Jacques Torres

Tuesday, October 30, 2007 12comments No tags Permalink 0


As of last weekend, I’ve officially deemed Sundays ‘Cave’ days. Cave days are days where I have absolutely nothing scheduled for myself. I can wake up anytime of the day; go anywhere and eating anything I want. I do all this by myself. It’s wonderful to have company and good friends to eat and celebrate with, but sometimes there’s nothing quite as rewarding as saving one entire day for no one but yourself.

Sunday morning, I woke up near noon, and the only reason I didn’t wake up later was because the sun was shining in my face and I was too lazy to reposition myself. Two more yawns and a few morning stretches, I moved on to the kitchen, toasted slices of ciabatta and smeared on generous servings of pesto and dollops of burrata purchased from DiPalo’s just yesterday afternoon. Breakfast concoction arranged on a glass plate, I returned to my room, hopped over the bed and made a cozy seat along the windowsill over looking Rivington Street. I did my normal Sunday routine: organize the closet, ‘clean’ the room, check email & blog & more blogs & even more blogs…man, reading food blogs could potentially be your entire life!

And then I set off. I set off without checking the weather report, because that’s what happens when you are born and raised in Hawaii. Everyday is warm. Some days are warmer. Others are cooler. But it’s mostly the same. So you could imagine my shock when I stepped out into the cold, windy air that appeared deceivingly nice and sunny from five stories up. I decided not to go back and fetch a sweater because I knew if I’d end up curling peacefully back into bed for a nice, long nap. Because it is Sunday.

So I continue on, in search of warm sweet deliciousness that would warm my chilly bones. Barely a minute out the door and fingers are already starting to turn blue! I don’t have a destination in mind – that’s what usually happens when I go for strolls with food as an ending objective. I set foot out the door and start walking. I walked west on Houston that day, and I kept on walking from the LES past East Village, Soho, and finally West Village. It was so cold and I really had no clue where I was going. All I wanted was a super hot cup of something sweet to warm me from the inside out. Actually. I realized. I wanted hot chocolate.

A quick run-through of my mental storage box for potential hot chocolate spots, I made a quick left, across a few more streets and out of the windy cold and straight into the warmth of Jacques Torres.

The store was near empty when I entered, save for four workers quietly arranging chocolates like you would imagine in a movie of sorts. Fall decorations up in the air: pumpkins of all shapes, autumn leaves and the soothing hum of the espresso machine in the background.

I ordered a cup of Wicked Hot Chocolate, picked a high table between the chocolate bar and case of baked goods, whipped out my journal and had the most relaxing hour all week. I held the paper cup warm in my hands and first sipped the creamy top that was quickly forming a chocolate ‘skin’ if you will. This hot chocolate is not near thick as City Bakery’s famous creation, but I like it better. It’s dark and richly intoxicating yet thin enough to call a ‘drink’ without feeling as if you’re simply downing melted chocolate bars.

The surface gives way to a rich liquid with just enough of a spicy punch right as it hits your throat. It a tingly sort of heat, that pleasantly lingers as mild afterthought…much like that reflexive smile that forms on your face when you think happy thoughts!

The cup of chili spiked chocolate was gone before I knew it. My fingers were no longer blue (thank god!) and I was all warm and content. Ahhhh. It was a wonderful feeling! I turned my head to observe the action around me. There store welcomed a slow but steady stream of customers. Oddly enough, the majority of customers were either young couples or dads with toddlers in tot…not a single mom in sight!

I spotted the mudslide cookies I love so much, and contemplated for a brief second about purchasing one…but my mind quickly changed as it registered an Almond Meringue Cake displayed right behind the cookies.

Almonds! Bananas! Dark Chocolate! All together? Woohoo! It didn’t take much thought before I leap out off the seat and to the register to call this slice of cake my own.

