Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's Thanksgiving...and I wish I were at Podunk
Yes, it's that time again. The quintessential holiday to spend time with family, except thanksgiving in my home = Whole Foods takeout, and I don't exactly need to travel 2,795 miles away for that. As I reflect upon the holiday that I never really celebrate, I am reminiscing upon a place that I would like to give thanks for:



Now what is Podunk you ask? According to, a podunk is a "small unsignificant village or town." All my life I've heard podunk used in "Joe Shmoe went to Podunk University and is now a loser" so I guess it has a negative connotation. Well, the word no longer holds any negativity in my mind; it is an east village tea cafe that is an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.


It was a rainy and groggy summer day, and it was the first Saturday night I had off in a while. I was so used to eating at my desk I wasn't sure what to eat in the real world. J and I decided to go to Degustation, one of Jack Lamb's establishments (much more to come about that, and him, later). Degustation was all booked, so we ended going to Jewel Bako instead. We decided to take a walk, and after passing a store of witchcraft-ish things, we happened upon Podunk, which was so charming that it had an Are-You-Afraid-of-the-Dark quality to it.



What's even more surprising than the store itself is owner Elspeth Treadwell, who requested not to be in pictures. She fit the part of charming tea cafe owner so well that, it seemed like a hoax to me. She was wearing perfectly circular dark rimmed glasses, a mother-goose dress, and had the most stereotypically motherly voice I've ever heard. So at this point, I'm assuming she moved here from amish Pennsylvania and had been baking her entire life. I decide to delve a bit deeper.

HH: So what's your story?
ET: Harhar, why does everyone ask me that?
HH: Oh, they do?
ET: Well, I used to work in corporate America.
HH (in disbelief): You have got to be joking!
ET (not joking): Nope, I worked in marketing and a big company, and I was working so much I never got to see my family. I thought that opening Podunk would be a great way to see them all the time.

So there you have it. The exit opportunities from the business world are diverse.


Last but not least, the food was eggselent. Mother Goose Treadwell's baked goods are to die for. J and I believe that there's a psychedelic quality to them, but let's not go there. Her cupcakes are good, but what you really need to get is the lemon blueberry cake with a crunchy crust. Crunchy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, great lemon and blueberry accents, and not too sweet. Thank you for leaving corporate America, Ms. Treadwell.

231 E 5th St
New York, NY 10003



Anonymous Anonymous said...

A heartwarming post, indeed, perfect for Thanksgiving. Having had the pleasure to consume Elspeth's daily-made crack pastries, I have to wonder what her Thanksgiving spread must look and taste like... it's probably fit for the king in Are You Afraid of the Dark: The Tale of the Pinball Wizard.

11/21/2007 5:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the past 4 years, every time I am in New York I stop at Podunk. It is the perfect place to sit and relax. I have read many a book while munching away on the savory or sweet morsels that accompany the great teas. Some people complain about Elspeth - but these are also the people who come in asking if there is a public bathroom, sit around screaming into their cell phones while people are trying to relax or ask for coffee or tea to go, like Starbucks. I prefer Elspeth's slow-paced, traditional tearoom especially amidst the hurly-burly rush of NYC. Thanks for posting the pictures, I sent a link to your blog for my friends who wondered about my obsessive visits to Podunk.

1/16/2008 1:27 PM  

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