling fillings include beef, pork, chicken, spicy versions of the meat fillings, and vegetarian. Unfortunately, since the restaurant is still new they probably won't have all the choices that are listed on their menu (same problem with the bings), but at least you can look foward to getting fresh versions of whatever they happen to have.

dumplings spicy chicken?
time to eat the dumps

Ten pieces for $5-$6 is a great deal and should be enough to satisfy one person. Although these would never be mistaken for soup dumplings, our spicy beef (or chicken, I don't remember) dumplings packed in a lot of potentially mouth-burning juice beneath the soft, not too thick or thin dumpling skin. Mmmm.

chicken buns bun innards
chicken buns

I didn't order, so don't ask me how we ended up with six chicken buns. The bread was awesome— golden crispy bottoms and soft...erm, everything else. (I would guess that they're cooked by a fry/steam method.) Innards are great too, but what I really like is the wheat-based part. :)

The main problem I see with Bing (the place, not the foodstuff) so far is that they don't seem to make food to meet the demand of Chinese food-hungry Greenwich Villagers as noted in this chowhound topic. I'm sure they'll make more food over time. The young employees are very friendly and may offer you free samples. We were each given a free chicken bun before we ordered anything (and then we got that plate of six...don't ask).


45 8th Ave

Cakes 'N Shapes
466 W 51st St

Roll and Dough (or as I'd like to call it, BING!)
135 W 3rd St

it's random!

Ed Levine's Food Rorschach Test "will provide a window into your inner soul (food and otherwise)". A window into my soul! That sounds drafty. He doesn't know how to interpret the results though, so I'll just leave my answers up to your scrutiny:

  1. Haggen Dasz or Ben & Jerry's? ...Damn that's hard. I'd have to say neither or both. (Ed states that you must decide on an overall preference. However, I don't have one in this case. From my experience, Haagen-Dazs tastes better, but it doesn't offer as many appealing funky flavors as B&J. I JUST DON'T KNOW.)
  2. Skippy or Jif? This is an easy "neither" as I don't know how good either one tastes.
  3. Bagel or Bialy? Bagel by default since I've eaten two biays in my life.
  4. Whipped or Regular Cream Cheese? Regular.
  5. Relish or Sauerkraut on your hot dogs? Crap...this might be another "neither" since I rarely eat hot dogs.
  6. Milk or Dark Chocolate? Someone's gonna hate me for this, but definitely milk. My preference switched from dark to milk after I experienced too many nauseating chocolate comas (I had three in one school year).
  7. Salted or Sweet Butter? Sweet.
  8. Pastrami or Corned Beef on a Deli Sandwich? Judging only from the time I went to Katz's Deli and split a pastrami sandwich and a corned beef sandwich, I'm going with pastrami.
  9. French Fries or Onion Rings? Fries.
  10. Espresso, Regular Coffee or Latte? None of the above (I don't drink coffee.)
  11. Crispy or Pliant Bacon? Oh god...I don't really like bacon. (Is it just me or am I failing this survey?) But I'll go with crispy.
  12. White or Dark Meat (on either chicken or turkey)? You might hate me for this too: white. I have a feeling Chinese people in particular are "supposed" to like dark meat more from my experience growing up around...Chinese people. Eating dark meat. I've had more experiences eating poorly cooked white meat than dark, but when white meat is cooked well, it's really good. Rawr.


Rose / August 10, 2006 1:05 PM

"looks about a decade younger than she actually is"....hee hee, well thank you. I hope I can keep that up for another 20 years :-)

I really did like my sandwich with the kraut. it's sourness and crunch paired well with the tempeh's blander taste and texture.

those cupcakes are good! I'm going to miss them! It was a lovely good time and thanks for letting me pick your brain on blogging stuff!

Deb / August 10, 2006 3:21 PM

Hey Robs,

Nice photos. The cupcakes made me hungry!

Going to Ed Levine's to put in my answers now.


BTW, I've gotten lots of nice visitors from your posting on our visit and Deb's Delectables. Thanks for that!

Looking forward, as always, to your next post.

