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Momofuku Milk Bar - A New York Chain Bakery in Center City - Overseen by Talented Pastry Chef and Virginia Native Christina Tosi


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That's what I'm saying, go big or go home to NY. If I had his rep & backing, I could open a restaurant in the middle of DC that would be successful, even w/out good food. He should take a risk, & succeed against the odds (now I'm hearing that Phil Collins' song from Against all Odds in my head, argh, turn it off.) He seems like a guy who's up for a gamble.

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I guess I don't read the comments the same way others do, but agree it is poorly worded.  I think he is trying to state that he isn't creating this restaurant to be a normal celebrity chef restaurant which deteriorates months after it first opens.  He has roots here and wants this restaurant to stay in business. That more like some other restaurants that have been a bit experimental he thinks it will get better as it grows.  I think he is very casual and experiments a lot with restaurant concepts and the food within them and just doesn't want to be held to something in particular, especially at this stage.  I am ok with that.  I think it's hard when you have successful restaurants to make something new in a new area.  You want to meet the expectations, but you don't want to do the same thing and seem gimmicky.  I thought the interview was actually kind of refreshing it wasn't so polished and drafted by a PR person, it was what he was really thinking at the moment.  

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I guess I don't read the comments the same way others do, but agree it is poorly worded.  I think he is trying to state that he isn't creating this restaurant to be a normal celebrity chef restaurant which deteriorates months after it first opens.  He has roots here and wants this restaurant to stay in business. That more like some other restaurants that have been a bit experimental he thinks it will get better as it grows.  I think he is very casual and experiments a lot with restaurant concepts and the food within them and just doesn't want to be held to something in particular, especially at this stage.  I am ok with that.  I think it's hard when you have successful restaurants to make something new in a new area.  You want to meet the expectations, but you don't want to do the same thing and seem gimmicky.  I thought the interview was actually kind of refreshing it wasn't so polished and drafted by a PR person, it was what he was really thinking at the moment.  

I agree with your take here.  I actually lived in the East Village when Noodle Bar was just getting started, and later when Ssam opened.  Chang and the rest of the staff there were always interested in how people in the neighborhood perceived their restaurants, and you would actually see pretty major changes happen according to that feedback.  Ssam is a prime example of that flexibility...it actually started as kind of an Asian Chipotle concept that was not very well-received.  The food was good, but I think people just didn't know what to do with it.  I lived and worked just across the street, and would stop in for lunch pretty frequently.  I remember Chang coming in one day and sitting with those of us eating and just asking for some honest feedback and advice as to what might work better.  He ultimately ditched the whole burrito concept and morphed it into the wildly successful version that's there now.

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I guess I don't read the comments the same way others do, but agree it is poorly worded.  I think he is trying to state that he isn't creating this restaurant to be a normal celebrity chef restaurant which deteriorates months after it first opens.  He has roots here and wants this restaurant to stay in business. That more like some other restaurants that have been a bit experimental he thinks it will get better as it grows.  I think he is very casual and experiments a lot with restaurant concepts and the food within them and just doesn't want to be held to something in particular, especially at this stage.  I am ok with that.  I think it's hard when you have successful restaurants to make something new in a new area.  You want to meet the expectations, but you don't want to do the same thing and seem gimmicky.  I thought the interview was actually kind of refreshing it wasn't so polished and drafted by a PR person, it was what he was really thinking at the moment.  

My impression of Chang (about whom I know less than probably every person reading this) is that he seems like a good egg.

That said, he's certainly playing the press like a fiddle. So far, the score is Typical Celebrity Chef 1, Artisan Chef 0.

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You know he's from Vienna (VA not AUT), right?

That was a bit tongue in cheek- I know he's from here, but he hasn't lived here in years. There's added pressure going back to your birthplace, as opposed to Toronto or Sydney (both smart choices, though).

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I read that there will be a Milk Bar, which makes me happy.  Tried that for the first time in Toronto and loved the desserts.

If you're a fan of Milk Bar's desserts, the cookbook is absolutely fantastic.  Whatever I make out of it -- the cornflake-chocolate-marshmallow cookies are a particular favorite -- is always a hit with friends/coworkers.  (A small part of me is sad that once Milk Bar opens here, all my local friends will realize that my baking glories are just my basking in the reflected glow of Tosi's genius.)

