A Short But Busy Mid-Week: Payard, Swich, Chocolat Michel Cluizel
To reiterate what I said, it’s finals week for me and it was a killer for me. My brain feels a bit fried from all the stress for packing in 6 finals within 3 days. It’s ridiculous what colleges do to students. I’m assuming law school would be 5 – 10 times more intense than what I’d faced. Oh well…
Sorry about that sidetrack; going on with food now…
On Tuesday, my literature final was during the late afternoon. So, I took advantage of the ample time of sorts to go to Payard Patissere & Bistro in the Upper East Side at 12 PM for desesrt. If you’re wondering if I eaten anything savory, yes I have but it’s not worth talking/writing about. It’s just a salad. Ok?
When I entered this restaurant/patisserie, it was bustling with lots of activity. I even saw the pastry chef himself, Mr. Francois Payard, helping out the staff in the front placing orders in boxes. Most of the patrons are basically local women who lunch, tourists, and people who want to take a break from power shopping around the area.
So, after browsing through the gorgeous cakes, tarts and pastries. I was faced with the problem of what the heck do I want to eat? I mean, look at them!
I can’t decide between two different chocolate cakes or two bright colored cakes. Eventually, I went against chocolate (very unusual of me) and went for the Chinon.
Looks good, doesn’t it? Well, it looks delicious but in my opinion, it’s good but not the “greatest dessert I’ve ever eaten in my entire life” good. It had a subtle pistachio flavor from the bavarios (the bright green, mousse-like stuff on the top), not much flavor from the cake itself. The real flavor that sparked my tongue was the cherry jam. The jam was sour cherry had some almond praline bits that gave it some crunch and sweetness to contrast that sourness from the cherries. I don’t really think it was worth my $6, but I would have never known until I try it.
Today, it was my last day of finals (yay!). When I finished around 1 PM, I was starving. I didn’t want to eat anymore Whole Foods or Bouchon Bakery that I practically have ate during the entire semester, so I chose to go downtown, to Chelsea that is. I recalled reading from various websites that there’s a new sandwich place called Swich and generally have gotten good feedback.
This place is really green. I mean the walls, trays, the employees’ uniforms are green with accents of white. It’s a very lively color but wow, they’ve taken it to the umpeenth level.
The staff are very friendly and sociable. It is also packed with people who are hungry like me; mostly locals who work around the area and shoppers having a break to get nourished. My real complaints from this restaurant is that the music is a bit too loud and the communal table is narrow (about 2 feet maximum). The latter is kind of bad because I like my own space, especially around total strangers who I’ve never met in my entire life. Also, I hate the occasional stare whenever I’m taking a photo. Anyways, I ordered the Positano sandwich and asked for my name so I could pick up my order in a couple of minutes. When they called my name, I assumed it wouldn’t be basically this:
A tray lined with a bright green & white paper with this aluminum wrapped sandwich on top. I was expecting at least a paper plate. Is that too much to ask for from an eating establishment? But getting over my initial shock, I took my seat and unwrapped this sandwich, which looks like this (arranged in a more appealing way):
At least I’m satisfied with the fact that my sandwich isn’t sorry looking as I would expect. The bread is perfectly toasted and charred. The creamy mozzarella was a nice contrast to the salty prosciutto, bitter arugula and zesty basil. The tomato was fresh and exude a good bit of its juice as I ate along. It was a really delicious sandwich.
After eating that sandwich, I craved for dessert. Something chocolatey. I know, it’s bad. So, I wanted to go to Michel Cluziel for a while and I decided to go there. I just walked over to Union Square, where the ABC Carpet & Home store is. I have to admit, that store is basically a dream that I would shop in; everything’s beautiful or whimsical that I would like to own. Almost like Anthropologie.
Back to Michel…so, here what their boutique of sorts within ABC.
I took a seat and looked over the menu…
I decided on a single hot chocolate and the coeur de creme. When one of the staff members came to my table, I ordered the aforementioned items. While I was waiting, I took a few photos, seen below.
It’s just a few I posted. There’s much more chocolate eye candy to look at my Flickr site. Eventually, after waiting about 5 minutes. I’ve gotten my order.
The couer de creme is cute. I don’t particularly love liquor (but I do occasionally bake and cook with them) but everything else that’s listed on the menu (that was pictured) that isn’t liquor or alcohol based, wasn’t amusing to me and it’s something that I can make at home. Yes, I do admit that I can make coeur de creme at home, but I don’t want to buy a mold that I won’t be using frequently. Anyways, this creme was sinfully creamy, as expected. The bittersweet chocolate drizzle was a nice touch to the subtly sweet, soft cheese; the orange XO was an obvious boozy touch. The metallic chocolate pearls on top was a nice garnish. Overall, this is not a bad dessert.
The odd thing is that when I started to take photos of this couer, the woman who took my order, thought and asked me if I was writing for a magazine. Hahaha! Me? Writing a for magazine. I’m a bit flattered but obviously, I’m not. I just told her that I like to take photos of food. I’m not even going to bother mentioning a food blog. It would bring another level of weirdness that is already amounted on me.
The hot chocolate is almost perfect to my taste. It’s not too sweet; it has enough chocolate flavor and it’s just scalded to the correct temperature. But I would like it to be a bit more creamier. It’s actually more milky in texture than creamy. This was a splurge dessert and I can’t help myself not to leave this place without getting a couple of chocolates. I haven’t eaten them yet but it’ll be gone very soon.
A lot more desserts/snacks has been consumed that I should write but I just don’t have time. But it’ll be up soon. I’m just tired from all the finals and I have to start baking soon, since the holidays are less than 5 days away.
If you want to view more photos of Michel Cluizel, please click here. A little side note of sorts, if you happened to take your camera there and be tempted to take photos. Make sure to ask to almost everyone who works there because I have the mixed messages from three employees; two out of three said it’s fine, as long it’s for personal use and the last one told me that I’m not supposed to. *sighs* It seems they need to get their photo policy straightened out or how they communicate because it’s getting to be a pain.
Payard Patisserie & Bistro
1032 Lexington Avenue (between 73rd & 74th Streets)
New York, NY
104 8th Avenue (between 15th & 16th Streets)
New York, NY
Chocolat Michel Cluziel (it’s inside ABC Carpet & Home)
888 Broadway (between 18th & 19th Streets)
New York, NY