The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Polish, Japanese, cupcakes and more: diet of a champion

Things that spring to mind when I think of Valentine's Day:

a) It marks yet another year of my unloved existence.
b) Oo, chocolate!
c) I totally want Polish food.

red smiley heart BE MINE

While the first two points are 0% false, I'm fudging it a bit with the third. Polish food is not holiday specific to me (because I don't know what the Polish holidays are) and brings no images of Valentine's Day to mind, which is why John and I were so bewildered when we stepped into Polonia and felt like we had stumbled upon the vomitous aftermath of a monster that had eaten the entire V-Day section of a Hallmark store. In addition to the bright red walls (which I assume exist year-round and aren't a holiday special), red paper hearts of various sizes telling me to have a Happy Valentine's Day adorned the walls and heart-themed napkins decorated every table. I was most taken by the ornament hanging above our table of a plush heart embroidered with the words "Be Mine" in script and tightly hugged on each side by a smiling polar bear, either out or love or because of dependency issues.

I started off with a milkshake because there ain't nothing more that my body could possible want, except a vitamin, a nutrient, or a gram of soluble fiber. The vanilla milkshake wasn't the worst I've had, although not worth getting either. I probably should've drank it all while it was still deceptively "thick" from the frothiness instead of drinking it throughout the meal and getting disappointed by the final strawfuls of thin vanilla-flavored liquid.

Combination Platter
combo platter!

Since I'm indecisive I went with the non-vegetarian friendly combination platter that included some type of sausage, bigos, four fried pierogies and cabbage stuffed with something meat-based. I'm sure this isn't how they do it in Poland, but it's acceptable in the East Village. And as I don't have much to compare this food to, all I can say is that...I liked it all, save for the sausage since I inherently don't like sausages (except for the sweet, fat-laden Chinese version). The bigos was actually my favorite, something I could imagine going well ladled on top of a bowl of rice, but I have a feeling they don't do that in Poland either.

Vegetarian Combo Plate

John went with the vegetarian combination plate which came with a blintz (cherry), two potato pancakes, and four pierogies (boiled, just to mix things up a little). Of course, vegetarian doesn't imply that there are vegetables, just that there's no meat. We split our plates 50/50. The pierogies and potato pancakes were alright, but the blintz was disappointingly not one of the 150% crispy kind. I like it when they resemble sweet spring rolls more than a crepe.


Polonia is alright, but I prefer Teresa's. The service at Polonia is, as the people at menupages say, a little...not there. The waitresses are nice; they just have a tendency to not notice your presence. Also, I need me some crispy blintzes.

Japanese and cupcakes!

Chiyono table

On Friday night I went to Chiyono with Melanie and Jamie, two friends I went to middle school with in Taiwan. I've been meaning to try Chiyono for a long time for Japanese home cooking, not that I've ever really eaten in a Japanese home, but...anyway. It does feel quite homey if the home is for a family of 12 and they all sit at the same, black, elongated, slightly curved table.

agedashi tofu pork gyoza pork gyoza (flipped)

We started with agedashi tofu and pork gyoza. Although I've had agedashi tofu before, I wouldn't say it's one of my favorite things. Unless it's uber-fried. Which this wasn't. Not that there's anything wrong with that; its' just my preference. As you've already figured out, I like my blintzes deep fried until the dough turns into fat. And possibly everything iside the dough as well. Oh, tasty acrylamides.

fried meat!

For my entree I ordered the menchi katsu, "deep fried ground pork and vegetable", which comes with a dollop of mustard at the edge of the plate and a small dish of katsu sauce. Entrees are only mildly larger than the appetizers, so don't come here looking to get full. I was satisfied enough with the three surprisingly dense meat patties, although the fullness of my stomach also depended heavily on the bowl of chestnut brown rice I ordered to go with the meat. Nothing really blew me away, but it all tasted...good. It's hard for me to talk at length about anything if it didn't fill my belly with glee or immediately make me wonder, "Why the hell did I just swallow that?" This is good. Uh. Uhhh. [scratches head]

Saikyo-yaki Salmon Yuu-an-yaki

Jamie's saikyo-yaki, "grilled cod marinated in miso", was so tender that it was nearly impossible to pick up with chopsticks without breaking into tender little bits. Melanie's salmon Yuu-an-yaki, "grilled salmon marinated in yuzu and soy sauce", tasted like...oh, I just wrote the description. I only tried little bits of each so it wasn't easy for me to get much from those bites. Ahhhrhrhr god I fail. Someone put me out of my misery of being unable to find anything meaningful to say.

