The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Tamari, The Chocolate Room, and IKEA

So tired.

Rest. Good. Thing. Yes.

Good....dreamy...sleepy...cuddle bunnies...

HI KIDDIES! I'm a-gonna write a blog post now, when the brain is so tired it's kinda like un-tired! You know the feeling! I keep using exclamation marks! That's how I keep up my pep! WITH PUNCTUATION AND CAPS AND BOLD FONTS!!! No caffeine! This is the real deal!


Last night I went out to eat with Diana. But I had such a great adventure before that! I'll tell you about my awesome adventure, okay? THERE IS NO ESCAPE, so don't look for one.

On Wednesday I bought new shoes in a quest for something kind of feminine that is somewhere in between casual and formal. Every since I've started college I haven't had any need for such a pair of shoes (hermits don't need nice shoes). My closet has sneakers. Sandals. Snow boots. Basics. Except for the basic "nice pair of shoes". I went into the Steve Madden store for the first time in my life, found one pair of shoes that looked nice, tried em on, thought they felt alright and then victoriously pumped my fists in the air for having found something that potentially reinforced my femininity instead of taking away from it.

But these shoes are just more than just foot covers. Ohhh yes—they possess time-released pain. Wow! I wasn't looking for that, but extras are always nice, I guess. Length-wise the shoe was fine (I'm a seven and a half...wait, why am I telling you this?), but width-wise it just couldn't contain the gross spread of my foot. So very wide. My feet. They are. And when too-wide feet are left to steep in shoes that are a smidge not wide enough for the too-wide feet, pain erupts at the large toe and pinky toe knuckles. Hot damn! It's almost as fun as dropping a heavy object on my foot repeatedly. (Don't believe me? I have "Drop Heaving Objects On Your Feet" parties. I'm hardcore like that.)

I went from "normal-postured Robyn" to "limpy Robyn" while walking from the WTC PATH station to 22 Pell Street for a haircut. If that didn't seem bad enough, after the haircut I went from "limpy Robyn" to "uh-oh my skin came off and my foot kinda stings Robyn". The stinging originated from a patch of rubbed-off skin above my right heel, courtesy of the back of my shoe. As I said before, the length wasn't even a problem (I can slip it on, so I'm not sure how that happened). Did my foot grow while my hair was being chopped off? Why would it do that? Come on, foot, stop joshin' me.

I ended up buying a pack of bandages ("SHEER COMFORT FLEX™") to cover all the hurty spots, which was two on my left foot and three on my right. I figured that the cushioning from the Band-Aid pad ("won't stick to wound for gentle removal"...awesome, thanks!) would help a little. A smidge. And I suppose it did help...a smidge. Or 1% of a smidge. I pathetically limped behind Diana, who would otherwise walk at the speed of light if she didn't have to wait for me to catch up. By the time we got to Brooklyn, my half-hearted, "Oh yeah, I'm...o...k..ay!" turned into, "Maybe I should buy a cheap pair of flip flops."


But I didn't get the chance before we arrived at Tamari for some Japanese tapas action. I ate dinner barefoot.

assorted sashimi
fish meats

Diana went for the sashimi. I've probably eaten out with Diana more than any other friend, but our tastes can be very different. For instance, we both like Japanese food, but she is immediately drawn to sashimi while I am not. :( The raw aspect doesn't bother me (I ate sashimi while I was on the raw food diet), it's just the taste. It. ...Um. Actually, it's not surprising that Diana loves sashimi; she doesn't like aggressive flavors. And it's not like I LOVE bathing my tastebuds in a gazillion flavors (hello, I'll eat a bowl of plain rice if given the chance, perhaps with the aid of a little brain damage), but sashimi just doesn't "do" it for me. Of course, I'll eat whatever comes out of the Tsujiki Market when the time comes.

kimchi pajun
gimme pancakes!

