I'm Back! Also A Recap of Two Weeks Ago (Part 1)

Yay! I’m done with the LSATs…just oh, a little under 7 hours ago (approximately 2:30 PM, NY time it was over). I have to say, whoever took that test has my sympathies since that was the worst testing experience I ever had in my life. Seven hours stuck in the same building (the Metropolitan Pavillion in Chelsea for me); the same stark white, frigid (temperature-wise) room with over 100 people taking a freakin’ test for the aspiration of becoming a lawyer. Jesus, I hope I did well before I’ll have to shoot myself (mentally), pay another $123, and do it again in December 1st. I really don’t want to do it again and go through that torture. Despite the fact I still haven’t filled out my law school applications yet…UUGH! The paperwork never ends.

Well, I survived the past week fairly well despite being sick for a little more than half of that week (that I mentioned to you on the last post) and managed to lose weight unintentionally. I guess stress does that to me… So, back to what this blog’s mainly about: FOOD. I’m going to talk about what I’ve visited and eaten back two weeks ago starting on September 16th. Jeez, that was eons ago!Back on the 16th, I went to Bouchon Bakery. I know, I know…those of you who’ve been reading this blog for more than five to six months, think either I live in that place and/or eaten everything in that cafe. I don’t blame you for thinking about those thoughts since I’ve written about them…22 times! Oh crap…but I was lazy to haul my butt to somewhere else and I was hungry so I went there to eat. I’ve tried a few new pastries they had at that time: a Apple Puff Pastry Danish and a Pesto Croissant.

I tried the apple puff pastry just because it’s sweet. In case you haven’t noticed, I have a penchant for sweet stuff so that’s why I ate that first. Besides the fact that everything from Bouchon is so darn pretty and photogenic, it tastes as good as it looks. The puff pastry was buttery and über flaky. The vanilla speckled custard that is cushioning under that pile of diced, sweet, slightly tart apples was the best part. I think I rolled my eyeballs to the back of my head good.

Apple Puff Pastry Danish Apple Puff Pastry Danish

Apple Puff Pastry Danish innards Innards

Then onto the unusual, savory pesto croissant. I have to admit, I would never thought of putting pesto in croissant but my culinary imagination is not as expansive as Chef Thomas Keller, hence why I’m not a chef at all. Anyways, the croissant’s texture is not what I would want it to be. It doesn’t have that symphonic crackly, brittle shard-like sound that I dream of (like Monsieur Claude’s in the West Village does). It’s more soft and chewy, yet buttery. But the Parmesan sprinkled exterior and the pesto, pignoli swirled within that croissant was very intriguing. The salty, sharp, pungent, slightly nutty cheese with the peppery pesto was a really great contrast to the chewy, buttery croissant.

Pesto Croissant Pesto Croissant

Pesto Croissant innards Innards

Then that Thursday (the 17th) I was maniacal enough to schlep myself out of my house in Queens and get my butt to Lincoln Center about 7:45 AM. Probably right now you’re thinking, “Are you (as in me) NUTS?!” Yes, I love Yo-Yo Ma or any classical musician. And…the concert’s free but it’s a dress rehearsal though for that evening’s concert.

The people packing in the plaza People

Holy cow...the people. More people…

The nice things that happened while I was waiting was the fact that Credit Suisse (they recently signed a contract to sponsor the NY Philharmonic for the next several years) gave out bottles of water and chocolate. The chocolate was mediocre at best since I thought it tasted a bit chalky, but their intentions and the action of giving free chocolate were really nice. Even when I waited for the Metropolitan Opera tickets last year (for Madame Butterfly dress rehearsal), they didn’t give anything.

The Chocolates The chocolate

They gave out water
Bottle of H2O

The tickets and other stuff... My ticket! …and other stuff

So waiting on line stinkin’ early paid off…I got meself an orchestra seat and a discount for a future concert, which I’m contemplating about getting one as a present for surviving the LSATs now and probably drag someone along. Anyways, the concert’s great and seeing Mr. Ma in action was beyond anything I’ve imagined. He’s just magnificent, that’s all I can say.

