Dining Desperado-The Good, The Bad and the YUMMY

Conquering the country one bite at a time. There are no foods I actually dislike, just foods I prefer. Bread, nuts, cheese, and dessert, are on the supremely awesome list.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

B&H extravaganza and MURRAY"S

I may have to adjust my list of favorite amusement parks in NY from Chinatown to B & H Photography. There are really no words to describe it. You have to see it to belive it. The store is jam packed with STUUUUUUFF. All kinds of stuff. Imagine trying to fit 5 best buys in one store (There's so much stuff you wonder if you aren't actually looking at wall paper of stuff) And then imagine this war zone for electronics run by about 50 crazy little hasidic jews! It's possibly the strangest thing I will ever see. They all wear yamakas...and they all try to run everything as efficiently as possible. Upon talking with a guy (with a yamaka) about a camera lens I decided to buy it. He then took my credit card to ring up my reciept....but not to pay he instructed me..."go to the cashier to pay". I would my way to the cashier and found no line, but found enough stachions (sp?) set up to control a pack of wildebeasts. I was promptly called by the cashier (with a yamaka) to come up with my card ready and my id. Even though I was the only person in line...besides my friend Claire. He turned to Claire "Now watch what she does so you can do it to". His commands were quick and authoritative; plus he stood on some sort of platform which allowed him to tower over us despite his genetics. I fumbled for the recent and I could feel his eyes burning with disapproval. No time for fumbling, only time for precision and money transactions. I think the whole checkout took about 20 seconds. I couldn't think of any reason for going that fast when no one else was in line except for pride, maybe he was trying to break his personal record or something.

Well on with the story, it's not quite over. He gave me yet another reciept and pointed me to another line. This time there were little station numbered 1-7 (?) like the highly coveted roller coaster slots you wait in right before you get on the ride. Well again, I was the only person in line but the guy wanted my receipt so much I thought he might jump over the bar and get rip it from me. He glanced at it and turned around and handed me a bag....could this really be my stuff? It all happened so fast. I noticed this little moving tram overhead...then I realized that was the source of much magic! They were putting stuff people ordered on there, those tricky tricky tricksies! I felt like I had just been hustled or that I should at least feel dizzy. But I looked in the bag and there was my lens! Holy S! I got to give it to them. They are pretty damn awesome. I wish I could have taken pictures of them..but I wasn't sure if that was some sort of taboo. The last thing I wanted to do was be on the blacklist. So in any case I salute you crazy B & H yamaka wearing kids. 0-60 in 2.3 seconds.

MURRAY'S!!! Seaseme with strawberry cream cheese! Holy Bagel, Where art thou tonight?

Here's Claire's Multi-Grain Bagel. It was still warm! We're not worthy!!

Bouchon For Jenni :)

Back to the old stomping grounds. It looks better than ever. Seriously, I'm not just saying that to bulster my self esteem. It is operating like a well operating machine. Its funny seeing tisserie open and remember what it was like to open Bouchon....oh goodness. Bouchon bakery. Well lets just say I would have eaten everything if I had enough money. The cases were packed with familiar things...and some NEW THINGS! Ooooo NEW THINGS! I NEW THINGS! They had the tuna sammich!!mmmm! And now they prominantly diplayed terraine of foie gras (with a cute little tag for $35) and salmon rillettes ($28 or something). And there was an s-load of new tarts!!! Including a banana!!! OH I wanted it! Too bad it wasn't breakfast. I probably should have gotten in anyway.

There are always two "seasonal" danishes. And of course this was summer...A new season! So I checked to see what the new danishes were. 1. Some apple type danish that looked pretty good. But...2. blueberry with creamy lemon curd. Yep. That's an easy decision. Plus, these are the only two pastries i haven't tried. I've had everything else. I'm glad I worked there. I think it would have tortured me if I didn't get to try everything. I don't know how other people live without trying everything, it would eat away at my soul, or maybe just my wallet.

MMMMmmmm that's bouchon consistency for ya. A dependable great everytime. This wasn't the best croissant from here I'd had but that's pretty picky because i've eaten double digit figures. The best ones I've had are always first thing in the morning...but thus is the nature of the croissant. The french would tell you it's sacrilidge to have a croissant at night (unless it was baked later that day) and they would scoff if you had milk with coffee past the afternoon (it's a breakfast thing). But when it comes to food I think we all have to surrender to the French (no pun intended, I wish I was French).

Here you can see a direct pastry comparison. Tisserie on the left and Bouchon on the right. There are different breeds of croissants, just like there are different breeds of dogs. When you make croissants you take a rich dough and you basically lay a block of butter on top of it. Then you fold the dough over the butter like an envelope and flatten it by rolling it or putting it through a machine. Then you repeat this until you have dispersed the butter into the dough in alternating levels. This process is called lamination, and the thing is that every chef does a different ratio of butter to dough, a different folding system, and a different number of times of rolling it out. So thus....that's why you find a adaptive radiation in the croissant species. There are definatley some mutants out there. Tisserie and Bouchon are both good, and it's also a little unfair to compare these two because the Tisserie's is filled before baking...which introduces all sorts of moisture issues into the equation. Right now, Bouchon is still better, but Tisserie is a good addition to Union Square fo sho. Tru dat.


Tisserie is a bakery I heard about through the grapevine. The bakery world in NY is pretty tight knit. So while I was at Bouchon I heard about 2 brothers from south america who were opening a bakery in Union Square. So of course...it was my patriotic duty to check it out. The scoop: It's pretty big. It has a sleek modern feel. The menus are big flat screen tv's. I would say they want to be in a league with bouchon. Let's see.
At the counter there was a lovely selection of pastries. Criossants...danishes....a few sandwiches. It was quite similar to Bouchon really. A mix of things but predominantly French inspired. So what should I get? Well the most unique thing of course...or the thing that looks the most delicious. So I browsed the counter for a while and settled on a croissant filled with ricotta and topped with parmesan. The pastry itself wasn't big and impressive but I would let taste have the final say. Claire and I wondered to the back of the store where we found an upstairs. Unfortunately we had to climb over some boxes to get to it. Everyone (the workers...and consequently the customers) and everything was a little confusing which is understandable since they hadn't even been open a week.

I took a bite...A Good Croissant....not as flakey and fluffy as Bouchon's....rather the layers were more tightly packed and the outside had a thin crisp shell...where bouchon has a soft pillow top. Anyway....on to the filling. The filling was awesome! Well it was ricotta and I LOVE cheese, so what's not to like? And topped off by even more cheese! The parm was a very nice compliment in texture and taste. The ricotta is a creamy, subtle cheese and the parm is a sharp cheese which was great lightly toasted in bits on top. So...would I got back? If I was in the area I would definatley go back BUT I would wait until they had a chance to get settled down first. I would say in a couple of months they will be a nicely oiled machine but until then expect oddities with gracious service.