I ordered kimchi "Pa John" (or pajun as I knew it), the delicious savory Korean pancake. Diana tried a bite and was immediately turned off by the spiciness. I thought maybe her reaction was due to a "burns your skin off" level of spiciness, but the spiciness level was quite weak, for better or worse. Not that I care; it was still tasty! And just a tad spicy. The thin, slightly chewy pancake was full of chopped veggies and kimchi and burst with...the flavors of Korea. Don't ask me what these flavors are. Try pajun if you get the chance and if you don't like it (there are other choices besides kimchi; seafood seems to be the standard), then you lose cool points. Don't lose cool points.

prawn skewer
gimme prawns!...wait, that doesn't sound as good

Mmm, grilled prawn skewer. This was a special, which means I can't refer to the take-out menu I swiped for more details. I recall that the prawns were grilled. And put on a skewer. Like in the photo. Fancy that! A mild coconut curry sauce accompanied the prawns, which were set atop a cooked vegetable salsa-type thing. The sensation of piercing into the outer, slightly charred prawn "skin" to uncover the juicy flesh is a good one.

catfish tempura
I like my meats fried

But is it as good as eating catfish tempura? NO. ...I mean, in my humble opinion I prefer biting into golden, light, deep-fried batter with creamy fish innards instead of the aforementioned grilled prawn experience. But either one is a great choice. You should get both to decide for yourself.

litchi juice
litchi juice is yummy!...but I don't mind just drinking water

With drinks (note to self: just drink water, you never enjoy drinks that much, unless it's a milkshake, but then you have to think about why you drank more liquid ice cream than you'd actually eat in its solid form) the bill was around $17 per person. I'd definitely go back. There's a lot more stuff on their "tapas" menu (besides their sushi, sashimi, and entrees) I want to try and I'd love to see the adorable grandmotherly proprietor again.

The Chocolate Room
god, I wish that were my bedroom

And now for the real reason we trekked out to Brooklyn: dessert at The Chocolate Room! Diana may not dream of a world made of chocolate, but she knows I doooo! She treated me to dessert for my birthday. :)

complimentary ice cream
mm, shadowy ice cream

They gave each of us a complimentary spoonful of their homemade chocolate ice cream. Mmm, dark, deep chocolate taste. I'd eat a bowl of that, no prob.

strawberry shortcake
this's short?

The Chocolate Room's version of strawberry shortcake was composed of chopped strawberry topped with a large dollop of whipped cream sandwiched between cookie-ish chocolate cake. I say cookie-ish because they were slightly crispy (...don't quote me on that; I don't really remember), but mainly cakey. Diana liked most of her strawberry shortcake, except for the whipped cream.

"You like milk! You don't like whipped cream?" I already know Diana doesn't like whipped cream, but I prod her anyway.

"It's like eating air!"

"...But it's sweet, creamy air!"

I know I'll never win the "WHIPPED CREAM IS AWESOME" argument. What's my take on it? Whipped cream is great in conjunction with non-whipped cream substances for making them more tasty with smooth, airy fatasticness. It's a mouthfeel thing for me. I like whipped cream enough to eat it straight (homemade, mmm!), but I'd rather eat it with something else.

I'm considerably fatter than Diana; maybe I should cut out the whipped cream.

chocolate layer cake
huge cake is good cake, even if it's blurry

Although I had trouble picking a dessert at first, I should've known from the start that I'd go for the chocolate layer cake. Of course, this isn't an average chocolate layer cake. It's a fluffy, moist, light, evenly crumbed, soft-as-a-bunny's-butt chunk of heaven unlike most other chocolate cakes. Everything—cake, frosting, sweetness, chocolate-y-ness—was perfect. I wouldn't object to it if it were a little more dense (in that form it would remind me more of Westville's chocolate magic cake), but I couldn't even finish the slice.

Luckily, Sean was there to make sure the cake would find a home in human stomach acids (the destiny of all cake, you know) and not a lonely dumpster! Not that it was very hard for him to eat the last two bites. ...Yeah, that's all I left behind. Two bites. Until then I was slowly shoving spoonfuls of the cake into my mouth, only half-aware of what I was doing.

