I’ve only had one interaction with the Momofuku Empire, or two, but they happened in the same day, within the relatively same window of time as each other, and my stomach was most definitely still digesting what I had eaten at the Noodle Bar when I wandered into the Milkbar. I mean, I was still very, very full. So full in fact, that I could not finish the cake, ice cream, and two cookies I had ordered. Ridiculous, I’m sure.
Regardless of my stomach’s apparent deficiencies and all-around disappointing showing when faced with a second lunch and a little dessert, the Milkbar was amazing. Not in a culinary, wow those flavors! Wow that technique kind of way. In a different way, a wow, that never would have occurred to me. If one sat down and imagined all the things one has ever eaten, starting from the beginning of memory, chances are that your childhood flavors do not include celery root or Dungeness crab ravioli with a lobster and sweet corn sauce. (Yes, delicious.) Those taste memories would be of the more Fruit Loops, French Toast Crunch, Ding-Dong, and Hawaiian Sweet Roll variety—though in complete honesty my childhood was also studded with a love of veal with capers and Korean barbeque.
What Christina Tosi does at the Milkbar is take those lowbrow childhood memories, and cram them into cakes, cookies, pies, and ice cream. The result is delicious. It’s different from the tortes and mousses, but delicious nonetheless. And Ovaltine in a cake? It’s also just a little silly, enough so to induce giggles.