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Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Bakeries category.

French Bakery. Oui.

If you are a chocolate fan, this is for you! And if you are not, you will be. This is a standout. It’s a flaky croissant that is chocolate, contains a bar of chocolate as a base (like the pain au chocolat), and has a chocolate filling (yes, filling!) that’s not quite cream and not quite frosting, but all the best of both. It’s like an eclair but a croissant. A definite must.

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Savoy Bakery Brings Beautiful Pastries To Spanish Harlem

courtesy of Savoy Bakery

courtesy of Savoy Bakery

It might be hard to believe at first glance, but the cappuccino in the picture above is actually  delicious cappuccino mousse in a completely edible chocolate cup. Isn’t it the cutest thing ever? I buy them whenever I visit friends or want to impress someone. The first time my grandmother had one, she lifted the dessert by the handle not realizing the cup was made of chocolate because it looks so realistic. You kind of don’t even want to eat it because it starts to remind you of artwork. Savoy bakery is a bright spot in my Harlem neighborhood with its cute rolling pin door handles and tasty concoctions. While their best seller is their beautiful strawberry shortcake, don’t let that stop you from trying an amazing cheese cake or buttery dinner rolls. Savoy’s desserts aren’t sickeningly sweet, and are light, airy and have just the right amount of sugar. They also have a selection of sandwiches that you can ask about. My suggestion? Go to Savoy and grab lunch and some sweets to go and head over to munch on them in Central Park.

NYC Location
(212) 828-8896
170 East 110th Street
New York, NY 10029

7.5 out of 10

-Juice


Sweet Potato Cupcakes? I Must Be In The South!

Camicakes

Just some treats to sweeten your day. Don’t hate me because the cupcakes that I’m about to write about aren’t in New York City, but I strongly suggest that you try them if you are in Florida or Georgia. CamiCakes Cupcakes were a random find. A girlfriend and I were driving down a road in Atlanta, zeroed in on the word “Cupcakes” and pulled a u-ey. The cutest little girl with pom-pom like hair opened the door for us and started chatting with us, she was not shy at all! Little did I know, till I saw the cartoon picture around the store, that this little girl was the “Cami,” behind Cami’s cupcakes. (Real name Camille.) Her mother Andra, a wonderful and kind woman, was behind the counter. So, me and my girlfriend had made a deal, since we just ate a huge meal, we were going to get one cupcake each and only one each. So I picked one and then she picked one. And then I got distracted by the words sweet potato and thought to myself, I’m not always in Atlanta, so it’s OK if get that one too. Well apparently my friend didn’t think that that was very fair, so she picked two more. And I didn’t think that that was very fair so I got another one. We had poor Andra running back and forth behind that counter and she even had to switch to a larger box. In the end we left with 7 amazing cupcakes and I regret not just getting one of everything that she happened to have that day. Even with the vast amount of cupcake companies in New York City right now, I do believe Cami’s Cupcakes could survive and even do well once the economy gets better. In the meantime, I have my tasty memories. Just in case anyone cares, these are the flavors that I left with.
Vanilla-Vanilla: The most basic flavor. I always get this flavor no matter where I go because it gives me an idea of how good their other cupcakes will be.
Sweet Potato: Andra’s favorite of the bunch so I couldn’t pass it up. Cinnamon and sweet potato cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. One of the best of the bunch, I’ll have to get it again.
Strawberries-N-Cream: Strawberry cream cheese frosting on yellow cake.
Vanilla-Chocolate: Hey, you can’t fight ebony and ivory.
Carrot: Topped with cream cheese frosting, I feel like this type of cupcake/cake is always so underrated.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream: Chocolate cake with peanut cream cheese frosting. So decadent.
Red Velvet: How can anyone not try the red velvet?
9 out of 10
Check out camicakes.com for their locations.
-Juice

