Last week Alli and I spent 5 glorious days in NYC eating everything we possibly could with my best friend Mike. Thankfully Mike was very generous and we stayed at his apartment in the East Village for the entire trip, which means we were able to spend all of our money on eating and drinking (but mostly eating).
This week we’ll have posts about all of the food we ate during our stay, they’ll be broken up into a few parts for easier reading and to break up the photo galleries. If you’d like to just see the pictures, check out our gallery on facebook here. Today we are going to be talking about all of the sweets when downed last week. We’ll have later posts on Peter Luger’s and the various Asian cuisines we tried and if you’d like to read about our Pizza and Bagel adventures check out Part 1.
Our main goal for our trip to NYC was sampling as much as possible. Besides the trip to Peter Luger’s (coming soon), most of our meals were small and cheap. We tried to continue that plan when we visited various dessert shops, bakeries and even food trucks. When Mike first moved to NYC, I remember him telling me about Wafels and Dinges, a food truck that served waffles late at night and had an amazing spekuloos spread (think gingerbread and nutella). While walking around midtown after doing some shopping, Alli and I came across one of their trucks by chance and decided to indulge ourselves with a waffle with nutella and banana (pictured above). It was delicious, and even though it was difficult to eat while standing it was worth the hassle and mess. That wasn’t our only banana and nutella experience that week. Before starting an epic restaurant crawl on our second last day, we visited Creperie (famous for appearing on Throwdown with Bobby Flay). Alli ordered a banana and nutella crepe (pictured in gallery) as her “breakfast” and preceded to almost eat the entire thing by herself. We visited both places early in the day but they have late hours that go well into the night; I would absolutely love to have a late night crepe/Belgian waffle option in Buffalo.
We tried to visit more food trucks but the Eat St. iPhone app was completely unreliable and trying to figure out where the trucks were at any given point was a challenge (there’s so many). I really wanted to visit the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, and I was really sad when I read the truck was in the shop until May. Luckily, just a couple months ago they opened the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop in the East Village, just a few streets over from the apartment we were staying in. After we had the best pizza of our lives at La Pizza Fresca, Alli and I walked down to the shop and finished our night off with a Salty Pimp (pictured in gallery) and their Monday Sundae (pictured above). Their infamous Salty Pimp includes vanilla soft serve ice cream with dulce de leche streaks, sprinkling of sea salt and then dipped in chocolate. It was so good that I’ve been considering bringing my own salt to local ice cream stands. The Monday Sundae is essentially the same, except the it was twist soft serve ice cream and the waffle cone had a layer of nutella spread inside (nutella was a common theme of our trip). The actual location is pretty small and the line was getting long when we arrived, but the staff inside really moves fast and we didn’t have to wait more then 10 minutes.
Another sweet shop on our wish list was Laduree, a very popular French Macaron bakery from Paris that opened their first US location just under a year ago. I had read some really wonderful praise about the place, most notably from Sarah Walley (my go to French macaron expert and resident macaron baker). We luckily visited in the afternoon during the week and completely avoided any lines, however, our experience had some ups and downs. Some of their flavors were fantastic (pictured in gallery); the salty caramel and raspberry were wonderful. But the black currant, chocolate banana and regular chocolate flavors were either way too strong in flavor or had a weird texture and after taste. Additionally, none of their macarons are made at the shop itself and were served at a very cold temperature (ideally you are suppose to wait for them to warm to room temperature).
Many of our wish list inspirations came from watching countless hours of food television. The Doughnut Plant was one of our stops that solely occurred because they were profiled on the Cooking Channel. They are known for their unique flavors and their fantastic yeast doughnuts. Like most of our trips, we tried ordering something that we couldn’t find back home. We ended up ordering their peanut butter glaze and blackberry jam doughnut (pictured above), their strawberry doughnut (in gallery), vanilla bean (not pictured) and a churro. All of the doughnuts had an amazing fluffy texture and everything was fresh. The flavors (especially the jam) were just fantastic. Sadly, the churros were unfortunately stale and they looked like they had been sitting out for a while. We visited around noon on a weekday and were afraid they might have been sold out, luckily we walked in and ordered right away and everything was still available. We love Paula’s Donuts but these were hands down some of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had.
After lunch one day, we stopped by Momofuku Milk Bar to pick up a couple things to go. Initially, I wanted to try a couple of David Chang’s restaurants but aside from a trip to his cocktail bar, Booker and Dax, we never made it anywhere else. Milk Bar isn’t exactly a restaurant, it’s more of a snack shop were they have everything prepackaged and ready to go. I was actually a little turned off by it, it seemed like more of a big franchise operation and less of a homey dessert shop. We grabbed their Cereal Milk, crack pie and birthday truffles to go. The Cereal Milk (pictured in gallery) tastes exactly like you think it would but somehow also gives you a nice surprise. It was thicker than milk and reminded me more of a milkshake that would be a dessert on it’s own. It was incredibly rich and I drank about half of the bottle before having to set it down. Actually, both the crack pie and birthday truffles were also incredibly rich. Maybe it’s the hype but I wasn’t in love with the crack pie (pictured in gallery), or at least not as much as I would have liked. It pretty much was a giant mix of butter and sugar, which is not exactly what I crave or expected. The birthday truffles were a complete shock, our friend Mike highly recommended them and they had a wonderful flavor and texture. They reminded me of funfetti in a very condensed and intense form.
High on Alli’s “to do list” was a visit to Georgetown Cupcakes in Soho. In an area filled with extremely expensive boutiques you will find Georgetown Cupcake’s only NYC location. The subtle sign on the outside would be easy to miss if the entire shop inside wasn’t painted a bright neon pink. Inside their glass case they had dozens of flavors, we placed our order (Mint Chocolate, Red Velvet, Chocolate Vanilla) and waited for them to bring our cupcakes out from the back room that looked more like an assembly line than bakery. I was skeptical of the cupcakes (about 3 bucks a piece for a very small cupcake) but they were actually really good (Alli claims the best she’s ever had). I’m normally not a fan of the thicker/ganache type of frosting but it worked well with the mint cupcake and the actual cake was moist and fluffy. I now understand the hype and why they’ve become as popular as they currently are.
Our other cupcake adventure was to Crumbs Bakery, another cute bakery that’s pretty popular in NYC. Their cupcakes were complete opposites of Georgetown’s. Instead of an artisanal little bite of dessert, the cupcakes at Crumbs were gigantic in comparison and their frosting was thicker and more sweet. For such a large cupcake, their cake was very moist and tender but the amount of sugar was too much for me to handle.
After writing over a thousand words about desserts, it really seems like we spent a large portion of our time eating sugary sweets. I’ll miss the Salty Pimp, having a waffle food truck and the best doughnuts I’ve ever had, but luckily with the help of Paula’s Donuts, Sarah Walley’s Macarons and the Cupcake Orchard; we can still satisfy our sweet tooth urges here in Buffalo.