Existence Precedes Essence – Tisserie (Midtown, NYC)

Pumpkin Scone

Oh what glorious beginnings.  When one stumbles upon a pumpkin-infused scone, the wisest course of action is always immediate consumption.  Just as the fabled Great Pumpkin rises from its mythical lair each year – appearing and vanishing in an instant – so too does the glorious pumpkin flavor grace our pastries and lattes but for the briefest time.  And yet, to find a pumpkin pastry at such a late date!  It must be a sign!  Lest this euphoria go to waste, I order my dear pumpkin scone.  How it beckons to me as I wait to pay.

Of moderate size and emanating a warm orange glow broken only by the promising cinnamon cover, this scone presents a quandary.  The outer crunch would clearly not be an issue.  The ravines that spot the top appear formed by millennia of erosion rather than minutes in an oven.  This leaves a brittle outside with crunch that is aided by the cinnamon crust covering half the top like a crescent moon.  Yet, abnormal ridges on the side suggest perhaps it was baked in a muffin mold.  Will this be a glorified muffin or a true scone?  The odd ratio of height to width only adds to my concern.

Cinnamon compliments the first several bites, highlighted by the promised crunch, but something is missing: the flavor.  Purchased for its pumpkin identity, this scone appears to be amidst a crisis.  What is the flavor inside the scone?  A better question is how does one describe an attribute when that attribute is the very lack of any semblance, any essence of being?  It simply is.  It is not pumpkin.  It is not vanilla.  It is merely dough curated to take shape and provide sustenance but give no thought toward the pleasure of the eater.  My temporary delusion of tranquility crumbles like the long-dead fall foliage.

In utter confusion, I power through, attempting to ignore this injustice against pumpkin-kind.  What I’m left with is something between a scone and a muffin – perhaps a stout corn muffin that is devoid of the titular flavor.  It is dense and dry on the inside, a factor that may be attributed to the lack of any kind of fruit that often resides within a scone.  And that is it.  There is not much else to this “scone.”

While the outer crunch was a pleasure, the inside was a chore to complete.  I am left feeling betrayed.  The scone raised the expectation of pumpkin, only to fail to achieve a flavor of any kind.  It even fell short of clearly being a scone.  What a tragedy.  Despite all this, I am resolute.  I remain in wait for a more promising scone, tomorrow.




In Search of Lost Scones Pt. II – Alice’s Tea Cup (Upper West Side, NYC)

Cherry Chocolate Chip Scone

It was a dreary day some time ago.  Storms rumbled but utter catastrophe had yet to be realized.  I found myself searching for a scone for all the comforts only such a magical pastry can provide.  Returned to my homeland, this seemed a simple task.  I was on my own turf.

However, I was stripped of this illusion upon entering Alice’s Tea Cup, a highly rated scone establishment.  While my beloved pastry would never betray me, something sinister greeted me inside the shop.  There were tables in the back, but these were clearly not intended for me.  I would be consuming my fare out in the cold, once I had been granted the privilege of purchase.  At least, this is what the expression of the cashier suggested.  This man, who bore a striking resemblance to the Bastard of Bolton both in appearance and in attitude, demanded my order.

Forced into a quick decision, I reached for comfort: a modestly-sized cherry chocolate chip scone.  Trudging to sit outside the nearby Natural History Museum, my world was suddenly brightened by the sheer quality of this production.  Sugar encrusted the top, immediately rushing me into the experience and making me ravenous for each bite.  The cherry was exquisitely sweet and bold but not overwhelming.  This left the chocolate to compliment the mixture of sugar and berry.  While not as crunchy throughout as I generally desire, the corners provided satisfying resistance and the scattering of chocolate chips also made up for the otherwise lack of crunch.

My perception of the size of the scone increased as I consumed it.  Perhaps this was by virtue of the relative dryness of the inside, suggesting a denseness that enlarged the product in my mind.  Regardless, I found myself satisfied in many senses.

Simple pleasures are not easy to relish when surrounded by impending calamity.  But returning to the past markers of joy can provide stability and grant endurance.  They afford satisfaction that can balance out the otherwise ceaseless onslaught of negativity.  In other words, I liked this scone.