Anyhoo, Sean is really cool! That's pretty much what Diana had been telling me for the past few weeks, but I can't know these things for sure until food is brought into the picture. ;) I'm glad Diana invited him to our chocolate hunting or else I wouldn't have found out that Sean is way into the food. Waaaaay. 200%. I've met so many people who should be blogging about food instead of me, him being one of them, that I don't understand why I'm the one writing a blog entry and editing photos at 4-something AM. ...Oh, they have real lives! Duh. I'll have to come back to Park Slope to check out Sean's recommendations, which aside from Tamari include Cafe Mexicano, Thai Sky, and Sakura.

(And aside from the food coolness, you may have noticed that Sean designs stuff for a bunch of music artists you hopefully know. Or if you don't, start listening to them! It's never too late! Unless you're dead! In which case, I don't know how you're reading this. Are you a zombie?)

When Diana and I told Sean which birthday I was celebrating (21, if you're keeping track), he responded with a horrified look. At least, that's how I interpreted it. In a split second I tried to figure out the meaning behind the horror. Do people spontaneously combust (and then somehow regenerate from a few flaps of meat) when they turn 21? What is it? WHAT DARK ATROCITIES LIE IN MY FUTURE?!

"You're a baby!"

Ohhh. ...No wait, I feel so old! So very old. 25% of my life may be over. 100% if I die tomorrow. Oh crap.

Okay, I guess I'm young. It's nice to know I still have a gazillion years to figure out what to do with my life. I just finished Tender at the Bone by Ruth Reichl (very awesome, I highly recommend it, as opposed to only partially recommending it) and I felt so useless compared to her. ...But then I realized the comparison was just a bit uneven. And I should be glad that I'm not as crazy as that customer that used to stalk her.

The first thing people mention about turning 21 is the legal right to get wasted and hungover. I doubt I will participate in that even when I'm middle aged, but it's nice to know the option exists. The real plus for me is going to venues that are 21+ (so that everyone inside can get wasted and hungover?...I don't know), except I will avoid The Living Room because they are bastardy poop heads and...poop, poop, poop on them I say.

Chocolate is awesome.

Oh, remember the shoe problem? I DO! While walking to the Chocolate Room, Diana and I passed a large beauty salon. She said they'd have slippers and while we stood outside the entrance with me inquiring about these hidden slippers (I don't know anything about salons!), one of the employees conveniently walked into our midst. Diana explained the plight of my limpy feet, to which the young woman said, "I AM THE SLIPPER FAIRY, PLEASE FOLLOW ME." (She didn't say that. But it would've been cool if she did. And weird.) We followed her and for $2 I got a nice pair of bright green, floral-patterened flip flops possibly made by baby chinese girls. Thank you, people who get pedicures and thus cause beauty salons to stash cheap, comfortable footwear! (And thank you, Diana, for pointing it out!) If my feet had respiratory systems, they would've given a sign of relief.

mm, meatballs of sweden

how much are these tables?
how much are these tables?

In the magical land of IKEA (bringing Swedish sensibility to the wastelands of Paramus, NJ), furniture levitates! Holy shit! I don't know how they eat off of these magical tables, but those Swedes...they're awesome.


Oh wait, they use string. I was hoping for Swedish magic.

small swedish meatballs
Swedish balls of meat

My childhood was filled with many Swedish meatballs from Market Basket, but I had never tried IKEA's version. It's great! "Bursting with Swedish goodness!" definitely not how they should describe the meatballs. But they do. Burst. With Swedish goodness. I couldn't discern much flavor aside from salt, pepper and onion, but what else do you need? That's right, PENGUINS! ...I mean, NOTHING! Nothing else. Oh, gravy helps. You can make your own meatballs and gravy using IKEAhacker's recipe. The plate in my photo was a "small". 10 pieces should be enough to satiate you, but for less than $5 I guess you could splurge on a larger size.

apple cake with vanilla sauce
apple cake

Of course, I couldn't ignore the selection of desserts. The impressive stack of sliced apples in the $2.50 apple cake caught my eye. Not bad, not awesome, but it's only $2.50; can I really complain? I would've prefered if the cake and sauce were sweeter, but the low sugar (in taste, at least) may appeal to some people. The apple was slightly cinnamon flavored and topped with a crumbly crust. I ate the whole thing; it's the Robyn way.