Manuvering the fork from top down, you’ first crackle though the crisp sugar dusted meringue shell, into the depths of an unusually moist, dense cake – purely almond in flavour with a deliciously grainy texture from all the ground nuts. At the base of the meringue are two distinct layers: a banana puree, and a thicker layer of bittersweet chocolate ganache, all on a flaky, but unremarkable short crust. I could have done without anything but the almond meringue itself and leave more than content. The bananas and chocolate took it to another notch – not necessarily up a more notch, but gave the dessert another dimension, another direction. Some might prefer it with the bananas and chocolate, making it sweeter and more complex, but after that divine cup of Wicked Hot Chocolate, it was definitely the moist meringue which I treasured most.

Jacques Torres
350 Hudson at King Street
NY, NY 10014
(212) 414-2462

Roni-Sue’s Chocolates

Monday, October 29, 2007 10comments No tags Permalink 0


I couldn’t have moved to the Lower East Side at a better time. Restaurants and bakeries are springing up right and left, and everywhere I turn, I spot a new place that was not there the day before. It is akin to a never ending magic show – where each moment brings wonderful new surprises. I’m surrounded by a mix of the new, as well as older classics I’ve quickly grown to love like Russ & Daughters and Economy Candy.

Barely two blocks away from my home is the Essex Street Market, notably home to Shopsins, Formaggio Essex and Anne Saxelby’s darling cheese shop. Today marked the official opening of Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, and I stopped in after a long day at work. This invitingly tiny shop is on the east wall of the market, truly a blink-‘n-miss, so keep your eyes out!

Pop in and you’ll be rewarded with eye candy of the sweetest sort, a whole bounty of truffles made by the lady with a warm smile standing right behind the counter – that would be Roni-Sue herself. She patiently walked me through an array of her truffles, each one more enticing than the next. There’s something to catch everyone’s whimsy and wishes, whether you crave flavours of pine nut marzipan, fresh coconut, mint, chili, and if, oddly enough, truffles are not your love, then surely you’ll be enraptured with single nibble of the buttercrunch. More nutty than sweet, it’s a truly buttery toffee with a fine balance between the smooth milk chocolate and caramel crunch.

I am writing this as I eat, or rather, savour my way through this Portly Fig. The thick dark chocolate shell encases a smooth and intense ganache, only disturbed in the best way possible by little crackles of fig seeds from the burnt fig jam. You can make out the slightest doozy of fig vinegar, and should you pay close attention, yes, what is that? Oh yes, a whisper of port wine!

I also picked up a quartet of truffles for Shann, the best apartment-mate anyone could ask for! From left to right: Frida – bittersweet chocolate with espresso, Mexican cinnamon and Kahlua, Strawberry Rhubarb – blended with strawberry and rhubarb puree, then infused with wild strawberry liqueur, Rhubarb jam Mango – with mango puree and an infusion of Galliano liqueur and mango jam, Zydeco – with red chile confit, sweet red pepper leather, red chile jam, fresh chile infused tequila, sea salt and ground mixed dried pepper mélange. The last one plays sister to another spicy truffle, the Diablo, which Roni-Sue cut me a nice sample. It instantly reminded me of Jacques Torres’ wicked hot chocolate, only concentrated into one potent, and memorable truffle. Her truffles are of the homey sort, a distance cry from the delicate perfection of Kee’s and La Maison Du Chocolat. Nonetheless, they’re wonderful for what they are, each truffle warrants three averaged sized bites, enough to satisfy a craving…or perhaps whet you appetite for more.

Truffles run $2, and I can see how this might turn into a nightly addiction, as the chocolate shop is merely steps away from my subway stop. Nonetheless, it’s an addiction of the most wonderful sort, because chocolate, especially dark chocolate, seems to whisk you away in a instant, off to another world where one would remain blissfully content to stay.

Roni-Sue’s Chocolates
Essex Street Market, #24
120 Essex Street at Delancey
New York, NY 10002
212.260.0421

The Day I Ate Too Much Part III: 4pm-9pm

Sunday, October 28, 2007 13comments No tags Permalink 0

Before you read this post, make sure you are filled in on:
The Day I Ate Too Much Part 1
The Day I Ate Too Much Part 2

Following our wonderful feast at the Red Hook ball fields, Robyn, Shann and I…exercised! Bwahahah. Actually, we just took a long walk in search of MORE DELICIOUSNESS. I love walking where there are food-related objectives in mind!