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I was watching the first season of Mind of a Chef with David Chang.  Does anyone know if he has a cookbook that has any of that sort of stuff.  For example he hacked some Top Ramen to make cacio e pepe that looked awesome, he also made Top Ramen into gnochi.  I wish Mind of a Chef would put out a cookbook.  I don't know why they don't, PBS does so many of them.  

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I read that there will be a Milk Bar, which makes me happy.  Tried that for the first time in Toronto and loved the desserts.

I also heard that Christina Tosi, 2014 Beard nominee, is coming to the DC outpost. She's from Springfield, VA, Lee High School class of '99. When she spoke at my son's graduation from Lee in '13, the teenaged boys were all making fun of the selection...."WTF a cupcake lady speaking at our graduation?" I had to point out to them that she might be the most accomplished graduate from Lee in recent history, and that working for David Chang was like working for the culinary version of JayZ or Robert Downey Jr. or Elon Musk.

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I was watching the first season of Mind of a Chef with David Chang.  Does anyone know if he has a cookbook that has any of that sort of stuff.  For example he hacked some Top Ramen to make cacio e pepe that looked awesome, he also made Top Ramen into gnochi.  I wish Mind of a Chef would put out a cookbook.  I don't know why they don't, PBS does so many of them.

I don't know if there is a cookbook for "mind of a Chef", but the "Momofuku" cookbook is pretty good- greatest hits from Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ssam Bar, & Ko. Some are fiddly restaurant dishes, but others (like Brussels sprouts w/ fish sauce vinaigrette) are very adaptable to the home kitchen, (& it has recipes for terrines, chicharrones, & shortcakes).

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I was watching the first season of Mind of a Chef with David Chang.  Does anyone know if he has a cookbook that has any of that sort of stuff.  For example he hacked some Top Ramen to make cacio e pepe that looked awesome, he also made Top Ramen into gnochi.  I wish Mind of a Chef would put out a cookbook.  I don't know why they don't, PBS does so many of them.  

Those recipes, and others, are in the first issue of Lucky Peach magazine. This blog has the cacio e pepe recipe (I compared it to my magazine).

I couldn't find a blog that had the exact gnocchi recipe.  This blog is pretty close with the gnocchi recipe although the blog doesn't go in to the same steps at the end of the recipe.  To finish the gnocchi, the magazine recipe calls for 3 T butter.  Two tablespoons of butter to saute the gnocchi in the pan, then after the gnocchi are browned, add 1 T butter.  Once the butter melts, remove from heat.  Add (unspecified amount) lemon juice, toss, then divide into 2 servings and garnish each serving with half of the following:

2 T chopped parsley, 1 T picked tarragon, 1 T thinly sliced chives and 2 T grated parmesan cheese

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Those recipes, and others, are in the first issue of Lucky Peach magazine. This blog has the cacio e pepe recipe (I compared it to my magazine).

I couldn't find a blog that had the exact gnocchi recipe.  This blog is pretty close with the gnocchi recipe although the blog doesn't go in to the same steps at the end of the recipe.  To finish the gnocchi, the magazine recipe calls for 3 T butter.  Two tablespoons of butter to saute the gnocchi in the pan, then after the gnocchi are browned, add 1 T butter.  Once the butter melts, remove from heat.  Add (unspecified amount) lemon juice, toss, then divide into 2 servings and garnish each serving with half of the following:

2 T chopped parsley, 1 T picked tarragon, 1 T thinly sliced chives and 2 T grated parmesan cheese

Thank you so much!  I really want to make both of these.

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If you're a fan of Milk Bar's desserts, the cookbook is absolutely fantastic.  Whatever I make out of it -- the cornflake-chocolate-marshmallow cookies are a particular favorite -- is always a hit with friends/coworkers.

Thanks for the tip!  I've never been there, but my wife likes baking/making desserts...............therefore....................cookbook ordered!

(surprise present)

(husband of the year!)

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Loved the Milk Bar's servings in NY when I sampled a few during my most recent visit. Particularly enjoyed the double chocolate cookie and the cornflake-crusted chocolate cookie with marshmallows in it. I see from their menu that they kept those for the DC locations along with their "cereal milk", which is basically ice-cold milk flavored to taste like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of corn flakes plus a hint of something extra that I've never been able to really identify. Probably cocaine. They serve it by the glass jug, like the ones you used to get from the milk man every morning. Gimmicky sounding? No doubt. But it's good stuff and pretty much the perfect companion for those cookies.

