The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

Back in the Suburbs, But Still Eating Plenty in NYC

at BJ's...

I did not eat all this Spam. Or any of this Spam. Or even a molecule of Spam-based substance. But over time, a large number of people (well, I hope a large number of people) will eat it all. Eeeevery last chunk of pallid, eraser-pink processed meat product will wriggle its way down the digestive tract of some poor person cursed with the ability to hook their finger or some other dexterous appendage into the can opening hook—the very key to unlocking the horror within—and release the meat from the suction of its thinly walled metal prison.

...Or not. How should I know?

Large quantities of Spam (among other things) may be bought at BJ's Wholesale Club. Shopping at BJ's means I'm officially back in the suburbs. [lets out a stifled "Yay!"] My mum and I don't have much need for mass quantities of food; I ended up buying a lifetime's supply of Post-Its, on which I'm writing French vocabulary words to decorate my wall with in hopes that my brain will actually retain something.

first plate plate 2
Mm, so much food

Another sign that I'm back in the 'burbs is that I ate at a Chinese buffet. Ohh, so much of my youth was spent going to buffets, shuffling between my seat and the vast selection of oily Chinese take out and pseudo American/Italian foods (having at least a row for salady things, another for mostly fried things, and another for hot things that don't fit into the fried or salady categories) touched by god knows how many people and then finishing off my meal with a bowl of vanilla soft serve topped with rainbow sprinkles.

My mum loves buffets, not so much because she likes to eat a lot (although...she kind of does) but because it's fast, cheap, and she can choose to eat the few things she really likes. I'm less fond of them because I just end up eating too much. However, I do like that I could eat a plate of green beans and snow peas—my favorite vegetables—if I really wanted to.

plate 4
Or just get dessert

The dessert part of the buffet used to be the highlight of the meal when I was little. Now...not so much. I don't think dessert is any buffet's forte. However, Grand Buffet's soft serve was actually really good. I mean, for soft serve. Thick, creamy, with lots of artificial vanilla flavorings of some sort. Sure, its ingredients and flavor may not match the higher standards of the Shake Shack's frozen custard, but I prefered the buffet's denser texture. The cheesecake on the left was also frozen, not intentionally but because a woman had demanded their cheesecake (half-jokingly, half "for the love of god, I really want cheesecake" not so jokingly) and as they had run out of their day's supply they could only provide the unthawed version. Don't ask why I also got a wiggly cube of lime green jello. The tastebuds, they wanted it.

sign hanging chairs hanging lighbulbs sofas n stuffs stacked tables
Mm, swedish

What other magnificent treasures does New Jersey hold? IKEA! Haven of cheap furniture and other handy stuff that look styling. My mum and I made three trips to buy new furniture (involving god knows how many hours of turning screwdrivers and hammering stuff together, but decipher all those illustration-only instruction booklets gets kinda fun after a while and I'm going to assume I burned a few calories in the process) so that neither of us are now sleeping on a mattress on the floor. IKEA has blessed us with the gift of elevation. Sweet.

meat spheres

IKEA has also blessed us with little spheres of ground beef and pork covered in cream sauce with boiled potatoes and sweet lingonberry sauce on the side. Swedish meatballs make the furniture buying process much easier to deal with. My mom ordered a large plate, but I found that...too large. Medium is probably good enough for an average-sized stomach.

chocolate cake

Their German chocolate cake isn't bad either. My mom and I shared a slice of alternating layers of airy chocolate mousse and cake atop a crushed chocolate cookie crust .

Now that my mom and I have settled into our new condo, I don't really feel like living in NYC anymore. I mean, in the hypothetical situation that I could afford to live there. Haha. This summer I'll see how much I can stand commuting.

I graduated


I graduated. A while ago. Along with all these other people. The department of food studies, nutrition and public health is part of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, formerly just the School of Education until someone decided that that name needed many more syllables to appropriately describe what the school teaches. I don't know if the new name is a whole lot better, but ...whatever, it's not my school anymore.

happy graduates
happy grads

Those people graduated too and were quite happy about it. Every year a few students prance into the Washington Square Park fountain after the end of the ceremony. Hopefully they didn't pick up any funny diseases from the water.

And...that was graduation. I guess I could say more, but it was pretty anticlimatic. Like most of my life. Haha! Ha. Well. Congratulations to all th other people who graduated this year, or will graduate. Some of my friends are graduating this three-day weekend. If I wake up early enough I can even watch some of the magic online, but I have a feeling I'm going to roll out of bed too late. [sigh]


Weekend with Lee Anne

Lee Anne chomps!
Lee Anne chomps!

