Cup o’ Mud, a Bowl of Ramen, and Dacquoise
As most of you who are familiar with my blog, I tend to eat…well. Ok, more than well I eat freakin’ extravagant. Like any normal human being, I need a break from all this luxurious, fatty foods and need some simple yet tasty grub that isn’t from my kitchen (just because I feel lazy from cooking my own food).
Since I made an old promise to one of my friends, Julie that we would drink Mud’s coffee (nearly a year ago) and I have time during the morning before an afternoon concert, we set the date and meet up late morning. With Ariel of course. When isn’t he in the picture?
I’ve heard that Mud‘s coffee is strong and dark like “mud.” Since I do like my coffee strong, and I do drink espresso straight (and yes, no sugar), I had somewhat of a high expectation of getting a good cup o’ joe.
Ariel, Julie and I all met inside Mud since it’s freezing the past Saturday (1/19) morning and Ariel had the cold (again). What surprised me was that the place was really dim, especially when we got seated in the back. Julie commented that it’s dark enough for her to go back to sleep. Ariel said that the decor looked so funky and hipster-like that he would’ve hung out here if he was in his college days. As for me, I don’t mind the decor but the music was a notch or two louder than I would like but at least it was upbeat that Ariel had an urge to dance in his seat.
When we perused the menu, we’re just interested in the coffee since we’re getting lunch somewhere else. Even though it should have been ordered but we all digressed from the signature Mud coffee and went for their espresso based drinks instead. Ariel and Julie ordered the mocha and I had the cappuccino.
What Ariel said about the mocha was that it’s milky. Julie agreed. He commented on that if he was in his healthy state, he “would have been pissed.” But since he’s sick, he doesn’t mind. Actually he enjoyed it.
As for my cappuccino, the first thing I noticed was the huge mug and it’s frothy. Cappuccino isn’t supposed to be this big nor this bubbly. When I attempted my first sip, all I really got was the milk foam not much in terms of the actual espresso until I took a gulp. This is not my cup of coffee. I would think of this as coffee flavored milk with extra foam. *Sighs* At least I know what Mud’s espresso based drinks are like.
Our destination for sustenance was a hot bowl of ramen. You might be wondering why would I eat there? Well, I watched the movie, Tampopo that Ariel touted as a great foodie movie that I would love. I watched the whole thing we loved the first scene and will reenact (Just keep reading to get to the clip.). Also, it’s suitable since Ariel’s illness harks a need for a bowl of soup (technically broth for ramen) and it’s freezing out there. So where better than the much hyped ramen place over the past summer, Ramen Setagaya.
As we all perused the limited menu of shio ramen (with or without pork and if you want a regular or large serving) with five or so side dishes. We all decided on having the same thing, char siu ramen. Ariel just thrown in a side dish of salted egg since he saw the table behind us had a bunch of them.
I didn’t bother trying Ariel’s egg since I’ve eaten quite a number of them over the years since my family’s Chinese and we make our own salted eggs if we wanted to. Also just eating salted egg without rice or anything is a bit odd to me since my tongue would be scream for WATER or RICE, just to dilute the salinity of the ovum. Going back to Ariel’s feedback on his egg, he liked it a lot – not too salty and cooked properly.
I don’t know about you, but soup noodles of any kind scream comfort food to me. Something about eating (and slurping) noodles in a hot broth makes me feel so much better. It’s magic I tell you! Magic! Anyways, the huge bowl of ramen that we all gotten was filled with fresh, thin ramen topped with four slices of roasted then grilled pork, half a salted egg (hence Ariel’s slightly wasted expense earlier), mushrooms, and some kind of seasoning on top that I don’t know the name of. I liked the ramen since it’s not too chewy, the pork was lean and the mushrooms were chewy and gave a delicate hint of earthiness to the noodles. But the broth was way too salty for me that my palate is preventing me from finishing the broth. At least Ariel finished everything and drank every last drop of the broth. Julie ate everything but drank about half the broth.
Going back to the Tampopo scene I was talking about earlier, Ariel and I supposed to reenact it. Since I took a long time taking photos, he went on doing it silently. What I mean was that he asked the question, “Who would apologize [to the pork] with me?” (Just watch the clip below). I said, “I would if I wasn’t busy taking photos.” But he proceeded and happily ate his ramen.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XyoAZFREnY&rel=1]
After getting a full belly of ramen, Julie left us since she had to go to work at her sister’s place and Ariel and I went uptown for the Lincoln Center matinée. Yes. I like classical music, ok?
Post-concert, we wandered around the Upper West Side since Ariel wanted to check out if Cloverfield is playing in the nearby IMAX theater. After he got his ticket, I had a chocolate craving and thought of Levain’s intense chocolate chip cookie, so we walked up further on Amsterdam. However, since we saw Jacques Torres’ new outpost, we went in.
Being tempted from all things chocolate, what appealed to us were the pastries and the remaining slice of banana chocolate dacquiose. For some reason, Ariel inquired the woman behind the counter, what’s tastier the caramel or blueberry tart or the dacquiose? The woman replied, the dacquoise; “hands down.” So that’s what we got and split it between us since we’re still stuffed from the ramen we consumed hours earlier.
The dacquoise was pretty good. The light, banana flavored meringue encased the plain, dark chocolate (60% cacao content) ganache. Ariel said this cake was good but “homespun.” The latter referring to its flavor combination.
After finishing our dessert, we went our own ways – I went home and he went back to the movie theaters to watch his movie.
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