11/ 29/ 16
If you know me in the slightest, you’ll likely know that I have a huge sweet tooth — my eyes beeline straight for the dessert section when scanning through a menu, I think about donuts on the daily, and I’m more cavity-prone than a five year-old. So when I had just two days to complete a bakery tour of New York City? Game on.
To be fair, no one was forcing me to gorge on sweet treats. This was self-inflicted overindulgence. Growing up in New York has incited me to view the city from a new perspective each time I fly back to visit. Whether it’s exploring a Manhattan neighborhood that my adolescence didn’t whisk me away to, checking out newly-opened museums, or in this case, visiting bakeries I never had the pleasure of knowing — the abundance of food, art, and culture make it easy to rediscover NYC again, and again, and again.
Up first? Breads Bakery.
I headed to Breads Bakery on a hazy, humid Thursday morning to meet up with Krystie, a friend of a friend who graciously allowed me to interview her for UX design project. Over email, Krystie mentioned Breads was her favorite bakery, and that they made a nutella-chocolate babka “that is to die for.” I replied immediately with a calendar invite.
At Breads, I got a spinach and feta bureka, and a chocolate babka to go. The bureka made for an incredible breakfast — flakey, buttery, and flavorful. I took the babka back to my dad’s place and was delighted at how well it traveled. I popped that baby in the toaster oven for maximum chocolate gooey-ness, and it was HEAVENLY — braids of nutella weaved through a croissant-like loaf, and still fresh two days after purchase.
Later that Thursday, I scoured Yelp to find the famed funfetti rainbow bagel. The OG rainbow bagel is in Brooklyn, so I opted for the more conveniently located Bagel Belly. I went balls to the wall with the rainbow — a rainbow bagel with rainbow cream cheese. Upon first inspection, I was immediately perturbed by the two-inch layer of cream cheese. New Yawkers should know how to schmear a bagel properly, ya know? But once I carved out the cream cheese to an appropriate amount, it was actually pretty tasty.
That evening, I met up with my college bestie Bosh. We first devoured Filipino fare at Ugly Kitchen, and then made our way to Momofuku Milk Bar. We both ordered the classic cereal milk soft serve with salted cornflakes, and it tasted exactly like the name implies — sweet milk left at the bottom of a cereal bowl transformed into soft-serve, with a sweet and salty cornflake crunch. Delicious!
I also brought cereal milk mix back to Denver with ambitious plans to make homemade ice cream. I got lazy and instead, Dan used the mix to make a tasty, ice-cold milk drink. If you’re planning on visiting Milk Bar, a quick word of warning: Milk Bar’s owner is chef Christina Tosi, so with the celebrity name come the celebrity prices. It’s also quite overhyped, so be sure to come without expectations.
On Friday morning, I reunited with Dan and Nate — two genuinely good dudes that just warm my heart! We reminisced about our days in the Bay Area and played catch-up over breakfast at Baked in TriBeCa. I got an iced latte and an avocado toast that made my inner white girl say “yaasss!” I couldn’t bring myself to order anything sweet (go figure!), but I’ve heard incredible things about their giant whoopie pies and homemade Twix bars.
My last stop on the tour de force was the world-renowned Dominique Ansel Bakery. Most famously known for the invention of the cronut, Dominique Ansel’s latest commodity was the cookie shot — freshly baked chocolate chip cookie “shot glasses,” filled with cold vanilla milk. I came too early for a cookie shot (they start selling at 3pm), so I opted for their cronut of the month. I waited about 40 minutes to get my beloved “blueberry elderflower with lime sugar” cronut, and to be honest, it was all a bit much. I much prefer the cronut from Paris Baguette! (Although, I would have to try a plain cronut from Dominique Ansel vs. a plain cronut from Paris Baguette to make a true comparison.) Dominique Ansel Bakery does have quite the cult following, so I’m convinced I just made a poor choice of pastry.
Other bakeries I didn’t have the chance to try include: Levain Bakery (for massive cookies), Melt Bakery (for ice cream sandwiches), The Doughnut Project, and Pies ‘n’ Thighs. All in all, I’d say my bakery tour was a success. I got to check out foodie joints I’ve heard so much about and found some new favorites along the way. Oh, and an important life lesson learned: dessert for every meal isn’t as appetizing at it may seem!