- Hopefully this isn't what you see before you die
MERRY CHRISTMAS YOU GUYS! HOORAY FOR JESUS!
(I don't mean to be offensive, by the way. However, I'm not religious, so when I say things like "HOORAY FOR JESUS!" I'm not exactly being serious. So. Yeah. Um. Thanks for reading my site, even though I am riddled with sin.)
So where was I on Saturday night?
Oh my god. Could it be? Does McDonald's dare grace this blog? Am I brain dead? The answer to all these questions is a colossal, "YES."
See, I had this crazy chicken nugget craving the other day. And when you crave a chicken nugget, nothing can really replace it. The craving for deep-fried reformed chicken purée was so strong that it got to the point where I thought I was smelling the fumes of phantom chicken nuggets. In case you need to gauge your insanity, I'd say phantom smells are a sign that something upstairs is not working quite right. And by that I mean your brain function is impaired and you might need professional help.
However, I hadn't eaten at a McDonald's in maybe seven years and a chicken nugget in longer than that. Not entering a McDonald's in such a long time had to do with more than just being opposed to the nutritional content of the "food" (although honestly, I'll eat just about anything once no matter how unhealthy it is) but also with everything the business stood for. I don't mean to say that McDonald's is 200% evil, but as soon as I became a health/food politics nut way back in high school it immediately went into my "evil" box. Because McDonalds = the virus of American obesity and unhealth spreading all over the globe. Etc.
But you know what? Going to McDonald's to eat a chicken nugget is hardly the worst offense in the world. This revelation was nearly as important to me as that time I realized that eating cooked food wouldn't result in instant death (back when I was on a raw food diet, aka "that time that Robyn was really healthy and simultaneously not very happy"). I knew that if I didn't eat one soon my mind would be plagued with phantom chicken nugget smells and nightmares featuring chicken nuggets and maybe a hallucination here and there. Why should I have to deal with that when in NYC there's a McDonald's on every other block?
So, with Kathy as my witness, I gave into the craving. For experimental purposes. It was very important for me to find out whether today's chicken nugget would stand up to the memories of my youth when I would regularly tuck into those 4-piece chicken nugget Happy Meals and shorten my life with each trans fat-filled chickeny bite.
I chomp. I tasted. I approved. Kathy and I agreed that chicken nuggets from McDonald's are just plain tasty, even if they're made of god knows what.
(A slight aside: if you visit the flickr page for the above photo, you'll see a bunch of long comments from a user named Canon. I don't mind saying on this public site that he's left a number of comments of questionably tactful nature [in that they're not], comments that I've managed to ignore until now because...well, I have a bunch of reasons, but basically I think he's being a bit of a jerk, using my flickr page as as forum for his beliefs along with targeting me, someone who obviously almost never eats at McDonald's in the first place and doesn't need to be told about the horrors of industrial agriculture. Although I'm tempted to ban him, I think I'll just ignore him once more and see if he does anything like this again. I'm justified in feeling this way, right? I mean, to be annoyed by his comments. It's very, very rare that anyone bothers me to the point when I want to tell them to leave me alone.)
Update (12/26/07): I blocked him. The comments were getting more ridiculous.
It's the crust. The golden armor around the mashed chicken innards that happens to be this perfect thickness, not too light or heavy, almost flaky in some way, and satisfyingly crispy when freshly fried. Is it like no other crust, or do I just not have enough chicken nugget eating experience? Is it one damn tasty nugget? Is it?
Sadly, the fries were full of fail. The slightly stale, sub-crispy texture told us that they had been sitting out for too long.
...Not that that stopped us from eating every last fry, which in my case involved slathering most of the surface area with sweet and sour sauce.
Before going on our nugget killing spree, Kathy and I feasted on random goodies that she had brought back from her afternoon at Brighton Beach. (Update (12/16/07): Read her entry, it's really...long and stuff! And more detailed than what I wrote here.) It looked so promising. So...full of hope. Until we started sampling the goods, after which it all went downhill.
