Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A French patisserie in the heart of New York

Have you noticed? New Yorkers are being seduced by the French (bien sur—it happens!).

Financier Patisserie is everywhere (just ask Carol). Macarons are everywhere. And the latest Franco-bakery: Olivier Dessyn’s Mille-Feuille on Laguardia Street.

I had the good fortune of meeting fellow Sweet Freak Kathy YL Chan there for an afternoon gouter. She had already sampled many of the patisserie’s French classics—crème brulée, vienoisserie, madeleines and more—so she chose the fromage blanc with raspberry jam. Feeling both piggish and greedy, I selected a sampling of two macarons—pistachio and vanilla—and a financier.

Dessyn, who worked with Pierre Hermé in Paris, definitely has the meringue to ganache ratio down on his macarons. And their size is just right. These two essential ingredients make for a more satisfying macaron than most anywhere in Manhattan.

And I like that you can buy vanilla pods…

…but I like that you can taste them in the sweets even better.

The financier, about the size of a playing card, probably had a half a stick of butter in it, judging by the wonderfully chewy-gritty texture.

Throw in a couple of bits of chocolate and call it a day.

The patisserie devotes most of its space to the open kitchen, which is cool to see, leaving a modest amount of counter space for noshing. But the space is welcoming and the sweets are the real deal.

Next time: the signature millefeuille, which comes in vanilla, pistachio or praliné, and the praliné stuffed brownie—the perfect merging of Franco-Anglo heaven if I ever saw one.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dylan, meet Dewey

Think Dylan’s is the only Technicolor candy parlor in town? Think again. Granted, Dewey’s is a slip of a shop, hiding under the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO, but it’s chockfull of fantastic sweets.

Walls of gummies and jellies and chocolates by the ounce.

Bins of old school favorites like jawbreakers and gold coins.

Retro candy bars. (When was the last time you had a Charleston Chew??)

And trendy chocolate bars.

Brooklyn really is the new New York.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ta-dah! Tu-Lu’s gluten-free cupcakes

The last thing I need is another cupcake stop in the neighborhood. But Tu-Lu’s, on 11th Street, has been on my radar for months and I finally stumbled upon the gumdrop-sized spot this weekend. Naturally, cupcakes were consumed.

What makes Tu-Lu’s different is it’s a 100% gluten-free bakery. Thank god I don’t have any wheat allergies, but I’m becoming more and more of a fan of vegan baked goods, which Tu-Lu’s also has.

They have vegan cookies…

And also cookies made with dairy…

Chocolate, vanilla and red velvet cupcakes…

And mini cupcakes…

Seeing as I wanted to sample more than one flavor, but unwilling to spend $6 or $9 for an afternoon sugar fix, I opted for three minis (pretty, no?).

The vanilla on vanilla was good, but my least favorite. It lacked at special umph.

Red velvet, the bakery’s most popular flavor, was moist and creamy. Three quick bites of dreaminess.

My favorite, however, was the chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. It shared the same perfect balance of moistness and creaminess, but had better contrasting flavors.

I definitely don’t need more sweets on my radar. But three wee cupcakes is like one regular-sized one—pas mal, right??

Friday, June 17, 2011

Breakfast club: Jeffrey's Grocery

I walked into Jeffrey’s Grocery and was greeted by cookies.


Peanut butter

Chocolate chip

But 8:30 a.m. was too early for cookies. And what Bennie and I really came for was the chocolate coffee caketotally appropriate for breakfast.

Curses! They had no chocolate coffee cake.

We could have opted for a berry muffin, pockmarked as they were with beautiful, plump berries.

But we got the carrot muffin instead.

And we were rewarded for it.

Deep in the heart of the carrot muffin, it was still warm from the oven.

And sugary sweet delicious.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The magic of Christina Tosi

Thank heaven for little girls. For once in a while, they grow up to be like Christina Tosi.

“Of course, I wanted a bakery when I grew up,” Ms. Tosi said. “It’s the other little-girl dream besides being a princess.”

Momofuku Milk Bar, right in my backyard, is where she dreamed up crack pie and compost cookies.

It’s where you can get towering cakes with sugary frosting and crunchy bits that send you into orbit.

Or, a bit more modest but no less ridiculously delicious, her cake truffles.

Dusty and crumbly on the outside.

Sweet and doughy on the inside.

And rainbow sprinkles that, to a girl like me, are part of the better-than-a-princess dream.