The consensus was that we really liked our food—we just wished there had been more of it. Sure, it's not fun to be so stuffed that you can feel semi-digested matter rise in your throat every time you attempt to open your mouth (actually, I really hope you don't know what I'm talking about), but it's not fun to eat a small amount of something tasty that makes you just want more of it. Melanie and I had that feeling, Jamie less so because she ate a huge cupcake before dinner. I wouldn't not recommend Chiyono, but despite the obvious well prepared-ness (someday I will think of a better term) of simple ingredients, it didn't leave a deep enough impression on me. It wasn't terribly pricey, but it would've felt more "worth it" if the prices were a little lower or if the plates had more stuff on them.

Maybe I'm too picky. Maybe I'm a cheap glutton. Probably more of the latter.

Oh, they have a really nice bathroom!

As I said, Jamie was full from eating cupcake-zilla for a pre-dinner snack. Melanie and I still craved our own cupcakes. I suggested Sugar Sweet Sunshine, but its location was deemed inconvenient. And then I remembered that I had just passed a bakery the other night...


When John and I were strolling around for foodstuffs I spotted Pinisi from across the street. I excitedly ran to the other side (looking down the street to make sure no vehicles were aiming to kill me, of course) and wondered how I could have failed to notice an American-style bakery on a street that I had walked on many times. I should know all the bakeries in the area, dammit. Every time a bakery is born, a little ding should go off in my head. God knows I probably wouldn't give a crap for any non-bakery storefront. I could sense the tiers of freshly baked goods pushed up against the window before I could see them. However, since I wasn't hungry at the time I just took a photo to remind myself to check it out later.

lemon cupcakes red velvet with blackberries cream puffs
tasty things

Uh...where did all this tastiness come from? Jebus. I don't even like most cream puffs, but I was tempted to try one of theirs for looking so perfect. The friendly man behind the counter (actually, everyone working there gave off an air of friendliess, which shouldn't be unexpected but sometimes it is) told me that they had been open for about 3 months. Now I had an excuse for not knowing about the bakery; I wasn't here. But other food bloggers go bakery hunting too, right? Mrrh?

display case

Besides cupcakes, fruit tarts, millefeuilles, and poofy things filled with cream, they had lots of cakes. I intend to attack one on my next visit.

my cupcake
my cupcake is awesome

Their blackberry-topped red velvet cupcakes were tempting, but not as appealing to me as the two-frostinged pink vanilla cupcakes ($2.50). BI-FROSTINGED. Double the frosting for double the sugar coma. The pink frosting is regular buttercream while the white is cream cheese based. I'm pretty sure the cake is just vanilla flavored, but I guess it also tasted bright pink. I'm sure many cupcake lovers know what I mean when I talk about an optimal frosting-to-cake ratio, which tends to veer more to the "too much cake" side. (Too much frosting is a rarity, but that's fine because it's less desirable than too much cake. Trust meee.) The ratio on the double frostinged cupcake was just right. While the cake wasn't as tender and light as most cupcakes I've had and it could've used a little more moisture, I enjoyed it enough so that I'd want to eat it again. 50% of that probably has to do with the frosting, which was creamy, light, and not too sticky nor sweet.

I chompeth

Since Jamie opted out of the cupcake madness, she took a gazillion photos of Melanie and I as we shoved cake down our throats. Melanie got a lemon cupcake, which was also very good. Except that it wasn't double frostinged.


They also have mountains of cookies. And what do you know; I like mountains of cookies! Next time, I'm afraid.

They're open from 6 AM to 11 PM every day. I sense a new late-night hang out! Not that I hang out late at night, but you know...just in case I get the urge to socialize at a time when people are typically in bars. Or something. I really don't know what "normal" people do.

