This is the second, separate post for something that has taken 6 1/2 hours of hanging out with a lot of my girlfriends. This post will be about the fooding portion of the day; the macaron hunt was the previous one. Got it? Good.
Sunday morning was the plan that Robyn and I have our macaron hunt/fooding for the past few weeks. The insane thing I told her and all of my friends was that we’re going to meet at Silver Moon Bakery by 9 AM! As preposterous as it is for me to get my behind from Queens and trek all the way up to the Upper West Side, at least Robyn lives closer since she lives on Murray (or Curry) Hill. I should apologize to most of all my five other friends who also came from Bayside and Jamaica, Queens and especially to Helen, who is from Staten Island. Helen told me that the S.I. ferry only comes once at the top of every hour.
Anyways, I met Helen first since she got there about 8:15 and we just chat in McDonald’s (she was also hungry for a parfait), until it was about 8:45, and walked to Silver Moon Bakery.
It’s kind of hard to believe that there’s already a line waiting outside the door and that’s when we met Robyn. Well, since we are waiting on line a bit and we are hungry since we didn’t really eat breakfast, we managed to get some pastries.
All of them look delicious, and they are delicious. Robyn’s croissant is the closest to the best in New York City. It’s light, butter, flaky and crisp. I don’t know about that shatter effect that I always look for but it that’s usually the hardest to obtain, especially in weather like this: cloudy, chilly, windy, and somewhat humid. So obviously, it’s pastries and bread can to be a bit off. Even though I love Claude’s croissant for being so buttery and having that shatter effect, it’s a bit too dense and greasy for my taste. I believe Robyn will concur on this statement.
Helen’s pan au chocolat looks a bit too dark than usual. There’s a tell tale sign that the croissant has been out for a while since the chocolate is not gooey. It’s not to say that the croissant is bad. Even though I did not try it, from the looks of the photo the croissant is flaky, light, and buttery with a slim piece of dark chocolate running the bottom of the chocolate.
My whole wheat raisin walnut brioche (say that three times fast), was good. It wasn’t very sweet at all, as I would image a cinnamon bun would be (it vaguely looks like one). The brioche is a bit dense and not as chewy as a regular brioche would be; mostly due to the fact that whole wheat flour have less gluten than regular bread flour would have. There are a good bit of raisins floating around and the confectioner sugar glaze gives the brioche a nice touch of sweetness. The walnuts gave it some toothsome texture, with a slight bitterness due to the natural flavor of a walnut.
While we were waiting for the rest of the group to show up and my incessant calls to everyone who is supposed to show up, two more finally arrived, Joo Hee and Seungmi. I was honestly worried about letting them come here on their own since they don’t know the subways too well and Seungmi’s sense of direction isn’t too dependable either.
Seungmi got herself an Apple Tart. When I actually noticed that Seungmi started to nibble her pastry, I told to stop eating the darn thing and told her I wanted to take a photo of it. She moaned in disappointment. Yeah, I’m a mean, food-photo obsessed person.
Joo Hee was kind enough to let us (as in Robyn and I) to take photos of her sticky bun.
I tasted a piece of her sticky bun. I find it a bit too dry and not rich enough to be a great sticky bun. I do prefer Bouchon’s Sticky Bun over Silver Moon Bakery.
Juile and Giulia came in finally. Julie is the one who ate at Momofuku Ssäm Bar with Robyn and I. Giulia was the one who ate out with me on Restaurant Week in A Voce. Even though I didn’t take a photo of her, her presence was greatly appreciated at that time.
Anyways, both of them weren’t hungry and passed the opportunity to get a pastry. Since the line is starting to build again, Robyn and I wanted to try Silver Moon’s baguette and waited on line. Here’s the baguette…
The baguette was warm when we bought it! It tasted pretty good. The crust was a touch thick, crisp, and golden brown. The crumb was good but it could be chewier. But it’s not bad for $2.25 for a loaf to share amongst seven girls. Oh, before we actually tear apart the bread and eat it, we took group photos (with the exclusion of the bloggers)!
