Momofuku Milk Bar—David Chang's sweets-and-treats outpost helmed by pastry whiz Christina Tosi—has just set up a glowing pop-up cabin in Madison Square Park where hands can be warmed and sweet tooths satiated with two all-new beverage creations.
To those uninitiated to the cult of Momofuku, you might appear to be clutching a standard wintertime beverage. But the shop offers no typical hot apple cider or white hot chocolate. The former is sharpened and tarted up with the oddball throb of butterscotch miso, and the latter allows to creep in the house signature taste of "cereal milk," milk infused with toasted cornflakes.
To pile on literary comparisons the way Milk Bar piles on pretzels and potato chips in their Compost Cookies, you get the sense that Tosi is having Proustian fun playing on childhood memories with whispers of tastes to delight all stripes of chewers. One sampler even said the hot chocolate "felt like home," evoking slurped-on dregs of Saturday morning bowls in front of Nickelodeon.
Thankfully, the pop-up accompanies their new drinks with a tidy list of their greatest hits from the shop proper. Gobs of the famous cookies, pies, and cake truffles similarly strike playground chords. A word to the wise—half a truffle is more than enough, as they're unforgivingly thick and come in un-self-consciously decadent varieties like birthday cake, chocolate malt, and dulce de leche.
If you haven't had it, the Candy Bar Pie is equally obscene, mashing together chocolate, caramel, and salty peanut butter in a kindergartener's reverie. Another of their classics not-so-subtly labels itself the Crack Pie, a sugary, buttery, eggy dream that tastes like a cousin of the crème brûlée.
This isn't the only gustatory bait-and-switch Tosi pulls off here—the aforementioned Compost Cookie, which combines chips and pretzels with brown sugar and rolled oats, sneaks in enough coffee to make the whole combo buzz. The cornflake, chocolate chip, and marshmallow cookies are similarly befuddling—this sinful combo chews like health-nut granola. With all this culinary pulling-rabbits-out-of-hats, only the corn cookie tastes as it appears: simple, sweet, and cornflakey.
The hut itself may be the only misstep in Momofuku's usually well thought-out experience-designing. The diminutive, cute wooden cottage leaves no room for customers to sit or employees to move.
The drink offerings are thankfully twofold because, like with wine pairing, you might want to select your beverage depending on your treat. Spectator recommends washing down chocolate-based pastries with one tart blast of the cider, while creamier fare would do better accompanied by the sweetly subtle hot chocolate.
However, do it fast—unlike the Candy Bar Pie's peanut butter on the roof of your mouth, we don't know for how much longer this pop-up shack will stick around.