Sunday, February 26, 2012

Breakfast Decisions at Tartine Bakery

Banana cream pie for breakfast?? Even I know better than that.

But a million-layered croissant? They look wonderfully, seductively as good as Christophe Vasseur's croissants at Du Pain et des Idées, after all.

Or, even better, a pain au chocolat, speared with two batonettes of Valrhona goodness. Tempting, bien sur.

But ever the creature of habit...

... from all the beautiful temptations at San Francisco's Tartine Bakery, both savory and sweet...

I chose...

bread pudding.

Next time I go, I'm hoping the tart berries will be replaced with something decadent like chocolate and bananas.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pancake month at Clinton Street Baking Company

Ten years later, I finally see what all the fuss is about. I’ve tried going to this homey restaurant for their famous pancakes a few times but I always refuse to stand in line.

But being as it is Pancake Month, and having chose to meet there for Breakfast Club on the day crunchy banana with cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce pancakes were being served, Bennie and I sucked it up. We waited in line.

Thank god.

Yes, the special crunchy banana (read: fried banana) pancakes were divine. Especially with the cinnamon-chili-chocolate sauce.

But the good old pancakes with wild Maine blueberries were out of this world.

Light and fluffy, moist and buttery. They were perfect.

Mission accomplished.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Soirée de Sucre

I love a good tea party. Especially one filled with great people…

… thrilling city views…

and sweets, bien sur.

The lovely Kathy YL Chan represents Chambre de Sucre, a gorgeous line of gourmet sugars started by the equally lovely Lisa Kunizaki. On Saturday, they hosted a midday sugar spread to showcase their new collection.

The prosecco and tea were delicious, accented with as they were with the pretty little morsels.

And the accompanying sweets were divine.

I went straight for the miso chocolate cake from Kyotofu and the peanut butter chocolate cupcake from Two Little Red Hens.

Both hit the spot: moist, flavorful and way too easy to make disappear.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Meanwhile, uptown at Sprinkles...

Having gone to Georgetown Cupcake on the very day it opened made me feel a little guilty. Not for my insatiability or gluttony, but because Sprinkles, a Los Angeles import, has been in New York for nine months and I had never gone. So, seeing as I was in the neighborhood (Upper East Side, kitty corner to Bloomies), I did my due diligence.

In many ways Sprinkles and Georgetown Cupcake are similar: scads of amazing flavors, beautifully decorated cupcakes, and lines of people waiting to eat them up.

And since I tried two flavors at Georgetown Cupcake, I felt it my duty to indulge in two cupcakes at Sprinkles. As always, it was a tortuous decision.

Did I want Madagascar bourbon vanilla cake copped with a fudgy milk chocolate cream cheese frosting? (Why, yes, I did…)

Or, Belgian chocolate cake, studded with chocolate chips and topped with luscious raspberry frosting? Impossible to decide, I tell you.

So I went with two of my favorite flavor combos: peanut butter and chocolate, and banana and chocolate.


The peanut butter cake batter—dense, moist, yum—had nice rich chocolate chips buried inside and was frosted with a fudgy milk chocolate cream cheese frosting and covered in sprinkles (which, truth be told, I’m not such a fan of).

In a twist on a good old banana cupcake with cream cheese frosting, I got the one with the bittersweet chocolate frosting.

It’s too soon to choose between Georgetown Cupcake and Sprinkles. All my cupcakes were heavenly. So now I have to do further recon. Perhaps a Smackdown. It's vital that we find which imported cupcakery is worthy of Manhattan standards....

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Last minute but rich and delicious

Vite, vite! Looking for a killer Valentine’s gift today in Manhattan? Here are decadent pick-me-ups from all over town.

• Warm pain au chocolate at Patisserie Claude (there’s still time to serve it in bed!)
• Petit fours from Three Tarts (Chelsea)
• Champagne chocolate chip cookies from Ruby et Violette (Hell’s Kitchen)
• Chocolate skulls from Bond Street Chocolate (East Village)
• Love potion hot chocolate at City Bakery (Flatiron)
• Passion fruit macarons from Bosie Tea Parlor (West Village)
• Red velvet bundt cakes at Make My Cake (Harlem) and cupcakes at Amy’s Bread (Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, West Village)
• A giant box of assorted bonbons from Kee’s (Soho)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Georgetown Cupcake Takes Manhattan

I’ve been waiting for this…

…and so, apparently, has half of Manhattan!

Two-hour-long waits. TV cameras and balloons. And we’re inside Georgetown Cupcake!

The line was slow, giving me plen-ty of time to consider my ordering strategy…

… and ogle the perfectly frosted cupcakes.


She was glowing. And her daughters?

Katherine and Sophie, and their whole crew, were fast at work. (Everyone was ridiculously nice.)

Most people were ordering cupcakes by the dozen. Ever the study of modesty, I ordered two (actually, I only ordered one, but you got one free in celebration of the grand opening and who would ever turn down a free cupcake??).

I knew I wanted the strawberry lava fudge. I have a thing for strawberry cake…and combined with chocolate? It was a no-brainer.

On a whim (or, more like trying to make an important decision quickly, under pressure) I got the red velvet for my freebie as it’s their best seller.

Although there area handful of tables in the big, bright bakery, I brought the cupcakes home with me so I could savor them in private.

The strawberry lava fudge was, as anticipated, ridiculous.

The strawberry frosting was sweet and the fudge oozed from the middle into a chocolaty puddle. Ridiculous.

The red velvet, however, is what blew me away. Pitch-perfect cream cheese frosting—neither too sweet nor tart, spread generously atop the moist cake.

It was fun, it was delicious, and it was totally worth the madness.