Adventures in Eating & Cooking
I am totally experiencing food hangover right now… Like I’m-about-to-puke-and-explode food hangover, but I did get the chance to gorge on my beloved Brooklyn Blackout cupcake, and the most delicious plain cheesecake I have yet to eat, at my favorite place on the Upper East Side (after Chwis’s house), Two Little Red Hens.
I walked into this cute little bakery on 2nd Ave and 86th Street and was greeted with the smell of Christmas and delicious. The girls and guys working at the counter were all wearing adorable reindeer or elf hats. This really made my day (the rest of my day had been spent being a hobo in B&N…) And my day just kept getting made, hehe~
The Brooklyn Blackout was as mind-blowing as I remembered: an explosion of moist chocolate cake topped with a dense dollop of chocolate frosting wrapped around a center of cool chocolate pudding. This bomb definitely sent me to chocolate coma. Although at points the cake felt a bit too mushy on its own, I didn’t mind because the blend of triple chocolate goodness was enough to sustain my cupcake-deprived mouth.
And then came the NYC’s best cheesecake, as declared my Serious Eats. And it was… FREAKING FANTASTIC! I’m the biggest fan of chocolate (as you can probably tell from my blog), but I must say the cheesecake trumped the cupcake. It was the perfect embodiment of classic cheesecake, not too dense, definitely rich, and mouth-melting. The texture is a bit strange as it felt spongey, like there were holes in the cake that weren’t beat properly. But when you actually bite into it, the cake is smooth and perfect. It was like magic. All this was buckled down by a crunchy, buttery, savory crust.
I honestly think the best part about both cakes was that they weren’t too sweet, or too flavorless, but just right. Especially in the case of the cheesecake, where so much sweetness, sourness, and creaminess pervaded the cake, but was dampened. This way, I never got sick of eating the cake. I just kept yearning for more, and didn’t regret any extra bite. It was the same case with the blackout, although some may argue that the chocolate is too much. The sugar level, however, was perfect.
And more exciting news: I made a friend! One of the ladies working at Two Little Red Hens was by the window gluing doilies together for cake placement. I suppose I was curious about what she was doing and that’s what got the conversation rolling. She seemed like a sweet woman and we had a lovely conversation about desserts, NY, and careers. I felt a bit shy talking to her so randomly and hoped she didn’t think I was a creeper, but I found out she had given up a fellowship at graduate school to work at a bakery. This may seem a bit odd to some people, but I thought it was kind of cool and courageous to make such a drastic choice. In fact, many NYers give up scholarly or high-ranking professions to start their own food businesses. (For example, Kee from Kee’s chocolates.) If I had to make such a tough decision… I don’t know what I would do. I used to have dreams about opening my own little bakery/cafe next to the hospital I will eventually work at, that serves delicious treats for people with health problems/allergies. But now when I think about it, it’s a rather foolish dream, and actually working at a bakery could become tedious… as with any job I suppose. Sometimes I wish I could be a trapezing, news-reporting, people-liberating paleontologist, haha! Anyways, enough of this silliness. My point is, Two Little Red Hens is awesome!!! And so are the people who work there!
I was going to put an end to my fatassery, go straight home, and try to work out but on my way to the subway station I spotted the newly opened Shake Shack!!!!!!! I paused at the window willing myself to walk the other way, but THERE WAS NO LINE!! A golden opportunity like this must be fate, I thought, so I ignored my guilty conscience and strolled right in.
I was staring at the menu, debating whether or not I should actually buy something when I saw that they had a special salty peanut butter hot chocolate. I had been craving good hot chocolate for a while and decided against buying it at Two Little Red Hens. This was definitely fate blowing a raspberry at me again…
Since I was getting the hot chocolate anyways, I decided I might as well try the ‘shroom burger too as I was in a fungi mood. I waited on the bench with my remote control buzzer and observed the decor of this Shake Shack. I must say, the Upper East Side location definitely seemed classier than all the others, or perhaps it was the lack of crowd. Either way, I liked it.
But I did not like my burger as much. The ‘shroom was vegetarian, so instead of meat it had a fried cheese-stuffed portabello mushroom. After one bite, the burger inundated with globs of cheese. I was utterly confused and repulsed. Don’t get me wrong, I do like my cheese, and I do like it melted, but I do not like it clogging up my burger like heart attack. It didn’t even taste like anything except thickness and fat, completely ruining the rest of the burger. And the special shack sauce was not spread evenly across the burger but concentrated at one end, slightly sogging up the bun. Gross. There was barely any mushroom so my fungi-craving was not satisfied either. For the first time, I was sorely disappointed by Shake Shack.
On the other hand, the peanut butter hot chocolate really hit the spot. It was like peanut butter M&M’s in liquid form, except better because it was hot and thick. Even though I was pretty wiped from the treats at Two Little Red Hens, I still found some pleasure in this hearty beverage. It was rich and salty like peanut butter, but creamy and milk chocolatey at the same time. I actually had trouble finishing it, so I brought it home and left it in my fridge for a few hours. It thickened up a bit, resembling melted ice cream, but extra delicious!
And now… I am suffering from the bloatedness of a food hangover. Worth it? Totally!!!!!! Except, I am NEVER getting a ‘shroom burger again. And although I’m not really a beef person, I’m definitely sticking to the classic burger and fries next time.
Oh and PS to all you Cali Sprinkles Cupcakes fans, I saw the “coming soon” store on Lexington Ave when transferring subway lines today… and I’m super-stoked because I love their red velvet!!!!!