The stage The stage at Alice Tully Hall

Tuning/Warming Up Musicians warming up

After the concert, it’s already past 1 PM and I was starving. Since I’m already in the Upper West Side, I thought of eating lunch and probably snack around the area since I’m there. For lunch, I went to Tenzan.

Tenzan Tenzan

I’ve heard about this place many times that this place has pretty good sushi for the UWS that doesn’t cost my bank account, i.e. MASA. Their lunch specials have the typical Japanese dishes like beef teriyaki and the like but I wanted sushi and it costs me $12.95 with miso soup or salad. Since I know the general idea that the miso soup is disappointing in NYC, I just went for salad. The salad was ok but somehow it’s dressed with a dressing that looks like “French” dressing from a bottle. It’s orange and it tasted slightly sweet like that bottled stuff. Hmm…I’m not expecting to be swooned by a bowl of greens but at least it’s not drowning in a pool of dressing.

Salad Salad

Then my platter of sushi arrived minutes after I finished my salad. The first thing was that I haven’t expected to have a huge plate of sushi! It’s almost the size of my sushi dinner at Esashi back in July with Ariel and Seungmi…but anyways, the sushi’s fresh, it’s tasty but it didn’t blow my mind how awesome it is. It’s just generally good sushi and it’s very filling.

Sushi Lunch Sushi Lunch

Being the kooky person that I am, always wanting some type of sweet or dessert, I realized that Alice’s Tea Cup was just a mere block away from Tenzan and wanted to have some tea and scones since I never tried their’s before.

Alice's Tea Cup
Alice’s Tea Cup

After perusing their tea menu for a good couple of minutes, I wanted something fruity so the “Symphony” sounded appealing to me, as their menu indicated that it’s a black tea flavored with strawberries and chocolate.

My pot o' tea My pot o’ tea

My cup of Symphony Cup of Symphony

The tea had a really strong, lush scent of strawberries. When I actually took a sip of the tea, it tasted like slightly sweet strawberries but I didn’t really taste any chocolate. It’s good but it would’ve been interesting to taste chocolate in tea.

Then my plate of scones arrived. I ended up choosing a raspberry chocolate scone and a pumpkin scone.

Plate of Scones Plate of scones

The pumpkin scone was really delicious. It had enough pumpkin flavor with enough spices like cinnamon, cloves, and ground ginger to make it all tasty. The scones itself is like a true scone: dry, slightly crisp exterior, with a dense, crumbly, slightly dry interior. However, when it comes to the raspberry chocolate scone, I just didn’t like the pairing of a berry and chocolate together, even though I know I don’t like that combination in the first place, I just can’t help trying to make myself like it. I just like the texture but not the flavor entirely.

And just like I didn’t have enough dessert, I wanted to try Beard Papa’s fondant au chocolate. I don’t know what driven me to eat that much that day, but I did and I heard that that particular item was yummy according to a few foodies and Ariel’s keep mentioning that “it’s awesome” for that price. So I had to try it eventually and I made that day the day to eat it.

Beard Papa's
Beard Papa’s

For $1.85 (or something like that, I remember it’s near or under $2), it’s pretty good. It’s gooey, chocolatey, and not too sweet but sweet enough but it didn’t really rock my world. I think they microwaved the cake a tad too much since it had a slightly strange off-taste.

The fact that I feel like my stomach’s about to explode from all of the food I’ve eaten earlier, I think it’s the reason why I can’t really appreciate this cake.

Fondant au Chocolate Fondant au Chocolate

Innards of Fondant au Chocolate Innards

On Wednesday, the 19th, I came to the city hours before my first class in the morning started, so I wanted breakfast. Since I haven’t eaten at Balthazar before, I might as well try it for breakfast since people have talked about the fact that their breakfast scene is not quite as hectic as lunch or dinner but it still has that bustling, loud, SoHo scene.


Partial view of the interior Partial view of Interior

All I ordered was their bread basket and a bowl of cafe au lait. Usually, I don’t like cafe au lait (because I don’t like milky coffee) but since this is Balthazar and I kind of wanted that French bistro type of breakfast, I might as well go for that route.