Mila / August 10, 2006 8:41 PM

We have these filled dough biscuits like the bings, we call them hopia (it's probably some Fukien term that's been changed after years of use). They have them filled with green bean paste, red bean paste, black bean paste, pineapple, taro, and my favorite, pork. Actually, they say it's pork fat, but the savory/salty flavor works really well with the sesame covered dough. Don't eat them often, but it's a treat.

You have to go to Northern China for really good dumps Robyn, the dumpling skins are practically translucent and don't get too chewy. Haven't had any dumps in N. America that are as good as the ones in Beijing or Shandong. Major comfort food.

Janice / August 10, 2006 8:55 PM

Have you ever thought of going into food styling/photography? Because your photos are uber cool! =) So how's the Chinese food in NYC? I'm curious to see if they actually make some authentic stuff. Your photos say that new york definitely has tons of potential so hopefully if I ever visit I will be impressed! I'm drooling looking back at your pics.... YUM...

piccola / August 10, 2006 10:18 PM

Hey, are the bings fried? Because I'm trying to keep my dough products on the healthier side these days...

roboppy / August 10, 2006 10:36 PM

Rose: The kraut was good for the bland tempeh, hehe. Seems like the tempeh was mainly for...texture? Vaguely meat-esque substance.

CUPPY CAKE!!!!! EEEE!! I'd love to try the other flavors! I suppose it's a good thing I don't live by there cos...uh, then I would be tempted to get another tray.

Deb: I guess that test didn't apply too much to your eating habits, hehe. I'm not sure if I've ever had whipped cream cheese, so I went with regular. How often do I even eat cream cheese? :O

Yay more visitooors! I hope some people are in search of chocolate.

Mila: I heard of hopia, but I didn't know what they were. .__. NOW I KNOW, AWESOME! Taro is my fave, oh jeez...whyyyy. When I was little my mum would always get taro ice cream in Taiwan and I'd think, "Meh, weird flavor." But..I love it now! I haven't found good taro ice cream here though.

Transluscent skin, mmmm. I think the best dumplings I've eaten here were part of dim sum, but that varies. I generally don't like uber-thin skin...not that I like the thick stuff either. Err. I LIKE BREAD, GIMME.

Janice: I've thought about photography, not styling so much since...I actualyl never style food. :| I just take a photo of what's in front of me. It'd be awesome to learn to be a stylist though. I'd have to know more about food acts under certain conditions though and probably how to cook it. Crap!

The best food in NYC is supposed to be in Flushing, which I haven't tried yet. The stuff in Manhattan Chinatown is probably good too, although you'll find plenty of people who think it sucks and that you have to go to Flushing. I don't know what authentic food is, so I don't really care. :P You can probably find better Chinese food in other Chinatowns around the world; the one in Manhattan is pretty...uh...I dunno, dingy and not very rich. I'd like to go to China someday...for FOODS.

piccola: Ahhh, it's fried. HENCE THE TASTINESS! It's not deep, oil-sponge fried; pan fried I suppose?

Alison / August 10, 2006 10:57 PM

Now I finally know what a bing looks like, and wow they looked good in your pictures. I'm jealous of all the great ethnic food you have close by, it makes me want to branch out into larger cities for dinner.

Gordon / August 11, 2006 6:57 AM

Man those bings sound tasty, look tasty, OOOZE tasty!!

But I have to disagree on the sandwiches. Call me a carnivore (I've had worse) but a sandwich ain't a sandwich unless it's got some dead animal in there. Mind you.. cheese and onion is always good... ok I'll cut the place a little slack.

Now I'm off out to find a 'bing' shop in Glasgow. Hopefully...

Cathy / August 11, 2006 9:17 AM

Bing! Why don't they ever have that stuff at the Chinese(/American) places I go to? Or maybe they do I just never looked since I almost always get the usual lo mein and company. Hmm... I'll look into this. Chicken buns look cool, too. Maybe I can make that on my own.

