The hubby’s birthday recently passed and his heart’s desire was to get a gift card to the Bass Pro Shop, a White Russian and a pastrami sandwich from Katz’s. Yes a strangely eclectic grouping of birthday gifts but luckily they were fairly easy to attain, the most challenging being the Katz’s pastrami sandwich. So off I went on a sunny but chilly late winter day to the Bowery, land of egg creams and dreams. I figured since I was already half way around the world (or at least it seemed that way to me) I would visit a few of the other remote wonders of the city, the first in line being Puddin’, a new pudding shop in the East Village.

Now you may have heard me mention in the past that I thought that the city definitely needed a pudding emporium to placate those winter doldrums. Who wouldn’t want endless quantities of darkly delicious chocolate pudding and mounds of silky, rich whipped cream, perhaps with a hot?. Well, I might just have been wrong in my thinking.

Puddin’ opened a few months back, next door to Jane’s Sweet Buns where everything is inspired by cocktails and across the street from a rat tenement (Yes, the box on the street proudly proclaimed its duty to capture rats). It’s been quite a while since I’ve been to this part of the city but even with all the new shops and upgrades I still just can’t seem to get my jive on down here. I’m pretty sure the rat tenement didn’t help.

Anyway I’ve never been one to let much come between me and my desserts, so I pushed on. Puddin’ is cute and I was excited with all the flavors and choices. The idea is that you can either buy a premade parfait of pudding mixed with different toppings or you can make up your own. I figured the chef knows best and left with three different premade cups and a slice of chocolate pudding cake. I got the Classic which is chocolate and butterscotch pudding with whipped cream, the Caramel Macchiato which is a combo of coffee and chocolate pudding, brownie bites and salted caramel and the Lemon Drop which is lemon pudding, ginger cookies and marshmallow cream. They looked good and I was excited.

I will start by saying the mini size at $4 each was unsatisfyingly small. The somewhat grainy quality of the chocolate pudding made it not quite what I was hoping for. I loved the idea and I would definitely do my own version with a bit more panache. However, the coffee pudding was better. I was saving the lemon pudding to share with hubby as he is a lemon kind of guy but I couldn’t help but pick it up and look at it during the day. I noticed that there was a date hand written on the bottom of the cup. It’s normal for chefs to date foods to keep track of what’s fresh, but I was taken aback with the date on the cup. Let’s just say it was a bit on the older side and when I looked more carefully at the pudding I noticed it was cracked (a sign of age when the moisture in the product gets sucked out into the fridge) and the slight bit of bubbliness on the marshmallow cream. This one went into the garbage without even a bite. Sorry Puddin’, but your pudding just wasn’t fresh. I wanted to love you but you’re making me nervous.

While I was down with the rats I did try another cute little spot, Zucker Baker. It’s the tiniest little spot for coffee and a cookie. They offer just a few items — a small selection of cookies and the most wonderful little buns that they call Roses. They had chocolate (of course I got that one), almond-brown sugar and date-halvah. The bun was still warm from the oven and was light and delicious. It was a wonderful little treat with a cup of coffee and a book. If you’re in the neighborhood you’ve got to stop in.

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