Since moving to the East Village from the Lower East Side, I miss being able to grab a pineapple bun on Grand on the way to work. I often forget though that Milk Bar is right in my hood and on the way to the train station as long as I deviate a block or two. Sure, the price difference is massive, but why cry over a pineapple bun when you can have a Volcano?!
If you break it down, the Volcano ($8) is garlicky potato gratin with pancetta, caramelized onions, and thyme wrapped in baguette dough and filled with Mornay sauce once baked. Mine wasn’t overflowing with white sauce as in photos I’ve seen online, but nonetheless, it was very good. The exterior, once heated up, had a great crust (albeit a bit dense), and the potato gratin was creamy with a great smoky flavor from the pancetta and caramelized onions. For a carb lover, like myself, potatoes and bread in a single bite is a wonderful thing. The addition of pork is a huge bonus.
Milk Bar also makes something called a Bagel Bomb ($5), but I’m not a fan. The vegetarian version is a black sesame seed “bagel” filled with dill cucumber cream cheese. The problem I have with the bagel bomb is that the bread tastes very unbagel-like. It’s more bready than chewy, and because they’re pre-filled, the innards end up being pasty and soggy. Also, heating up cucumber cream cheese isn’t ideal.
You would think the non-vegetarian version, which is an everything “bagel” filled with bacon scallion cream cheese, would be better because of the bacon, but again, the pasty innards ruin it for me. If you have three extra dollars to spare, I’d get the Volcano instead. If not, hop on the M15 to Grand Street and get a pineapple bun for 75 cents.