Bakery Odyssey: 2011

I love New York City.  Love.  I was there recently courtesy of my husband who surprised me with a getaway.  We needed it.

Now, some people may go to Broadway, Central Park, Times Square and so on.  We passed them.  Instead we spent an entire day shlepping, yes shlepping, the streets of NYC on a bakery quest.  Seven different places, ranging in locations from Uptown to Brooklyn.

We started at Donut Plant.  Not really a bakery, but it is worth mentioning.  Donut Plant has been featured on Travel Channel and my expectations were really high.  The donuts were good, with a variety of unique flavors, but honestly I'm partial to our local Bill's Donuts.

Cashew and a Mango Cake Donut

Our next stop was Lulu's, also in the Chelsea District, known for its take on classic snack treats like Twinkies and Snowballs.  So of course, I had to try these, not that I'm partial to these snack cakes but I was too curious to pass up this shop up.

I got a Blackout Twinkie and a classic pink Snowball.  They call them "Retro" treats.  I see them as "classics".  Tomato, tomatoe.  They are note-worthy because they are unique, but the flavor isn't anything to write home about.  But neither is an original.

Next stop and probably the most recognizable shop was Magnolia, I believe in the Greenwich village.  Wherever we were, the area was nice.  It was quiet, with little shops dotting the middle of a neighborhood.  And then we came upon this little corner bakery.

And man do they pack a lot of sweets into one tiny shop!  I got to watch them frost their cupcakes, and trust me, I'll be trying to replicate the unique swirl myself.

Next stop, Jaques Torres, known as Mr. Chocolate.  I had to purchase some beautiful chocolates and a chocolate chip cookie for good measure.

We almost missed this stop, but trying to find the subway, we realized the shop entrance was just around the corner.  The cookie was okay, as silly as this sounds, I prefer Tollhouse.  Clearly an unsophisticated palate!

The ever patient husband who supports my obsession.

The next stop was probably the one I was looking forward to the most, Baked.  Baked has been featured on Food Network and their chef, Eric was on Top Chef, Just Desserts-whom I rooted for because he was a baker, not a fancy pants Pastry Chef.  He made it far, which only proved his talent for making delicious desserts!

However, located in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn, it proved to be quiet a trek.  We took the subway leaving the island of Manhattan for Brooklyn.  And then we walked 40 minutes to the store, leaving me sweaty and winded by the time we reached the doors.

Which wasn't ideal when I asked if Eric was there, and if I could meet him.  He was, and he came out and I was like a little school girl, clapping my hands together.  Kriston was pretty sure Eric wasn't too thrilled, but I insisted that was just how he is-it couldn't possibly because I'm a sweaty, bakery nerd interrupting his day.

I'm too excited to share this moment,
I'll ignore I'm showing my double-chin.

Without bias, their goodies were hands down our favorite, next to our last stop, which I'll share shortly.  We purchased and ungodly amount of confections, and of course bought Eric's recommendation, the Strawberry Whoopie Pie.  But first, I think we'll try the Cloud 9 Cookie.

Extreme chocolatey goodness

Only 2 more stops!  And we're at Levain Bakery.  To me, this bakery was made known through a blog I follow, vanilla sugar.  She makes copy-cat versions of their cookies, which are huge and thick and yummy.  I had the chocolate peanut-butter chip and it did not disappoint.

This shop is tiny and unassuming with a handful of treats to choose from.
And lastly, we went to momofuku's Milk Bar, which I didn't take a picture of.  I could kick myself.  This place was dimly lit and not like anything we'd been in and the goods were just as unique.  Next to Baked, this place was hands down, my favorite!

We ordered the Crack Pie, Birthday Cake Truffles, and Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie which I plan on trying to re-create.  We sampled, the Cereal Milk ice cream which tasted just like it sounds.  They soak cornflakes in the milk that is used for the ice cream.  Seriously good.  And all I have to show is this sad picture of leftovers, but I'll post it anyway.

I'm pretty sure that is a greasy paw print.
No one said Crack Pie was fat-free!

So that was our quest.  And if you are in NYC, and you just want to try one or two places, then I'd go with Baked and/or Milk Bar.

And here are some links to try some delicious recipes from these places if you aren't traveling to NYC anytime soon:
Baked, PB Crispy Bars, by Smitten Kitchen
Milk Bar, Crack Pie, by Momofuku for 2
Levain, Chocolate Chip Cookie, by vanilla sugar