Just some treats to sweeten your day. Don’t hate me because the cupcakes that I’m about to write about aren’t in New York City, but I strongly suggest that you try them if you are in Florida or Georgia. CamiCakes Cupcakes were a random find. A girlfriend and I were driving down a road in Atlanta, zeroed in on the word “Cupcakes” and pulled a u-ey. The cutest little girl with pom-pom like hair opened the door for us and started chatting with us, she was not shy at all! Little did I know, till I saw the cartoon picture around the store, that this little girl was the “Cami,” behind Cami’s cupcakes. (Real name Camille.) Her mother Andra, a wonderful and kind woman, was behind the counter. So, me and my girlfriend had made a deal, since we just ate a huge meal, we were going to get one cupcake each and only one each. So I picked one and then she picked one. And then I got distracted by the words sweet potato and thought to myself, I’m not always in Atlanta, so it’s OK if get that one too. Well apparently my friend didn’t think that that was very fair, so she picked two more. And I didn’t think that that was very fair so I got another one. We had poor Andra running back and forth behind that counter and she even had to switch to a larger box. In the end we left with 7 amazing cupcakes and I regret not just getting one of everything that she happened to have that day. Even with the vast amount of cupcake companies in New York City right now, I do believe Cami’s Cupcakes could survive and even do well here once the economy gets better. In the meantime, I have my tasty memories. Just in case anyone cares, these are the flavors that I left with.

Vanilla-Vanilla: The most basic flavor. I always get this flavor no matter where I go because it gives me an idea of how good their other cupcakes will be.

Sweet Potato: Andra’s favorite of the bunch so I couldn’t pass it up. Cinnamon and sweet potato cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting. One of the best of the bunch, I’ll have to get it again.

Strawberries-N-Cream: Strawberry cream cheese frosting on yellow cake.

Vanilla-Chocolate: Hey, you can’t fight ebony and ivory.

Carrot: Topped with cream cheese frosting, I feel like this type of cupcake/cake is always so underrated.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream: Chocolate cake with peanut cream cheese frosting. So decadent.

Red Velvet: How can anyone not try the red velvet?

9 out of 10

Check out camicakes.com for their locations.

-Juice


But It Looked So Good…

courtesy of sarabeth.com

courtesy of sarabeth.com

Popular locations don’t always mean they’re the best locations. Hype overcomes people at times, and takes over their good judgement. What makes it even worse is that you wait in line for something that ends up being mediocre. I could have been home sleeping still. Brunch is hard for me because of the timing. And because it’s football season, I was nicely asked if we could meet for brunch at noon, which is the early side for me on a Sunday considering I have to give myself time to shower, primp and travel there. But I dragged myself out of bed because I got myself excited all week to have my favorite brunch dish, salmon eggs benedict. Today, I’m going to have it at Sarabeth’s.  So it’s a beautiful day and the wait isn’t bad at all for brunch in New York City, about twenty minutes. I start off with a picked bloody mary which tasted wonderful. I say that because I’m usually not a fan of them, but the horseradish and worcestershire sauce weren’t overpowering at all, and it wasn’t too thick, but rather felt like a normal drink. My date started with a lobster bisque with black truffle toast. It tasted decent, however, right off the bat, it looked like it needed more cream, with it did, and I didn’t see any lobster chunks in it at all. Visually it wasn’t appealing at all, the butter or fat, separating from the rest of the sauce. The black truffle toast barely had any truffle flavor in it. It made me yearn for one of the best lobster bisque I had, sadly, I won’t be getting that anytime soon, as it was in Hawaii. I moved on to their poppy seed toast, which was OK, and more a vehicle for my butter than anything else. (I’m a huge fan of butter.) My dish came and looked gorgeous. But just because something is sprinkled with pretty red bell peppers doesn’t make it a good dish. Because I get salmon eggs benedict at almost every brunch, after taking my first bite, I knew that this wouldn’t be a memorable one. The side salad was decent, but doesn’t that say something when my side salad is better than the main dish? The one savior to the dish is that, by itself, the homemade english muffin was delicious, it tasted like a buttery biscuit. My date’s chicken caesar salad? I have no desire to write anything about it. But, because the coffee was good and the bloody mary were good, we ordered another round of that. How the hell did my bloody mary taste different? The seasonings in it were very overpowering and I was debating pouring water into it, but felt that it might be rude. I was dying to try their porridge with wheatberries, cream, butter and brown sugar, but because of the wait, I missed the noon deadline for the porridge. Cry, cry. Sarabeth just doesn’t seem to know how to do savory,  I think that IF I go back, I’ll only try their sweet dishes or baked goods.