So we walked and walked, and man, it was a far walk! This was only my second time in Brooklyn, and I couldn’t get over how quiet and residential everything was – it felt as if I were in another state. Soon we approached signs indicating we were somewhere within the vicinity of Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies.

And more signs.

There were many signs.

I felt like we were so close…yet so far away! But we kept on following the signs.

For quite a few steps.

It was like a game!

And finally. We were there!! *Cheers* The retail storefront is basically a counter set inside a huge warehouse. The girl you see in the picture was not very nice. She wasn’t mean. She just was. Not Friendly…gave off lots of I-don’t-want-to-be-here-vibes. Oh well. Not everyone can be nice :( The three of us split the Swindle, the ‘signature’ dessert at this place. Swindle = entire mini key lime pie (crust and all) dipped in dark chocolate and frozen!

We took our happy Swindle to the tables outside and bit in.

It was good. I don’t know. Perhaps I expected too much…I tend to do that, hehe. The Swindle was exactly what it was supposed to be and nothing more: a key lime pie dipped in dark chocolate. Granted, it was a very respectable key lime pie, tart and not overly sweet, very, creeaaaamy with a simple graham cracker crust. Dipped in chocolate. On a stick. I wished there was a greater pie to crust ratio. It was like 2:1 filling to crust, but there needed to be more of the FILLING. Cause it’s a pie! And pies…should be filled high with lots of deliciousness. Yummies, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for this. If you’re curious to learn more about the creator of these key limes pies, this interview with Steve Tarpin is a good read :)

This place was hidden! I felt as if we won a game, or found gold at the end of a rainbow after following all the signs leading to the pie. But once we were there, the ‘location’, if you will, was really soothing, unlike any other place in the city. Steve’s is located right along the waterfront, so if you look left, you see water!

And if you look the other direction, you see plants! bwhahahaha.

Satisfied with our chocolate and pie, we then moved on to our next destination…BAKERY! Oh man, bakeries are such joyful places! Our country should just be populated with many, many, wonderful and delicious bakeries, each one specializing in just one item. That way, we could all eat the best of the best. Or at least some pretty awesome stuff. Sigh. Such are my daydreams.

The outside Baked is soooo cute, it just makes you want to go, “awwwww!” :)

And the bright orange door is even cuter! Super ‘awwwww!’ :)

And then you go inside, and it’s all so happy from front to back, left to right. The good thing about this bakery is that there’s so much seating everywhere!

Spotted along with the morning pastries and cupcakes was this darling Coca-Cola cake! “Chocolate bundt infused with Coca-Cola and topped with a rich chocolate frosting.” It’s $4 a slice, or $38 for the whole cake, if you’re curious.

The left front of the store is lines with chocolates, candies, cookbooks, food books and…marshmallows!

Here are the two marshmallows I ordered: one chocolate and one vanilla. I super duper love marshmallows. (Sadly enough, I probably love the Jet-Puffed commercial ones just as much as I love the ‘homemade’ versions…)

A bite of each…and…just okey dokey. Actually, these marshmallows were not that good. The chocolate ones didn’t even remotely taste of chocolate! It was like the vanilla version with the faintest tinge of brown, and dusted in cocoa. I can’t even recall what it was about the marshmallows that I didn’t like…maybe it was because I was still super stuffed from morning fooding in Manhattan and then all the food from the ball fields. I’ll just have to re-visit Baked on another trip!

Shann perusing the Baked menu…

Shann’s peanut butter brownie. This I liked. Very much! Instead of globs of peanut butter interspersed throughout the brownie, like how many bakeries choose to do it, the peanut butter here was actually mixed in with the batter. This makes it an honest-to-goodness true peanut butter brownie. Cause the whole brownie is a peanut butter brownie. Not just a chocolate brownie with occasional peanut butter laced bites. Aside from lacking a thin, crackly crust, which is always a bonus, this made it way of up high on my ‘brownies I love’ list. It leans more on the fudgey side, very dense and remained intensely chocolate, even after the addition of all the peanut butter. Many thumbs up!