They also have a soft serve version of it, If I remember. I prefer it in beverage form.

i already have plans on Monday to make an outing to the DC outpost. Sweet tooths have a friend in Christina Tosi, guys. :)

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So, I amused myself by standing in line today. (Also, ran into an old colleague directly in line in front of me, so it was a pleasant way to spend a Friday lunchbreak.) Staff brought out regular samples of the cereal milk softserve to appease the linestanders, which was super nice of them.

The turkey croissants were all gone by the time I made it to the counter, but I was able to snag a meal deal of an Egg & Cheddar bomb + Compost cookie + latte for $8. I also got a pack of pumpkin pie cake truffles and a standalone Bagel Bomb. Really really liked the Egg + Cheddar. I ate more of the cookie than I should have; it was ok. The pumpkin pie cake truffle was too weird for nick, but I liked it better than the cookie. Still too sweet for my daily taste (honestly, I am totally not the target market for the Milk Bar, which is why I have never been in NYC), but I liked the spiciness and the texture.

I'm pretty bummed about the croissant. Hopefully I will be able to try it in the coming weeks.

The Milk Bar is tiny compared to the rest of the space. That will be one large Momofuku.

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So, I amused myself by standing in line today. (Also, ran into an old colleague directly in line in front of me, so it was a pleasant way to spend a Friday lunchbreak.) Staff brought out regular samples of the cereal milk softserve to appease the linestanders, which was super nice of them.

The turkey croissants were all gone by the time I made it to the counter, but I was able to snag a meal deal of an Egg & Cheddar bomb + Compost cookie + latte for $8. I also got a pack of pumpkin pie cake truffles and a standalone Bagel Bomb. Really really liked the Egg + Cheddar. I ate more of the cookie than I should have; it was ok. The pumpkin pie cake truffle was too weird for nick, but I liked it better than the cookie. Still too sweet for my daily taste (honestly, I am totally not the target market for the Milk Bar, which is why I have never been in NYC), but I liked the spiciness and the texture.

I'm pretty bummed about the croissant. Hopefully I will be able to try it in the coming weeks.

The Milk Bar is tiny compared to the rest of the space. That will be one large Momofuku.

Where's my Tesla dealership?

Ah! It's in Tysons Corner.

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Bottom line up front:  Eh, it was ok.  Fine even, but it didn't live up to the hype.

I was in the area today for a meeting and had a little time to kill so I got in the short line.  I was inside the "lobby" separating Milk Bar and Momofuku when I got there, probably only 10 people back from ordering.  It seemed very close, but it also seemed to take a long time to get there too.  By the time I left, the line was twice as long which would have been maybe a half an hour (or more) wait!  I know they're new, but things seemed to be going very slowly for a place that basically serves pre-made food.  Part of the problem is there's only one register/order taker.  (They may be able to have two going at once, but it was hard to tell.......the only "register" I noticed was an ipad on a swivel stand)

I had never been to one of these before and didn't know much about it, so I stuck to the "famous" items, IE: the ones I'd heard of:  Cereal Milk, Crack Pie, Compost Cookie.

When I got to the very small counter, I said "I'd like a cereal milk" and was told, "We're out of the soft serve and the shake".  I just wanted the milk so I was ok, but this was 1:15 in the afternoon, not midnight!

The Cereal Milk was good and just what you'd expect it to be.  It tasted just like the milk at the bottom of a (sugary) cereal.

The Compost Cookie came wrapped in a heat sealed plastic bag.  Just like any mass produced cookie from a factory.  I'd be shocked if it was made on premises because they'd need an industrial packaging/sealing device.  Kind of a bummer.  The cookie was just ok.  Nothing to write home about or order again.  I'm not sure why there's even any hype over it other than the catchy name.

Speaking of catchy names, the Crack Pie was the best of the three things I had.  It was a very small piece, but very rich.  It was good, but I don't know if was better than a similar thing you'd get at any coffee shop or bakery?  I never order those things at those kind of places so I have nothing to compare it too.  It would be a good and satisfying dessert at a restaurant, but certainly not life changing.  Like the packaging on the cookie, I was surprised at the type and amount of packaging here.  My little piece of pie was wrapped in wax paper and stuck inside this huge cardboard container (reminiscent of a McDonalds Hot Apple Pie holder) that you could have easily fit 3 more into.  (See photo)

All of that stuff cost 12 bucks and change.

