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

  • Chubbypanda
    October 30, 2007

    You live near Jacques Torres? … *whimper*

  • Tina
    October 30, 2007

    Oooh! I want that meringue cake. Did they have macarons there? I know it’s not as great as LMDC but it’s a pretty good price compared to a lot of places.

  • K & S
    October 30, 2007

    mmm hot chocolate from Jacques Torres, delish! cool way to spend Sunday.

  • anonymous
    October 31, 2007

    I really envy you and your “Cave” days. Keep this lillte bit of personal time and you’ll live a long and happy life!I must say – as much as I love your Hawaii posts, I am really enjoying your NY posts as well. It’s just so different. Regular food vs Hawaii food ;-).I am leaving for a food trip to Japan and Hong Kong – any must eat places?Alan from Makiki

  • Kathy YL Chan
    October 31, 2007

    Hey Chubbypanda!Hehe, not dangerously close…but close enough! ;)Tina!I checked for macarons, but didn’t see any :( …must get myself over to LMDC one day!!Hey Kat!It was by far one of the best Sunday’s I’ve had in a long time! :)Hey Alan!Ooo, Hong Kong and Tokyo! I’m so jealous! I haven’t been back to Hong Kong for over three years, so can’t recommend any specific places. But as far as Tokyo goes, my favorite part of the city was explore the basements of all the major deparment stores! I’m sure you’ve heard a ton about how the bottom two (or three!) floors are devoted to nothing but the most exquiste foods, both savory and sweet! I could wander the aisles for hours on end and still not see everything. Have a super awesome trip! :)As for cave days? Those first few lines you said could not have been better put – taking off a single day for myself was enough to energize me for a whole week! :)

  • rowena
    October 31, 2007

    I’ve lived here for almost 4 and a half years and I still don’t think to dress properly if it looks nice outside. ;-)That wicked hot chocolate brought back so many funny memories for me…At a restaurant where I used to work, the chef and I thought it would be a great idea to go into the greeting card business — with the theme of food. One of those ideas was to have a chocolate bar image on the front with the words…If I were a chocolate bar and then the inside would say …I’d wanna be melted by you. Complete with image of melting chocolate bar.Nuts huh? Haha, good times indeed!p.s. Internet seems to be working but I’m not holding my breath!

  • bean_mix
    October 31, 2007

    Hi, I’m a big fan of your blog and love reading about your fooding adventures. I love how you’re willing to try anything. As I’m recovering from an eating disorder,I’ve been exposing myself to as much food related things as possible, including blogs, and I’d just like to say thanks- because your blog (and several other blogs, like Robyn at The Girl Who Ate Everything) taught me to enjoy food more and not see it as something to fear- and that I could have my cake and eat it too ^^I linked your blog- hope you don’t mind :D-amazing chocolate banana (pie?) by the way *chomp*

  • Yukari
    November 1, 2007

    That dessert looks sooo good~ *drools* I also very much love almonds and banana and chocolate…never had something with that combination. Would I be able to find anything like that in Hawaii? :D

  • Madam Chow
    November 1, 2007

    I felt warm just reading this post! Jacques Torres has been on my list of places to visit the next time I head up to New York.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    November 1, 2007

    Hey Rowena!Awww man, I’d totally want one of those cards!! OR. I’d totally fall in love with any guy who gave me that card, hehe! I didn’t know you used to work in a restaurant – super duper cool! :) I really enjoyed your last post, but the site wouldn’t let me comment for some reason…Hey bean-mix!Am so happy you like my blog! And Robyn’s too – she’s the most fun person to eat out with ever, and soooo nice!! :) I’m glad to hear that you are recovering from an eating disorder, and that food blogs are playing a helpful role :) And yes, isn’t it wonderful to have you cake and eat it too? Cheers to enjoying food!!Hey Yukari!The three flavors were such an aweseome combination!! I have not encountered the exact same dessert in Hawaii, but am willing to bet that either La Palme D’Or (in Ala Moana) or JJ’s French Pastry (Kaimuki) has something similar in terms of both flavor and quality…let me know if you find any!! =)Hey Madam Chow!Hehe, am happy this post warmed you up! The hot chocolate was soooo luxurious – it was beyond perfect for that crazy weather! :)

  • Mike in soCal
    November 2, 2007

    Ahh, Sundays! The day of rest & relaxation, recovery & the day b4 Mondays…Kathy, can we have more Sundays in our lives & less Mondays! Isn’t life at least = to work. Eat, drink & be merry for tomorrow comes a Monday.

  • Kathy YL Chan
    November 5, 2007

    Hey Mike!If more Sundays are your desire, than so be it! :) Wouldn’t life be awesome if we had five Sundays a week and just two Mondays? haha…I don’t think that made any sense at all! Hope you had a good weekend! :)

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