Thursday, April 26, 2007

Take Two

Birdbath Bakery spreads wings, heads westward.

Is it Build a Green Bakery? Or Birdbath Bakery? Or is this naming business trickery to ratchet up buzz? Does it matter? No, so long as the cookies and scones and muffins and croissants remain so tasty (and the ingredients, organic).

The City Bakery's second Birdbath offshoot is open in the West Village. Which means candied ginger scones, raspberry bran muffins, pretzel croissants, and chocolate chip cookies, served in eco environs, can be found twice as easily.

Pedal your bike over and get on the green bandwagon. It's more delicious than you ever imagined.

145 Seventh Ave South at Charles Street

Friday, April 13, 2007

verē yummy

Evolved chocolate for ethical beings. (Wait—it's much more delicious than *that* sounds.)

What has less sugar than an apple, more antioxidants than two pounds of broccoli, and more fiber than a slice of whole wheat bread? Oh, and tastes more heavenly than any of those good-for-you foods, as well as many desserts?

That would be verē chocolates, my friends.

Just entering its second year of business, and founded by the same mastermind of HUE tights (you know you used to wear them), Kathy Moskal's high-quality, low-sugar, simple, sophisticated, rich, and luscious chocolate line is, in a word, divine.

The 75% dark chocolate bars are made from sustainably-grown, Rainforest Alliance-approved cocoa beans from the Ecuadorian Rainforest. Velvety ganaches are made with cream and butter sourced from Ronnybrook's local, grass-fed dairy cows. And wafers, tiles, and clusters—products names, those are—have decadent ingredients like roasted nuts, Cognac, Earl Grey tea, and pink peppercorns. So good are these products, you can eat them for breakfast. (Repeat: you can now eat chocolate for breakfast.)

verē won't spike your blood sugar into orbit, won't clutter your conscience with sad images of migrant workers and destroyed rainforests, and, unless you down a box of truffles in one sitting, shouldn't make you feel guilty. And even if you do feel guilty, there's enough good going on so you should get over it quickly. verē, verē quickly.

Check out Factory Fridays.
verē chocolates
12 West 27th Street b/w Sixth Ave and Broadway

Saturday, April 07, 2007


A hung jury.

Sugarless cupcakes rank right up there with your best friend’s boyfriend, whom you know you’re supposed to like, and you really want to like, and you like in theory because he’s your best friend’s boyfriend, but… there’s something there you can’t completely embrace.

And yet you do.

As my sugar-high crashes are getting more intense, and I’m trying to be more conscious of what I eat and where my food comes from, a bakery like BabyCakes is genius. It has all the sweet charm of an old-fashioned bakery (a cozy window seat, retro signs claiming “Quality our motto, Courtesy our hobby,” and seersucker candy-striper dresses as uniforms). And yet there’s not a smudge of refined sugar or flour anywhere in the wee kitchen. It’s enough to make a vegan, or repenting sweet freak, do a jig.

Sugar-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, vegan cupcakes, tea cakes, crumb cakes, layer cakes, cookies, muffins, scones, in chocolate, vanilla, pumpkin, raspberry, ginger snap, and banana chip flavors. How do they do it? Spelt flour, garbanzo bean flour, rice flour, and blue agave nectar are a few of BabyCake’s key ingredients. Ah — but how do they taste?

Like any dairy-free baked good, the consistency is moister. And, without refined sugar, the sweetness less likely to produce a toothache. Which is both good and bad. The sweets are rich and satisfying, for sure. But different. No sugar rush. No “omigod.” No eyes rolling back into your skull. But, then again, no serious crash 15 minutes later.

So, like your best friend’s boyfriend, give it time. Make no rash judgements. You like him okay. But since your best friend likes him a whole lot, you know he’ll probably grow on you, too.

248 Broome Street b/w Orchard & Ludlow

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Love Bites

A bouchon is a bouchon, not a brownie

To state the obvious: the path to finding the perfect brownie is paved in decadence. And while it may not be easy to choose the best of the best in a very delicious field, it’s easy enough to find unexpected delights along the way. Like finding the aforementioned decadence and deliciousness in a different form, and in… a mall.

When Bouchon Bakery opened in the Time Warner Center, everyone who worships at the altar of Thomas Keller was thrilled. Keller has received nearly every culinary accolade possible and, for those who can't score a resy at Per Se, or afford the tab, a place to nosh on top-notch food is a golden gift. But, since “Bakery” is in the eatery’s name, skip the tuna sandwich. And, since “Bouchon” is in the name, go straight for the goods: i.e. the chocolate bouchons.

A bouchon? Qu'est-ce que c'est? Think of it as a French brownie. Shaped like a delicate beehive, it has the texture of a homemade brownie from the pan’s perimeter: tough and chewy at the edge; moist and chocolaty at the center. Making this four-bite treat even better are the chunks of chocolate that punctuate the cake inside.

If the mall setting doesn't bother you, sit under the Samsung sign and have the chocolate bouchon with coffee ice cream. Otherwise, make like a Parisian and take your bite of heaven chez-vous.

Time Warner Center
Third Floor