One of my funnest friends Lee Anne, previously seen in entries such as this one, this one and this one, and above seen chomping outside Caffe Falai, visited me the weekend after graduation en route from Phoenix to London. Now I think she's in Spain. Or Italy. But first she made a stop to ROBYN TOWN, POPULATION: PARTIALLY AWESOME.

pretty tarts banana almond strood strawberry tart
sweet things

Vassar friend Jason accompanied us as I dragged our little food loving group around lower Manhattan. After putting our name on the waiting list at Lombardi's, we went to Caffe Falai for a pre-dinner snack. The man behind the counter was especially nice, or at least Lee Anne, who he chatted with after noticing that she still had an airport tag stuck to her bag. Of course, he's probably nice to everyone but I think Lee Anne gives out an aura of friendliness that just makes people feel comfortable talking to her. If the aura had a flavor, it would taste of strawberries and cream. And rainbows.

lemon sfogliatella innards!

Lee Anne and I shared at lemon sfogliatella. I thought it looked more like a turnover than a typical sfogliatella. Kinda tasted more like a turnover too, or somewhat croissant-y. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The flaky crust was filled with a not too sweet or tart lemon flavored cream. QUITE AWESOME.

chocolate fondant thingies I chompethed
chocolate thingies!

Jason shared a dense stub of chocolate fondant cake thingy (not the real name, but they probably only sell one variety of "chocolate cake fondant thingy") with us. It's messy to eat without utensils as its covered in a thin layer of chocolate frosting that will inevitably meld with the layer of filth on your fingers, but you can just lick your fingers off afterwards. Mm, filth! Hey, I'm still alive, it's cool.

The cake tasted very nutty, moist and dense. And chocolatey, of course, but not in an overpowering way. I don't know if it was flourless, but may have been. Wow, I'm so unhelpful.

ROBYN CHOMPY TIME? people are eating stuff!

I thought I should throw in a photo of us humans just to mix things up a little. "What are photos of peeeople doing in a food blog?"

Lee Anne is sad

Lee Anne is sad because the sfogliatella is gone. Aw. (T_T)


But there's no room for sadness when there's a huge-ass pizza sitting in front of you. Woohoo! Like the last time I went to Lombardi's, we shared a large pizza, half white, half regular. I'm not a pizza expert, but I do love the white pie with its warm, gooey blanket of cheese smothered in another layer of ricotta cheese pillows. However, a whole pie of the cheese overload would be too much—getting half plain cuts through the cheese bomb before it can screw with your belly. One pizza must be battled by the other. ...Or something. That's the reasoning I'm going with, at least.


We wandered down to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for dessert. I'm not sure how many times I've been there by now, but that last visit was only the first time I found out that you could get two flavors in a one-scoop cup. ...Which I found out after ordering my one scoop of mango and Lee Anne got a small cup with two flavors. Oops. The mango flavor isn't very strong, but it's creamy and mango-y and hell, it's not like I expected my cup to contain the essence of mango in dairy form. It's good stuff.

lychee in dairy form

But probably not as good as their lychee ice cream, which our ice cream scooping dude said was the most popular flavor. I feel dumb for never having ordered it before, as after stealing some out of Jason's cup I found out that it is really tasty. ICE CREAM SCOOPING DUDE TELLS NO LIES. It's sweet. And...more sweet. Lychees are damn sweet. Unlike other fruit flavored ice creams that may taste overly sweet or artificial compared to the candy borne from Mother Nature's nutrient and bug infested soil, lychee ice cream works pretty well, I suppose because the fruit already tastes really sweet. In my opinion, at least. Lychees aren't one of my favorite fruits—I'm rather "eh" about the texture—but the ice cream (or sorbet) version is great.

Kampuchea noodle bar

The next day Lee Anne and I ate at Kampuchea Noodle Bar for dinner after I had visited Lia and seen her newly naked-ed Jarvis and battling her to a duel of Wii tennis.

grilled corn
grilled corn

Sweet, sweet gilled corn, where have you been all my life? WHEEERE? [looks under pillow]...okay, not there. I kind of wish I had a grill just for the purpose of grilling corn. It wouldn't even need all the extras that Kampuchea put on it—coconut chili mayo, chili powder and dried coconut flakes—as tasty as they may be. All it would need is juicy kernels full of sugary endosperm. I guess a little butter and salt wouldn't hurt either. Kampuchea, why must you make me crave the corn, WHYYY?

