I've been getting the rich, creamy, luscious desserts at Rice to Riches for the past five years. I couldn't believe there was a place devoted solely to rice pudding, and yet it is still going strong and still ONLY serves rice pudding. It's a funky-looking dessert shop with decor right out of the Jetsons, located in the Nolita (read: North of Little Italy) neighborhood of Manhattan, just steps from Lombardi's Pizzeria.
Rice to Riches will give small samples if you ask. They offer different toppings like roasted fruit, toasted pound cake and chilled espresso with cocoa for an extra charge. I've never tried any of the toppings as I'm somewhat of a purist and like to taste the pudding as is. They have about 23 regular flavors and some seasonal puddings for summer, winter and the holidays, with really cool names such as: Man-Made Mascarpone (rice pudding mixed with mascarpone cheese and cherries, my favorite), Peanut Butter Picked A Peck, Property Of Lemon Poppy and Sex, Drugs And Rocky Road.
All of their puddings are very rich and luxurious, striking a harmonious balance between rice and pudding, with a wonderful creamy texture and soulful body. On one recent visit I tried two addictive flavors, Chocolate Chip Flirt and Man-Made Mascarpone, in what is called an "Epic"-sized portion (for one or two people, $8.00 in 1/08). I could have eaten it all, but I promised to save some for my girlfriend.
Rice To Riches has a great philosophy that basically boils down to this: there is always room for rice pudding. Nolita is a nice neighborhood to stroll, and rice pudding makes for a great "to-go" food while taking in the sights.