As we trekked down Broadway to 89th Street, we were noshing and talking about the baguette, as well as hoping for some good macarons in Georgia’s Bake Shop. Since I’m not going to talk about macarons, since I’ve already wrote about it in the previous post, I’m going to talk about the other baked goods.
There’s a ton more photos but I don’t want to kill you with hunger…yet. Anyways, I only bought the box of macarons since I want to pace myself for eating more food as we go on with our macaron/fooding journey. Julie bought a bag of madelines (a French, individually sized, oblong, seashell-shaped pound cakes) that she thought it would be cookie-like than a cake. Robyn and I corrected her perspective on that since Julie’s concept of the madeline was skewed due to the fact that her employer, Starbucks, spoiled her mind! [damning Starbucks for all the wrong food concepts…] Back to the madelines, in Julie’s large bag of madelines, it had a variety of three flavors: butter, chocolate and pistachio.
After tasting each cube that Julie had cut, I like the pistachio the most since it’s the most moist and the most flavor of the three. The butter was a bit too dry for my liking and it needed a bit more vanilla or butter flavor, and the chocolate doesn’t taste like good cocoa powder was used since it tasted a bit too alkaline and I think it was the driest. Madelines are the best when they are out of the oven, in my opinion.
The other girls had shared a spinach and cheese quiche and Seungmi helped herself to a slice of cheesecake. I didn’t take a photo of either of them but I tried a bite of the quiche. It’s actually pretty good. The egg base was light and fluffy, with enough saltiness from the cheese, as well as the crust that formed on top. The crust on the bottom was good. It was buttery, flaky and it was thick enough to hold the quiche filling.
After everyone was done noshing and taking photos of food and the group, we walked to the nearest subway station and go to Rockefeller Center. The main intention was to go to La Maison du Chocolat but we got a bit sidetracked since everyone wanted to visit Minamoto Kitchoan and Kinokuniya Bookstore. Yeesss…we love Japanese stuff because their stuff are either too pretty or too darn cute. The latter is stressed since Robyn has found her true happiness when she spotted a children’s music book with adorable little critters. You’ll see the expressions of Robyn’s face…now.
Ah, the expression of joy is priceless. Anyways, we got to La Maison du Chocolat, it wasn’t opened yet! It was 11:45 and they open ’til 12! Gah! Who knew we’re so early? So, just to kill time we went downstairs and peruse Swarovski. I’m kind of seduced to the cuteness of some of their animal crystal objects. Even though they have no functional purpose but they’re freakin’ adorable.
It’s 12:05 PM and we had our fill of sparkle-y objects so we went back up to La Maison du Chocolat.
Robyn and I got the maccies and everyone else got either red wine peach jams, chocolates and other tasty stuff that boutique sells. I already splurged on an Easter bunny last week (which I haven’t written yet but I’ll make use it for the Easter weekend for your enjoyment).
When we were taking photos of LMDC’s window displays, we noticed this:
That poses a hypothetical question for me, would that mean I wouldn’t be bothered by the Center’s security guards for using my tripod since I’m outside of their property? Hmmmm…
During the time we were eating our macarons and the Japanese wagashi from Minamoto, Joo Hee had to leave early due to the fact that she had TOO much sugar and she’s feeling sick because of that. Poor thing. Even though we’ve lost a
stomach person, we still wanted to go to Brooklyn, at least I did, and we ventured to the subways and took the F train to Dumbo with Robyn passing out every now and then.
To my surprise, not many people from this group have been to Dumbo in a long while. It’s been five years since I’ve taken Seungmi for Jacques Torres’ chocolates. The last time I’ve been here was about five or six months ago. Robyn has never been to Almondine before and Julie hasn’t been here in a while since she noticed that the neighborhood has become a lot more gentrified.