Robyn the Super Duper Food Photographer!

Robyn got the sweet-salty brownie. Strangely enough, it tasted a good deal of sweet (even toooooo sweet), but there was no salty! Where did the salty go? We don’t know! Neither Robyn or Shann were able to finish their brownie, so they wrapped up the remaining half for ‘later’. Why did I just tell you that? Because there’s another story that goes along with what happened to their brownie ‘later’ ;)

UNEATEN

I noticed something very sad while we were eating our sweets. The table next to us left behind all this food! Look at that picture, it makes you depressed, doesn’t it? There’s totally a 75% full cup of milk, and an ENTIRE cupcake with only a dabble of frosting touched? What HAPPENED?! It was too sad, so we tried not to focus on the severe uneated-ness of that table! SO BAD :( Instead, we packed up, and started to make the far trek back to the F subway line.

But.

I had a sudden craving. For something sooooo badly. I WANTED COKE! I wanted a super ice cold can of Coke. NOTHING would do but Coke at that one moment. It was strange. Because I don’t even like soda. I used to drink a little soda when I was a kid (Root Beer and Mountain Dew were favourites). And then from middle school till the last year of college I swore off soda…because it’s just extra sugar and wasted calories. But recently, I’ve started drinking soda again. Oh man. Well anyways, I REALLY WANTED A COKE. And I told this to Robyn and Shann like ten million times. I must have driven them insane.

They could tell just how badly I wanted my Coke so we made it sort of a group mission to find COKE. The thought of something sweet, fizzzzzzzy, and super cold coupled with everything we had eaten made me crave COKE so badly. It was nutso. We walked here and there. But really, there was no Coke in sight because the neighbourhoods were mainly residential. I wished someone set up a soda machine on the corner of the street!

We were walking back the way we came, which meant that we needed to pass the Red Hook ball fields, when Robyn noted that I could get my soda there! HOORAY! I was sooo happy! When we came near the fields, I broke into a semi-run/jog towards the Pupusa Stand, where we spotted soda earlier!

“Coke please!” I asked the nice guy who ladled up my Atol de Elote just a two hours ago.
“Diet? Regular?” He pulled out both from the ice chest. OOOOOH, a can of soda never looked so fantastic in my whole entire LIFE. That’s 21 years there, baby!
“Hmmm,” I never thought about the Diet Coke option. But given all the food I’ve eaten since 10am (literally, non-stop eating since I woke up), I figured all that aspartame in one can of Diet Coke won’t kill me. So Diet it was!

Photo from Robyn :)

And how was this Coke? I was mighty darn happy! That hit the spot :)

We walked a bit more before finding the F line and then took the train back to our apartment. Where we promptly took a nice long well deserved nap. Shann fell asleep on her bed. Me in my bed. And Robyn in the lovely leather chair I carried all the way from 1st St & 1st Ave. The chair was given to me by a very cute guy. I trucked that chair down six narrow flights of stairs, across one MAJOR street (Houston), and across four more smaller street, and up five flights of stairs and right into my apartment door. Where it now sits in our ‘living room’. It’s a brown leather rocking chair. Very cozy, and BIG. It’s the biggest piece of furniture in our apartment (aside from the beds). If you ever come over and see a brown leather rocking chair. You’ll know. I worked hard to carry that chair all the way over here!

After a two hour ‘resting break’ in our apartment, we set off to Chinatown in search of dinner! The eating – it just never stops!

But first we took a peek into the grand opening of Papabubble

The inside of the store was lined with beautiful bags and jars packed with little rounds of ‘freshly pulled’ hard candy. Banana, pineapple, all the fruit flavours you could imagine, a chocolate covered coffee flavour, and even a sours mix. We didn’t get to catch any of the ‘pulling’ action while were there at the grand opening, but maybe we went too early, cause other reviews of the evening tell a different story. Oh how I wished I could have sampled a “fresh WARM candy!” Oh well, next time. I’ll be back when I’m in a sweets mood to pick up a jar of the ginger and honey candy!

