Thursday, October 25, 2007


Fiona and her very cool crew are melting, whipping and molding hard candies down on the LES (an art akin to blowing glass). Yum to bergamot, mango and grapefruit flavors. Yea for amazing design and packaging.

380 Broome Street

Pretty Please

Beth Pilar and Ellen Sternau have parlayed their 18-month custom-order cake business into a full service neighborhood café on the Lower East Side. Darling and delicious are the words that come to mind.

The décor is pink and flowery—sort of like being on the inside of a sponge cake (yes, please). Petite and tidy, a cushy window seat overlooking Allen Street is the only place to sit in-house.

Of the 12 signature items, Beth gives highest praise to the linzer tart, chocolate caramel sea salt tart (loving that combo, and seeing it everywhere lately), filled cupcakes (like a devil's food cake cupcake filled with chocolate mousse), and a lemony cheese puff. She's just as excited about the proprietary blend of Counter Culture coffee they offer (along with Serendipity Teas and Ronnybrook Farm milk. Perfect.). There's a pretty mean sticky bun, too, and croissants are on the way.

How Sweet It Is
157 Allen Street

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A New Classic

Is the peanut butter cookie better than chocolate chip?

The City Bakery is a powerful force in New York. On myriad “Best Of” lists, it’s referenced and revered for its absurdly thick hot cocoa, juggernaut cookies, and even its luxe salad bar. You could spend an entire day sampling the goods, riding the waves of sugar high after sugar high. Which means it’s tough to put just one sweet on the throne. But, when forced to do such a ridiculous thing, I could easily point to the peanut butter cookie.

First off, they’re small. Well, not really, but by City Bakery’s King-Kong standards, they are. These, like a scoop of sorbet, are modest enough that you can indulge in a couple. Second, they’re magically moist. The downfall of many peanut butter cookies is their tendency towards brittleness, sending crumbs and chunks into your lap, snapping off in rude pieces. But City Bakery’s hold together almost as if you were taking a scoop of peanut butter straight from the jar, sticking to the roof of your mouth and everything. And then there’s the flavor. Sweet, just as any cookie should be. But the creamy, nutty, savory balance couldn’t be better. A king is born.