Posts Tagged ‘Momofuku’
Local restauranteurs and Seattleites supporting the relief efforts.
Tini Bigs poured Manhattans.
Skillet‘s linguine with clams.
Hot Cakes‘ chocolate egg creams and chocolate chip cookies.
Seattle hearts New York City!
It was ice cream weather in New York. After shopping for a couple of hours, I criss-crossed Midtown Manhattan to Momofuku Milk Bar for a sweet treat. Located in the foyer of Momofuku Má Pêche, Christina Tosi‘s neon pink homage to baking was reprieve from the humidity.
The chalkboard menu spanned the wall. Neatly printed in rainbow colours, the menu was categorised into soft serve, merchandise, cookies, flavoured milks, pies, milkshakes, cake truffles, coffee, whole cakes and daily breads.
In contrast the opposite wall was plain. Birch shelves had wire baskets of cookies, stacks of cardboard boxes and branded merchandise.
David Chang’s ‘quarterly print journal’ Lucky Peach, the Momofuku cookbook, and Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar were displayed with bottles of Cereal Milk mix, cookie mix, t-shirts and totes.
Individually packaged blueberry and cream cookies.
Momofuku Milk Bar served Stumptown coffee. An illuminated milk sign projected a magenta glow over the croissants and bagels.
The centrepiece behind the counter was a machine dispensing Cereal Milk and pineapple upside down cake flavoured soft serve.
The Cereal Milk soft serve was squeezed into a paper cup and dropped into a larger plastic one. The double cupping insulated warm fingers and there was no dripping. I’m a slow eater and the frozen dessert was surprisingly sturdy, retaining its shape for several minutes without melting. Smooth and creamy, the Cereal Milk soft serve was luscious.
I purchased a bottle of Cereal Milk mix, a fun dessert for the next dinner party.
I will return to Momofuku Milk Bar for their savoury items, bagel bomb (bacon, scallion and cream cheese) or volcano bread (caramelised onion, potato gratin, Gruyère, bacon and pancetta)!
I attended my first event at Book Larder yesterday. A community cookbook store in Fremont, it is a warm and welcoming space with the kitchen at its heart. A large group gathered for Christina Tosi, author, chef and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar.
A vintage stove is salvaged as a window display.
Cookbooks are categorised and neatly stacked. I’m enamoured by the teal walls, a regal shade against the stark white shelves.
Wooden tables are focal points for new releases and local authors.
The kitchen is equipped with modern appliances and accoutrements.
On the cover of Christina’s cookbook is the neon ‘milk’ sign of Momofuku Milk Bars.
A container of cereal milk mix.
The view of the kitchen through a glass of cereal milk. Milk infused with cornflakes, sugar and salt, the sugary beverage replicates the taste of the liquid left at the bottom of a breakfast bowl.
The air was perfumed with butter and there was an abundance of sweet treats.
We munched on sample containers of cereal crunch, a caramelised cornflakes snack.
A platter of cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookies.
Deceptively plain in appearance, these corn cookies were chewy with a distinct corn flavour.
Sugar, butter, cream, eggs, milk, cream and oats. The core ingredients of crack pie. Its magical ratios are whisked, kneaded, cooled, baked and frozen into a dense, sticky and crumbly dessert.
Christina described Momofuku Milk Bar as a bakery that serves cookies and cakes with a personality. As a child she was a ‘picky eater with a sweet tooth’. She enrolled in culinary school in New York as an aspiring pastry chef to do what she loves which is to ‘eat sweets all day’! After she graduated she worked in fine dining restaurants. She enjoyed the challenge but was questioning her career direction when she was introduced to David Chang.
David had ‘drive and courage but no infrastructure’ and Christina was hired for the ‘etcetera’ role of ‘everything non-kitchen’ related. She would work during the day, bake at home at night and bring her baked goods into the office to share. There were no desserts on the menu at Noodle Bar or Ssäm Bar. The restaurants were chef focused where the chefs did the payroll and trained the wait staff. It was endearing but masculine.
After a couple of jokes, David was serious about Christina making desserts for the restaurants. She introduced one at a time while still doing her ‘etcetera’ role and transitioned to full-time chef. When the real estate next to Ssäm Bar became vacant, David decided Christina should open the Milk Bar. It is this passion and intuition that characterises David Chang.
Christina commented that the Milk Bar was a ‘lady approach to opening a Momofuku’. Christina built a team of small and talented people that operate the Milk Bars. Each item at the Milk Bars has intention and story behind it. Favourite components of desserts are deconstructed and reconstituted.
David opened Momofuku Seiōbo in Sydney last week and I asked Christina if she’ll follow with a Milk Bar. She explained the business has grown rapidly over the last three years and her fear is to split her team and fracture the creative process. She noted there was space available for the expansion!
Another question asked was about home cooking. Christina said the essence is home cooking but she references her formal training. She likened milk powder to ‘MSG for the baker’. She worked at wd~50 prior to joining Momofuku and it was there that she learned to think about the science of food. Her cooking is ‘tangible in unexpected ways’.
The final question was about working with David Chang. Christina spoke with respect and affection on her relationship with David. Working with David requires commitment and tenacity, they have a deep understanding and trust that is ‘silently dynamic’. She is stubborn and David knows it!
Christina brought boxes of cookies from the Milk Bar. From top right: corn cookie, cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie, compost cookie, blueberry and cream cookie, and confetti cookie.
I purchased a copy of the book and I look forward to reading about the ’intention and story’ of each of the recipes.
Congratulations to the Book Larder for a stellar calendar of events and sincere thanks to Christina Tosi for sweetening our Tuesday evening.
‘In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made;
there’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York.’
My first visit to New York was in 1999 on a family holiday. We were en route to Europe and three days in the Big Apple marked the half way point of a round the world trip. I remember shopping at the mall in the concourse of the World Trade Center, surprised that it was Westfield branded. I have a framed photo displayed at home that was taken in the crown of the Statue of Liberty.
We travelled to New York last year to attend the wedding of a dear friend. With photos in Central Park, and the ceremony and reception at Public in the Lower East Side, it was the quintessential New York celebration. We also had our first momofuku experience that week. I had read about David Chang when he visited Australia (he will open momofuku seiōbo in Sydney later this year) and was keen to dine at one of his restaurants. Four of us were defeated by the fried chicken dinner!
A convenient Midtown location, the restaurant has a narrow entrance and the street frontage is occupied by the milk bar.
The main dining room is below but I sat in the bar area upstairs. The space is lit by an amber glow and the bar itself is perched on a mezzanine level overlooking communal tables downstairs.
Small paintings cover the walls and there are two alcoves with half a dozen tables plus counter seating.
I’m yet to sample the famed steamed pork buns and unfortunately it was not part of the prix-fixe menu. At twenty five dollars for three courses, it was good value by New York standard.
I selected the summer rolls for an appetiser. Silken tofu, shredded lettuce and a crispy wonton cigar were wrapped in rice paper, and served with hoisin sauce and peanuts. These were refreshing and a healthy alternative to spring rolls.
A noodle fiend, I chose the rice noodles for the main. It was a fiery bowl of minced pork, bok choy, basil and cherry tomatoes. Although tasty, I struggled with the spiciness and I had to pause several times to gulp water.
A compost cookie from the milk bar concluded the meal. Sweet and chewy, the waiter described the compost cookie as ‘leftover ingredients smashed together’. I loved that the bill was delivered with a complimentary postcard!
I had intended on returning for the steamed pork buns, and a soft serve and a slice of crack pie from the milk bar but Mother Nature cancelled that plan for me with a state of emergency declared for Hurricane Irene.