Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Eating, Unexpectedly

I've been having a serendipitous week. I went off looking for the very well-reviewed marrons at Tafu, but confused it with a Japanese bakery (which Tafu isn't; it's a tearoom), that doesn't exist anymore. My roundabout search led me across East 55th, whereupon I stopped in my somewhat confused tracks: There was a truck at the curb with "Papa Perrone's: Home of the RiceBall" emblazoned upon its side. Surely, this was a mirage. I hadn't had a decent rice ball since Vinnie's (aka La Focacceria) closed a few summers ago.
The rice ball I had was a bit different from the hundreds I had had at Vinnie's. It was larger, and more irregular in shape. The first bite was more assertively buttery, maybe even cheesier. And there was a a good bit more filling, very heavy on the meat and well-seasoned. They are substantial enough to be a meal, not a prelude to one. With every bite, I liked it more.
After I came down from my riceball high, I hared off again to look for the elusive Tafu. I google the address, which was that of a hotel, then paced back and forth in front of it, rather as though it were the Room of Requirement. No cookies magically appeared, however. Thehotel doorman disclaimed any knowledge of anything Japanese, perhaps because I was covered with rice ball crumbs and my eyes were streaming from the cold. Finally, he took pity (or wanted to see the back of me), and said "Oh, you meanTafu."
At $2.50 per, I expected a mind-boggling cookie. My mind might have boggled, but I am certain that my pancreas exploded from the most intense intake of sweet I might ever have experienced. Definitely not for me! The fault may be in my salt-oriented tastebuds, as the reaction elsewhere has been positive. They are pretty little cookies, though, and I'm sure the sweets-oriented among you will be very happy with them.
My day held one more surprise. I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up a baguette, my neighborhood having been denuded of bakeries some years ago, unless you include cupcakeries. As I made my way to the bakery section, I stopped at a sample table, at which tastes of wine-based sorbets were on offer. The rose was fantastic: balanced, winey, with a hints of strawberry and woodruff. Now, that's my kind of sweet--even though I was proofed at the register!

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I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.