Thursday, February 15, 2007

Haute, Haute, Haute!

The best thing about winter? Duh. Hot chocolate.

Baby, it’s cold outside. But thankfully, it's bustling and warm at The City Bakery. This Flatiron uber-bakery and café is filled with the beckoning scents of fresh baked goods. Unfortunately, it's also filled with New Yorkers looking for a fix of something good — "good," in this case meaning either good for you, or just yum-good.

The Bakery boasts an enormous salad bar tucked in the rear, and it's nothing to turn your nose up at. Parsnip chips, buckwheat noodles, scrambled tofu, and macaroni and cheese are made with greenmarket ingredients, vibrantly colored and decadently dressed. But what's more decadent are the baked goods up front — pretzel croissants, lemon tarts, peanut butter cookies — and a vat of hot chocolate that is so thick, a mini-waterwheel device keeps it stirring so it doesn't coagulate into a solid block of chocolate.

This is the crème de la crème of cocoa.

The chocolaty treat, served in a sturdy white crock and dusted with cocoa, is the most decadent cup in the city. Super thick and rich, it warrants a "wow" and a totally satisfied smile — maybe even a fit of giggles. If you want to be positively sure that it can’t get any better, order it topped with a sweet homemade marshmallow. Is enduring the hustle and bustle and long lines of The City Bakery worth their famed hot chocolate? In a word, yes.

The City Bakery
3 West 18th Street

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