Various locations, so please check out their website at sarabeth.com.

5.5 out of 10

-Juice


Macarons, Je’Taime.

There is nothing more I like to talk about than cookies. And I have recently discovered the most wonderful kind. The Macaron.

Now, I am not talking about what we Americans know as the Macaroon. I know it sounds similar, but these cookies are totally different.  This is no dense coconut cookie people!  We are going to have a discussion about the Parisian confection made of two petite almond flavored cookies with a filling in the middle. These cookies are both crunchy and chewy, and the filling delicate. It’s love in a small, effective dose.

Parisian Macarons come in many colors and different flavors. It tastes nothing like it looks. On first glance you would expect this to be a supreme sugar rush (ala Meringues – another discussion entirely!) on first bite. No, no, no. This cookie is light, creamy, and perfectly portioned. It is a sandwich cookie reinvented.

Here in NYC you will find no better example of this French delight than at the Macaron Cafe in the Fashion District of NYC. This is a small shop that will surprise you.  Like ice cream, there are plenty of flavors to choose from – variety is abundant here. I tried 6 different kinds, and all 6 got a “thumbs-up” reaction from me. I was sad to devour my last one!

The macarons at the Macaron Cafe have an almost velvet texture when bitten, and that taste of almond isn’t lost within whatever the flavor paste middle you have chosen. Pistachio. Vanilla. Chocolate. Nutella. Black Sesame. Expresso. Mango. You’ve even got flower flavors. Crazy sounding but delicious! The only down side is that if you get here at the end of the day you’re not going to find a lot to choose from, as sadly other people know this place exists! Get there early!

Price ranges from $1.50-$1.95 each, but trust in the fact that you don’t have to eat too many to appreciate this Parisian treat.

My flavor recommends: Any of the flower flavors and the Black Sesame.

Macarons, Je’Taime.

-Jules

MacarOn Cafe 9 out of 10 stars
161 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018


Perfection = Cannoli.

I am a sucker for good cannoli.

What is there not to like about this Italian dessert? Tube shaped shell of fried pastry dough. Sweet creamy filling made of either ricotta or marscapone.  And if you are so inclined… a dash of pistachios and chocolate chips. Great thing to picture, no? Cannoli can come in different variations, so I thought it was fitting to discuss two places I found recently where it is, as the Italians say, “perfetto”.

The first is a place in the East Village that has been around since 1894 called Veniero’s Pasticcera & Caffe. Here, you can get the cannoli not just in its original form, but also in chocolate – 2 ways!  The  normal chocolate covered pastry shell with regular filling and  the regular pastry shell with chocolate filling. If you are going to go there, my recommendation here is the chocolate filling. It is just the right amount of chocolate to not get carried away with that dash of pistachio to offset it. It’s available in mini and in regular size – so indulge! You are paying for the pastry per pound anyway.

Now for the traditionalist cannoli lovers out there nothing beats Rocco’s Pastry Shop & Expresso Cafe in the West Village. Talk about wanting to buy every single thing you see in the glass case! I dare you to not order more than one thing. Too many delectable decisions!  The cannoli though is a must have, because here – it is made to order. Yes, you read that right. That shell for the cannoli is filled when you order. With chocolate chips, without, pistachios, whatever – it’s your choice. You can watch them fill that empty cannoli shell right in front of you at the counter, and then devour it in the next minute. Your cannoli is fresh with a capital F. The filling is creamy, sweet, and it’s light enough that you can’t stop at just one. So I say don’t. And if you are craving a chocolate filling here that the cannoli can’t fill in you, I recommend  the Lulu, a light pastry shell filled with chocolate custard. It is as amazing as the cannoli, I promise.

-Jules

Veniero’s Pasticcera & Caffe  – 7.5 out of 10 stars
342 East 11th Street & 1st Ave.
New York, NY 10003

Rocco’s Pastry Shop & Expresso Cafe – 9 out of 10 stars
243 Bleecker St.
New York, NY 10014



Cupcakes. Why stop at 1?