What was wrong? Sadly, things looked better than they tasted. The blobs on the left that look like meringues? They were semi-marshmallows. As Kathy said, it was like they were marshmallows that hadn't fully marshmallow-ed. And that's exactly what they tasted like: underdeveloped marshmallows. Marshmallow fetuses. There's a nice picture for ya.
The pancake looking things at the front of the photo didn't have much going for them. Bland. Maybe that's what they're supposed to taste like. I'll assume they taste good when fresh.
This puffy pastry with a thin shell was filled with an airy marshmallow-like substance studded with raisins. We deemed it "okay." Not bad, nor something we would dream about eating again.
The best thing in Kathy's stash was the carrot cake, an amazingly moist, just slightly chewy cake overstuffed with carrot, nuts and raisins. It was quadrupley awesome. I initially thought I was too full to eat it, but then I found myself cutting off a few chunks. And devouring them. And feeling like I could eat even more despite the heavy carrot-raisin-nut combo. Those are the most dangerous kinds of cakes, the ones that seems to bypass your satiety alert until after you've eaten six servings of something and feel less like a human, more like pregnant whale with a disease whose major symptom is intense bloating.
The kvass wasn't so bad. Kinda sweet, kinda bitter, kinda medicinal, kinda fizzy. Thus is the magic of water, malt, sugar, yeast and raisins, the combination everyone's been kinda dying to try. But not.
Fast forward to post-McDonald's dessert. We killed some time in the East Village by going to Chikalicious Puddin', the new pudding-only outpost—three puddings to be exact—from the owners of Chikalicious, NYC's first dessert bar. Chikalicious Puddin' is a small place, only offering standing room around a central oval counter, but you probably won't linger long after finishing your pudding in five bites.
The adult chocolate pudding, which came atop a bed of crushed chocolate cookie "soil," was...alright. There was nothing wrong with it, but I found it quite mild for something with "adult" in the title. Loved the perfectly smooth, creamy texture, but it could've used twice the chocolate.
I was a bigger fan of the vanilla custard steamed pudding, although Kathy pointed out that while it tasted good, it wasn't interesting. It was simply a light, super-moist steamed cake in a pool of crème anglaise. Of course it tastes good. But not, "OMG NEED MORE!" good.
And that's my overall impression of Chikalicious: tastes good, but not so amazing that I'd recommend going out of your way to pay $4.50 for a little pudding cup. If you're in the area and crave pudding, it's a good choice. Or rather, it's your only choice.
Um, earlier in the day...
But I started with tea. Made from Ceylon tea, not Cylon, methinks. (John noticed the typo.)
Chai is easily my favorite tea. It's sweet. It's milky. It's dessert in a cup. I wouldn't say that Taim's version tasted much better than other chai teas I've had, but it was a nice warm drink for a cold afternoon.
My harissa falafel pita sandwich was massive. MASSIVELY DELICIOUS. You'd have to be nearly starving for one of their falafel pita sandwiches to not fill you up. Halfway through my sandwich I already felt the beginning of stomach over-stuff-age, but I continued to polish off the whole sandwich because, as I exclaimed in the beginning of this paragraph, it is MASSIVELY DELICIOUS TO A DEGREE YOU COULD NOT IMAGINE, unless you've already been there. It's the combination of falafels with this perfect texture, a crisp crust encapsulating light chickpea innards, shoved into a warm, fluffy pita, and smothered in creamy hummus and fresh salady bits. From my first bite of the sandwich to the last I'm usually stuck in some kind of falafel coma. It's awesome.
If you're especially hungry you can get a falafel platter, kind of like a deconstructed falafel pita sandwich with more stuff, accompanied by three sauces on the side. Seungmi impressively ate every last bit off her plate. I might have to try that next time.
...Yeah, I think you can find one of these on your own.
Way out there in Brooklyn