Momofuku Milk Bar

72 Wooster St. New York, NY 10012(347) 577-9504milkbarstore.com

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Momofuku Milk Bar is what happens when you let a mad scientist (David Chang), who is very in touch with his inner five year old, into the kitchen. Yes, this tiny dessert café (a.k.a. bakery) sports a menu that reads like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, minus the snozberries.

Starting with the cookies, the Compost Cookie (pictured) is most definitely the one to be getting, made from a menagerie of ingredients including (are you sitting down?) pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, chocolate chips and about 40 other things. No exaggeration. It’s salty meets sweet meets the kitchen sink. In fact, this cookie is so complex, it’s likely to give the other cookies a complex. And it does, because after the Compost, the other cookies range from good (the blueberry & cream) to good riddance, like the corn cookie.

The Cereal Milk in all of its various forms from milkshake to soft serve to, well, plain old milk (about which there is truly nothing plain), tastes like the leftover milk from a bowl of Fruit Loops. Genius in theory, but in practice there’s actually something a bit unsettling about this one, because you can’t help but wonder who, and how hygienic was the person who ate the bowl of cereal from the milk you are now drinking? Granted this is obviously not how it’s made, or at least I pray it’s not, but for some reason it still triggers this visceral off-putting reaction.

Another infamous treat at the Milk Bar is the Crack Pie. Basically a variation on a chess pie with toasted oats and hints of butter cake. The net, net is supposed to yield something so addictive it’s like that other addictive thing bearing the name “crack.” Well, having never tried the cocaine version, I can only speak from my experience of the pie, and addicted I am not. Primarily because it is way too sickly sweet. And that’s kinda the problem with Milk Bar in general, much of the stuff is so crazy sweet that it becomes polarizing.

But polarizing means there are two extremes, and while the Cereal Milk and Crack Pie fall at the low end, the Compost Cookie and the Birthday Cake Truffles fall at the peak. Now I know some people dismiss these as birthday cake pops without the stick, but I would say that is a drastic oversimplification. It’d be like calling quantum physics similar to algebra because they are both math. Yes, there’s way more going on in these balls than meets the mouth.

So ,while it’s not exactly a smashing success like Ko, the Milk Bar still has its moments. You just have to navigate your way through the sugar bombs.

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The Ultimate Setting

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While you can’t eat necessarily eat your surroundings, with the exception of that room in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a true foodie must admit that it can be quite integral to a dining experience. So, this Ultimate is an ode to the clothes that make the man.

Chevre d’or – Eze, France

Set atop the picturesque castle town of Eze in Provence, this restaurant makes you feel as though you are attending a royal feast, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea from your medieval perch. Think Game of Thrones meets Michelin Stars.

Surrounded by such absolutely stunning views, it’s hard to imagine that anything else could possibly compete, until the food arrives, with presentations that are equally mesmerizing in their own right.

Even the parking lot is jaw-dropping, loaded with Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s and Aston Martins.

 

Blue Hill at Stone Barns – Pocantico Hills, NY

It’s tough to compete with the South of France, but a 1000 acre Rockerfeller farm estate isn’t exactly something to sneeze at. And by farm I mean the poster child for farm to table. Quite literally the ingredients come from the farm just outside your spectacular dining room window.

But what makes the dining room so extraordinary isn’t just the view of the farm. It’s the beautiful marriage of old and new. On the outside, the stone barn building feels like it did centuries ago, having been lovingly preserved all of these years just for foodie-kind. But on the inside, oh on the inside it’s even more beautiful if that’s even possible. A minimalist, modern twist on farmhouse décor, with gracefully bowing iron beams that arch their backs over you head. Soothing earth tones and wood meet soft white walls adorned with art. And then come the platings. A masterful clinic on presentation like you’ve never seen. Custom made trellis arches show off their bountiful garden. Planks of wood boast an arsenal of spears, each skewering a different treat. I could go on and on and on, so it’s probably just a good idea for you to just make a reservation at this point.