Milk Bar and Magic

Work again today!  Though they switched it up by adding more group intern seminar at the beginning.  We were addressed by David Kiehl, curator of prints (extremely charming, rambling, off-kilter man who had a story for every work he showed us and is clearly enthusiastic about the changing concept of “the print” and alterations in printmaking) and a representative from Marketing.  Marketing was sort of all over the place, but the end result is that Marketing helps bring people into the museum and the museum is a business and a brand the end.  Although that brand does need to possess integrity and truth to the museum.  So Marketing walks the line between soulless and soulful.  But who doesn’t nowadays.

Post work I headed down toward Union Square.  Ashley and I had tickets to see a 10:20 screening of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince aka HP6, and I decided that I owed Momofuku Milk Bar another visit.  Some of you may recall I stopped by earlier this summer to try their softserve.  This time around I wanted to try some of the savory dishes and some cakes/pies/cookies etc.


In terms of savory food I really wanted to try the Volcano, which sounds amazing: dough stuffed with cheese and potato gratin and bacon and baked.  How can this fail?  Well it did, because there were no Volcanoes today.  Sad.  So I decided to try the dish that helped make David Chang famous: his steamed pork buns.


Said buns involve buttery slices of pork belly with cucumber and some sort of sweet, hoisin-ish sauce placed on a soft bun.  You eat it like a sandwich.  I have nothing to compare it too–I don’t eat a ton of pork, and really only ate this because I was told that I need to try it at least once in my life, also, again, it is more or less the dish that made David Chang–but I must say it was incredibly tasty and filling.  The pork was extremely tender, like barbecue but more subtle, and I really liked the sauce.  Could have used more actually.  I still dream of the volcano, but the pork bun sufficed, and I checked a major NYC food experience off of my life list–seriously, people are obsessed with this dish.

I decided I really needed Ashley’s assistance to conquer the desserts.  Also, I wasn’t hungry for sweets just yet.  I headed back to Union Square to await Ashley’s arrival and as soon as said arrival occurred promptly dragged her back to Milk Bar.  It is very close to Union Square, on 13th street at 2nd avenue.

We split several desserts: a slice of crack pie, a slice of Arnold Palmer cake, and a compost cookie.  None of the current softserve flavors appealed to us, though we did both try the rosemary flavor just for kicks.  Yes, it is good.  Yes, it tastes just like rosemary.  I really cannot explain it any other way.  The softserve is creamy and both salty and sweet, the flavors sort of mixing and oscillating as you consider them.  Christina Tosi somehow managed to distill the essence of rosemary into its purist, most delicious form.  That said, I couldn’t imagine eating a full helping of said rosemary.  A taste was just enough.


The Arnold Palmer cake was probably my favorite of the desserts we tried: really subtle, oddly light, and you could eat each layer alone and they were fabulous but together they were uber-fabulous.  The construction is a layer of tea cake, a layer of lemon mascarpone, a layer of iced tea jelly, and a layer of some kind of tea crunch.  Basically it was yummy: fruity but subtle, the mascarpone creamy and wonderful, the crunch and dryness of the cake providing a lovely contrast.


The crack pie is like a pecan pie without the pecans.  It is all butter, cream, sugar, and fat, no subtly, no layers, just pure sugar.  Immediate satiation of craving after two bites; if you consume anymore than that you will go into a sugar coma.


The compost cookie is so-called because it is made of many things: cookie dough and chocolate chips, of course, but also potato chips and pretzels and butterscotch chips and a bit of many other things.  The cookie basically tastes like a chocolate chip cookie with a bit more salt and texture.  Therefore it tastes good.  Also, it was the best cookie consistency: crisp around the edges but gooey and soft and melty in the middle.  Tons of sugar in this too.

Moral of the story: Christina Tosi loves sugar and big impact, hates subtly.  Ashley and I (thankfully) did not finish any of these desserts.  We shared them with the people standing next to us at the bar (no seats in the Milk Bar, just large communal stand-up tables) and then packed up the remainders to take with us to the movie.  We had plenty of time to kill after our sugar overdose, so we decided to be old school Pine View and hang out at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square.  Because that is what Pine View kids do.  Hang out at Barnes and Noble.

We arrived at the movie theater at 9:30 for our 10:20 film and this was fortunate because there was already a sizable line seated in front of the auditorium.  Evidently in New York they don’t care if you bring outside food into films.  People were eating salads and tacos and items clearly purchased from the nearby Whole Foods or local street vendors.  Ashley and I had purchased a pretzel to accompany our leftover cake, pie, and cookie, and we nibbled these while Ashley told me amazing wonderful stories of her experiences at Star Trek conventions, such as the time Brent Spiner hit on her(!!!!).  Ashley and I, we be kindred spirits.  I adore this girl.

On a side note, the trailer for the creepy-looking animated movie 9 showed before Harry Potter, and Ashley and I remarked on the stupidity of releasing two movies with the same title (9 and Nine) in the same year.  We then realized that we are the only people on the planet who fall into the target audiences of both films.  We win, supremely.

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was a middling Harry Potter film in my opinion.  Movies three and five are my favorites, but this film was definitely better than the first two.  I try to separate film and book but that is extremely difficult.  I actually found myself lamenting the removal of most of the major action sequences, which is amusing because I am not someone who complains about a lack of action sequences in film.  Alan Rickman is a treasure and I really love how he’s developed Snape.  Helena Bonham-Carter subsists on a diet of scenary, clearly.  I also appreciated their giving Tom Fenton more of a meaty, conflicted role–I think he’s a talented young actor, and he makes Draco believable.  I loved the swooping aerial shots and the sequence in Voldemort’s cave.

Also, this was the funniest of the six films, despite the underlying darkness and incredibly depressing ending.  Hormones and teenage awkwardness also equal funny, and it provided a fine contrast to the seriousness that is about to envelop Harry’s life.  The last two films will provide minimal opportunity for humor, so I suppose the filmmakers should allow the audience to get their kicks while they can.

That was Friday.  Tomorrow I am visiting P.S. 1 and the Brooklyn Museum.  Multi-borrough museum adventure!  For now, in honor of Harry’s owl Hedwig, I leave you with some owl grafitti I saw near the Milk Bar.


3 thoughts on “Milk Bar and Magic

  1. I’m not sure if you should be a food critic or a movie critic . . . You’re great at both !

    Loving following you New York adventure !


  2. i love your notes on all the food! your blog is a great resource; i’m taking notes for my next trip to nyc. you’re lucky to have had the luxury of a whole summer to explore so much–food and other things. makes me want to find a residency there and do the same!

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