It's past 6 AM. Despite that I have more things to talk about (hell, you must be sick of this entry by now), it's sleepy time.

Well, shower time and then sleepy time.

[Last note: you probably noticed that the photos from Tamari and The Chocolate Room look different from other ones I've posted. There's some crazy DOF going on in there, for one thing. I took them with Diana's 50 mm lens. It's all in the leennns, dude. I need to get myself a nice one someday.]

map time

201 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

The Chocolate Room
86 5th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217

100 Ikea Dr
Paramus, NJ 07652


PES uses food in this stop motion film. Cooool.

Utah State Fair also uses food in their puppet form. Still cool though.

From McSweeney's "Bedtime Stories by Thom Yorke":

Everybody Enjoys Manners!

When we eat, it's fun to have our manners eat with us! Wear your napkin on your lap and don't hit your sister, even if she throws peas at you. Reason your reasons, razors shave the planet clean. Blood fills the rivers, clogs the tubes. I want to die, eat your ice cream.

Hahaha, that Thom! Eat your ice cream.



Marvo / August 25, 2006 6:40 AM

Had the IKEA Swedish Meatballs when I was in the SF IKEA. The dingleberry sauce makes them taste better. Wait, was it dingleberry sauce? Anyway, I thought the cost of it would've been cheaper, like $2, after all it is IKEA.

Claudia / August 25, 2006 7:06 AM

ALL THE FOOD LOOKS YUMMY!!!! =) I agree, there's something about sashimi that's off.. :/

alexa / August 25, 2006 8:32 AM

arrgh, the pain of new shoes … if it's any help eventually either your shoes will break in or your feet will (ow) and you'll be able to wear them comfortably. Try wearing them around the house with socks until they break in a bit.

Cat / August 25, 2006 11:29 AM

HA! So funny! I jsut posted about ikea a few days ago! The chocolate room's layer cake is soo delicious it makes me want to weep. Sky Thai is good, but if you haven't been to planet thailand in Billyburg, you should definitely try it.

Allen Wong / August 25, 2006 12:29 PM

Haha, evil shoes! I like my cheap sneaks.

Mmm, tapas. I dunno - pajun hardly seems like a Japanese dish. :P And that's some shallow depth of field. Did you get a new lens or something?

Psst, I don't like whipped cream either.

Rachel / August 25, 2006 12:47 PM

Your friend Sean made a good recommendation. Cafe Mexicano is AWESOME! We have Cafe Mexicano II (same oweners)in Williamsburg and it is the best. very authentic...

Also, I loved Tender at the Bone, too. Read Comfort Me With Apples. It's the sequel, and also very good!

Marsha / August 25, 2006 1:09 PM

Hello there, I have a hint for you about the shoes, which my daughter only recently discovered: when you wear the fancier shoes, you need to wear stockings to avoid the blisters, etc. Like everyone else, I too hate stockings (pantihose, usually), but they make a real difference.

Don't we get to wish you a happy birthday sometime soon? If I missed it, consider it belatedly wished.

Marsha / August 25, 2006 1:18 PM

Ooops, I was so intent on passing on the means for dealing with painful shoes that I jumped over the part about celebrating your birthday - so I'm glad to hear it was good. Felicitations!

Jeanne / August 25, 2006 1:47 PM

Oh wow I have to comment today! I ‹3 shoes and myself own many pairs of Steve Maddens. How I survive is by wearing cute socks with the flats when I'm wearing jeans or pants, or by using many various inserts for the different problems. For instance, shoes have very thin soles? Dr. Scholl's gel inserts for Women. Shoes rub the skin off your toes? Line the insides with moleskin (from drugstore). Straps cutting into your ankles or feet? Footpetals Strappy Strips (or some name like that) I could go on & on & on...but each of these things improves shoe wearing by a little bit, and heck, EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPS. If comfortable shoes (besides my beloved Pumas or Converse sneakers, or flip flops) weren't so ugly, then it'd be easier. But I have yet to see a really cute shoe that causes NO PAIN EVER. Someday, I'll write THE COMMENT THAT ATE YOUR BLOG and include tips for wearing/breaking in heels. And then you'll block me forever. But I digress.

