The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Epistrophy, Macarons, Desserts at Spot, Panya, Ost, and Artichoke (In One Day)

This entry took place on November 29. Sorry for the lack of activity—it's been an oddly busy week. Maybe someday I'll even write about it! Heh heh! Yeah! Is that what I do? Yeah.

This is going to be one of those posts with lots of photos and some words that go with the photos. Which is generally how they all are. But this one is going to have EVEN FEWER (man, I almost said "less"...[wipes sweat from brow]) WORDS. You'll love it.*

*Not guaranteed.

People. Hangin.

Jason and I embarked on a multiple-hour-face-stuffing-session to make the most of his stopover in New York City from his family's home in South Jersey to his job in New Haven, starting at Epistrophy in Nolita for a late brunch.

orecchiette with potato and green beans in pesto

Unfortunately, Jason's plate of orecchiette with potato and green beans in pesto was sandy. Or gritty. Or a characteristic that pesto shouldn't have.

panino con salmone
Salmon sammich.

He sent it back in exchange for a panino con salmone made with smoked salmon, Brie, arugula, and halved cherry tomatoes on a pressed and toasted roll. As someone who doesn't particularly like tomatoes, even I thought this sandwich could use more tomatoes to balance out everything else. While we wouldn't say the sandwich was bad, there wasn't anything memorable about it.

panino al maiale
Pork in thar.

Same with my panino al maiale filled with thin pork cutlets, avocado chunks, fontina, tomato slices, and mayo. A pleasing combination, but not one that came together to create awesome in my mouth. If there was anything remarkable or unremarkable about the sandwich, I'd tell you, but I can't really go either way. (I suppose that means it veers towards the latter.)

Epistrophy is a comfortable place to hang out if you're in the area—you could probably linger for a long time over a cup of coffee. But for a sandwich, I'd take a 10-minute walk to Tiny's Giant Sandwich Shop. Also, the lighting in Epistrophy's bathroom is almost nonexistent (assuming that no light bulbs were broken). From the meager photons that hit my retina, I could gather that the bathroom was clean and had nice decor, but if I didn't pay attention I could've imagined myself peeing in any small, dimly lit space—"narrow back alleyway under the moonlight" kept coming to my mind for some reason.

We followed our sandwiches with a visit to Green Apple next door. Although it's a gelateria (and a nice one at that), we were there for something else.


I spied macarons through the window. And they looked quite promising.

lots of macarons bag of six

The macarons are by J' Chanceaux Macarons, who is sharing the space with Green Apple. Out of the 15 flavors they had that day, I chose six for $6 (buying fewer than six costs $1.25 a piece): pistachio, black sesame, nutella, caramel, chocolate, and mango.

nutella was too dry, oops
Too dry! Oh no.

The macarons varied greatly in quality. Nutella (pictured above) was much too dry; the center had this hard-chewy consistency like a cold Starburst. Pistachio was much too sweet. Mango tasted curiously like...not mango. But chocolate, caramel, and black sesame were all fine, texture and flavor-wise—not dry nor too sweet. So some of the macarons are worth getting, as long as you choose the right flavors and get a good batch. (I might be overly picky with Pierre Hermé on my mind and all. I'm due for a trip back to Paris to refresh my macaron memory.) So far, the best macarons I've had in New York City, aside from Mitzy's (who doesn't count now since she's in Indonesia) are from La Maison du Chocolat.


Ain't no better way to follow up a sweet snack with...another sweet snack? Next stop was Spot, Pichet Ong's new desert cafe located below the pho restaurant on St. Mark's Place.

white miso semifreddo
White miso semifreddo.

We ordered based on Kathy's recommendations (I'm taking all my descriptions from her), starting the the white miso semifreddo, sort of like slices of semifreddo sandwiches made with cake, accompanied by a quenelle of raspberry ice cream and a tuile.


Second was the poached persimmon on top of creamy jasmine rice pudding, topped with mascarpone, toasted pistachios, a caramelized tuile, and white chocolate shavings.

ovaltine ice cream
Ovaltine! In ice cream.

Third—and last, yes—was a scoop of Ovaltine ice cream. It tastes like very strong Ovaltine, if it were in rich spherical ice cream form. Sort of chocolate-y, more malty. If you don't know what Ovaltine tastes like, you can usually buy a cup of it (hot or cold) at a Chinese bakery, although this ice cream may taste more like if you just stuck a spoonful of the mix in your mouth.


Jason was first to notice that, aside from the ice cream, the desserts were sprinkled with iridescent sparkly bits. He was also quick to make the Twilight vampire reference—not that we think that's what Spot was going for, but now that's all I think of. (I haven't read the books, but I did see the first movie. MY MOM HAD IT ON DVD, OK. Ok.)

