Please Feed Me


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Dessert 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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Last Licks Ice Cream Gets Its Last Licks From Me

courtesy of mach1consulting.com

Ice cream is suppose to be a happy experience, which is why I was so excited to go to Last Licks Ice Cream Parlor. I love ice cream parlors and candy shops. It really does bring out the child in me. I’ve always been a huge fan of Eddie’s Sweet Shop in Queens and Dylan’s Candy Bar in Manhattan and was hoping that I could add Last Licks to this list, but I was so wrong.

Last Licks was one of the biggest dining disappoints I have had. Without a doubt, it was definitely the biggest one for 2009. The ice cream was good, so that wasn’t the problem, but it was the customer service that canceled everything good about this location. The idea of Last Licks is really cute, it’s a sports memorabilia store mixed with an ice cream parlor. On my way over I was excited to eat a gooey, yummy and massive sundae and walk around looking at autographed bats and balls and photos. Well…that’s not exactly how it turned out.

I arrive there with a date on a Sunday evening. Sundaes on Sunday, how utterly charming and darling, heehee. But the door was locked so we had assumed that they were closed and because there were no customers inside. But two girls who were hanging out saw us and eventually got up and let us in and said that they were open. (This was strange to me.) I was imagining this fantastic sundae list, but was told that there wasn’t one but that I could get whatever toppings I wanted. (This was strange to me as well. How can an ice cream parlor not have a decadent and drool worthy sundae list?) So she scoops my ice cream into this tiny cup where there is no room for toppings and instead changing it into a bigger cup, she just adds a pathetic amount of fudge on to it that spills over. But I want fluff on it too and she doesn’t want to give me fluff because it will slip off the fudge. I explain to her that since she has to transport the sundae into a bigger cup because the fudge is spilling everywhere and I can’t bring that to my table that when she does that, the fudge will be on the bottom and she can put the fluff on top. Tell me why she puts everything in a cup that is about 1 millimeter bigger is seems because everything is still spilling over so I point to a bigger cup that I see and plead with her to please use that one. After she realized that a bigger cup was definitely the solution, she asked if I wanted more toppings (which was nice of her) since she now saw that the cup I chose had actual room for toppings, but I thought this was taking way too long already and said no thank you and paid and went to a table. (The wrong cup size more than once was the third strange thing about this place.)

I got the Louisiana Pecan Crunch with fluff and hot fudge, definitely tasty. But it was so quiet and dead in there and the girls look like they wanted to leave and looked miserable, so me and my date stayed for a couple of minutes and decided to not look around and just leave. We felt incredibly awkward there. While we were getting our things, a guy came and joined the girls, I am assuming that he was the manager because he had paperwork in our hands. As my date and I walked out we clearly said thank you and goodnight. One girl was on her laptop, the other two by the register. No one acknowledged us at all and we actually had to use the key and unlock the door ourselves to let ourselves out. HOW RUDE IS THAT? I really wish I took that damn key just to give them a scare and so that they would learn to shape up. When I was younger I worked at two Manhattan venues for about 5-6 years. It really isn’t hard to say thank you and goodnight. And keep in mind that I worked till 430AM in the morning. And honestly, you never would lock the door like that when your location is still open.

When we left my date and I looked at each other and said, “That SUCKED!” Who knew that the fun could be sucked out of Last Licks? Oh wait, Last Licks did apparently. I really hate to say this, but if Last Licks keeps this up, it really wouldn’t surprise me if they had to close down this location in less than a year.

Last Licks
245 East 93rd Street
New York, NY 10128-3966
(646) 672-9540

3 out of 10

-Juice


The Famous NYC Dessert Bar, Chikalicious

courtesy of chikalicious.com

I had assumed that everyone had been to Chikalicious, but I was wrong. Whoops! So here it goes:

Chikalicious is, I am guessing, named after Chika, the chef and one of the owners. And you will be sure to see her husband Don faithfully there every night it seems. Don is a part owner, manager, sommelier and first rate host! Seriously, the man is so good at customer service.