It's amazing to have these friends that you sadly don't see often (even though we all go to NYU), get together for dinner and dessert after god knows how many months and feel like no time has passed. I guess all that time we spent together in middle school stuck deep, deeeep inside out brainmeats. In a good way, not in the mentally damaging "requires professional help" way.

"Remember Kara and Taylor?" said Jamie with maybe a little too much excitement.

The names Kara and Taylor will always make us laugh. You don't really want to know why...but I will explain just a smidge. One of our best friends Karen and I had beanie babies and we named two of the dog ones Kara and Taylor after our English teacher and her husband (who also taught at our school). We played with them a lot. The beanie babies, not our teachers. I still have a photo of Melanie smiling somewhat crazily while holding both of them on one of the last days of 7th grade.

...You don't want to hear any more, trust me. We were oddly much more vulgar in middle school than we are today. For better or worse, we can never forget about Kara and Taylor.

"Remember when we said we would all live together?" Jamie said referring to our numerous lunchtime conversations about our group (Melanie, Jamie, Karen and I) going to college together and living in the same apartment.

We unintentionally got pretty close to fulfilling that idea.

Other bits

sausage pizza

Last Friday Ed, Alaina and I went to Patsy's for our lunch break from eating seriously. Like a gazillion other pizzerias in NYC, it's a pizzeria that I had heard of but had yet to try. Although not my favorite, it's a lot better than most pizza I've had. I like light toppings, especially when they involve fresh mozzerella and basil. (Sausage is alright too.) The crust was thin enough. By that I didn't feel like I was holding a wet napkin that could rip at any point. Have you had pizza like that? I have. And it's kind of weird. I don't like uber doughy pizza either (if the ingredients don't balance it out, at least). So by "thin enough" I mean that it's in between the two extremes. Kind of like how "warm" is in between "cold" and hot".

...Yeah, that explanation sucked.

display case thingy
people need foods

On Saturday I went to City Bakery to meet Susannah for the first time as we simultaneously got drunk on malted milk hot chocolate. But first, what is this?

may be eaten with soymilk

I go to Paris for a few months and this is what I see when I return? How many vegans are there? And how many of them go to City Bakery? There's nothing wrong with catering to our fellow vegans, but this can't taste as good as the regular chocolate chip cookie. Right? You take away my butter goodness, I GIVE YOU PAAAAIN.

chocolate chip cookie
mm, buttery

Of course, the regular chocolate chip cookies fit for omnivores were in great supply. These babies are huge. Like the size of...babies. I could almost swear that the first time I ate one of these cookies a few years ago the cookies weren't this big. It used to look conquerable, but not I feel like the cookie is conquering me. I ate the whole thing, although whether it was enjoyable by the last few bites that I glared at while silently shouting, "GOLDEN CRUMBS OF BUTTERY AWESOMENESS, YOU WILL NOT DEFEAT MEEEE!!!", is still unclear.

hot chocolate (malted milk)
just looking at it hurts

My diminishing appetite probably had something to do with the malted milk hot chocolate that had become part of my stomach lining. City Bakery's hot chocolate is very rich and thick without being unbearably sweet or chocolatey...initially. And then you get three-quarters of the way through (this point may be reached sooner by normal folk) and realize, "Ohh, I shouldn't finish this, unless I want to feel hurty." That's what happened ot me. And you can ask why I didn't get the hot chocolate shot, but have you seen the hot chocolate shot? It's like two sips! Two very large sips. I got it once last year and felt unfulfilled after emptying the baby cup. Sure, it prevents the drinker from ingesting a gazillion chocolatey calories, but if you're going to go for it, you may as well go for the gold. The shot is too small and the regular cup is too big. It's probably best for two people to share a cup. Not that I've ever done it. I think Saturday was the first time I failed to finish an entire cup, which I attribute to having eaten an entire baby-sized cookie.

whoa croissant pudding wuh? croissant aux amandes! lemon tart thingies special?
baked things!

Although we weren't hungry, we wandered over to Tisserie just to take a look. The offerings improved since the last time I went there (there are many more French viennoiseries!), but the prices are still a smidge more than I'd be willing to pay on a regular basis. I may need to try the almond croissant though—it looks promising.