We then moved to Chinatown with no restaurant in mind. I’ve got a goal to eat at all the restaurants in Manhattan’s Chinatown, so I was up for anything so long as I had never been there before. Robyn had Excellent Pork Chop House in mind, so after a brief walk past a million other restaurants, we decided that yes, indeed, the Excellent Pork Chop House would be most appropriate for the evening!

The place was doing brisk business on Saturday evening. Very big, clean and brightly lit!

Robyn went with the pork chop over rice. This dish (and everything else on the menu) is an awesome bargain for the quality (and quantity) of food. I love how there’s a huge mound of preserved cabbage hidden under the pork chop!

Shann did a chicken curry and rice order…this dish reminds me of home. There are so many small local places in Hawaii that serve of this comforting dish of curry chicken over rice. In fact, I dare say that chicken curry rice is more abundant in Hawaii than the bagel in Manhattan! Perfect winter food, still enjoyable over the island summer, hearty, simple and happy. Sigh. I’d greatly appreciate it if someone would fly me back home to Hawaii just for one day!

I did the noodle and pork chop combo. You can pick the noodle of your choice, so I went with my favourite type of noodle. I don’t know what it’s called in English, so I order in Cantonese, “hooh funn.” You probably know what it is. The wide, super thin, flat white noodles? Yeah! Well that my most favourite type of noodle in the WORLD.

My pork chop came on the side. And oh man, I really liked it all the way from noodle to pork chop and two big bites of Shann’s chicken curry rice. My pork chop came out sizzling hot, a nice char in all the right spots and super juicy with all these familiar flavours I can’t pick out by name. But they taste RIGHT. Like I’ve had it before. You know? How when you grow up eating mainly Asian food, you know what seems to taste RIGHT and what DOESN’T? Well this falls straight into the YEP, this is RIGHT category. Sorry. That was totally unhelpful!

Bellies packed with pork chops and wonderful starches, we walked our way up from Chinatown to the Village for…DESSERT! Bwhahaha. It’s always a good day when you have dessert! Instead of getting a cup of ice cream each, we decided to go in on a double scoop of taro and pumpkin.

Another shot of Robyn – the Super Duper Food Photographer!

Midway through ice cream-ing, one of us (can’t remember who!) commented, “hehe, we’re eating ice cream, even though we said we were going to skip dessert after all we ate in Brooklyn.” Sigh. The stomach. And mind. Seems to forget things it doesn’t like to remember! :) I wasn’t sure if both pumpkin and taro were going to ‘combine’ well, but everyone was happy with the choices, hurray! I still can’t decide if I like the taro or pumpkin better, both were equally good, with taro was on the starchy side, dominate on the super taro-ness of it all! Most shops make it taro flavour too light, but they got it right at Sundaes & Cones. Shann noted that the taro has a slight Oreo-esque flavour that lingers…nice! The pumpkin was better that the last pumpkin ice cream I had, which was at Emack & Bolio’s. Stronger flavours, lots more cinnamon than I’m used too, which is fine with me, because cinnamon is always good in my books!

And then.
I had another craving.
Damn those cravings.
I killed the Coke craving. But this one was unexpected.
I needed a brownie.
REALLY BADLY.
And so I spoke my feelings to Robyn & Shann.
How they put up with my insane, spur of the moment cravings, I do not know.
Hehe, good friends, that’s what they are!

So I wanted a brownie. And I would not stop talking about browniebrowniebrownie. Crazies.

And then! Robyn remember she still had half her Baked Sweet and Salty Brownie! And she gave it to me :) I told you she was a good friend! And so I ate the brownie with our ice cream.

Craving Killed.

Shann and I parted ways with Robyn after the ice cream. We accomplished A TON of Saturday! All that eating, and exploring, and LEARNING. Eating = Learning, remember? ;)

Shann and I decided to walk back home to the lower east side. Somewhere near 4th St & 2nd Ave, I took the last bite of Robyn’s brownie (I’m a pretty slow (but steady!) eater). And then…I wanted another bite!