When I was done, I immediately regretted wasting the money and the calories on this.  Maybe I ordered the wrong things or had too high expectations.  I'd go back again to try other things but only if the line was VERY short.

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Like an idiot, I waited an hour and ten minutes on line today to see what the fuss was about. The line didn't look so long when I joined it at about 4:15 but it moved at a glacial pace. They really need to add another register. That was only part of the problem. Everyone seemed to have a lot of questions when they got to the front of the line and the cashier was very friendly and chatty. I was about 10 minutes from the counter when a couple spent, no lie, 8 minutes placing their order. It was ridiculous. They bought a bunch of things, but they sampled the soft-serve - slowly- and seemed to ask about every single thing on the menu.  They got a lot of dirty looks on the way out.

I got the cereal milk shake, a slice of crack pie and the birthday cake truffles. I had planned to get a compost cookie and not the truffles, but the way the woman at the counter raved about the truffles, I had to try them. She was right. They were definitely the winner of the bunch. I had to force myself not to eat all three at once. Absolutely delicious. The crack pie was a tad sweet for me, but rich and buttery and also delicious. I would get it again. The cereal milk shake was the big loser of the bunch. It didn't have a lot of taste, just a hint of the cereal milk. I was afraid to get the regular cereal milk because I thought it would be too sweet, but the shake could have used a little sweetness or at least more flavor.

By 5:30, they still seemed to have everything - lots of turkey croissants, all the soft serve, etc., so maybe they've corrected the inventory issues mentioned above. One annoying thing - despite the really packed tiny space, a woman was restocking the corn powder and the cereal milk mix shelves, which was right next to where people had to stand to order. Just added to the chaos.

I'd go back, but I certainly wouldn't wait outside or longer than about 10 minutes.

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Yes, the line moves very slowly here, in my experience. It will settle down, eventually, I bet (especially when weather is cooler and the novelty is gone).

For those who are able to do so, the best trick is to wake up early on a weekend and be there a few minutes before opening at 7 am.

And when you are there, pick up a canister or two of the cookie mixes. ($16 for ingredients that will make about 12 big cookies, add your own butter and egg). This weekend I made corn cookies (to which I added choc chips) and blueberry/cream cookies for a group of dinner guests - popped them in the oven after the main course - and everybody thought they were amazing. It is, of course, possible to argue that you can make better cookies cheaper by following your own favorite recipe - but these were really good and they made people happy.

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It only takes 40 minutes of "active time" to make Momofuku Milk Bar's Crack Pie.  Just saying.

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/crack-pie-360771

(My wife makes it a couple times a year, and it tastes just as good as the one at the store.)

Even at it's height in NYC, during which time I lived across the street, I can't remember long lines.  Amazing how the brand has grown over the years.

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MichaelBDC and I mozied over to Milk Bar yesterday to get our fill of their hype. It was about 10am and while there wasn't a line, the very small store was crowded. We ordered a cheddar bomb, a bagel bomb, a cup of coffee, and a cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie.

The coffee was fine but forgettable and made me regret not stopping by Dolcezza or Chinatown Coffee Company for a pour over before going to Milk Bar. The bagel and cheddar bombs were busts. The cheddar bomb was slightly better than the bagel bomb but neither were great. They weren't bad, I just wondered (and still do) what the big deal is. I guess the point of both of these things is that one can grab a cheddar bomb on his/her walk to work and eat it without much of a hassle while finishing the commute. Other than that, I can't imagine myself buying either of those again. I saved the cookie for later and when I finally did get to it, I thought it was very good. It was a fun treat on par with most baked goods around town, but definitely not worth waiting in line for.

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MichaelBDC and I mozied over to Milk Bar yesterday to get our fill of their hype. It was about 10am and while there wasn't a line, the very small store was crowded. We ordered a cheddar bomb, a bagel bomb, a cup of coffee, and a cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow cookie.

They weren't bad, I just wondered (and still do) what the big deal is.

I think you answered this in your first sentence.