God knows I wasn't hungry, but macarons don't require hunger. They require...insanity. And what do you know; I have plenty of that. If you see a mac with potential, you must eat it. So I did. For $2.50 (plus tax).

I carried the lonely, fat lil' mac to the second floor, but all the tables were full of...people. Susannah and I didn't know where to sit in the overly packed bakery until we noticed two very small, white, plastic seats with an equally small table right across from the cashiers. The furniture set looked like it was meant for toddlers. Or puppies. Despite not fitting into either category, we plopped out bums down.

pistachio macaron

Upon first look I could tell that the outside was dry and the crust was thicker than I'd like. Otherwise it probably would've broke. I still remember when buying macarons at Pierre Herme that the macaron handlers would have to put the less-than-perfect specimens in the trench for broken macarons adjacent to the boxes of perfect macarons. ...Okay, I shouldn't compare anything to PH. I really wished they would've given the rejects to the customers, but no dice.


Overall the macaron wasn't that bad, but as you can see the crust is pretty thick and the atypical fatness/height of the macaron is due to it being 25% air. Air is okay, but more when it's distributed through the cookie, not when it's a bubble. The non-bubble part was moist and chewy, but I found it overly sweet. Really sweet. And you know what my sweet tooth is like, right? My favorite part was the filling for being most pistachio-y and not as sweet as the cookie (unless I just couldn't tell because there was more cookie than filling). I'm glad I tried the macaron, but I wouldn't feel compelled to get it again.

I should do some kind of updated NYC macaron taste test, eh? [scratches head]


110 1st Ave

328 E 6th St

128 E 4th St

318 W 23rd St

City Bakery
3 W 18th St

857 Broadway


Gerald / February 13, 2007 12:14 AM

Am I the only one that thinks the City Bakery (and Birdbath) chocolate chip cookies are way too crunchy? - or maybe I just keep getting stale ones.

Thanks for the tip on Pinisi - I'll have to check it out some time, I live so close to it.

And those macs from Tisserie look really awful. You should definitely do a mac tasting. There are so many places that make them now in NYC, but not many that make them even 1/2 as good as Laduree or PH.

Kathy / February 13, 2007 1:08 AM

oh god. i can't believe i'm missing the hot chocolate festival. yet another year has passed! I really wanted to try the breakfast muffin/bun (forget what it's called) at City Bakery, never had a chance. But that's what fooding in the city seems like to me - there's always so many things to try and see and eat that there's never enough time (not to mention stomach space) to eat everything! :) But I must say, you've done a very nice job! ;)

Jeanne / February 13, 2007 1:21 AM

Aaaaaand the list of places I must eat at over Spring Break grows ever longer. I ONLY HAVE FOUR DAYS. But I must, oh I must have one of those brioche & croissant puddings, and one of those lemon cupcakes. Darn it all, Robyn, maybe I should stop checking your site every day (I won't, though).

Edyta / February 13, 2007 2:14 AM

hehe... it doesn't matter how you eat it, as long as you like it. i haven't tried bigos with rice, but used to love it with boiled potatoes in the past.

"I go to Paris for a few months and this is what I see when I return" .. hahaha... vegans beware? :D

Tina / February 13, 2007 6:27 AM

I didn't know Pinsi existed since I don't go to East Village that often and there wasn't much press going on for me to be aware of its existence. Somehow, from looking at all of those cakes/cupcakes, I'm dying for one now!

As for the macaron hunting, I don't mind joining you. Except for the fact that there isn't many bakeries that sell these delicious cookies! Only the ones that I've written about several months ago (and your recent addition to Tisserie).

one girl / February 13, 2007 7:48 AM

completely randomm question but have you ever been to Fauchon on Park Ave? I have to go by there at least once a week for work and I was curious to know if it's worth stopping by...

and YUM Polish food looks good!

ann / February 13, 2007 8:52 AM

I'm glad you took my advice and at least tried Polonia! Too bad you didn't like it though. I've never eaten a blintz... they were something my Polish gran always told me wasn't real Polish food, but, eh, who knows! Their soups, to me, are still the best you can find in the East Village, but then again I've moved on to Brooklyn.

janet / February 13, 2007 11:13 AM

I don't think I'm a real cupcake aficionado. I am the South Pole to your North Pole of cupcake-frosting ratio. Melikes more cake please. But then the cake has to be good.