Phom Penh Katiev
bowl of noods

Lee Anne and I shared a bowl of "Phom Penh Katiev" composed of flat rice sticks, chicken broth, ground Berkshire pork, duck confit, chicken breast, tiger shrimp, sprouts & herbs.

I like the flat rice sticks, oh yes

It wasn't "OH MY GOD, I SEE JESUS!" good, but it was...good. The "I like it now, but I wouldn't necessarily get it again" good. Which might be closed to "not bad" instead of "good". But it was good. I'm just bad at explaning how. [blinks]


I would've liked it more if it contained more chunks of glorious meat. My perception of the meat content is probably skewed because I shared it with Lee Anne and the total meat percentage was spread out over four kinds of meat, but for some reason I felt it it needed more meat. Or maybe it was the broth, which wasn't bad, but...I'm kind of blanking out here. It wasn't as satisfying as Minca or Momofuku, I suppose. Not that I should be comparing different noodle breeds to one another.

Euh. Overall, I liked Kampuchea Noodle Bar, but I'm not itching to go back because if I want a giant bowl of noodles in that area I'd rather just go to the insanely cheap Bo Ky in Chinatown where you could get twice the noodle for less than one bowl at Kampuchea. Cos I'm...cheeeaps.

pistachio and cinnamon
small cup of gelato

For dessert we went to Whole Foods for some late night Il Laboratorio gelato. The pistachio was surprisingly not that mind blowing. Yes, I think it's okay to expect your mind to be blown by a gun of deliciousness when eating from Il Lab. But the pistachio, while not containing any trace of artificial nut goo or almond, just didn't have any oomph aside from the crushed pistachio bits. Thankfully, the strongly flavored cinnamon made up for the pistachio's shortcomings by wrapping my head in a warm blanket of cinammon.


Here's a cute photo of Lee Anne blurrily posing behind a few macarons from La Maison du Chocolat that I had bought earlier that afternoon for us to share. Don't you just wanna hug her face? YES!!! Somewhere in her camera she has a photo of me doing the same thing. WE'RE LIKE TWIINNZZZZZ.

oh yes, you know where this is...

The next day, when my sickness had reached that level where you feel like your brain has been replaced by a sack of mucus, we ate lunch at Shake Shack with Lee Anne's friend from high school, (and NYU graduate) Poonam.

shroom burger shroom burger

I resisted the burger for once to try something new: the 'SHROOM burger. How does Shake Shack take portobello mushroom and turn it into a sandwich worthy of sitting on a gold-encrusted throne with its own flock of specially trained gold-encrusted geese and gold-encrusted dancing penguins (the gold means they're special)? They shove a bucket of muenster cheese between two large 'shrooms, bread and deep fry the sandwich of fungus and cheese until golden and crisp, shove it in a soft lil' angelic bun and top it with fresh lettuce, tomato, and SHACK SAUCE. Biting through the crust release a torrent of melted cheese. A TORRENT! ...Okay, a slow-moving torrent. Which isn't really a torrent. But it was more torrential than any other cheese-filled sandwich I had encountered before. That's some good stuff, oh yeaaah.

Lee Anne and Poonam both enjoyed their Shack Burgers, but told me that I really have to go to In-N-Out sometime. (It's not by choice that I haven't gone! More like a problem with living on the East Coast.) If I visit Lee Anne in Arizona this summer, then I will. Ohh yes, how I will.

I doodled in Lee Anne's notebook

Lastly, here is a Poofy related doodle I made in Lee Anne's notebook. My stories have no depth or substance. Just donuts with the power to float, plain and simple.


Grand Buffet
875 Route 17 South
Ramsey, NJ 07446

100 Ikea Dr
Paramus, NJ 07652

Caffe Falai
265 Lafayette St

32 Spring St

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard St

Kampuchea Noodle Bar
78 Rivington, New York, NY

Il Laboratorio del Gelato, on the first floor of Whole Foods
95 E Houston St

Shake Shack
Madison Square Park


Tina / May 26, 2007 8:37 PM

Looking at all of that Spam is scaring me...I won't touch that thing even if I'm dying of starvation. But that's just my opinion.

The corn from Kampuchea looks amazingly good! Too bad the noods didn't match the greatness of the corn. And good god, that 'shroom burger looks awesome too! *drools* I want gooey cheese now...

Jeanne / May 26, 2007 8:59 PM

Damn. I want that Poofy donut doodle on my wall! Mmm I don't even like portobello mushrooms, but breaded & deep fried + filled with muenster cheese makes everything awesome.

