Times Square Cheese Tour!

Monday, December 20th, 2010 | Uncategorized

No, not THAT kind of cheese.  The metaphorical kind that is reserved for places like Times Square.  There comes a time in a young New Yorker’s life when you just have to grab a touristy spot by its points (of interest) and rediscover its “charms.”

And thus, after stops at the Whopper Bar for dinner, then the Charmin Ten Star Restroom Experience (in that necessary order), my friends and I began the dessert portion, which included Pop Tarts World, M&M’s World, and the Hershey’s Store:

At Pop Tarts World, we sampled the famous Pop Tart Sushi.  Although the pieces looked like charcuterie, the flavor was far from meaty.  The filling tasted like a ground-up Pop Tart wrapped up with a Fruit Roll-Up.  Not God-awful, but not good either.  We then tried a Cinnamon Roll Pop Tart, which was quite good (“buttery” and sugary) and the S’Mores Pop Tart, which was just a-ite.  The warmed up tarts come in plastic clamshell packaging, which is pretty depressing– one measly tart per whole huge container.  Our planet is going to look like the beginning of “Wall-E” soon enough at this rate.  They also had free gingerbread Pop Tart samples, which were like graham crackers filled with icing.  They were very dry and would have been much better warmed up.  I did not attempt to use the Pop Tart Varietizer where, for $15, you can literally make any kind of Pop Tart you want, although there are enough to choose from in the store– seriously.  I was also not strong enough for the Pop Tart sundae station, where, instead of ice cream as your base, you use a Pop Tart.  Then you cover it with even more frosting, sprinkles, marshmallows, and a billion other things– talk about gilding the “lily.”

Next up: M&M’s World, which is a 25,000 square foot, Disney World-like three floors of all things M&M’s, like earrings, shot glasses, guitars, puppets, and Monopoly Board Games, in addition to countless silos of the candies themselves in every imaginable color including an unappetizing gray.   You can get almond, peanut butter (my favorite), pretzel (a rip-off), dark chocolate (disgusting, as Mars chocolate isn’t good enough to do dark), minis, and peanut.  Coconut was M.I.A., however.  A chocolate scratch ‘n sniff sticker smell permeates the place when everyone knows that M&M’s actually smell like poop.  In my hallowed Dairy Queen days, I recall a time when I was filling the M&M’s bin for our Blizzards, and one of my coworkers (whose back was turned to me) wrinkled up her nose, and said, “What is that smell?!”  The store has a sad little “Green” section towards the back on the 3rd floor devoted to something or other about Indonesians using chocolate tree bark to make paper that is selling– for a Limited Time ONLY– at the M&M’s Store (so, um, aren’t all those people going to be out of work soon?).  Well, inevitably, my group and I started craving M&M’s and inquired as to the whereabouts of those normal, boring M&M’s packets that you can get literally everywhere.  “We don’t carry them,” an employee informed us.  Crestfallen, we spitefully responded that we’d just have to get a Hershey bar across the street.  Oh, all the water in the world and not a drop to drink!  The mediocre chocolate covered in a sweet candy shell sang its siren song to us.  And yet you have to either go through the bother of buying the M&M’s in bulk from the silos or your have to buy an extortionately-priced plastic shape filled with them, such as a champagne bottle for $18.95.  We grudgingly purchased a pinwheel shape, which was totally unergonomic as once you pried the damn thing open, many of the candies jumped out of the tray onto the floor.  And the pinwheel spaces were too small for adult hands and had tight corners for the candies.  Ironically, just outside the store, there was a street cart vending the coveted packets of M&M’s, including the suntan-lotion-tasting, yet oddly delicious, coconut ones!

What a contrast the Hershey’s Store makes.  Underneath the massive 16-story marquee proclaiming Hershey’s “The Great American Chocolate Company” is a tiny, cramped, and sad little store.  The lighting is a harsh white and we kept bumping into things– an employee informed us that the popular Hershey’s water bottles get knocked over all day and that the majority of their stock has rolled irretrievably underneath various display stands.  There is an entire section of the store devoted to Reese’s, which I was ecstatic about as I am a huge fan of the peanut butter cups.  (I used to microwave them until they were melty, then I would gobble them up and lick the leftover chocolate off the plate.  What can I say?  “There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s.”).  Continuing my tour around the store, I discovered that Hershey’s owns Scharffen Berger and Dagoba (sigh).  There is also a poopy chocolate smell that would waft through the store periodically– just like the fragrant aroma of the Kisses.  Instead of three floors of all things Hershey, the tiny spiral staircase here leads to a visible storage area on a kind of balcony.  The only excitement comes from The Original Automatic and Gravitational Chocolate Machine where you get to wear a Hershey’s Factory hat, crank a metal wheel, and watch assorted chocolate bars come down a twisty shoot and go into a bucket.  Woot!  Out into the cold, we divided our spoils: bags of Hershey’s Nuggets (truly delicious “extra silky” milk chocolate with toffee bits) and Reese’s Clusters (chocolate-covered peanut butter, pecans, and caramel that seemed totally unnecessary).

We also made a stop at The View lounge at the top of the Marriott Marquis, which is a bar up 48 stories with seating on a lazy Susan that features a 360° view of the City.  You pass by the tempting dessert buffet every 50 minutes or so (as well as the dinner buffet, bathrooms, and, you know, exit).  The chocolate fountain and petits-fours called to me as I ever-so-sloooowly orbited.  Had I not spent $14 on a cocktail plus $8 cover for being present after 8pm, I might have considered the $17 for the desserts.  Cruel The View.  I’ll have to go back on a reconnaissance mission soon.

Pop Tarts World
128 W. 42nd St.
New York, NY 10036
M&M’s World
1600 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
Hershey’s Times Square
717 7th Ave.
New York, NY 10036
The View at the Marriott Marquis
1535 Broadway, 48th Floor
New York, NY 10036

1 Comment to Times Square Cheese Tour!

January 7, 2011

Y’alls went to PopTart world?! I didn’t know it was open. Every time I’ve passed it it looks dead. Remember when PopTarts experimented with a new recipe and they tasted like crap? This was a good ten plus years ago but I am still scarred by it. I did try them again at my grandmother’s and was thrilled they’re back to the original recipe.

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