The persimmon was my favorite, more for the rice pudding than the persimmon, though. I think I was too full to fully appreciate the desserts, or I'm losing my once insatiable sweet tooth. I will always spring for gelato, macarons that don't look like crap, and chocolate chip cookies, but I'm not sure I'm ever in the mood for more creative desserts like Pichet's. BORING ME. Glad I tried them though, and it might be the comfiest hang out spot on the busiest block of St. Mark's Place.

cute lil bakery dude interior

We stopped by the newly reopened Japanese bakery Panya, now with a snack and prepared foods section, and a kitchen that prepares homey hot food items like donburis and curry. I'll have to try it later; my stomach felt sort of explode-y by this point.

super cheap breakfast!
Cheap breakfast.

If I worked or lived near Panya, I'd try this breakfast deal: two eggs any style with home fries, salad, and choice of breakfast meat and bread for only $3.75.

mmm iced chai

After Jason left to catch a train to New Haven, I spent the rest of my night at Ost, a lovely coffee shop in the East Village that I'm sure will become my most oft-visited coffee shop, despite not even drinking coffee, because my friend Lee Anne now works there! YOU SHOULD GO THERE AND SAY HI! And buy something. I'm sure she makes a good cuppa. (Her hours are flexible right now, so I can't tell you her weekly schedule, but I know she'll be there tonight until closing.) Knowing my aversion towards coffee, she made me an iced chai topped with powdered cinnamon. Mmm, spiced dairy-licious-ness.

page 1 page 2
Click to enlarge, and kill some brain cells at the same time.

I spent most of my time reading Double Fine Action Comics by Scott C. (it's a totally awesome-cute-funny book and it's in the coffee shop's bookshelf, so you have no excuse not to read it!) and finishing up a very stupid comic, pictured above. My drawing skills have progressed little since high school. My humor hasn't changed much either—I'm still a big fan of bug-eyed creatures and explosions. ...I'm actually 7-years-old, guys.

Lee Anne's furred manatee

For something cuter and more artistic, here's Lee Anne's drawing of a FURRED MANATEE. If such a thing existed in nature, I'd want to smoosh it so badly. With my arms. In hugs.

manatee fart
manatee fart.

Compare that to my manatee drawing-style. ...Yeah.

spinach and artichoke slice hooo that is thick
Artichoke pizza.

After Lee Anne got out of work, we shared a slice of spinach and artichoke pizza from Artichoke. Seems like people either love or hate the alfredo-like sauce that coats the tomato-less pizza—and I'm on the "love" side. The occasional pools of cheese are the best. The only thing I didn't like was that this slice seemed much breadier than usual, throwing off the sauce-to-bread ratio, but it still tasted good as a post-10 p.m. snack.

Methinks this post ended up having more words than I planned. Congrats for making it the whole way through!

Some Pizzas: L'asso, Veloce, and Artichoke
Girls' Night with Artichoke Pizza and Semi-Dancing
The Great Macaron Hunt of 2007 + making macs at Jacques Torres


200 Mott Street, New York NY 10012 (map)

Green Apple
202 Mott Street, New York NY 10012 (map)

13 St. Marks Place, New York NY 10003 (map)

10 Stuyvesant Street, New York NY 10003 (map)

441 E 12th Street, New York NY 10009 (map)

328 E 14th Street, New York NY 10003 (map)


Chris / December 6, 2009 4:16 PM

I feel like its always a hit or miss with spinach/artichoke slice...the reheated slices always seem to get burned on the bottom. But, freshly made with right ratio is definitely a "love".

Margaret / December 6, 2009 5:47 PM

Speaking of macarons, I just got back from Paris about 2 weeks ago. And since I have NO IDEA when I'll be able to go back (sad!!), I made sure to indulge my adoration of Pierre Hermé's macarons, but also to do some taste comparison between PH, Ladurée and Sadaharu Aoki. PH wins hands down. Ladurée's are just a bit too sweet, but very acceptable overall. But S'haru Aoki's were very disappointing, both in texture and flavor-- esp. the filling: too much sweetness masking flavor and an overly firm texture. I really wanted to like them, but impossible. PH Still Totally Rules. So, I'm back in Ann Arbor, MI, and I've just gotten word that there's a real French gal in town who has just started to make and sell macarons. Definitely want to try them. But I want to get back to Paris even more . . . :-)

roboppy / December 6, 2009 10:24 PM

Chris: I haven't had burnt yet. STILL IN LOVE!

Margaret: So happy to hear you liked PH! Some people don't. And then I am sad. Because if they don't like PH, WHAT WILL THEY LIKE? I didn't get to try Sadaharu, but I guess I didn't miss out on much!

