Posted by Lauren
Sugar has a pretty bad reputation these days. As a key contributor to heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and cancer, I am not surprised that “sugar” and “public heath crisis” are often referred to in the same sentence. It is no secret that I have a wild sweet tooth, but I agree with the experts to keep things “in moderation.”
But that whole moderation thing? It kinda went out the window when I was in New York City last week. There was just too much I couldn’t miss out on. That’s on okay excuse, right? So anyways, I thought it would be a good idea to do a “NYC sweets” round-up. For educational purposes of course. Please do not do the math and divide 12 sweets by 5 days.
In alphabetical order…
2788 Broadway Ave
No Website – Yelp
Don’t even begin to tell me that a bagel does not belong on a sweets round-up. You would be wrong! After doing my research on the best bagels in NYC, I decided to stick with the food master’s favorite: Absolute Bagels. I ordered impulsively, asking “what’s hot” before selecting a cinnamon raisin bagel (toasted) with walnut raisin tofutti. Knowing that these bagels have a delicate window of perfection, I hurried back to the subway and opened up the brown bag as soon as possible.
Ed Levine was right. The cinnamon raisin bagel with walnut raisin tofutti from Absolute Bagels was absolutely incredible. The first bite instantly brought me back to seven-year-old Lauren, getting fresh bagels from The Bagel Basket in east San Jose. After every Saturday morning dance class, my mom or dad would take me to the bagel shop next door to my dance studio and I would order a toasted blueberry bagel with plain cream cheese.
There are two upsetting things to mention: 1. The Bagel Basket closed a while ago so no more fresh blueberry bagels in San Jose. 2. I am 2,946 miles away from the 2nd best bagel shop I’ve ever been to – Absolute Bagels. RIDICULOUSLY perfect. And if you’re like me and have no idea what tofutti is, it tastes just like cream cheese, but 100x better, and it is vegan. Imagine that!
Baked by Melissa
Thousands of miniature cupcakes were literally underneath my hotel room in a cupcake shop called Baked by Melissa. I’ve heard of her tiny creations on various cupcake blogs (yes, I read those) and was excited to see a location so close to my base camp. I didn’t notice the cupcake shop until Day 3, when it stormed in New York….
After walking 4 blocks in a torrential downpour, I decided it was time to get a pack of six mini cupcakes as a pre-dinner appetizer. Rain = Cupcake Comfort.
Clockwise from top left: Cookie Dough, S’mores, Cookies & Cream, Peanut Butter Cup, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Orange Cream (flavor of the month)
Each cupcake was a little bigger than a quarter. My favorite flavor was the PB&J. I didn’t really like the ones with chocolate frosting. The others were “ehh”… If you’re going to NY, I wouldn’t stop here.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
After a fabulous solo-date dinner at Yuca Bar, I searched on Yelp for nearby ice cream shops. The East Village might be my new favorite neighborhood simply because of all the ice cream choices!
I decided to go to two places for comparison purposes. I’m a methodical ice cream eater. My 2nd stop was the colorful Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, popular due to the founders’ 2009 summer experiment, the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Their menu is simple, yet wild, with standard soft-serve and freaky toppings.
Despite the long line, I still didn’t have enough time to determine my order. I think I was distracted by the beautiful unicorn at the register. Ultimately I chose the American Globs signature cone – vanilla ice cream, pretzels, sea salt, chocolate dip. Oh, and I had the inside of my cone coated with Nutella. HA! When in New York…..
I think I overdid it with this one. The pretzel chunks were huge and I had to eat it so fast because of the heat. Next time I’ll try one of the other 23 ice cream shops in the neighborhood, but if I get dragged to BGIC I’ll be happy with that too.
The sprinkling of sea salt, sweet genius.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
One day I walked/ran 13 miles. That day included a stop for a scoop of ice cream at the quaint Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory on the edge of Brooklyn.
Not only were the views amazing…
… but the ice cream was damn good looking too!
I sampled the butter pecan and coffee ice cream and decided on a cup of creamy coffee. I took my ice cream to-go, enjoyed the fabulous views, and then walked to the Brooklyn Bridge. After I finished my cup, I ran across the bridge to check out ground zero in the financial district. You can’t beat the location + views of the city. I highly recommend you give this ice cream spot a try and maybe wait in line for the famous pizza joint, Grimaldi’s. That’s on my list for next time!