And Ms onegirl, do stop by Fauchon. It's expensive and a bit snooty, but they have the best fruit tarts. Haven't tried the macarons there but I'm not the expert that Robyn is.

roboppy / February 13, 2007 11:48 AM

Gerald: Crunchy because of staleness is bad, but crunchy because of inherent crunchiness is...not bad. Just a matter of preference, yes? I like crunchy things. :D I also like soft cookies. ...Okay, I like most cookies.

I've had worse macs in NYC and Paris! So sad. But they probably didn't cost as much as Tisserie's. A large one in Paris could cost the same.

How long is the list of macaron-eries in NYC worth checking out? If there aren't that many, I may try them...maybe with some help...

Kathy: I've never been especially blown away by any of the flavors during the hot chocolate festival, but it is fun to try things out. I've had 4 or 5 flavors by now? I keep feeling like they could use more flavor. Rawr.

As for the muffin, do you mean that thing made of croissant dough? Cos that thing is GOOOOOD.

Jeanne: 4 days isn't enough, oh god. Unless you just never eat full meals and snack everywhere. Which isn't such a bad idea, right? Won't kill you. ...Not right away at least!

Edyta: My Chinese-ness makes me want to eat rice with EVERYTHING. Even with rice. I like potatoes too though.

Tina: It's okay for you to know about Pinisi; you certainly don't live around there! But there must be people who pass it a lot and don't say much about it. Maybe they're not as into pastries as we are...(yeah that's probably it).

A macaron hunt is in order.

one girl: I've been to Fauchon a few times, but I've never actually tried any of their food. I bought a few things for my mum. I did try their macarons in paris at least, which were alright. As Janet says, it's expensive and a bit snooty. Not exactly my favorite environment, but it's worth checking out.

Ann: Ah, maybe I should've gotten soup! I'd never get soup unless someone recommended it to me though. Liquids aren't my best friend. (Except water!) And OMG I love blintzes so muuuch.

Janet: More cake? But then it's just...a naked cupcake! NEEDS FROSTING!!@!#!@

The Home Cook / February 13, 2007 12:17 PM

Mmm...pierogies. I love me some good Polish food (being I'm half Polish and all). There was a place near me in Central Jersey that served great Polish food but then they became catering only. They had excellent potato pancakes and pierogies.

I love the idea of bi-frosting, but only if the frosting isn't that sickly-sweet, overly sugary and grainy stuff. Blech! But that frosting looks creamy and tasty.

It's funny, I first saw macaroons on your blog when you were in Paris and then the other day I saw a little blurb about them in the NY Times. Fancy that, you must have imported the excitement over the macaroon when you came back. :)

(The Original) Mary Sue / February 13, 2007 1:32 PM

Yay! Return of the macarons!

Don't try the blackberry cupcakes. Or, if you do, don't tell me. Because they look AWESOME and I would be jealous. I like blackberries.

Also, the Giant Frosting Monster Cupcake scares and intruiges me. Kinda like rattlesnakes and fugu.

Rachel / February 13, 2007 1:41 PM

Tisserie doesn't really blow my mind, and I do agree they are a bit overpriced, but I must admit, the Palmieres (sp?) are really great.

Also, if you want good Polish food, you need to go to Greenpoint in Brooklyn!!! It's like being in Poland. (Also, S&B restaurant on Bedford Ave in Williamsburg is good for Polish food, too...)

Annie / February 13, 2007 2:42 PM

I've walked into Tisserie swooning with joy time after time, and walked out ten minutes later, regretful but with my wallet intact. It just never seems to be worth the money--not even the wall o' expensive fruit drinks and sodas. It's like the museum of baked goods.

On the other hand, Two Red Hens on the Upper East Side is wonderful. Their Red Velvet Mini-Cupcakes are the Platonic ideal of cake-to-frosting. You know what, Robyn? You should come up here and do some mini-fooding on the UES. Very few bargains, but some interesting things.

Carl Huber / February 13, 2007 3:15 PM

Those little pastry puffs are totally sticking their tongues out at you. In fact you might even say they're giving you raspberries!