Just reading about Milk Bar, the names and descriptions really put me off. I want some finesse in my desserts, not milk from the bottom of a cereal bowl (Yeeecchh), or some kind of "bomb" where it sounds, repeat, *sounds* like the point is for it to be the sweetest, gooiest thing possible, like a kid sticking his finger in raw cake batter. I hadn't put my finger on what was repelling me from going to this place, and I just figured out it's the names.

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Someone asked Tom S about this place and the restaurant in his chat yesterday. Here is his comment on Milkbar:

2) the desserts -- crack pie, ice cream garnished with crushed cornflakes -- left me wondering why anyone would wait in line for such mediocre confections.

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finally tried momofuku tonight (will post on that thread later), which allowed us to order from the milk bar menu without waiting on the line (and at least lessened my annoyance with how disappointed i was in the cornflake-marshmallow cookie).  as others have noted, the cookie came in a sealed plastic bag -- can't the restaurant go through the pretense of removing the plastic/heating the cookie? -- and tasted like a mediocre chocolate chip cookie (sort of like an oversized chewy chips ahoy in texture).  i picked that cookie because i just made a batch last week, and the homemade version was infinitely better than this prepackaged disappointment.  no discernible marshmallow pockets, the cornflake crunch lacked the buttery-salty addictiveness of the cookbook recipe, and this uniformly round, uniformly thick cookie lacked the delightful textural/flavor contrast of chewy center and caramelized, crystallized thin edges.

we also ordered the crack pie soft serve, which was very tasty (but very sweet).  it met expectations, but personally i'd rather have one of ice cream jubilee's or dolcezza's more sophisticated flavors if i'm in the mood for frozen dessert.

unfortunately, my experience tonight echoed our last visit to a nyc location -- none of the magic of my first visit to milk bar years ago, nor of any of the recipes out of the cookbook.  it feels very much like a chain bakery that's riding on its reputation.  maybe this sounds overly harsh for one meh cookie, but i'm just so disheartened by it.  tosi is so very talented -- the milk bar cookbook is one of my favorites -- but she seems to be more focused on expanding her empire (including through a second, very disappointing cookbook) than continuing to innovate (i think every cookie on the milk bar menu appears in the four-year-old cookbook). if you want to know what the hype is about, i'll second joshne's suggestion: buy the cookbook (or go online) and make something yourself.  THAT won't disappoint.

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Milk Bar opened a location at the Wharf (Washingtonian).  It also opened what it calls its flagship location at 1525 15th St in Logan Circle, DC on June 2, 2018 (Milk Bar's Facebook announcement).  The description from its webpage:

Quote

Equal parts all-day cafe, innovation lab, hands-on classroom and curated event space, our bakery wonderland will inspire you with delicious treats and elements of endless discovery.
Your kitchen table away from home, come by for a dose of inspiration, a reason or non-reason to celebrate, and unique hang space – both indoors and out.

 

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55 minutes ago, Jonathan said:

I will never understand the popularity of such mediocrity.

Concur.  I completely understand virtually all the other Chang-related obsessions, many of which I've shared, but except for the first few seconds of being whisked back to memories of what the milk tasted like after you completed your bowl of Fruity Pebbles or the like, I simply don't get the attraction to MilkBar's goods. 

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I will say that when I had some MilkBar desserts at Momofuku in Toronto (a pie and a cookie), I thought they were delicious. It's possible that the local incarnations aren't as good. But I have not tried and am not really interested in the cereal milk, etc.

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20 hours ago, Genevieve said:

I will say that when I had some MilkBar desserts at Momofuku in Toronto (a pie and a cookie), I thought they were delicious. It's possible that the local incarnations aren't as good. But I have not tried and am not really interested in the cereal milk, etc.

Different strokes for different folks. I’ve tried stuff from East Village; Brooklyn and DC and find it all to be pre-made, mass produced junk food/stoner food  rather than something delicious or extraordinary. 

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3 hours ago, Jonathan said:

pre-made, mass produced junk food/stoner food

That sounds about right to me. I had crack pie for the first time recently (in DC if that matters) and I really didn't get it. Maybe if it had been served freshly made or warm (or even at room temperature) it would have been tastier, but all I got out of it was coldness and sweetness. I'm not a huge fan of pecan pie and it kind of reminded me of pecan pie without the pecans, so maybe I'm not the best judge (although I don't appear to be the only one who feels this way).

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