I am going to devote an entire post to my last night in NYC, which includes dinner at the infamous Buddakan.
Yes, the Buddakan of Sex and The City fame. After eating the most fabulous appetizers and family-style entrees, our table shared two desserts and sang “Happy Birthday” to Armin.
Almond Bread Pudding – bananas, butterscotch sauce, whiskey ice cream
Sorry, the photo blocks the best part – the almond bread pudding! Spoiler alert: this was to die for. Bread pudding is seriously my favorite.
Crying Chocolate – malted chocolate ganache, milk caramel, jasmine tea
More on those desserts later!
Lula’s Sweet Apothecary
Ice cream again! It was hot in NY!
Lula’s is New York’s first all natural, non-dairy, vegan frozen dessert shop (gluten-free options too!). They make all their ice cream on-site in small batches and they rotate flavors. I got a scoop of peanut butter and chocolate cookies for $4 and chatted with the man sitting next to me about our favorite ice cream spots. It was precious.
I recommended SF’s Humphry Slocombe + Berkeley’s Ici and Tara’s, while he recommended a few gelato spots in NYC. He said that he was doing a “summer ice cream crawl” to find the best in the city. He loved the texture of this vegan ice cream and I have to agree – it had the perfect consistency. However, I do think there are better places… but not if you’re a vegan. So if you are, this is a safe bet for a delicious, creamy treat.
Peanut Butter & Co
While in New York, I had a huge craving for peanut butter. I put “peanut butter” into my Yelp search window and I was totally surprised to see that Peanut Butter & Co had a storefront in Greenwich Village. I LOVE peanut butter and after sending the menu over to Nicole and Krizia, I was convinced to pay PB&Co. a visit. They have fabulous desserts and shakes on their menu, but in the end I decided to get a sweet PB&J to-go.
I carried the sandwich around with me all night (this was the 13-mile day) until I returned to my hotel. I popped on the Disney Channel (limited selection, folks!) and ate my sandwich like an eight-year-old would. Dang, I’m mature. I picked their Lunchbox Special on wheat bread with strawberry jam. I swapped out the all-natural peanut butter for cinnamon raisin peanut butter. And I added banana slices. And it was amazing. And I definitely want to go back and get a 6-pack of various PB flavors. Most caloric 6-pack ever.
When it comes to cupcakes, there has always been ONE PLACE that I am dying to try. That would be Robicelli’s of Brooklyn, NY. I’ve read Allison’s tumblr for a few years now and think that her flavor combinations are out of this world. Her and her husband are following their dream and although it’s tough, they’ve worked hard and expanded into many shops/cafes via wholesale production. They recently opened up in a pod at the Dekalb Market with a bunch of other artisan vendors.
I helped out a little bit with their kickstarter campaign, so it was extra special to see the finished space. It looked great! I wanted to order something out of my comfort zone, so I picked the Peach Melba: graham cracker cake, raspberry jam, vanilla buttercream, peach compote.
This was the first time in a long time that I ate a full sized cupcake without a fork. I felt like a little kid eating this cupcake on a picnic table with my bare hands. The cupcake was well-balanced and absolutely perfect. It totally lived up to my high expectations, especially the buttercream!! I wonder how they do it…. my guess is a hybrid between Swiss and Italian style, but I’m not sure! I wish I could live in Brooklyn and try every single flavor. Or go work with the Robicelli duo and learn how to perform cupcake magic. UNREAL.
Screme Espresso Bar
See blog post!
Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery
Upon the recommendation of my friend Ilana, I stopped by Tu-Lu’s Gluten Free Bakery in the East Village.
The shop was so adorable and the attendant was really sweet. She answered all my questions and then suggested the vegan chocolate chip cookie. Her pick was a great one! Good vegan bakers always surprise me with their dairy/egg free concoctions. How do they do it?!
I ate half of the cookie before dinner (at the amazing Graffiti btw) and saved the other half for later. By the time I finished dinner, the chocolate chips were melting because of the heat!
And that’s how the cookie crumbles…!
Question: What would you choose? What did I miss?
If I could go back for seconds, it would be another Robicelli’s cupcake. Perfection.
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