SK: The last time I tried them was a few years ago (photo) and while I can't remember why I didn't like them, I know...I was disappointed. Maybe I should try them again?

James / December 6, 2009 10:24 PM

I'm not on the love or hate side of the artichoke slice... I think the best way to express my allegiance is "exhausted after three bites."

I'll kill a man for that Sicilian, though!

anna / December 6, 2009 10:25 PM

I need to go back to Spot. I went one night and had some Thai tea and a green tea cookie (because the jerk in front of me got the last green tea cupcake and they weren't serving ice cream for some reason). I really want to try their pretty plated desserts. / December 6, 2009 10:35 PM

Woah, those spots are either some of my favorites, or have been long collecting dust on my bookmarks. Glad I can cross a place off my Urgent Macaron Tasting list now.

Panya is the secret NYU studio kids' staple, but as pre-noontime functionality is unrealistic during college, I've never seen that breakfast deal. Definitely give their pastries a shot next time though. I somehow always walk away with a cookie custard, but then again I also suck at self-control when it comes to sweets.

Jason / December 6, 2009 10:51 PM

Yay Poofy! It has been too long since he has graced mine eyes. I think the more appropriate question is why does your mom own Twilight?!? ;)

Your photo makes Panya-san look adorable. I'm searching for the sparkle powder so that I can create wondrous sparklepire cookies!

Nicholas / December 6, 2009 11:06 PM

The green orecchiette is a little off putting, but that rainbow of macarons :(. If only the cost weren't prohibitive for a college student lol.

roboppy / December 7, 2009 1:48 AM

James: Aw, after three bites? That doesn't sound like love. ;)

anna: I didn't try any cookies! Yes, go get some of the plated desserts.

thespatulaqueen: I hadn't eaten at Panya in AGES! Doh. While I was at NYU, I tried it a few times, but preferred Cafe Zaiya. But now Panya has food-food...gotta try that out.

Jason: My mom likes to keep up with pop culture sometimes, it seems...and to be aware of it, while not indulging in it. HAAHuhhuh.

Nicholas: I wish Mitzy were here cos her macarons are worth the money! Waah.

FN / December 7, 2009 3:29 AM

Nice post! Panya looks good, gonna add that to my NY to do list.

As far as a Paris macaron visit - make sure to put Jean-Paul Hevin on your list. I'm telling you, his Macarons are really good, better than the big names over here.

Allix / December 7, 2009 12:08 PM

mmmmm Artichoke, it's been too long. Have you ever tried the macarons at the cleverly named Macaron Cafe in Midtown? I work in the same neighborhood but haven't ventured over yet..

roboppy / December 7, 2009 1:15 PM

FN: Oo, I have tried JPH! I liked the chocolate ones, not so much the non chocolate ones. I SHOULD'VE EATEN MOOORE.

Louisa Edwards: :)

Allix: Yup! Unfortunately, I thought it was meh. Frosting wasn't optimal and the almond flour was chunky. But I haven't tried it in over a year, methinks.

Katie / December 7, 2009 11:03 PM

Somehow the thing I want most from this whole post is that chai. Makes me feel like making some..except I'd have to wait long enough for ice to freeze. :(
And I don't feel like your comic caused me to lose brain cells. I liked it and its boomsplosion!

Nastassia / December 8, 2009 8:22 PM

All those desserts wow that is a food adventure I would love to have gone on =). I love Pichet Ong and I will have to try Spot on my new NY visit!

eatyourheartout / December 10, 2009 11:27 AM

I've noticed Spot too. Wondered if it was any good. Judging by how pretty they look, I'm skeptical about the price and taste. Art always dominates tastes. Usually.

I'll have to give it a try if I'm ever at St. Marks again. It's rare nowadays.

I've been to Epistrophy back in October. Can't say much about it since I didn't have dinner there. Just wine and appetizers to snack off.

Marsha Calhoun / December 10, 2009 1:25 PM

The fact that you care about using "fewer" properly warms my heart on this very cold day. That, and the thought of Paris . . .

FN / December 11, 2009 6:15 AM

JPH has only had various shades of choco macarons when I've visited.... Every shade I tried was damned good.

roboppy / December 11, 2009 6:02 PM

D: I think you may like's not like IN YOUR FACE desserts that will give you diabetes. :)

Marsha: YAAY I'm glad you appreciated that!


LaserLiza / March 19, 2010 9:02 PM

@ Marsha: you need to talk to my mom- she is downright insufferable about correcting less/fewer (that and I/me). Together you can rule the world through grammar!
On another note, I WANT THIS FOOD!

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