Milk. The essence of life. The first thing we taste as infants. The first delightful surge of sweet goodness we experience within the first precious moments of being alive. It is without surprise then, that Christina Tosi has brought her culinary gift to the masses of all ages, and has called it simply, Milk Bar. It is not lost on the lucky consumers of these delectable treats that Tosi has reminded us of the simple pleasures of something sweet, something from the kitchen that brings about the memory of childhood delights.
Netflix has given ordinary people like me a peek into the world of all things art in the kitchen with its magical series called Chef’s Table. This series began by focusing on Michelin Star chefs around the globe; giving us a fantastic and up-close view of the world they live in. We get to see their humble beginnings, and we get to cheer for them as they make their mark in the gastronomic world of all things inventive and delicious.
Up until Season 3, Chef’s Table brought us savory dishes featured in the main course. Season 4 opened with the first episode featuring a sweeter side of food- the dessert. Episode 1 brought us Christina Tosi and her New York based bakery Milk Bar.
I’m going to pause here for a moment and let you know that I’m not a dessert person. I typically skip dessert and definitely do not bake at home. I’ve never been tempted by cake or cookies or candy. With that being said, read on...
Right, where was I? Ah. Chef’s Table, Season 4, Episode 1. As I watched Tosi showcase her skills, as I saw her develop her craft, I found myself looking at desserts in a whole new way. They weren’t just gobs of sugar married with butter, eggs and flour and shaped into round circles like I previously thought. I became fascinated with the way she strived to make the perfect treat, and then, to the delight of thousands around the world, she screwed up. I saw her turn her “mistake” into what is now known as Milk Bar Pie, and I couldn’t help but become intrigued by the description of this interesting looking dessert. I couldn’t help but be curious as I watched the expressions on the faces of those who tried it, and by the end of the episode, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
Fast forward to our trip to New York in 2018. By this time, there were many locations of Milk Bar in Manhattan. We were staying in the Village, so we went to the West Village location. Since we are such foodies, this was one of the highlights of our trip. To go to a place that served food invented by a female chef that was recognized the world over was truly a bucket list check off.
Our first visit to Milk Bar in New York!
We excitedly paid our first visit to Milk Bar, and we were not disappointed. I told you earlier that I am not crazy about desserts, however, I am forced to eat my words when I tried the Crunchy Cereal Milk Shake. Oh my Lanta. Seriously. I was instantly transported back to my childhood, when by some miracle of the Gods we were able to convince my mom to buy the “good cereal” instead of the boring no sugar high-in-fiber cereal. I remember after the cereal was eaten, there was that liquid at the bottom of the bowl that had the perfect taste of sweetness and a bit of cereal dust. This shake was reminiscent of that, only 100 times better. Unlike the bit at the bottom of the bowl, this is COLD. It’s creamy. It’s thick. It’s perfect. And it comes up through a big ol’ straw. Treats galore. I decide to bring some Milk Bar Pie back to the Airbnb for a night time treat, and I am only disappointed I did not hoard more. Milk Bar Pie is ... indescribable really. It’s very sweet, you need a cup of black coffee to go with this. It’s golden. It’s dense. It’s glistening with a beautiful layer of ... I don’t know what. It’s got a blessing of powdered sugar, and I’m dead. You simply need to have this at least once in your life, because it’s nothing short of amazing. We made a second trip to Milk Bar while we were in New York. Our days were packed but we knew this was not something we could just do once.
Back in Minneapolis, as I was scrolling through my social media feed, I saw that Spoon and Stable was hosting a special 2-day event featuring none other than Milk Bar All You Can Treat Tour! I immediately set this in my calendar, as I knew this was one line I would stand in in order to get my hands on more Milk Bar Pie and anything else that was on the menu! Bless you Spoon and Stable, bless you. I’m sorry I haven’t blogged about you yet. I will. I promise.
August 2nd rolled around, and I went to the North Loop of Minneapolis with my partner and our daughter Brianna. Brianna is no stranger to Milk Bar, as she was with us in New York, she’s had Milk Bar Pie, and she was going back for more. So, we stood in the line that went around the block in order to get our fix. We were lucky it was nice weather, we were lucky no one had to use the restroom, and we were lucky we got there relatively early. We stood in line for 2 hours, but the reward at the end of that wait was Cereal Milk Soft Serve. Chocolate B’Day Cake Truffles. Milk Bar Pie. Cookies galore. And...
Christina Tosi herself, in the Milk Bar truck, a smile on her face and a bowl of soft serve in her hand. I just about lost my marbles. I honestly did not think she would be there in person, but there she was- looking fresh and fantastic and like someone I wanted to force to be my friend. At this point I feel completely at a loss for words. There is nothing you can say to someone who has accomplished so much that could possibly convey the accolades and praise she deserves. Nothing you can say that is good enough to someone who in my opinion, showed exactly what a woman with an idea is capable of. I hated that I got a lump in my throat, but there it was. She graciously let me take a photo with her, and when I look at the photo, I have the pained look of someone holding every emotion in and wearing a plastered smile on their face. Sweet Jesus could you maybe have helped me out here???
Brianna enjoying B'Day Cake Chocolate Truffle....
After consuming our Cereal Milk Soft Serve ice cream, we got in our car and drove the 10 min back to our lives in the ‘burbs. I am faced with a full dishwasher, some laundry and frozen ground beef. After an admittedly lame meal of burgers no buns, and roasted cauliflower, I smiled to myself as I remembered we have Milk Bar Pie in the fridge to enjoy with a cup of hot black coffee in the morning. Forecast for tomorrow? Somehow, the day just got brighter and a whole lot sweeter.
Until next time my friends, be kind and keep your words sweet. You never know when you’ll have to eat them.