There it is. And, boy was it bland -- icy with a vaguely tropical flavor -- which made me think there wasn't much durian in this durian milkshake. But after drinking half, the waitress came over and asked, "You like it?"
"Yes," I said. "I've never had durian before, so I thought I'd try this. Do you like durian?"
"Oh yes!" she exclaimed. "But Americans usually can't stand the smell." And she flitted off.
The milkshake had only a vague green banana scent. I think I'm going to have to eat an actual durian to know exactly what she's talking about.
Before going to class the following night, I grabbed a quick drink and snack at the Egg Custard King Cafe.
Pictured is a banana egg custard and a Taro bubble tea with chewy black tapioca pearls. The custard was very rich, and I think I'd get a plain egg custard next time as the banana flavoring tasted artificial. The crust was very flaky and mild in flavor; I'm guessing it uses plenty of shortening, not butter. The tea had a watery flavor -- a bigger taro punch would have been nice -- but the pearls were fantastic: sweet and vaguely almondy.
After class, I strolled around St. Marks Place and Astor Place. There was a huge crowd at St. Marks around the Dessert Truck.
I wasn't hungry so I didn't get anything, but there were many, many people happily scarfing down milk chocolate mousse, coconut tapioca, lemongrass soup with fresh strawberries, and other tantalizing goodies.
I did stop at Beard Papa, which wound up being a bit of a trip down sad-sack lane (and looking back, why did I get a stupid cream puff instead of a gourmet dessert at the Dessert Truck?). Beard Papa was nearing closing time and its employees were camped out at the door, selling hawking the day's pastries to passers-by.
"Cream puffs! One dollar! One dollar cream puffs!" they called out, plaintively.
I almost didn't buy one. There is something sad and desperate about selling -- and buying -- discount pastry. But then I rationalized that it was still the *same* puff I'd come to check out (after reading so much about them), and I'd just gotten lucky that they were on sale.
So I stopped being a food snob and got a vanilla. I liked the choux better than the, but again, I wasn't hungry and that may have thrown my perception off. (That, and I'm not the biggest cream puff fan. So, again -- WHY did I eschew the Dessert Truck for Beard Papa?)
Last night, I picked up another pre-class snack at the Canal Cafe Bakery; taro bubble tea with black pearls again, plus mini black bean moon cakes.
The taro tea was fantastic: sweet with perfectly chewy pearls. I wish I could describe the flavor of taro for you, but I'm at a loss. Just go have a taro bubble tea and taste for yourself.
The moon cakes were also very good, reminiscent of a fig newton. The filling is mildly sweet with a slightly sesame flavor. And look a the pretty design on the top of each cake! Again, go to Chinatown and taste it for yourself.
At some point, I stopped at Papaya King to eat their kick-ass hot dogs.
Alas, they'd run out of banana, so I opted for pina colada instead -- delicious. And the dog, loaded with kraut and spicy mustard, did not disappoint, either; it fabulous as usual.
And here's the kicker -- access to this buffet is only SIX DOLLARS. The downside is that the space is small and, at lunch time, the restaurant is busy, so it's not the place for a leisurely meal.
But, six bucks! For lunch! In Manhattan!
Next up: dining in high fashion with the Goddess of Bread.