DAMMIT!

So I spoke my feelings…and Shann gave me the other half of her Baked Peanut Butter brownie! Hehe. I totally ate everyone’s brownies.

I slept well that night.

Have a super good Monday! :)

Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies
204 Van Dyke Street
Pier 41, Red Hook
Brooklyn, NY 11231

Baked
359 Van Brunt St
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 222-0345

Papabubble
380 Broome Street
(212)966-2599

Excellent Pork Chop House
3 Doyers Street
NY, NY 10013
(212) 791-7007

Sundaes & Cones
95 E 10th St
NY, NY 10003
(212) 979-9398

The Day I Ate Too Much Part II: 12pm-4pm

Saturday, October 27, 2007 8comments No tags Permalink 0

If you haven’t already, read Part I first :)
I ate a LOT last Saturday. And while I normally eat more than I probably should, I went kind of nutso on Saturday. But it was all in the name of delicious fun and adventure. And learning too! Cause you know, eating is always a learning adventure. At least that’s how I view it :)

So Saturday started off with Justin and Shann first at Russ & Daughters where we had raisin & prune bread pudding, a chocolate halvah bar and dried figs. Second, we moved to the Greenmarket for Concord grapes and ginger-cayenne tea. After the Greenmarket, Shann and I parted ways from Justin who had to catch an early train back to Yale (we’ll see you soon again, Justin! :) and went back to our apartment to meet Robyn…

Cause we had an adventure planned! Hooray, I LOOOOOOOOVE adventures! Okay. So Robyn met us around noon, where we hung around the apartment for a bit because I managed to cut my finger sooo deeply it gushed out blood like a fountain. Crazies. But don’t worry, my finger and I are okay now. The sight of blood scares the jeebezues out of me! After I tissued and bandaid-ed up my finger quite nicely, Robyn presented me with the gift of Nocciolata, brought back from her recent trip to Italy! Oh man. It is sooo delicious! Pretty similar to Nutella, only less thick, less sweet and a whole lot more hazelnuttttttyyyy. By the spoonful, over toasted slices of ciabatta or alternated with handfuls of cereal, I’ve yet to discover a way I don’t like it. Thank you Robyn!! =)

Bags and cameras in hand, we headed on the F train for the Red Hook ball fields in Brooklyn! I’ve been meaning to go for a while, but it took the push of Robyn’s reminder that this was the last weekend of the season, before we finally took action and sprung our okoles off this island of Manhattan. We had a great plan and action in mind. Since there was three of us, we figured we could eat (most) everything and split it all. That way we could eat a lot without actually eating a lot! Or so we thought…Whatevers. The point remains that we somehow ended up eating far more than we ever intended to by the end of the day :)

Since this is a long post, I thought I’d break down our agenda for you!

Stop #1: Liquids
Stop #2: Huarache
Stop #3: Fried Ball of Glory
Stop #4: Corn
Stop #5: Atol de Elote
Stop #6: Pupusas
Stop #7: Churros

Here we go!

Stop #1: Liquids

Upon arrival at the ball fields we were somewhat bewildered by the options. What do we eat first? Where do we eat? Ooo, that looks good! Oooo, that smells good! Wait! So does that! That! annnnd that! It was hard to decide. So Robyn and Shann got stuff to drink. Cause Robyn clearly had her heart set on horchata. And Shann had the watermelon juice. All those colourful fruit juices in the big plastic jugs – so festive looking, it makes you want to smile and dance…and eat more and more!

Robyn + Horchata = Sooooo Happpy!
Oddly enough, I never took a great liking to horchata, because the idea of drinking cinnamon-ny milk was never intriguing…until Robyn noted that it was like drinking liquid rice pudding. And anything which ends in ‘pudding’ I LOVE. So I took a sip of her horchata. Thought of pudding…and suddenly, I really liked horchata. Funny, how the human mind works.