Eric / May 26, 2007 11:48 PM

Grand Buffet huh? Is that the one by Rt 1 in Edison? I've been there a few times lol.

Speaking of buffets...I'm not sure if you're into sushi or not, but there's this place called Minado ( It's a huge sushi buffet place which I think has a few locations in NJ and one in NYC (in K-Town lol). Being that you're the girl who eats everything, you should definitely check it out!

kay / May 27, 2007 2:55 AM

I love spam..espeically when I slice it thin and pan fry it to perfect crispiness, serve it on top of steamed white rice : ). Puhahaha.

By the way looking at your Chocolate cake thingy, I read yesterday that one cupcake has the same calories as three slices of pizza. I love cupcakes and don't plan on giving up though.

jo jo / May 27, 2007 3:19 AM

ahhh i see you've finally discovered the power of the cheeseifried mushroom! I dare you to work your way up to the triple yummy SHACK STACK!!!

Kathy / May 27, 2007 6:08 AM

OMG, SPAM! Robyn! This must be some kind of message that you should go to Hawaii! :-) we were always taught in school: four most important things to pack in your emergency hurricance kit is water, spam, flashlights and batteries! :) hehe, but for real, fry up a slice and have it for breakfast with rice, scrambled eggs and furikake! :)

SalemsMom / May 27, 2007 9:00 AM

You should see how much they go through in Hawaii LOL!...Spam Musubi, Spam on the pizza at PIZZA kids love the husband wont even come into the kitchen when im cooking it......their favorite is fried really brown, and dumped over ramen...

roboppy / May 27, 2007 10:26 AM

Tina: HAHA, looks like Spam is a good memory for a lot of other people here. Ohh, maybe I will have to try it someday. I mean..once. ;)

Shroom burger demands to be eaten again.

Jeanne: Maybe you would like a deep fried cheese slab sammich better? :D Hell, I'd eat that.

Eric: Oo no, it's not by Edison...I guess there are a few Grand Buffets, hehe. They need to come up with more interesting names.

Yup, I've been to Minado! The one in NYC got replaced by Todai, but the others ones are still Mindado. That was one of my mum's FAVE places. ;) Their salads are really good...actually one of the reasons i liked it so much, not so much because of the sushi. Hmm, kinda makes me wanna go back...

Kay: Ahh, don't tempt me with your delicious Spam memories!...

Ah, same calories as three slices of pizza? That depends what kind of pizza. ;D And cupcake. I don't really care about calories. I mean, I probably should, but if I think the "making Robyn Happy" factor is higher than the "might kill Robyn" factor, then it's all good.

Jo Jo: DUDE I TOTALLY WANT TO TRY THAT! Ahh! Am I worthy to eat it? ;D

Marvo: Sounds like Poofy needs to make a partnership with...with the MEATBALLS! And then all would be right with the world.

Kathy: If you think the Spam is a sign, then OKAY I WILL GO TO HAWAII! :D (Uh, seriously, I'd love to visit. Can I?) I might have to try Spam now that it seems to be a tasty part of so many people's diets. Which makes me wonder how non-Asian people like to eat it...

SalemsMom: Over ramen? Oh noo!...but I love me some pork slices...well, I guess it's kinda close. I'll try Spam musubi if someone makes it for me!

Alex / May 27, 2007 1:21 PM

Spam-fried rice...yum. I could also see myself enjoying Spam on pizza or a Croque Spamonsieur* (essentially because I love both with such intensity that it's near-impossible to mess them up...I sometimes even crave - specifically - "bad" pizza)...

First time poster, here, but finally motivated to say "yo!" and "hollla!" because I was feeling really antisocial this weekend and, as a result, read all of your archived blogs. Which then made me crave pastries. Which I went out to procure so that I could munch while finishing reading your posts. Which made me crave more. Which...ah, I'm sure you're catching on to the cycle.

It's a great way to feel like I (e-)know you, though! Back-to-back Robyn musings...allllll right!

High-fives all around!

*I don't think a "Croque Spamonsieur" actually exists; I just made it up. And the wall it's spelled (supposed to be clever; sheesh!) it looks a little - upon first glance - like "Spa Monster". Yikes!

santos. / May 28, 2007 7:38 AM

are you really going to arizona? and are you really going to hawaii? then you have to come to los angeles oh yes you dooooooooo

maria~ / May 28, 2007 8:43 PM

Congrats, Robyn! You're liberated from the confines of college! Yippee!