I tried the Ikea meatballs for the first time ever a couple months ago AND the apple cake. I agree, for the price, it can't be beat! Try the Daim cake if you go back, which has chocolate toffee candy bits in chocolate icing.

Tender At the Bone is my favorite of the Reichl books but they're all great! Put Garlic & Sapphires on your reading list too, it's a great read.


roboppy / August 25, 2006 2:21 PM

Marvo: Dingleberry? Lingonberry? Same difference! :D

Maybe they'll lower the price later so they can be like, "WE SLASHED PRICES, AGAIN!" and then it'll be free.

Claudia: Hehe, I dunno if sashimi is off, just that...I dunno, why aren't I enthralled by the little fish meat slabs?

Alexa: I don't want my FEET to break in! Waah!

Cat: I havent eaten anywhere in Billyburg! :( I mean, besides the muffin place, which doesn't cout. Doh. Next year I'll work on eating in Brooklyn.

Allen: Oh yeah, I should've clarified that their menu has a selection of Korean dishes. It's good! It seems less weird to me to have Japanese and some Korean food than those places that have like..Chinese food and sushi. Hm.

Ahh I added a small note (easy to miss!) that I used Diana's lens. Which I accidentally..failed to give back to I have to be so far away from the food to get good shots, haha.


Rachel: Ahhh yeah, I gotta read the sequel now. AMAZON.COM, HERE I COME!

Marsha: Noo NOOO I DON'T WANT STOCKINGS, OH GOD! That's another piece of clothing to put on and ptobably rip. Dooh. :( I think I'll give up on the shoes. They make me sad.

My birthday is actually on Sunday, so ..yay, soon! Thanks for the felicitations! I like that word.

Jeanne: ...OH MY GOD. That is too much work to wear "nice shoes. :( I think I'll give up for now. Cos it's easier. And I don't care enough. Doh. I doubt I will ever wear heels; that definitely looks wrong. I mean, humans do lots of unnatural things (MOWING THE LAWN!), but high heels are totally unecessary for me, someone who doesn't like shoes that much.

[sigh] I don't want to mold my foot to a shoe. I want the shoe to obey ME! OBEY..MY FOOT...dammit.

DAIM cake! Yes, I need that. Because I love Daim.

Tender At the Bone is my favorite of the Reichl books but they're all great! Put Garlic & Sapphires on your reading list too, it's a great read.

Ooh I got hooked on Ruth because of G&S. ;) That was aweeesome.

Thanks for the bday greetings!

Diana: Yes. :( But if the shoe were made of something less stiff'd be better!...wah. But not as good to walk around the city in.

OHH thanks for reminding me about the book! I need that now.

tokyorosa / August 25, 2006 2:37 PM

Steve Mad's are beautiful and WAAAAAYYYY too narrow for the average foot. I mean, c'mon, that guy must never have walked a mile in his OWN shoes for them to be so damned uncomfortable. You can find cute shoes that FIT--but you won't find them at Steve's place....

Try again and don't let your feet suffer!!


Cathy / August 25, 2006 3:33 PM

Happy Birthday! Too bad your cute new shoes gave you so much trouble. They look like they would be among the more comfy women's shoes out there. Did you really eat barefoot?

jo / August 25, 2006 6:46 PM

I do not own any nice, fancy shoes either, but I do enjoy looking at them and wishing that I'd look good wearing them. Sneakers are just so much more comfortable and they do a better job at matching with my outfit, not that I even think about trying to match my outfits each morning; I only wear t-shirts and jeans.

Pardon my ignorance, but do those 50mm lens create more depth in a photo?

Ani / August 25, 2006 7:55 PM

Crazy I have to go back to your main blog to get to your food blog. Stupid computer. Anyway glad to find it again. Must try both those places in Brooklyn. :)

roboppy / August 25, 2006 10:25 PM

Tokyorosa: My mum's foot is definitely under-average in width. With socks, she can fit into my shoes. She said everyone else is getting too fat...well, maybe. :P WHAT CAN I DO.

