22 May 2010

Empire State of Mind (New York Part 4)

Swing Band at Union Station
Click on any image to take you to the Flickr page to see it bigger. Also, you might want to check out my tutorial on Curves for Photoshop. My most favorite tool ever.
I must confess, I don't really like Alicia Keys. I think "No One" from As I Am is her only song that has artistic merit and originality BUT that doesn't mean I don't kind of like one or two songs from each album for pop value. Empire State of Mind doesn't pick up until the bridge but there's a certain sense of hopefulness amidst the crazy/glamorous life of a New Yorker in the lyrics that I like. The sacrifices you have to make for the American Dream and all that. Above is a snap from what I believe is Union Station (14th Street) of a swing band complete with dancing couple. The couple was fun to watch but all of a sudden the saxophonist started losing it and I just had to take a pic!
MacDougal Street and Hummus Place
For obvious reasons while I was in New York, I was obsessing about cheap eats and I'd heard about Hummus Place and since I'd never eaten hummus before (GASP!), I thought it would be a good place to start.

Hummus Place Hummus
I had what I seem to recall was a Hummus Fava, but for some reason looking at this pic, it doesn't look like whole fava beans. Oh well. I don't know why I thought it was going to be much more flavorful but overall it was pretty mild. Pickles and pita in the background. Still, I was very satisfied (maybe I need to eat hummus a few more times) and the service was lovely. MacDougal Street in the West Village, by the way, is fantastic. So peaceful and culture-y.
Doughnut Plant (interior)
Doughnut Plant is the place that Bobby Flay challenged to a doughnut throwdown. I didn't go there because I wanted to judge the place that "beat" Bobby Flay (because I don't believe Bobby Flay is really good at anything but grilling. Seriously, Food Network, give it a rest), but just because of its reputation.
Doughnut Plant doughnuts
The yeasted doughnut filled with blackberry jam was a bit of a letdown. I love yeasted doughnuts, but this one was even chewier than Dunkin (and I like the toughness of Dunkin, by the way), and the blackberry jam was scant. However, the carrot cake doughnut (and I suspect, all their cake doughnuts) was marvelous. See those bits of cream cheese in the middle? OMG.
Korin Japanese Knives
I took a break from eating to visit Korin Japanese Trading as I was still looking for Wagashi stuff. Instead I was amazed by the knives (left picture: Usuba on the top shelf, Deba in the middle, and Yanagiba on the bottom). Too pricey for me, but someday!
Rice to Riches exterior
I came across Rice to Riches walking along Spring Street after some fruitless kitchen shopping. The walls were filled with cornyisms like "Finally, a rice pudding that DOESN'T SUCK" but I guess they get an A for effort for trying to look cool. It's hard to do that for rice pudding.
Rice to Riches interior
I had a picture of my chocolate rice pudding but the lighting wasn't great. They had a great variety of flavors but my rice pudding was too sweet and chocolatey. I much preferred the one I had in Loving Cup in San Francisco. Rice pudding needs moments of blandness to be balanced. This was like eating straight-up thick melted ice cream. Forget the rice.
Jacques Torres, Chelsea Market
For completeness' sake, here's Jacques Torres Chocolate at the Chelsea Market, but it was mostly confectionery and small bakery items, so I didn't get anything (especially since the man himself wasn't there to impress anyway, hehe (just kidding)).
Dessert Truck Works (Interior and menu)
DessertTruck Works had just opened when I arrived in New York. It had formerly been a roaming truck full of imaginative desserts, but they decided to "settle down" in a way. Click on the picture to see the menu up-close. You'll see why I decided to come here twice.
DessertTruck Works Desserts
On the left, that's the Caramelized Apples with puff pastry, cranberries, and vanilla ice cream. On the right, that's Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with creme anglaise. They were both astounding and I don't think I can improve on them in any way. I'm surprised DT Works hasn't been getting more press, but I guess that means more for me? ;)
DessertTruck Works Entremets
The second time I went, there were entremets and small bakery items in a display case, but my friend Genie and I didn't have any. Yet.
Spot (exterior)
I'd consulted Niko's excellent blog, Dessertbuzz to help me make my dessert destination decisions -- which led me to Kyotofu -- and now, Spot. Pichet Ong (Amazon) is a consultant for Spot so I was very intrigued to see how he combined East and West in his dessert creations. I've included a shot of the exterior because Spot is below street level and can be hard to find. It's under a Korean restaurant.
Spot (interior)
A shot of the interior - I was quite impressed with the photograph I took! The service at Spot is also great and very accommodating.
Spot Banana Chocolate Pudding
I had the Omakase of 3 desserts, and though Kyotofu edged out Spot in terms of price and presentation (I'm a minimalist), Spot had bigger servings and had more adventurous flavors (but then again, I don't consider tofu adventurous, so you may still give that point to Kyotofu). This is the Banana Chocolate Pudding, my favorite among the three. For obvious reasons!
Spot Winter Desserts 2
On the left we have the Yuzu Eskimo Parfait with strawberries, Oreo soil, and raspberry foam. On the right is the Soft Cheesecake with orange, blueberries, walnut cookie crumbs and passionfruit foam. I liked both desserts, except for the foams - the tastes of both the raspberry and the passionfruit foams were overpowering, which is surprising because normally I adore raspberries.
Spot bathroom sign
Sign at the Spot bathroom, if I'm not mistaken. Which hand??
I hope you liked this tour of my future home (in 2 weeks!). And though I'm going to be busy with work, I'd still love for you to drop by and say hi. But I'm not leaving yet: there's still more food to post and one last post on San Francisco!

blog comments powered by Disqus