/ except that it's strawberries...

kristi / February 13, 2007 3:40 PM

I was inspired by reading one of your many Paris posts on macarons, and went to Tisserie to sate my craving...I agree, they are not up to par, almost leaden and not at all flavorful. Boo!

Natalia / February 13, 2007 3:43 PM

Oooooh, you should try that diplomat brioche and croissant pudding thing. Not that I've had it before or have anything to base this on, but it looks really good. And definitely that almond croissant too.

lashes457 / February 13, 2007 6:11 PM

Oh man, I was so NOT sick of that hot chocolate. Maybe its because it was my first time, but I haven't stopped thinking about it since. Mmmm, it haunts me. In a good way.

Those potato pancakes look pretty nice, and I'm very jealous of the two-frostinged cupcake. Yummay.

nina / February 13, 2007 8:04 PM

hi robyn, i've been reading your blog for the past couple of weeks, but i decided today to let u know that omg, i love your blog!! like, luuuurve love......the blog is evil...i have a midterm tomorrow.....but as u can see......i'm...not studying, eheh. mmm, now i need to go get a snack.....

roboppy / February 13, 2007 8:11 PM

The Home Cook: Whoaa NYT said wuh? "MACCIES ARE AWESOME!" Probably not that. But they should've.

Mary Sue: Okay, I will try the cupcake, but not tell you. Or I will write in the title of the entry "THIS CONTAINS THE BLACKBERRY CUPCAKE!" so you can avert your eyes.

Giant Frosting Monster Cupcake is possible scarier than fugu.

Rachel: OH MY GOD I love palmiers! I didn't love em until I ate them in Paris. Many times. I suppose I should try that.

Ooh yeah, John told me to go to Greenpoint. Do you have any recs? I'm looking into Polish bakeries specifically. ;D

Annie: I agree that Tisserie looks pretty, but then you get closer to some of the stuff doesn't look quite as awesome. But I would really like the almond croissant. Hmmm.

I would love to check out Two Little Red Hens! I've only been there once, sadly. Too lazy to go to the upper east side, not that it's actually very far on the subway. I'm on the right side of Manhattan, at least. Gimme some more recommendations and maybe I can do a day of UES eating?

Carl: OH GOD THEY ARE! Anthropomorphic buggers! I am scared.

Kristi: Oh no, Tisserie will not satisfy that craving! Yes, leaden is a good description. Well, the non airy part at least. ;) And it is flavorful...with SUGAR! OH LORDY. :[

Natalia: I should eat it! For you! That's gonna be my excuse.

Susannah: Oh god, I can't imagine drinking any more of the hot chocolate. It's in my blood stream. Mingling with the...plasma.

But I will get more cupcakes! Yes! Not sick of those yet.

Nina: Thanks for de-lurking! LURVE! That's intense! That's like love with an extra consonant. And a different vowel. Anyhoo, I don't blame you for not studying. Come midterms I doubt I will be doing much (even if I should be).

Sara, The Wine Makers Wife / February 14, 2007 2:12 PM

Loved this post. I feel totally full. Brilliant idea, you must toa taste test of macs all over NYC, that would be killer. Can you eblive I have never had a Macaron before? Those red velvet blackberry cupcakes had me drooling. I want your life. Happy V-Day!!

roboppy / February 16, 2007 1:56 AM

Sara: A mac test may be coming up soon. Bwahahaaar! Or if not soon...uh...sometime. It will happen. Thanks for the v-day greetings! But you don't really want my life; every v-day is completely uneventful. :P

Charlie: Ooh yes, I shouldn't forget Su! I had a bag of em once. Didn't last long, of course. ;) Too bad you can't buy them in stores though; that makes it harder to just try one or two.

bionicgrrl / April 10, 2007 4:03 PM

the first time i ever went 2 tisserie i had the most delicious citron macaron ever. the next time, the macarons all sucked. they were all really hard and very tasteless. what the hell happened? grrrrr.....

Anastasia / March 2, 2008 8:59 PM

Robin, just had a praline mac at Tisserie, and it was AMAZING. I thought of you. Maybe they need a second chance. Life altering. As far at Two Little Red Hens, best cupcakes and cookies ever!!!!

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