You probably noticed that I dragged out my entries about my week-long vacation in Paris over a three week period (counting the entries I made in Paris), meaning that there are a few lost weeks of NYC fooding tucked away in my toxic subcutaneous later of fat (in addition to my flickr archives). In this entry I'll try to recount the best and worst of what I've eaten, hopefully succinctly enough so that you don't fall asleep reading it and that I don't stay up for the next few hours writing it. (Post-editing note: I wrote this over the course of a few days. Yes, I am just that slow.)
So. Let's go back...to March 19th.
I spent my Monday after I got back from Paris eating lunch with Tina. We capped off our meal at NY Kom Tang Soot Bul Kal Bi with dessert at Bouchon Bakery because French pastries are a natural progression from hot stone bibimbap. In my world.
I knew Bouchon's macarons wouldn't be like what I had in Paris, but I got them anyway. And...commence the weeping. I knew there was trouble afoot (yes, I said afoot) when inserting a plastic knife into the belly of the macaron for bisecting purposes gave the sensation of cutting into a piece of gum. Ish. It looked much better than it actually tasted, as it tasted like a macaron that was too dry, too sweet, and not flavorful enough with whatever flavor it was supposed to have aside from sucrose. And with something like a 1:4 ratio of filling to cookie, it was dangerously anemic in the filling department.
Most of the other stuff at Bouchon are pretty great (their "whenever we feel like making them, which is almost never" sliders, for instance), so maybe it's not a big deal that the taste of the macarons doesn't match their price ($2.75). But still. What's the point of making perfectly shaped macarons with what I'm sure are great ingredients if they don't explode with awesomeness? Tsk tsk.
Since I was in the neighborhood, I swung by The Donut Pub for a chocolate chip cookie. (Random non-fact: I am roughly 250% more likely to be in a cookie mood than a donut mood at any given moment.) The first time I had their cookie about two years ago was oddly blissful. I felt the great force of sweet chocolatey chunk-o-dough flow through my veins. In my skin. It gave me a nice rosy blush on my cheeks. Or maybe that was due to the increase stress on my vital organs. Whatevs.
How did the second experience match up? Pretty well! I'd say this cookie is above average. It's the soft, fat, moist type of cookie, not the flat, chewy, somewhat crispy kind that I really like (primarily obtained at City Bakery), but it has some depth to it. Brown sugar? Tasty fats? Not too much chocolate, but enough to satisfy me? I don't really remember. This isn't something you should go out of your way to eat, but if you're near the Donut Pub you should check it out just for fun. It's the PUB of DONUTS for god's sake. That's like the best kind of pub you could possibly have (says the girl who dislikes all alcohol).
A few hours later I met up with John to eat at Swich. I had been meaning to check out this sandwicherie for months (because all I want is just one sammich), but I could never drag myself to...8th Avenue and 15th Street. Because I'm so lazy.
My un-laziness was rewarded with a sandwich and a bag of sweet potato chips presented more thoughtfully than most places. The design of the restaurant automatically hits you as something different. It's very neat. And green. And white. And sans-serif. Go to DesignNotes to read Michael's great interview with John Gargiulo about the development of the company and design of the sandwich space—that way I won't feel like I have to properly describe it all to you. Wee! (I am still lazy.)
My buffalo hot pants (most of the items have cute names) consisted of "chicken breast fried and smothered in buffalo sauce with crumbled blue cheese on a French bread roll." The menu notes that it's seriously spicy; it ain't lying. If you can't handle spice, skip this. If you like that burning sensation, dig in! I do. The sandwich felt a little small for the price, but I think that's because it's flattened. Actually, it is probably pricier than most other sandwiches, but one sandwich is just the right amount of food to satisfy your stomach (assuming your stomach is as elastic as mine is) and I have no complaints about the taste. The bread passed my "is it tasty?" test; yes, it is crispy and chewy, a perfect edible container for the meaty, slightly cheesy innards.
Also awesome are the homemade sweet potato chips. Many places make sweet potato fries, which I've honestly never been satisfied with (yet I keep ordering them anyway thinking one day I will discover tootin' tasty sweet potato fries). I'm much happier with sweet potato chips and Swich makes the best ones I've ever tried. These chips are very thin, crispy, light, and burst with the flavors of...sweet, salt, and fat. Man, that's the golden combination.
John's veggie goodness, "grilled zucchini, red pepper and eggplant with herbed goat cheese on impossible wheat" was also freakin' awesome. "Impossible wheat" sounds kind of dumb until you eat it and then...it makes sense. For it is IMPOSSIBLY TASTY. It's thick, it's soft, it has body. Wheaty body. Whatever that is. If you've eaten it, maybe you know what I'm talking about. And don't forget about the nice crusting action from the toast-age.
...That paragraph was weird.
In conclusion, Swich makes some very tasty sammiches. This kitty could use one.
Before heading to Irving Plaza (now called The Fillmore, complete with a butt-ugly sign) to see Mew, I brought CD and JD to Stand. I thought Stand would be like a quick order-at-the-counter type of burger place, but it's a bit more formal than that. I mean, you sit down and they take your order. Like...um, many places. Nothing wrong with that, of course. It's certainly better than standing, which is what CJ thought we might have to do the whole time (and then I zapped him with my laser bean of groaning-ness because PUNS ARE BAD, BAD BAD).
