Epic Eating – Momofuku Milk Bar, Everyman Espresso, Bouchon Bakery, and Gus & Gabriel

Originally taken place on July 3, 2009. The first part is from Ssam Bar’s prix fixe lunch (it started with the beef tendon dish).

I didn’t have the intention of stuffing my face with a ton of Momofuku food that day…

Burnt honey + mustard croissant?! Burnt honey + mustard croissant?!

But Seungmi was hungry and wanted something to eat. I was presuming Helen was coming downtown from work and Seungmi never went to any of the Momofuku places, I might as well introduce her to the “lighter” fare of Momofuku Milk Bar & Bakery“>Milk Bar. When I looked up at the chalkboard, near the register, I noticed they might be selling a burnt honey and mustard croissant. Sounds tasty…

Seungmi's first Volcano Squirting some sriracha on
Seungmi’s first Volcano (or anything from Milk Bar)

Seungmi ordered the Volcano. Yes, that large pastry puck of potato puree and Benton’s cheese. I told her it would be tastier if she added some sriracha sauce to add some interesting dimension to this dense, sorta one-noted savory pastry. She agreed it tasted better. She’s happy and pretty stuffed that she saved the uneaten remnants for Helen.


The unexpected this was that one of the employees recognized me (not as a blogger but pretty much a regular) that he comped us three cookies – blueberry cream, cornflake-marshmallow-chocolate chip cookie, and corn. As usual, they’re buttery and a bit greasy but they’re delicious. Again, we’re getting a food/sugar coma that we’ve saved some for Helen.

It has some viscosity
Blackberry-Lemon verbena strawberry milkshake

I was debating (while we’re ordering) whether or not I wanted a shake or a soft serve. After hearing the guy behind the counter suggesting this interesting flavor combination of blackberry-lemon verbena soft serve swirl mixed with their tristar strawberry milk, I was sold. This milkshake was pretty good. It was bursting with fruit flavors – the tartness of the blackberries, the sweetness of the strawberry milk, and a mellow lemon-y background and it had some viscosity that it didn’t feel like I’m drinking pure liquid. I like shakes that require some effort of sucking through the straw.

Everyman Espresso
Everyman Espresso

After eating a ton of sweets, I needed coffee. I felt bad for Seungmi to hear my sugar high-stupor when we’re walking down East 13th Street to Everyman Espresso.

Dripping espresso My macchiato
Stream of espresso & my macchiato

I ordered the macchiato as my body needs something quite strong to get over the sugar kick. Seungmi was quite content with her Americano. We took it to-go and walked to the 7th Ave. station to meet up with Helen at the Time Warner Building.

Red velvet cupcake Cupcake, cut up
Red velvet cupcake, before and after butchering

When we met Helen, she was complaining of a mild case of hunger. Lo and behold, she got herself a large 4th of July decorated red velvet cupcake fromBouchon Bakery. I was pretty damn stuffed but I took like 1/6th of this concoction and tried it. The cake was moist and fine crumbed, the vanilla bean-speckled, cream cheese frosting was good (not too sweet); it’s fine for what it is but I can’t justify the price for a cupcake. Frankly, I was never a red velvet type of gal.

Helen taking a photo of me Seungmi doing the same
My paparazzi

Just to waste some time, we took photos of each other…

Seungmi and I LOL-ing
Funny moments…

And I tried to give Seungmi her piece of cupcake by balancing it on the tines of the plastic fork. But it didn’t go to well that the cupcake fell and landed on her point-and-shoot camera. We all got a good, long laugh for that one. Multiple attempts (like three) and they were all failures. Seungmi got frustrated enough with it that she used her fingers and ate it.

View of the Lake in Central Park View in Central Park

Then we waddled our way uptown to Central Park and chatted.

Entrance to Gus & Gabriel Interior
Gus & Gabriel’s exterior and interior

It was hitting 6 PM and I thought it’s about time to get dinner since Helen is a slow eater and well, I wanted to try Gus & Gabriel.

Helen looks disgusted
Our beverages, save for Helen’s look of faux disgust

For our beverages, Helen ordered the black cherry cream soda float with booze (I don’t remember which booze exactly but I think it was bourbon), Seungmi and I ordered Gus’ natural sodas – dry pomegranate and dry cranberry lime. Helen’s soda float tasted, well, like a normal float made with Virgil’s cream soda and their own house made ice cream. The booze wasn’t really that strong; I noticed it as the end note.

Smoked Tomato, Garlic Confit & Mozzarella Burger
Smoked Tomato, Garlic Confit & Mozzarella Burger

What shocked Helen and I were shocked when Seungmi ordered her smoked tomato, garlic confit & mozzarella burger – she ordered it medium-well. *GASP* Those words for a burger is practically blasphemous to the world of burgers. I didn’t try her burger since it’s almost fully cooked, as requested, save the fact the kitchen made it slightly pink, I still couldn’t bring myself to eat a burger that cooked. It looked good. Seungmi was content with it, so I guess it’s good. (Note, all the portions – burgers and my sanwich – are quite large.)

The regular burger

Helen ordered their standard burger. How Helen orders or eats certain types of food is: Start with their basics, if it’s good, then the variations will be as good or better. It’s a good idea but I don’t really have the time, the want, and/or finances to come back to a certain place multiple times to try out everything.

Purple-pink innards
Purple-pink innards

Getting back to the burger, it is cooked to a rare-medium-rare, as requested. As you can see, it’s a lovely shade of purple-pink. The burger was juicy and coarse ground. I just needed that salt element that the Shack Burger has.

Pulled Pork Cuban
Pulled Pork Cuban

As for my pulled pork Cuban sandwich filled with Monterey jack cheese, pepperoncini, pickles, sauerkraut, mustard. It was large portioned like all the other entrees and it tasted pretty damn good. I loved the crusty bread they used – crisp on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The filling was very flavorful – ranging from sweet, tart, and savory with a touch of spiciness. The pork was very moist and tender. I also loved the gooey melted cheese. Oh my…

A lovely mess
Potato skins, halved

Even though we ordered the potato skins, filled with chili, aged cheddar, Monterey jack, and bacon with a side of sour cream, as the appetizer to split amongst us, it came out last. It’s still fine since we’re trying to work our way through our entrees. The potato skins were quite messy to eat but good. I’m not a big fan of beans but this wasn’t bad.

Gus and Gabriel’s food is classic but good and the prices are moderately cheap for the large portions you get. Just be prepared that gets too noisy during the height of dinner rush.

Momofuku Milk Bar & Bakery

207 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003 (map; website)

Bouchon Bakery
Inside Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10019 (map; website)

Gus and Gabriel
222 W 79th Street
New York, NY 10024 (map; No website, No reservations, Cash only)


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

  1. Danny says:

    ooooh, that’s a great looking burger! It’s kinda crazy that I get excited when restaurants can cook their burgers to temperature. That should be the norm… but still, Gus & Gabriel’s looks great!

  2. thewanderingeater says:

    Danny: Nooo… It’s not crazy. It’s pretty much expected since you’re paying more than $10 (if you include tax and tip) for a burger; you want to know that you’re getting your money’s worth.

    Give Gus and Gabriel a try. The portions are large, the food is good, and the service is good as well. I want to try their desserts and milkshakes next time I go…

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