I find it funny how so many guys make women's shoes. They can design them, but will they ever feel the real pain of wearing the shoes?

Cathy: There are comfier shoes out there, but everything I found that I liked wasnt available in my size. :( So I settled and..that's bad, I need to just stick to what I really like. I mean, I do like the design, it was just too narrow.

Yes, barefoot. :) I put the shoes off to the side.

Jo: TSHIRTS, WOOO! I wear skirts a lot, although when it gets cooler I guess I'll go back to pants. Or I can wear knee-high socks.

The shallow DoF has to do with focal length and aperture, I think. Diana's lens has a huge aperture..1.4 I think. So I guess that affects it too. I DUNNO MUCH ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHY!

Ani: Really? :O Man that's weird. I hope your computer I made up a really stupid word.

Natalia / August 26, 2006 1:20 AM

Hey, Happy Birthday! 21 seems pretty old to me. 20 seems old, even though it's less than a year away. Scaaary.

Anyway, whipped cream is the best. When I was little I would squirt the canned kind onto my finger and have a whipped cream catterpillar. Mmmm... But now I like the homemade kind, straight from the bowl it was whipped in!

Helen / August 26, 2006 5:47 AM

I lovelovelove that shot of the ikea rainbow. It's gorgeous!

As always, we love you laugh at your pain. Ah, I mean with your pain. lol. I have the same problem with wide feet. There are theories that wearing flipflops encourages your feet to spread out wider - Aussies are meant to have notoriously wide feet.

That apple cake looks sensational too. Your photos are always so uber-delicious!

Anna / August 26, 2006 5:50 AM

I really hope that you visit Norway again, ant get a chance to visit Sweden at the same time ant that you in my beautiful country get served real Swedish meatballs with gravy. The IKEA meatballs are not bad but the homemade ones are 100 times better. Growing up in Sweden means allot of meatballs both from IKEA (every Swedish home have IKEA-furniture) and homemade. And almost every Swede has a ”secret” recipe that is kept in the family for generations.

deborah / August 26, 2006 7:47 AM

the photos looks fab robyn! also i LOVE your pics of ikea... being a bit of a ikea tragic myself... i spend way too much time at ikea buying things i don't need. is there help for people like me?

ivan / August 26, 2006 3:21 PM

Ouch! Hope you've exchanged those shoes for something else.

It's surprising to find Japanese and Korean items in the same shop. That's very rare.

Kathy / August 26, 2006 4:22 PM

Happy Belated 21st!!! I guess we are still young...but sheesh...we're officially in our 20s! holy moley :)

roboppy / August 26, 2006 6:56 PM

Natalia: Oh my god NOW I DO FEEL SO OLD, SO VERY OLD! Now skat, you...uh...young whippersnapper.

Helen: Thanks! IKEA is beauty. AT DISCOUNT PRICES!

I usually wear shoes that let my feet breeaaathe and spread out. In a few decades my feel will be like paddles.

Anna: If that's an invitation, then I'll go right over to Sweden and get real homemade meatballs. ;) probably just call them "meatballs" and not "swedish meatballs".

Deborah: I wouldn't be surprised if there were some kind of IKEA self-help group. ("I just bought 20 cups, WHY, WHY DID I DO THAT?!") Or maybe just a club for people who love IKEA so they can join together in cult-like fashion.

Ivan: My mum will keep the shoes. And I will still have no "nice" shoes. BLAH.

I went to a Korean restaurant that had a lot of Japanese things. It goes both ways!

Jen: Guess what I bought today? MORE SWEDISH MEATBALLS! I just can't stop.

Kathy: Aw, thanks! It's not my bday yet, so you're not belated. :D

deborah / August 26, 2006 9:21 PM

yes i think there is. its on flickr.... and it feeds my flickr ocd too. *sigh*

i have a thing for drinking vessels too... we have over 20 coffee mugs and 20 glasses and 12 wine goblets ... in a household of 2. CRAZY!

i actually donated 2 sets to charity and another one to work after we moved into the new place.

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