It’s a tiny, tiny, tiny dessert bar. The best time to go is right after work, otherwise you will be waiting on a long line, for a long time. The main part of the room is a bar where they make the desserts right in front of you and then a few tables to the side. It’s a lot of fun there because they are making art right in front of your eyes. So you get to eat and you get entertained at the same time. Don’t feel bad about watching, they seem very use to it!

I can’t describe how to categorize the desserts. The restaurant themselves describe their plates as “American desserts, French Presentation and Japanese tasting portions.” Without fail I always order the prix fixe of an amuse, main dessert and petite fours. You can add on a wine pairing to this, but I am a huge fan of their specialty cocktails, and because the menu is constantly changing, whenever I go they have a new one to try that night. The amuses are wonderful, full of fruits and gelees or sorbets, yummy. The main desserts are so hard to choose! While the only mainstays seem to be the Fromage Blanc Island “Cheese Cake” (this is not your typical cheesecake, see above) and the Warm Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream and Red Wine Sauce, everything else is constantly changing. And you want to pick right because you know when you come back you aren’t going to see it again.

So, since I’ve been to Chikalicious so many times, and I’ve never had the same main dish, the general consensus is that, well, if it were bad, I wouldn’t have kept going back. Their desserts are never sugary sweet. Everything is about balance. Something doesn’t have to have a ton of sugar to be considered a dessert.

Oh, and it’s so lovely when you are done with your main course and they present you with a dainty plate of petite fours, usually a homemade marshmallow coated in toasted coconut, a type of cookie and a rich chocolate truffle. Without alcohol, the prix fixe is only $14. That’s freaking amazing for NYC! That’s freaking why the lines are so long. It’s a perfect place to bring your date too. I’ve eaten there alone before and was literally the only one there without a pair. Whatever, I had melon sorbet in my mouth and a glass of raspberry sparkling wine in my hand, what did I care?

8.5 out of 10

203 East 10th Street,
New York, NY 10003
212-995-9511
Note: They have a take out place across the street, do not confuse the two. The dessert bar has no big sign, you will just see a large glass window and door.


Where Art Thou Dessert Truck?

Dessert Truck

Courtesy of desserttruck.com

I was thinking about a really bad dessert that I had, which led me to remember some really good desserts that I’ve had, which led me to think of the Dessert Truck, which led me to wonder why the hell each time I have been going to the Dessert Truck I haven’t seen their truck. A few things crossed my mind, such as, maybe they closed (but I couldn’t fathom this because they had amazing desserts), maybe the owners were hungover a lot (I mean, they are young) or maybe, they changed their location and for some sad reason, they didn’t notify anyone. So I did what any person my age would do. I Googled. I Googled and came across this link which says that the city won’t let them renew their permit for some reason they can’t understand because legal jargon is hard to understand. I beg of you. If you are a lawyer, please help them because I am going through withdrawals.

Cue flashback music to accompany my memory of my first and only taste of Dessert Truck:

It was a chilly night during some month, during some day of the week that ended with the word ‘day’. A girlfriend and I had just filled our belly with tons of pasta and sparkling red wine and I had been dying to get a taste of the Dessert Truck so I forced her to waddle all the way over to St. Marks and 3rd Ave with me. Everything was $5 and sounded delicious. We ended up leaving with coffee, chocolate molten cake, sugared doughnuts and their famous chocolate bread pudding with bacon crème anglaise. The bread pudding was so silky and smooth it was like a chocolate mousse, which probably led me to wonder why they just didn’t make a chocolate mousse, but whatever, it was DELISH! The bacon crème anglaise was interesting and added a smoky flavor to the dessert. The chocolate molten lava cake? My girlfriend’s eyes rolled to heaven with the first bite. The doughnuts? So light and fluffy and dusted with the perfect amount of sugar, I had to unbutton my pants to finish them. No, I have no shame when it comes to food.

And now I sadly sit at my really old laptop wondering when the next time I’ll get to taste the Dessert Truck will be. Sigh.

Dessert Truck
8.5 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