I ordered a rare cheeseburger. Yes, I like pink, barely cooked meat. Until I die of gastro-intestinal disease, I will still like it. Especially since I'll be dead afterwards and won't be able to vocalize my discomfort.
The burger is small in circumference, but is taller than the average burger, which could propose an eating problem if your mouth isn't abnormally huge. It's more like a sphere of burger-ness with its domed top bun. Burgerrr spheeere...
While the top bun tasted substantial and a little chewier than most buns, the bottom bun started to disintegrate at the wet hands of the beef patty's meat juices. I don't think it was supposed to be a meat sponge. Then again, I did order a rare burger, so maybe the sponge-ness should've been expected. Hm.
Other than the drippy moistness, the burger was exceptionally tasty. Tasty with meat and sodium and melted cheese. If the little burger didn't cost about $10, I'd feel more inclined to go back.
Also, they'd have to get rid of the ricotta pistachio shake. I thought it would be pistachio flavored, but instead it was flavored with crushed pistachio shards of death. In case you were wondering, shards of death do not mix well in a beverage. And...okay, they weren't shards of death, but I do not welcome little pebbles of nuttiness in my too-thin milkshake that could've used at least 2 more scoops of ice cream. When drinks have something solid in them, I think the substance should be softer than a nut. For instance, jello-y bits are okay—if you swallow them whole, they kind of just squish along and won't cause much discomfort to your esophagus. Nut bits, on the other hand, will make your throat tube go, "WTF, mate?" (if it's Australian) if not chewed to mush.
So obviously, you chew. You suck up some of the liquidy milkshake and let it slosh around in your mouth with some wayward pistachio bits. Chewing something hard with a mouthful of liquid and no softer solids to act as buffers is kind of awkward. If you don't believe me, just try it. And if you disagree with me, well...then perhaps whatever part of my brain that controls chewing is undeveloped.
My nutty milkshake experience cost me a not so pleasurable $6.
On the upside, their melted brownie with ice cream wasn't disappointing. Made sure to let it cool first or you might burn yourself. And then you can proceed to dig into the warm, fudgey chocolate block without killing your skin cells.
F&B gudt food's main dish is the hot dog. As someone who eats hot dogs twice a year (maybe), I really have no idea what a great hot dog is supposed to taste like. I assume I'll figure it out when a hot dog bursts with heavenly meaty deliciousness in my mouth, which hasn't really happened yet. F&B's hot dogs are...okay?
What I did really like from F&B was the side of haricot frites, green beans sauteed in garlic herb butter. For some reason, I really like green beans. (I suppose the reason is that green bean flavor makes a little happy face pop up in the "taste" section of my brain, but I can't describe green beans in any poetic way. They green!) You know those cheap Chinese buffets, all which seem to follow the same grease-based menu? Which includes green beans? I always get a crapload of those. Pack those babies in. And then I get beef and broccoli or something.
Anyway, these green beans were nicely cooked—not too soft, a bit crispy. I could make a meal out of them. A few cups of them, I mean.
Their fries (courtesy of Amy) were also really good—crispy, well salted, and apparently cut from a whole potato. I would have no problem just eating fries and green beans for a meal. You've got your starch, your vegetable, and your fat; what else do you need? SCREW THE FOOD PYRAMID. The food pyramid doesn't love you.
Ahh, I kid. You also need cake. In cup form. From a place with a monsterously huge $20,000 rotating cupcake on its awning. I think they should upgrade the cupcake to an animatronic version that goes, "HO HO HO, WELCOME TO MY LAIR OF MEATS AND SWEETS, HO HO HO, I WELCOME EVERYONE, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN, DELICIOUS CHILDREN!" And that is just another reason why I have no future in the food business. Or entertainment business. Or anything related to kids.
In my head (which I'll admit is at least 5% disturbed), the cupcake spoke to me in a booming Santa-like voice. "Eat the lemon meringue cupcake! EAT IT! Ho ho ho!" I could not resist the fluffy, lightly scorched tops. Scorched like my bleeding heart. Of blood.
The lemon meringue cupcake's heart was thankfully made of lemon curd. Oh, deliciousness. The thick meringue plop had that nice, slightly burnt tasted and the cake was sufficiently moist. Altogether, quite an impeccable cupcake, indubitably...my dear chap...(I don't know what I'm talking about; somehow "impeccable" and "indubitably" sounded like they went together and I was unable to think of any other words to say out of the tens of thousands at my disposal).
I didn't get to try the burgers at B&C, which I heard are "meh", so stick with the cupcakes, pulsating with the blood of sweet, sweet sugar.
This entry long enough for ya?
Edit sometime after midnight: Uh, so I just realized that this entry is pretty short compared to most. Which makes me wonder why it took so long to write. I think I spent too much time wondering what my food tasted like, information that has mostly escaped my memory since I ate this stuff weeks ago. The longer I wondered, the more I forgot. It's a great cycle of crap! Maybe I should convert this to a photo blog.
Right now I'm mainly wondering why MT is being such a slow bastard. I guess it has something to do with Dreamhost's servers hating me.
Another edit the next day: If the comments aren't working, it's because MT is being a slow bastard. At least, I'm having trouble submitting and approving comments. Sorries!
I put a new spam-blocking mechanism in the comments form. All you gotta do is answer WHAT'S 2+2! I don't know how well it'll work, but we'll see.
NY Kom Tang Soot Bul Kal Bi
32 W 32nd Street