Back to the story, we arrived to Almondine Bakery.
Once again, I went a bit ballistic with the photo taking, so here’s more photos of FOOD!
There’s more food photos, but I think I’ve given you more than enough. I’m assuming you’re nodding your head right now… Since we were hungry but can’t take anymore sweets, we took a vote of who wanted pizza or sandwiches. The pizza prevailed. We all went off to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria. I’ve heard a lot of great things about this pizzeria, that I have to admit, this is my first time there. I’ve been to John’s on Bleecker but not Grimaldi’s.
On the way to Grimaldi’s, we spotted some graffiti and art pieces that looked like graffiti that grabbed our attention. Take a look:
As we approached Grimaldi’s, there’s a long line. It stretched down to half a block to where we were.
Just to kill some time, we took group photos (again)!
The better photo…borrowed from Robyn.
To let everyone know, I’m not that short. I’m just bending down a bit since I’m up on the front row. I’m about Robyn’s or Seungmi’s height. Ok? To explain vaguely about the “strangle” photo, it was something that Julie commented that made me want to mockingly strangle her; unknowingly that Helen would take that photo. Anyways, I’m willing to make fun of myself, I have no shame on doing so. When it comes to Robyn’s normal/nicer photo, I realized that either Seungmi is smiling to the fact that her eyes are closed (which happens 90% of the time whenever she does that) or she’s blinking. Oy…
Anyways, as we progressively getting closer to the front door (that’s about 10 minutes or so), we took photos of the door and signage.
Since we were a group of 6, we had to wait longer. When we were finally allowed to gain entrance, this place is really packed with people. There was tons of vibrant conversation, dimly lit, and it felt very welcoming and casual. One of the walls are plastered with Frank Sinatra posters and the other wall is filled with famous patrons who ate at Grimaldi’s. The waiters in black shirts carrying pans of delicious smelling pizza…oh, I’m (as I would think as the rest of the group are) dying for a good slice.
We contemplated on how many pizzas and what toppings to order, since we’ve spent a good amount on all the pastries and macarons, we’re trying to budget. I’ve done some calculating and we all agreed on buying 2 large pies ($14 each) with “extra basil” and “extra garlic” ($2 each). Some had ordered drinks, Robyn and I were content with just water.
As we wait, we all took pictures…again, just to kill some time.
Robyn’s taking a photo of me…if you want to know what that photo looks like, click here.
The last two was too FUNNY! I was surprised Seungmi did that (you’re mischievous, Seungmi…) and I didn’t know Robyn would allow her to do that either. Good god, the friends I have…they’re too hilarious.
Finally, the pizzas came!
I know Robyn has a waay better pizza shots than I do but just bear with my mediocre ones for now…
This pizza was AWESOME! The crust was thin and nicely charred, with a touch of yeasty flavor. The mozzarella cheese was creamy and stringy with a good ratio of tomato sauce. I do find that they sparingly added the basil and garlic. I just wished they had more garlic. Helen’s pretty darn happy with it that she said that she would like to eat in silence. This pizza totally outdoes John’s.
Once we finished and paid the check, we finished our main mission of eating and evaluating Almondine’s macarons and called it a day. We did have the intentions of going to Payard and Trois Crepes but it’s getting late, we’re all tired from getting up early on a Sunday morning so we went back to the subway and headed back home.
This was a totally fun day. It was filled with lots of food (mainly pastries), good friends, and…at the end of the day, we all want sleep. But the latter didn’t really happen for Robyn or myself since we had to start crackin’ on the photo editing. Too many photos, man! I guess that’s the problem when we’re food and photo obsessed people…
If you want to see all of the photos for this trip, you may visit my Flickr collection.
Silver Moon Bakery
New York, NY 10025
Georgia’s Bake Shop
New York, NY 10024
La Maison du Chocolat
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
85 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
19 Old Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201