Stop #2: Huarache

I had never even heard of the word ‘huarache’ up until the moment I saw this sign. Ahhh. Okay. That’s what we must eat then! You never know till you eat it!

I saw someone carrying a huaracha, and simply asked, ‘what exactly is a huarache?’
He responded with glee, “THE WORLD’S BIGGEST TACO.”
And indeed, it was something along those lines, hehe.

Huarache in the making…

Meat! Lots of it! It’s all devoted to the huarache! Pork, beef, chicken…you could always opt for it vegetarian style and get no meat…but why? :)

The final product! It’s really is like a giant (soft) taco…only better! A thin soft tortilla with a secret layer of beans between the dough is grilled and topped with pork, cheese, red and green salsa, tomatoes, onions, a sprinkle of parmesan and perhaps a lot more. But I don’t remember. I just recall us going, “mmmmm” and “sooo mmmm,” and polishing it off too quickly. Cause it was delicious. And delicious things tend to go fast.

Look at these innards, that’s a slick smear of refried beans between the tortilla layers. Nice, eh? ;)

Shann and I were very happy with the huarache! Robyn took this picture, but I can assure you she also enjoyed the huarache quite a bit! It was rather messy eating with three people trying to share it and no knife…but we made do…

All pau!

Stop #3: Fried Ball of Glory

We then made our ways to a stand that sold nothing but loooooots of fried foods. It appeared to be the most exciting heart attack one could ever experience. But one item in particular caught our eye. It was the size of a baseball, maybe bigger…

…so golden, so fried. SO AWESOME. What is it? A giant potato orb! Filled! Filled with what?

Lookie here! We split the baby, right through it’s crackly fried shell and nubbly potato innards right down to the treasure of shredded pork, rice and peas. Truth be told, this was my least favourite of the all that we ate at the ball fields just cause the potato part was completely bland…I wanted gravy, or a super spicy sauce. Something to give it life! Energy. Like if they mashed in chilies with the potatoes. Or cheese. More meat even! Something, anything!

Stop #4: Corn

While I held our spot in the ever growing pupusa line, Robyn and Shann dashed off for corn. I took this picture as they were walking back, isn’t incredible how happy good food makes people? Grilled corn on the cob, brushed with mayo, sprinkles of parmesan cheese, lime juice and chili powder to tie it all off. I think the ‘brushed with mayo’ is my favourite step, hehe.

Stop #5: Atol de Elote
While I was in the pupusa line, three thought ran through my head:
1. What is that steaming white liquid in the orange jar next to the pupusas?
2. I want to eat that huge dish of everything the girl in front of me is carrying.
3. Why is it taking Robyn & Shann so long to get corn?
Thought #3 was solved when they returned, joyful faces and corn in hand a few minutes later. Thought #2 just required brief inquisition and a kind request to snap a shot of the girl’s food.

For $9 you get plate of literally everything. EVERYTHING. It was sooo packed she had to hold it with two hands and grip the bottom of the plate, lest it sink in the middle from all the weight, snap and fall to the ground. Rice, beans, tons and tons of golden plantains, just lifted from the fryer seconds ago, mounds of beef, pickles, and cabbage. Surely a feast for more than one!

But it was with Thought #1 that I firmly acted upon. This is the jug I mentioned. The jug is filled with a thick, milky white liquid. Hot liquid. And I was curious. The sign says, “Atol de Elote.” The only Spanish I know is: tengo hambre.

So I asked. And was told that it was a corn-oatmeal-pudding. I really had no clue. But I heard the word, PUDDING, and I was sold. I’m such a sucker. If a stranger across the street looked and me and screamed PUDDING!!! I’d probably run across the street, and over to the stranger in a flash.

I’m just joking!

Sorta…

But back to the pudding/drink.

