Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On Scones

Rustica Bakery
816 W. 46th St.

Even as someone who sometimes orders scones, I don't really understand them. They are dry, hard, hockey pucks of dough that crumble all over your lap as you try to eat them while driving. I actually only order them when I don't feel like wrestling with muffin-paper as I drive, and usually it's because it's been a while, and I've forgotten how they get lodged in your throat until you have to force the peristalsis to reengage with large gulps of coffee.

So last week, I was driving to the suburban hinterlands to teach the math, and I hadn't had coffee or breakfast, and for some reason I was over in Jimmy and Judy's neighborhood, so I stopped at Java Jack's, which is now attached to a very good bakery called Rustica. I got my coffee at one counter and my bakery treat at the other counter (an inconvenience I don't like, but I'm sure you knew that, or I wouldn't have brought it up). I got a scone at Rustica, and suddenly scones made sense. It was delicious. Mine was a cherry-chocolate concoction, which melted in my mouth. The outer layer had a slight crunch to it, and the inside had a soft comforting texture. I don't know how to describe it. I think it must be what scones were always meant to be, and I never knew it because I've only ever had bad scones.

Anyway, I went back on the weekend (when the two-line deal was even more annoying because the Rustica one was far less efficient than Jack's), and tried to replicate the experiment. They didn't have cherry-chocolate, so I got orange-chocolate. It wasn't the same revelatory experience, partly because of the orange peel flavor, but, believe me, I'm going to try again. There will come another day when I need a scone, and from now on Rustica is the place for me.

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