Rose / August 11, 2006 11:16 AM

I think I have to disagree with Mila about the "best dumplings are in China". I lived in Beijing and have been back several times since. The dumplings are very good, but the best I've tried have been in Taiwan and Hong Kong. It is also more consistent, too. In Beijing I found some places great and others absolutely dismal. Whereas in Taiwan and HK, almost every dumpling house was always pretty good or great. Just my 2cents.

Many will disagree with me, but the best chinese food IS in Flushing. If my mom doesn't cook it herself, then I head to flushing for my chinese food fix. Again, it's about consistency...the food is always consistently GOOD or better there.

Flushing has a lot of Taiwanese, though they also have a growing number of Xinjiang/Uighurs too (odd mix, but interesting). You really need to go there Robyn!!!! I'll direct you to a few good places :-)

Your photos are great and after seeing you photograph in action it's no wonder :-) I think you should try to get yourself a photography job at an NYU publication for food photography. Just refer them to your blog and show them what you can do!

I'm glad your mom liked the cupcakes. Next time you are in Hell's Kitchen you should certainly pick some up. Edie makes vanilla cake ones too. and she's really nice.

Cat / August 11, 2006 12:51 PM

HA! BINGS! Tim and I are going there tonight! And SNICE! I was just there on Saturday! This is starting to get creepy....Do you have a camera following me?...Or maybe it's the other way around.....?

doll / August 11, 2006 1:42 PM

Hi Robyn, I have been a silent reader of your wonderful blog for a little over a year now. It certainly doesn't feel that long though. I really like the way you go about your entries, they're funny and real. Reading your blog is an absolute joy! :)

I think I'd love to meet you someday if I ever have the opportunity to go to NY. I'd be thrilled to hear from you but of course, wouldn't expect you to want to befriend a total stranger.

Anyway, just wanna let you know I think you're doing a terrific job &&&, I'm dying for some "dumps" right now, gah! =P

p/s: hope your asthma's gone and you're breathing better now. xoxo

jo / August 11, 2006 2:35 PM

In response to Cathy:

Bings/breads, dumplings, noodles are staple foods in China's wheatbelt region in the North, and the Chinese restaurants in the US are mostly Southern style foods. You may have to go to a mandarin chinese restaurant to find any type of bings, though in my experience even those restaurants may limit their selection of wheat products to cater to the local U.S. populace used to eating Cantonese/southern-style foods.

Islamic-Chinese restuarants in the Bay Area serve the type of food that I am used to eating since my grandparents were from the northern regions of China.

roboppy / August 14, 2006 8:44 PM

Alison: It seems like every country is a subway ride away, hehe. But I'd really like more bakeries. :(

Teddy: I've yet to utlize free wifi while eating a sandwich. But a lot of the people didn't seem to be eating anything...hmmmm. Maybe they were already done or still waiting? :P

Gordon: So a peanut butter + something sandwich is not a sandwich? :'( Cheese wins! Ye don't need the meats. Ever have a mushroom sandwich? Fungus is tasty! Mmm. Once I saw a fruit sandwich at a Japanese bakery that was like, a sandwich with sliced fruit a cream. Like cake, but with bread? Eh, that's still a sandwich. How about an ICE CREAM SANDWICH?

Dina: Thank you!

Cathy: I've never seen bings in other restaurants! Not like these, at least. I never even say em in Chinatown. It's possible I just wasn't looking hard enough, but I'd notice a whole shop of them. I hope people like this place so that it survives.

Cat: I hope you liked the bings! Judging from your latest entry, we're not following each other around very closely. Probably a good thing. ;)

Doll: Thanks for reading! I wouldn't consider you a TOTAL stranger if you've been reading for a while. You're not insane, right? Cos you'd tell me if you were.

...WOO, you pass the test. Um. Yeah!

I got new asthma drugs. So I guess I will breathe better now. Hmm.

jo: I just wanted to say...


Good word.

Joyce / August 17, 2006 9:50 AM

Have you tried Duane Park Patisserie's magic cupcakes? Apparently they have these "magic" cupcakes, which are injected with cream, like hostess cupcakes. I was planning on trying them soon, but wanted to check in to see if you had any thoughts on them.

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