Let us for a moment take a minute to remember the joy of the Snack Pack, the delightful pudding treat that was always ready to eat, regardless of refrigeration or other means of remaining fresh. Strangely, while I’ve lost my taste for a lot of the artificial snacks that made up my childhood (mine was not a household of organic Cheerios and fruit leather), Snack Packs still hold up today as a comforting pick-me-up. Maybe it’s the nostalgia factor, but there is something unusually satisfying about a shelf-stable pudding cup.
But as much as a Snack Pack can cure a pudding craving, sometimes you want a more mature pudding. One with ingredients you can pronounce. One that requires storage below room temperature.
That’s when you head to a place like Puddin’ in the East Village.
A friend of mine, J., suggested we explore Puddin’ together, and it was almost too easy to pull together a group of eager pudding eaters. Together, we headed over to sample Chef Clio Goodman’s wares. (Puddin’ is also known as Puddin’ by Clio, for all you Googlers out there.)
The name of the shop, cutesy as it may be, belies a serious approach to pudding in all of its gloopy (but not lumpy!) glory. Yes, this is definitely a place for the kids (although the diminutive store can barely fit a parked stroller) but it’s also a place for adults who want to eat like kids… but in a slightly more refined manner. Case in point: Signature pudding pairings in combinations like Coconut Cruise made with vegan coconut pudding, and Caramel Macchiato brewed with enough espresso to stunt your growth.
I went with the Lemon Drop: “Lemon pudding, crushed ginger crunch cookies, and toasted marshmallow cream.” Sounds enticing, doesn’t it?
For the most part, it was. The pudding was appropriately lemony – not astringent – but also not overly sweet. The cookies added some welcome spice and texture, nicely evocative of a lemon meringue pie.
The one problem was the marshmallow cream, which was really more like marshmallow glue. It stayed stuck at the bottom of my cup, vehemently refusing to integrate no matter how hard I stirred. By the time I got to the bottom, I was eating pure marshmallow, which was essentially eating pure, unbridled sugar. To call it sweet would be an understatement.
There was one other problem, which was the price. A mini signature cup will set you back a very mature $5.00. If you want to scale up ever so slightly, the price jumps to $7.50. If you decide to go your own way with a make-your-own cup, a mini base starts at $4.00, and every topping is an additional $1.00. This means that you could easily put together the equivalent of a $7.00 Snack Pack.
You might be able to buy a whole four-pack of Snack Packs for less than the price of a pudding cup at Puddin’, but the cost is yet another reminder that as an adult, you can have your Snack Pack and buy your Puddin’, too.