Anyhoo, my sis is selling her soul at Parson's for the next two years and you can bet your maccarons that I'll be visiting her pretty regularly. I don't wannt to sound or seem creepy or anything but would you care to share some chow time with my sis and me in NYC some time?

Kay / May 28, 2007 10:13 PM

Last night on the food channel they were talking about a place that fried their french fries in lard. PUHAHAHHA

roboppy / May 29, 2007 12:38 AM

Alex: HOLLA! (Alright, I never say that in real life, but online is okay!)

Oh, the vicious cycle of eating yumy stuff and looking at yummy stuff and wanting more yummy stuff and then exploding and eating more yummy stuff...I know it. Well. I stop for a while, digest, and then go back for more. Um. time...

Mm, you do ever make a croque spamonsieur, don't tell the French! ;)

santos: I just bought my tickets to Arizona! I would love to go to LA, but probably not this summer. .__. ...Damn, when's my next vacation time? Wait, do I get that anymore now that I don't go to school? AHH!!!

Maria: Selling her soul, yay! My friend who went to Parsons seemed to have more than a crapload of work. Eheh! school...oh dear. (We did hang out every now and then, so at least she had some ROBYN time.)

I'm totally down with CHOW TIME! Let me know when you're here!

Kay: Ooh...that must be tasty. Wait. Is it? I've eaten stuff cooked with lard and I think it is tasty. Mmm.

susannah / May 29, 2007 8:17 PM

"I ended up buying a lifetime's supply of Post-Its, on which I'm writing French vocabulary words to decorate my wall with in hopes that my brain will actually retain something."

What a good idea! Subliminal learning - like school except without trying!

I went to Blue Ribbon this weekend and ate the most delicious tuna sandwich of my life. As I was in the area, I thought I'd mention that I think Magnolia's cupcakes have improved, though that lemon sfogliatella looks pretty niiiiiice (said in a Borat voice).

Kathy / May 29, 2007 8:58 PM

besides...what better sign could you ask for than spam?! :)
but seriously, COME!

Cassandra Tan / May 29, 2007 11:03 PM

those noodles did actually make me see Jesus. In fact, they put me in a downright J-Hole, for at least as long as the pope prays b4 his meals. Though, it might have just been an alien, or the lesser known silver encrusted puffin.

roboppy / May 30, 2007 1:39 AM

Susannah: I don't know if subliminal learning works on me. I do have to READ the post-its though...very easy since they're on the wall by my bed...yet I haven't been doing much of that. Oh my.

Ahh, SAMMICH OF DELICIOUS! Awesome. I haven't been to Magnolia in ages! I suppose I should go back then?

Kathy: DUDE I WANT TOOOO!!! ...BUT I DUNNO HOW LIKELY IT IS THAT I CAN...or should...or..doh. .__. My mum finds it hard to believe that people would just invite me to their homes, haha. Waah.

Cassandra: Damn, those noodles...they touched a part of your soul. And glossed over MY soul. If I have a soul.

leena! / May 30, 2007 7:11 AM

Girl, you funny!
May I ask how you came about writing for the Gothamist?
What sort of fun things do you plan on doing in the burbs? Congrats again on graduating and getting edumakated. If you don't want to be officially grown up yet, I highly suggest you keep going to's been working for me!

Giso / May 31, 2007 8:41 AM

I thought the corn had melted cheese on top of it...but it didnt...coconut sounds good too, but melted cheese would be awesome. hmmm, must try corn and melted cheeeeeessseee :D

roboppy / May 31, 2007 4:48 PM

Leena: I started writing for Gothamist since I wrote for Parisist and thus became "person who can write for any -ist site." Or something. ;) I had also met the Gothamist food editor before, which probably helped. However, it's only a temporary thing until the end of June.

I plan on SLEEPING in the burbs. :D Half of my time is spent in NYC anyway, hehe.

Ahh yes, I could go back to school. But the drive isn't there. I'm so lazy. :( Unless there is a school where I can learn how to sew plush toys. THAT WOULD BE COOL!

Giso: Oo, cheese would've been interesting! I've never had corn with cheese melted on it. Something to make, perrrhaps...

Yooj / June 4, 2007 9:10 AM

SPAM! Yeah, don't knock it till you've tried it. In Hawaii it's a staple and I consider ourselves culinary geniuses....
Spam musubis, honking slabs of spam nestled between rice and wrapped snugly in nori.....
slobber, drool.

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