$2 buys you the perfect sized cup. You don’t want a too big cup, because this fills you up very quickly. I imagine that some people could make a meal out of this cup. It’s like drinking a super creamy, hot, comforting pudding. It wasn’t as corn-y as I anticipated, but also not too sweet, really just like smooth oatmeal with slight corn-y overtones. But I would prefer intense-cornnesssss. If you know what I mean. It was a very stick-to-your-bones, warm you up kind of a drink. I wanted it to snow when I took the first sip. It would be the perfect winter drink. Ignoring the fact that it was in the mid-80s that day, heehee. Too much cornstarch was used in this particular drink, given away by the flavour and the frequent lumps and bumps encounter with sips. I could just imagine how delicious this would be if you made it at home on a cold day, stirring the warm liquid on the stove, made from cobs and cobs of fresh corn.

Stop #6: Pupusas

Barely into my cup of atol de elote, I realized we had finally moved our way from the very end to the very front of the pupusa line. The last time I had a pupusa was waaay back in the spring at the Grand Central Market in LA. Pupupsas, as far as I know, do not exist in Hawaii, so you imagine how happy I was to find that pupusas are in relative abundance in this city! *Smiles all around*

The pupusa stand was getting the most business, with lines stretching out far. We were in line for about half an hour, but that was all hunky dory cause there was plenty do and talk while we were in line. There was also plenty to see. Like the lady making the pupusas! Pupusa making fascinates me. Like the way xiao long bao making does. I could just watch and watch for hours on end. Watch the lady expertly nab off just the perfect size round of dough, pat and push in the fillings, then tie it off with a sort of confidence acquired only after a making a bazillion pupusa, flatten the baby on the table and pop it on the griddle. Awesome.

We got two pupusas: a loroco flower & cheese combo on top, and buried underneath is the meat & cheese pupusa. Bright pink = pickled cabbage (which I loved just as much as the pupusa itself!) Green = jalapeños that set Robyn on fire. Oh man. I really, really love pupusas. A lot. Like a super ton. You bit (or in the case, tear with a fork) straight into the heart of the golden dish and you get corn, cheese, and meat/veggie – all in one bite! What more could you ask for? I just like soft things, especially when the exteriors are griddled crispy. And the innards involve some creamy dairy product. And meat! And veggies! I like veggies too. I love hand-held foods. I love dumplings. And the pupusa, in more ways than one, seems to me like what dumplings are to Chinese food. But you know what? I just really like to eat everything :)

Stop #7: Churros

You don’t dare think we’d call it quits without dessert right? hehe. We found the churro man!

At $1 for two pieces, these were the best deal of the day.

The churro man in action, bagging up our order :)

I snapped the shot just a second too late, but you get the idea! These leggy sugar dusted fried glories were far from excellent churros. But when you got the sun warming you up, the relaxed outdoors and the scent of deliciousness all around you…well, everything seems to taste better!

This photo is compliments of Robyn’s Flickr :)

A few bites into the churro, I mumbled something about how much better it would taste if we had some creamy, very dark hot chocolate to dip the churros in. Silence. Then stares. Stares at my cuppa atol de elote. And then…DIP! It wasn’t quite hot chocolate, but it was a warm, sweet, pudding-esque liquid, and it went together quite wonderfully.

Happy bellies, and sticky fingers, we were (near) done at the ball fields…and that’s where this post comes to an end.
BUT.
We were far from done with our day in Brooklyn and dinner back in Manhattan. Check back for what we did/ate the hours following this visit. I promise you SWINDLES of chocolate covered key lime pies, two takes on brownies, two shades of marshmallows, a brief fling with diet coke, pork chops, curry rice, noodles soups and ice cream in the next post!

Hope you all had an awesome Friday! :)

Such a Bad Blogger…

Thursday, October 25, 2007 12comments No tags Permalink 0

…I know I said that I would have a new (and super duper exciting) post up by Tuesday. And erm, it’s now Thursday. And it’s not because I didn’t want to post! It’s because I’ve been welcomed to the real world this week :(

Longer work hours.
STRESS.
Having no clue what I’m doing at work.
And other stuff along those lines.

How I’d like to throw my hat out the window and fly to Paris. Right now I’d kill for a croissant and eight million macarons. And perhaps something with marzipan involved.

But I’m busy tying together financial statements.

I’ll do a post soon, Friday or Saturday?

Check back! :)