My bowl of au lait arrived first and as I expected, it was milky. Even though I might get a slight hit of caffeine in my system from this huge bowl, I still don’t love it but I liked the fact that it’s a “French” thing to have in the morning.

Another view of Bowl of Cafe au Lait
My bowl of au lait

The plate of jams and butter was served to me five minutes after having my coffee. No sight of bread yet… The jams were grape and orange marmalade and the butter is well, unsalted butter.

Jams and butter for bread Jams and butter for bread

But finally, I’ve been graced by the presence of the Le Painier. Holy crap, that thing is huge! I wished I had another person to eat with me…but obviously I don’t so I had leftovers and I did share my bread with a neighboring diner who loved their bread. Anyways, this basket was again, plentiful for one person to eat. It’s filled with brioche, a fruit focaccia, sticky bun, two slices chocolate bread, and four slices of a hearty fruit and nut bread. All of them were very good but my favorites were the sticky bun and the fruit focaccia.

Le Painier - Bread Basket Le Painier

Sticky Bun Sticky bun

Innards of Sticky Bun Innards

Chocolate Bread and Cranberry Raisin Pecan Bread Slices Chocolate bread and fruit and nut bread slices

Fruit Focaccia Fruit focaccia

On Thursday morning, I went to City Bakery for a late snack (it’s right after classes). Just because I was in the area and I wanted to try their plum miso muffin that I remember seeing when I was there the past weekend with Kathy.

Cup of Lemonade & Plum Miso Muffin
Lemonade and Plum Miso Muffin

The lemonade tastes like old-fashioned lemonade. It’s quite tart, lemony and barely sweet enough that you don’t feel like you’re drinking straight up lemon juice. It’s very refreshing; almost made me feel like I want to lazily lounge in a backyard porch staring out into the summer sky.

The plum miso muffin was interesting just from the name. I would never imagine miso would be in a muffin. Even the combination of plums and miso was mind boggling. Anyways, the muffin itself tastes like whole wheat with a touch of that salty, miso tang. Texturally, the muffin was a bit dense, a tad dry and buttery (from the grease stains on my paper plate). The addition of tart, soft plums kind of takes away the balance of the miso for me. The tart plums was a bit too overbearing for the muffin.

Plum Miso Muffin Plum Miso Muffin

Innards of Plum Miso Muffin Innards

That’s the end of the week one of the recap, unless you want to include Saturday, that’ll be the previous post about Kampuchea. Food from last week will be written very soon, that is after I get some sleep now. Yes, after getting only 4 hours of sleep last night since I was so nervous about the LSATs today made me tired and I think I’m getting sick again after freezing my butt off in the testing room for 7 hours. Don’t I love my weak immune system and my hectic sleeping schedule?

Bouchon Bakery

10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10019

Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center
30 Lincoln Center Plz
New York, NY 10023

285 Columbus Avenue
New York, NY 10023

Alice’s Tea Cup
102 W 73rd Street
New York, NY 10023

Beard Papa’s
2167 Broadway
New York, NY 10024

80 Spring Street
New York, NY 10012


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. jo jo says:

    ooh that pesto croissant looks yummy! might be worth a trek up there since i always go to whole foods when i’m there.

    congrats on lsat. (i had an ex-boyfriend who went to nyu law school)

  2. thewanderingeater says:

    Jo Jo: The pesto croissant was yummy and very interesting. You must give it a try.


    Kiriel: Oh that was a carb filled week! Good thing I burned some of it off last week..if that made any sense?

    Thanks! :)

  3. gersty says:

    I’m not much for the scene at Balthazar but whenever in Soho I must fight the urge (many times unsuccessfully) to enter the restaurant as they serve one of my favorite desserts in NY (even with Ceci-Cela and Pinkberry just a block away). So when I get the urge I either grab a bar table or a bar stool and order the banana tart served over ricotta ice cream. This dessert is to die for. The bruleed bananas over light custard on what seems to be short bread with the ricotta underneath for wonderful contrast. I could eat this every day. PS. this is my first time at your site and am very impressed. Keep up the good work!

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