Baked By Melissa

Baked By Melissa

Cupcakes.  So many flavors, so little time.  How’s a girl to choose?  The answer is simple.  You don’t.  You try them all.  It’s called Baked by Melissa mini cupcakes!  You don’t have to settle for just one.  And you don’t have to feel guilty!

Cookies & Cream / Tie-Dye

Cookies & Cream / Tie-Dye

We’re talking miniature stuffed cupcakes about the size of a quarter that come in flavors such as cookie dough, peanut butter cup, red velvet, s’mores, cookies & cream, tie-dye, & peanut butter and jelly. Stuffed cupcakes!  Previously only available by minimum order of 100 via website and delivery, this mini cupcake catering just opened up a cbaked by melissaounter location in SoHo.   The cupcakes are moist and not over frosted (or overly sweet!), which gets accolades from me.  I’d shy away from the cookie dough (the cookie part of that description didn’t really burst out in this confection), and I would head straight for the cupcakes with peanut butter.   They are standouts because they’re not peanut butter flavored… there is actually peanut butter on these babies!  Otherwise, all the other flavors were just okay for me.   My only gripe would be that at $1.00 each, it’s a little pricy (the more you order, the more you save $).  However, I suppose that is the price you pay in order for you to have the best of all worlds, and not get overrun with the onslaught of sugar overload.

-Jules

8 out of 10 stars.

529 Broadway
(between Spring St & Prince St)
New York, NY 10012                                                                                                                                                                                                      (212) 842-0220



Bakery for Breakfast.

I can’t pass up a bakery without going in.  I don’t have enough will power to say no, and this morning just proves it.  There I was walking down the street and minding my own business, when what should I pass?  A.  Bakery.  And as predicted… walked right in.  Never too early for a small bit of sugar I always say.

Cheeks Bakery (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

Cheeks Bakery (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)

This is a cute one.  Small, cozy, and screams everything here is homemade!  There’s just something about walking into that kind of bakery that makes me happy.  If it’s not the all the baked goodies on display in glass casings or jars, it’s the smell of sugar and vanilla in the air.  Fabulously, Cheeks in Williamsburg has that in abundance.  And today, for me, despite the tempting offerings of cookies, brownies, tarts, and pies, I gravitated towards the fresh baked scones.  It was probably the morning air that did it, but all I know is that I had one GREAT banana (yes, banana) scone.  It wasn’t too dense.  It wasn’t too sweet.  It was light.  It crumbled in all the right places.  And unlike some of those triangular concoctions one might find in a Starbucks, this scone was moist, and didn’t taste like bread (aka that over compensating flour taste).  LOVED it.  I also ended up with a slice of their almond cake.  There is no frosting here, just powdered sugar sprinkled on top.  Simplicity in cake is the best sometimes.   The pound cake consistency could have been a little less dry, otherwise I loved how this cake was sweet without all the extras.

My happy note – the fact they sold Chocolate Pecan Pie.

… gotta go back here.

-Jules

8 out of 10 stars.

CHEEKS BAKERY
378 METROPOLITAN AVENUE
BROOKLYN, NY 11211
(718) 599-3583


More cookies. And chocolate.

I was at Levain Bakery the other day, so you know I had to walk around the corner and pop into the Jaques Torres since I was in the area (Note:  1 other Manhattan location & 1 in Dumbo, Brooklyn).  No brainer to the draw for me here.  It’s everything I love about sweets… chocolate and baked goods in one location!  The thing to try here is apparently the hot chocolate, but I was terrible and bypassed it and headed straight for the cookies and chocolate.  Again, dessert on the brain.

Chocolate Chip Cookie

Chocolate Chip Cookie: Jacques Torres

Chocolate-Chip Cookie. When you order, you can opt to have it warm.  Yes, like fresh baked warm.  Bonus points here.  The chocolate in the cookie is stellar.  Be forewarned though, that served warm it’s a tad messy.   So extra napkins!!   This cookie is chewy  in the middle, but crispy around the edges.  I’m not a big fan of the crispy edges, because I like my cookies soft all the way through.  However, its better than most.  Is it worth the $2.50 though?  I’m not really sold.  Recommended, but not the best I’ve ever had.  For the traditionalists that like their cookies perfectly round and flat though (see my Levain Bakery blog below), you’ll appreciate.

