Friday, February 26, 2010

Pastry Hopping with fourthoughtsforfood.....

Living in Boston is quite nice. You can get everywhere with public transportation. When I say everywhere I mean pretty much everywhere in the city. I don't go around the city much by myself, as that is quite a bore. Joanne (fourthoughtsforfood) keeps me company when I get bored (o.k. so that happens to be all the time pretty much, don't judge). "Skyping" can be fun since Joanne is across the river and going across there everyday would be a hassle and I would get even less work done than I do now, and so would Joanne.


We take some weekends off to hang out. Among our favorite combined activities are watching "Make it or Break it," as well as "So You Think You Can Dance," along with a crowd favorite "Glee." We then both love to eat. Alright, I always get hungry when I hang out or talk to Joanne, as for the phrase "I'm hungry" comes up in our conversations almost every other sentence.

Here is a snippet of one of our conversations:

Joanne Liu: OMG. Ivana. I really want French Toast right now
Joanne Liu: it's ridiculous
Joanne Liu: it's one of those time when I just have an urge to eat French Toast
Joanne Liu: I must be deprived
Joanne Liu: French Toast withdrawal
Joanne Liu: I just noticed
Joanne Liu: that every time I Skype you
Joanne Liu: it's because I'm hungry
Joanne Liu: and want to eat something
Ivana Veliskova: really?
Ivana Veliskova: wow i haven't noticed that one yet
Joanne Liu: although I did have like a huge bowl of fried rice for dinner
Joanne Liu: so I've decided that needs to stop
Joanne Liu: lol.
Joanne Liu: I have to go make popcorn because I'm hungry
Ivana Veliskova: lol

I tried skipping all the boring parts that you wouldn't understand unless you read the whole conversation which pretty much continues from just about last year, at least. As you might have read in her bio, Joanne has a magical power of being able to make me hungry even if I just ate. So as you might have guessed, anytime she mentions that she is hungry to me, I automatically become hungry, its kind of scary.

So because we get hungry together all the time, we like to hang out on the weekends to curb our hunger. Last weekend was one of those weekends.

I had just started this blog and invited Joanne to join me in the blogging community, as she would have fun talking about food as I would talking about desserts. It is a good way to share our thoughts about our favorite things with the world. Joanne, who is not as tech-savvy as I would hope an MIT student to be, asked me to help walk her through the blogging process such as posting, etc. I agreed to help her and we decided it would be a good day to go out and get some material for the blog.

Now, see, we live in Boston. And you can't be in Boston and not visit Mike's Pastry, the most known pastry shop in Boston. The North End, home of Mike's Pastry, is also home to many Italian food shops, including several other pastry shops. I had mentioned to Joanne, and in a post of mine (or my about section, not sure which) that I have never been to Mike's so it was decided that we shall make a special trip to Mike's.

It was mid Saturday afternoon when we arrived and there was quite the line at Mike's, including the fact that the interior of the shop is pretty big and it was packed so much that I found it impressive people could breathe. Anyway. The line wait outside seemed pretty short so Joanne and I stood in line. I was quite surprised at how fast the line ran. Of course, also people out push and shove their way to the front in order to order something delicious off the menu.

First of all, I was very impressed by their cannoli selection, ranging from several different creams. Also, I love that they sell gelato. Their pastry selection other then the cannoli selection seemed a little lacking, but nonetheless, it was impressive. Joanne and I get to the counter and I am still deciding so Joanne orders first. Her choices are a chocolate mousse cannolo (read previous post about cannoli and cannolo), and a lobster tail (not made out of real lobster). Her total coming to a measly $5. Impressive.

I had finally chosen my sweet treats which included a yellow Italian cream cannolo and raspberry rugelach. Unfortunately, due to the noise level at Mike's because of how many people there were, the lady who was packing up my box gave me raspberry bows, which is obviously not the same as rugelach. But, I did get 5 bows and my cannolo also for $5. So from me, I think that pricing is very reasonable even though listening is not much of a skill. (Might I add that when Joanne was ordering she asked for a chocolate cream cannoli, and the lady heard her say 8 chocolate cream cannoli.)

As we walked back towards the T, we thought it could be a good idea to stop into Modern Pastry (just down the street from Mike's) and maybe get something there as well and compare it. There was a bit of a line at Modern which didn't seem to move anywhere for a while. We finally got in, where I ordered a berry tart for $5.75 and Joanne got a crème brûlée for $3.75. Now for both of those, I think that the prices were a little outrageous.

We ended up going back to Joanne's dorm to enjoy our dessert finds. Here are my findings on the desserts. Joanne will post sometime later this week on her thoughts.

The chocolate shell berry tart from Modern Pastry: The chocolate shell was delicious dark chocolate which balanced the sweet cream (which tasted a lot like cannoli cream) inside the tart. The fruit on top seemed fresh and picked to be the best fruit possible to place on top of such a nice tart. I give it a 9.375/10. (It lost points for the cream tasting a lot like cannoli cream.)

Next up is the crème brûlée, also from Modern Pastry. The sugar wasn't actually burnt to a hard shell like it should be. Also the crème part seemed a little too filled with egg yolks and maybe a little too much heavy cream making it heavy and too creamy. It was also garnished with a "large genetically engineered strawberry and 3 blueberries" (Joanne told me to write that). I give the crème brûléea 5.5/10. I was slightly unsatisfied by it.

The next desserts to cover are the raspberry bows. The raspberry inside is perfectly tangy in a light, flaky, unsweetened dough. The raspberry filling sticks to teeth a little but that's my only complaint really. My rating: 9/10.

I now come to the lobster tail. This pastry is made out of simple cream puff pastry dough filled with a light and sweet cream. Not sure what kind of cream it was. It is also covered in a yummy chocolate shell. In my book this dessert deserves a 9.5/10.

Finally I can talk about the cannoli. Now as I mentioned in my last post, cannoli are not my favorite dessert, I'm very picky when it comes to cannoli. Onward to the yellow Italian cream cannolo!

The yellow Italian cream cannolo: The cream literally is yellow. The cream was delicious but it felt kind of heavy. It wasn't decorated in any special way except for the optional powdered sugar on top. My tastes give it a 7.5/10.

Finally the chocolate mousse cannolo. Now this cannolo is not your ordinary cannolo. It gets extra points for creativity. The chocolate mousse is a little too sweet, but it has a very subtle hazelnut taste. The mousse also slightly tasted like whipped cream with chocolate. But what was very clever was the chocolate bottom which was very good chocolate but the chocolate chips were too sweet adding too much extra sweetness to the cannolo. This cannolo gets an 8/10.

Anyway. I hope you enjoyed my pastry hopping day with Joanne. (By the way, while waiting in line for Modern Pastry while holding our boxes from Mike's, the people behind us were like "wait, you just went to Mike's and now you are going here? Which one is better?" Honestly, I don't know how to answer that question, Mike's has a very large selection and is good at what they make/sell, but Modern is also very good at what they make and sell which is different from Mike's.)

Well. Just remember:

Keep eating sweetly! :)

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