I remember this day quite well because it started off with me wanting to die, but ended with me wanting to die considerably less.
After two friends had canceled plans on me and I was stuck with the prospect of staying at home and feeling like crap or going out and possibly not feeling like crap, I chose the latter in a surprising decision of non-laziness and dragged my partially willing body to the G train to get to the Brooklyn Flea Holiday Market. With head flumped over, ears stuffed with earphones playing Fleet Foxes, and hood partially covering my grumpy visage, I felt that I had successfully gotten the, "Don't Come Within a Five Foot Radius of Me," look down.
But when I was about to get off the train, someone dared tap me on the shoulder. I turned to see the welcoming face of Erin and, back in the subway seat, Alex of Blondie and Brownie. WHAT DIMENSION OF THE G TRAIN HAD I STUMBLED INTO? The dimension where I sat almost directly across from two of the most awesome food people I know and was dangerously close to getting off the train without even acknowledging their presence.
They welcomed me as the third member of their League of Sugar-Hunting Awesome People. Grumpiness melted away, and all was good with the world.
For my first bite of the day, I ate a vanilla cupcake from One Girl Cookies. The cake was heavier than most and not of the fluffy sort—cornbread-y, perhaps—and I thought it could have used more frosting to balance out the cake. Sweetness level was fine—not too much or too little. Overall, not bad, just an atypical in my history of cupcake eating experiences.
The pumpkin whoopie pie won the deliciousness contest against the chocolate whoopie pie. I think it was more moist...and it was pumpkin flavored, so it couldn't really lose.
The main reason we went to One Girl Cookies was to try their hot chocolate as part of Erin's series of hot chocolate reviews. Unfortunately, it was underwhelming and not one we'd recommend. Stick with the baked goods.
For real food, we ate lunch at Peruvian restaurant Coco Roco. My favorite dish was the roast pork pita sandwich—a simple combination of roast pork chunks in toasty pita bread...and nothing else—which was brunch-ified by the sides of a fried egg, salad, and alcoholic beverage deemed acceptable for morning intoxification. The roast pork could have been more moist, but it at least didn't leave the impression of stringy dryness. Yay pork, don't let me down.
The goat stew was probably the best item we ate for being the most moist, tender meatstuff. (You know me: My heart belongs to pork.) The stew was supposed to come with some awesome mashed potatoes, according to Alex, but they ran out so we ended up with rice.
The three of us also shared half of a roast chicken. It was a bit on the dry side. Not bad, not awesome.
After making a trip to Trader Joe's, Erin and I parted ways with Alex to get more hot chocolate at Baked. Although Erin didn't write about it for our hot chocolate coverage, we approved it for its frothy and rich texture that wasn't too thick and, a plus for me, its not-too-dark chocolate flavor.
Also awesome and deserving of two thumbs up was the PB Krispy Bar, a rice krispies treat topped with smooth chocolate-peanut buttery goo and another layer of chocolate-buttery goo. Nicely balanced, not too sweet, and a pleasing combination of crunch, chew, and sweet, melty, peanut and dairy-based fats.
For dinner I went to King Star Restaurant in Sunset Park with Diana, Ian, Olia, and Jeremiah. This dish was called something like bamboo fungus with asparagus, which we probably only ordered to see what the hell bamboo fungus was (sounds way more appealing, albeit more boring, than the alternative name of "crinoline stinkhorn"). It's white, crunchy, and porous—nothing that you'd become addicted to, but it tastes fine. I don't know what the goopy sauce was, but I've had it in Chinese dishes before. "That viscous, semi-transluscent, color-less sauce that looks like alien amniotic fluid." You know the one.
Another new dish to me was fish maw soup, maw being the gas bladder of a fish. The maw was cut into small pieces; I can't really recall the taste. It was probably more of a texture thing of the semi-chewy and crunchy sort.
One of my favorite dishes in the history of the universe is the simple steamed flounder in ginger scallion soy sauce. Its light, sweet flesh soaks in all the ginger, scallion-y goodness and is as soft as a baby bunny's bum. Or something like that. It's something I only eat with a group of people, but I'd have no trouble eating a whole fish on my own.
While we would've been satisfied just eating sweet hot red bean and tapioca soup for dessert, we couldn't ignore the fried mantou with condensed milk that I spotted a waiter carry to a neighboring table. I must have a radar for little golden buns of deep fried crispy goodness. Or fried things in general. Probably the latter.
Fried mantou with its thin, crunchy shell and fluffy, steamy innards tastes good on its own, but it lacks something—that "something" being a thick layer of condensed milk. Obviously. Since the bread is rather bland, the mega-sweetness of the condensed milk balances out the bread's flavor, and unlike a more delicate cake, the bread is dense enough to stand up to the heaviness of the condensed milk. Not to say I wouldn't dip cake in condensed milk—you know I would—but this kind of bread works better.
139 Smith Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217
King Star Restaurant
6022 8th Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11220