Last weekend’s Dessert Goals festival in Williamsburg was overwhelming in the best way… I totally gave in to the siren call of almost every sugary vendor. Here are the things I was able to taste in the short 1.5 hours that we were allotted. Not included in my list is Butter Lane, because I work there and of course am partial to cupcakes, if you haven’t noticed! You should definitely try them if you’re a cake lover… and even if you’re not! Their frosting-to-cake ratio makes for the perfect balance of moist cake and just-the-right-sweetness-frosting in every bite.
- Taiyaki NYC – Taiyaki. I wanted to eat an entire school of these babies. I loved eating taiyaki for the first time in Japan years ago. “Tai” is the word for a type of fish, red snapper, and “yaki” means “fried”. The treat is conventionally sold as street fair food. It’s a fish shaped pancake that is usually filled with pastry cream. Taiyaki NYC has a different take on the classic. They keep the fish’s mouth open and fill it with green tea soft serve, red bean, and mochi. If the fish could cram all of that in its mouth, you can cram this delicious fish-shaped treat into yours!
2. Wowfulls – Bubble waffles. This was the last thing I ate at Dessert Goals, and I almost didn’t get it because I already had a sugar high as tall as the Empire State Building. But I had to… Called “waffles with abs” on the street, these gai dan jai bubble waffles are super popular in Hong Kong. It was so enjoyable to eat each bubble individually. The Pocky candy added some crunch that balanced the chewy texture of the mochi. I ended up buying a vintage shirt from Dobbin Street Vintage, who were also tabling at the event, that matched the sprinkles aesthetic perfectly. I’ll definitely wear it the next time I tackle a bubble waffle.
3. Baba Cool – Dragonfruit bowls. I started the day with this, thinking I would ease into the festival with something healthy first. Dragonfruit bowls have the consistency of a smoothie. If you haven’t had dragonfruit before, it has a mild taste that contrasts with its vibrant pink, tangy-looking color. Toppings like chocolate shavings, pepitas, and pansy flowers added pops of color and texture to the smoothie-bowl.
4. Jae NYC Eats – Twinkies from scratch. (Called “Cakies” to prevent any confusion) You could watch them inject and fill each pastry with a syringe. I got the most mesmerizing, colorful flavor, jackfruit with fruity pebbles. It blended in well with this colorful background… but don’t worry, it didn’t escape from my watchful gaze!
5. Not Your Average Cotton – Cotton candy. Served on the rooftop garden, it was hard to prevent this lightweight sweet from blowing away toward the New York skyline. I ordered rose flavored cotton candy topped with a hint of pepper. They also had dreamy mint and lavender flavors.
It’s officially rainy and autumn, which means that it’s time to go thrift shopping for wear-once sweaters, drink mulled wine, listen to the Avett Brothers (I’m not sure why I find their sound so melancholy autumnal!), and pursue all-things-cozy. Even after living in New York for almost two months, sometimes I worry that I’m never going to fall into a rhythm of it feeling like home. This is mostly because my work schedule is so scrambled from week to week. While I’m a creature of habit (it sucks that I can’t watch American Horror Story every Wednesday, and lord knows it would slip off of the table entirely if my roommate didn’t shame me into watching it after the fact), I’m trying to appreciate the spontaneity of my new life here. I’m getting better at embracing the chaos while still hoarding those quiet moments of introspective down-time that keep my weeks sane. Here are a few things that defined my past week!
- There’s a Beetlejuice Bar in the East Village called Beetle House NYC that is an October must. When I went there, there was someone in costume as “Betelgeuse” who, in looks and voice, was a dead ringer for Michael Keaton. Sip your drink while bathed in lush purple lighting and discuss all that is beautiful and creepy in life. Visiting this bar was a good excuse to replay the Halloween classic; revisiting young Alec Baldwin is always an added goodie for your pillow-sack full of treats.
- My favorite neighborhood in New York is fast becoming Nolita (North of Little Italy). Nestled snugly along its cute streets are Greecologies, Ruby’s Cafe, McNally Jackson Books, Jadis, and Mother’s Ruin, to name a few of my favorite recent discoveries. There are still so many little shops there that I want to get lost in. Greecologies is a greek yogurt/coffee shop. I’ve used their rose petal preserves in a Linzer Heart cookie recipe as well as a buttercream icing recipe, and I’m rarin’ to try their bergamot orange preserves next. Ruby’s Cafe is the coziest little restaurant with ambiance that spills out into the street on warm nights. It offers surprisingly affordable food with a self-proclaimed Australian influence. What does Australian influence mean? You won’t find any kangaroo burgers here, but everything on the menu looked like ideal comfort food. McNally Jackson is the most inviting bookstore that I’ve found in New York. I like it a little more than Strand, which has established itself as a staple for the city’s most bookish. McNally Jackson has self-publishing services and a cafe with single-seater desks that reminded me of grade school, in a good way. While the cafe’s wifi ban was initially irksome (I have to write a blog, people!), I’ve actually grown to appreciate its intention of making customers actually focus on the novels that they’re so eager to purchase. Jadis is an inviting wine bar for a friend date or a real date. Honestly, I’d also enjoy going there alone to read a book or write a letter with a glass of wine. I’m definitely going back for their mulled wine when they start serving it next month. Mother’s Ruin got me in there based entirely on its name, but beyond that my roommate and I found that it was the perfect place to collapse with a beer and a veggie burger after a long week.
- My sugar consumption has become a bit too regular and I think my body and mind are getting too used to it. I’ve noticed that on my days off, there is a cupcake-sized lack of energy right in the middle of my day. It’s so strange to see how my habits have changed in a little under two months! It also made me laugh that both a coworker and I brought in chocolate bars to nibble on during our sugar-coated work at our sugar-laced cupcake job. Apparently my diet is reaching a state of balance; It usually only takes me a couple of hours to reach the RDA of my favorite sugar categories. My ultimate goal is to cultivate some wellness habits that will hopefully temper the gains that result from my daily indulgences.
- I know that I suffer from FOMO and find it painful to turn down invitation and opportunities, especially since I’m new to the city and want to discover everything at once. I don’t know if this go-go-go mentality will wear off once I’ve lived here longer, but my guess is that it won’t. I just have to get better at pacing myself and staying on track for the long-term trajectories that I’ve set my sights on. I advocate for the occasional personal day where you just sit in bed and think (or purposely don’t think). So, while I’ve just given you a list of places to check out, remember that you should say no-no-no to the go-go-go once in a while!