…but that’s my kinda bakery!
BabyCakes NYC (Website)
BabyCakes Cookbook (Amazon)
Here’s what I like best about The City Bakery: anything you order is going to be first-rate. There’s a thin, flaky apple tart with a hint of tangy lemon and lots of crackly sugar. The chocolate cookie is soft and bursting with deep, dark chocolate flavor. And the dreamy chocolate tartlet is simple and direct: a bittersweet chocolate shell encircling a dense, chocolate pudding-like filling. No unnecessary garnishes like cream or frosting. Just chocolate, and lots of it.
(And don’t even get me started about those Pretzel Croissants. If I could find a way—or space, to haul a few back to Paris, I would.)
We’ve been doing quite a bit of shopping here in New York. Romain has been here before, but never with an ‘almost’ local. (I grew up next door.) Sure, he’s been all the museums, but he’s never been to places as uniquely American as Bed, Bath & Beyond, TJ Maxx, and Old Navy, where we saw the woman who played Janice on The Sopranos loading up on bargains.
I guess since she’s now unemployed, she’s watching her finances, too.
He was absolutely bewildered that one could buy a shirt for $10 or pay just $25 for a pair of sneakers, which, in euros, cost a third of that. We’ve both been loading up on Levi’s at Dave’s for $32, or €20. And my once-empty suitcases are now bulging at the seams.
Everything is so cheap here, and no tax, either—God bless America!
Oddly, the same jeans I bought in France cost €72 ($100), and that was when they were on sale.(Although I didn’t get the same personal attention that I did in Paris, which, arguably, is worth the extra cost—at least at my age.)
After all that bargain hunting, what could plus obligatoire than a cup of good, strong coffee?
So we stopped in at Joe The Art of Coffee. Although I’ve always found their espresso a bit murky, Romain’s declared his espresso macchiato, “Le meilleur café de ma vie”, the best coffee of his life. I took a sip of his, and indeed, it was amazing.
I don’t quite know what to write about French coffee that I haven’t written about before, but after he was done, he wondered why he couldn’t get coffee like back home. So now he’s hooked, and so am I.
And not just on the coffee, but the bargains. We’re going to need an intervention to get us to leave.
Joe The Art of Coffee
405 West 23rd Street
New York City
(Other locations throughout Manhattan)
If there’s anyone out there who likes homemade candy more than I do, I would like to meet that person. I used to have a dream about opening a shop that sold nothing but confections made by my own two hands: chocolate-covered marshmallows, twisty peppermint sticks, naturally-flavored lollypops, sugary orange slices (god, I love those…), and chewy red licorice whips.
I even went so far as to go to take courses in candymaking, which was a lot of fun. But ultimately I decided that candy was too finicky, and that not only would few people buy it, but with my luck, I’d probably get picketed by the local dentists for making all that chewy stuff.
Although you can get a good amount of excellent food in the US, the one thing that I haven’t found an equal to is French butter. In my life, I’m probably responsible for a couple of tons of butter being baked, melted, sautéed, rolled, crumbled, cubed, smeared and creamed.
When I arrived in NY late last evening, I made a beeline to Whole Foods to stock up on provisions for the week since they’re open late (I love America!) But after a search that involved engaging the entire cheese department in a discussion of butter, the conclusion was that they only had regular American butter and fancy European imports.
And I didn’t come all the way back to the states to eat French butter.
It wasn’t until I moved to France and tasted the sunshine-yellow butter that’s easily available at most fromagers and even in the supermarket, that I noticed a remarkable difference. And I’ve become rather picky and for eating on my morning toast or melted over vegetables—I’m at the point now where I’ll only let the butter from Jean-Yves Bordier cross my lips. I know I sounds like an insufferable snob (more than I normally do), but like chocolate, if you’re going to eat it, you may as well eat the best since the good stuff has the same amount of calories as the crappy stuff.