April 3, 2010 § Leave a comment
I’m home for Easter Break this week and since my roommate Emily and her high school friend, Jayme, are staying with us, we went into the city on Thursday to make the most of the excellent weather.
Laura had yet another list of places to go for AP US History extra credit. This time, we started out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a quest to find the famous painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware, but unfortunately, the painting had been moved to be restored to its original frame. Luckily, a security guard recommended that we go up to visible storage where many other works were on display. Here, we came across the largest treasure trove of silver, porcelain, and ceramics that I have ever seen.
There were also many other paintings being housed in storage, such as Sargent’s famous Madame X and The Last Moments of John Brown, which I have seen in every US History textbook I’ve ever read. If that doesn’t count as a piece of US History, I don’t know what will.
Other places we visited that day were Belvedere Castle in Central Park, the Upper West Side’s Shake Shack, where I got an Upper West Slide concrete (vanilla custard, strawberry puree, banana slices, and shortbread) for the first time, and a bunch of places in the Financial District, including Trinity Church and Federal Hall.
One of our last stops was an all-time favorite bakery of mine, Financier Patisserie. Located right by the NY Federal Reserve, this place was my go-to for tartes, sacher torte, and all kinds of French pastries during my internship in New York. Laura and I split one of their signature berry tartes with almond frangipane before heading home.
June 20, 2008 § 2 Comments
Yesterday, my supervisor Nora and I stopped at Financier to pick up some macarons for her mother. But, you can’t just go into that pastry shop without walking out with something. I’d never tried their sandwiches or salads so I picked up le boeuf roti sandwich with caramelized onions and horseradish creme fraiche along with a fig tartelette because my stomach just couldn’t ignore all the pretty pastries in the case. It wasn’t too expensive either!
Considering the sandwich was wrapped up and not fresh-made, it was pretty darn good. The roast beef was well seasoned and not at all dry, and there was a substantial amount of it even if you can’t really tell from the pictures. The horseradish creme fraiche brought just enough depth and kick to the beef without being too heavy (I automatically think of the Chili’s awesome blossom dressing) and the caramelized onions added a wonderful sweetness that just brought everything together. And let’s not forget the bread. Chewy but crackly, light but sturdy enough to hold the insides. I love this place.
If the sandwich was good though, nothing prepared me for the tarte. I basically just got it because Nora and I both thought it was “pretty” with all the figs and raspberry piled on top. What I didn’t expect was the wonderful pistachio paste inside. Eeeee, I get really happy thinking about it even now. The figs, which were coated with sweet honey, were still juicy, and their ripeness contrasted with the wonderful tart of the raspberry. Slivered almonds added crunch and the sugar dough crust was lovely that I had finished the whole thing before I’d even realized. Nora helped though!
June 3, 2008 § 5 Comments
Finally, FINALLY, I got to try the food at Momofuku Ssam Bar today. Ever since it opened, I’ve wanted to sink my teeth into all the pork and offal goodies, but with school, work, etc, there just wasn’t enough time for me to trek to the East Village. But the past is behind me now, and the future ahead looks very bright and Momofuku-filled.
I brought along a friend; for anonymity’s sake and because he absolutely insisted on the nickname, let’s call him Trix. Trix isn’t a schemer or skateboarding champ but rather, the guy who always falls for the ill-conceived prank or reveals confuzzlement when plums are marinated in interesting herbs (ginger?! what!?) He is, however, a good eating companion, and being of Korean descent, I thought he’d appreciate the special twist on Asian food that David Chang’s restaurant applies.
When we got to 2nd Ave and 13th, we didn’t see the restaurant at first. It just had a simple black awning with the tell-tale peach on the door. Momofuku means “lucky peach.” After a quick review over the menu and recommendations, Trix and I ordered the pork buns, the asparagus, banh mi, and pig’s head torchon.
Let me just say straight out that though everything was superb, my favorite by far were the buns. Fatty pork, full of flavor, with refreshing cucumber, hoisin sauce, and a bit of extra kick. Homey, but also, incredibly indulgent, especially when the grease started running down my hands. My only regret was that we didn’t order more.
The asparagus encircled a poached egg, wonderfully runny, and perched on top of a smooth and sweet miso butter which I absolutely LOVED. We could’ve just spread it on fresh, toasty bread and I would’ve been happy since I didn’t care much for the asparagus. It really wasn’t anything special and not as crispy as I usually like mine served.
The banh mi was excellent simply because it was my first time trying anything like it. I believe the waiter said there was a top shelf ham with chicken liver pate and veal head terrine along with familiar pickled Asian vegetables. And the crackle of the ciabatta that enveloped all this goodness was a wonder in itself. Ah…if you can’t already tell, I love this restaurant.
Our last dish was the Pig’s head torchon which the waiter insisted we try. My god, has there ever been that much fat in so little a space? And FRIED for crying out loud! I especially liked how the horseradish-y dressing cut the richness of the torchon, and the way the gingered plums balanced with the saltiness. Needless to say, we left Momofuku feeling very satisfied. Thanks to the waiter who gave us such good recommendations!
Since we still had some time afterwards, we headed back downtown where I took Trix to Financier. Well, I wasn’t just going to forget the macaron immediately after I fell in love with it right? And this time, there were BIG ONES! I’m a sucker for pistachio (my sister, Laura, isn’t though. When I brought the 8 pack home, I accidentally stuffed it in her mouth in my eagerness to share the love when I suddenly remembered afterwards that she’s allergic to nuts. She didn’t talk to me for the rest of the day. Most likely because she was lying in bed having difficulty breathing. LOVE YOU LAURA!). Trix helped himself to a pear tartelette which earned his approval. All in all, though, after a hectic day at work, it was a wonderful ending to the day.
Momofuku Ssam Bar
207 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003
June 1, 2008 § 2 Comments
Friday, I got off work early, and after spending a couple hours at the Borders on Wall Street studying econ (I’m taking micro at Rutgers this summer), I decided to take advantage of the excellent weather and visit Financier Patisserie for the first time.
There are three locations in Downtown Manhattan, and even though I’d passed one on a previous occasion (when I was lost), it took me 20 minutes and numerous detours before I finally found the store on Cedar Street. The pastries inside looked absolutely delicious, but I really just wanted to take something home with me and a lemon tart probably would not have been a good thing to bring on the train with me.
I opted for their 8-pack of macarons. Before this, I’d never had one before, and i admit with great shame that when I was in Paris last spring, I did not squeeze in the time to visit Pierre Herme’s boutique, the irrefutable god of all macarons. But finally, I am a macaron-virgin no more.
The meringue outside gave the cookies a delightfully delicate and crackly texture which countered the moistness of the insides from the ganache filling. However, even though I shared them with my sisters, they became cloyingly sweet after a while and I was left with that characteristic feeling in my mouth from eating too much sugar.
I bought a bag of financiers as well, so I’ll update on that later. But overall, macarons are now a favorite of mine due to their light and airiness for desserts. I’ll have to try the ones at Bouchon and Payard sometime.
35 Cedar Street @ 10 Liberty Plaza
(Bet Pearl and William)
New York, NY 10005
Telephone: (212) 952-3838