I opted to try some of the milk chocolates while I was around as well.  I had a Heavenly Hazelnut, and a chunk of their Milk Chocolate Bark.  The bark is $1.25 an ounce, and the individual chocolates are $1.50 each.  The hazelnut piece was okay, but I wasn’t blown away.  I thought the filling was a little too sweet.  Better than Godiva, but I am still of the opinion though that if you want to pay a pretty penny for chocolate visit La Maison De Chocolate.  The milk chocolate bark on the other hand, a recommend.  Chocolate with nuts are always a great combo.  Great flavor, perfectly creamy, and nice texture too.   And did I mention you can get it in a range of different sizes?

-Jules

7 out of 10 stars.

Jaques Torres Chocolate Shop
285 Amsterdam Ave
(between 73rd St & 74th St)
New York, NY 10023


Choux Factory Vs. Beard Papa’s: A Cream Puff Dilemma

A couple of years ago when Beard Papa’s opened in the Upper West side , I had the fortune of being in NYC at the time.  I still remember standing in line to figure out what the fuss was all about.  Thank goodness I wasn’t impatient, because as it were, they ended up being well worth the wait.  Needless to say, when a location opened in San Francisco about 2 years after that – I was a very happy girl because I didn’t have to travel all the way to the east coast to have my fix (those puffs are only good for 24 hours!).  Cream Puffs were on my radar.    Well, fast forward to present day, now a resident instead of a visitor to NYC, and finding out that there was  another Japanese Cream Puff place here in the city.  What!?   Exactly.  No arm twisting necessary, all someone had to say was cream and puff in the same breath and I was making my way to Choux Factory in Midtown to try it out.

Like Beard Papa’s, Choux Factory is a Japanese pastry shop that specializes in cream puffs filled with custard cream and made to order on the spot.  They too have multiple locations around the city.  The slight variation here is that the Choux Factory doubles as a speciality coffee house.  Yes everyone, you can have coffee, cream puffs, and bagels all in one place.  Not that it mattered to me at all, because let’s face it, I’m all about the dessert.  And here, you’ve got vanilla, chocolate, blueberry, and other seasonal flavors to try in cream puff form.  Multiple flavors, just like Beard Papa’s.  The question is, are they better or as good as Beard Papa’s?  Well, it depends on if you are a chocolate or a vanilla kind of person.  Let’s compare…

Chocolate Cream Puff: Choux Factory

Chocolate Cream Puff: Choux Factory

Value: Choux Factory puffs are slightly more expensive at $2.00 each.  It makes sense though because they are larger.  They get the + point in this category.

Pastry Shell: As far as the shell, Choux Factrory is more traditonalist, you’re not going to find that fluffy and light consistency (and slight crispiness!)  that Beard Papa’s is known for.  Beard Papa’s is still better, but the shell at Choux makes sense because of their custard filling.  It’s a toss up in this category.

Custard: The Choux Factory custard is thicker and creamier than Beard Papa’s, and I gotta say in any case I like it.  Overall though is it better?  Again, it’s a toss up, because it depends on the flavor.

The Cream Puff: Chocolate Vs. Vanilla: The Chocolate is best at Choux Factory.   This is my flavor recommend.  It’s much better than the Beard Papa’s version.  You can taste the chocolate in the filling, to the point where you could just eat the filling without the shell.  It’s that good without being too sweet.   The Vanilla here doesn’t quite compare though  Although it is tasty, it doesn’t have the same punch.  The custard is too pudding like for my taste and consistency.   I’ve been spoiled with the lightness of the Beard Papa’s Vanilla Bean version.  That Bean part at Beard Papa’s – pushes it over the edge.

The verdict?  Chocolate fans hit Choux Factory and those Vanilla purists head over to Beard Papa’s.  In any case, comparisons aside, you’ll get a good cream puff.

-Jules

Choux Factory:    8 out of 10 stars.

Choux Factory
865 1st Ave
(between 48th St & 49th St)
New York, NY 10017 / (212) 223-0730