In preparation for my year-in-baking wrap-up post(s) here are some of the places in NYC I tried this past year for baked goodies. Some were good, some disappointing, and all were an experience in their own way. I'm pretty sure I gained some cavities along the way, but well earned I say!
Cupcake Stop aka the Cupcake Truck
I tried several cupcakes from the ever mobile dessert truck (not to be confused with The Dessert Truck). Their lemon raspberry wasn't as good as the one I've made. Decent but not lemony enough for my taste. Their red velvet was better than some (Magnolia you really disappoint me!) and they had a chocolate peanut butter cupcake that was good. I don't know how good stuff keeps from there, but the cupcakes weren't as super moist as I'd expect the day of.
They also offer mini cupcakes at $1/each, which may be a good buy if you just want to have a little taste.
Love, love, love Milk bar! Their cookies are amazing! I tried their dulce de leche cake which was heavy as heck and a bit dry. So I'd recommend the cookies. My faves are the compost cookie (with chocolate, marshmallow, corn flakes, and pretzels) and the blueberry creme. So freakin' good I took an extra long lunch break to buy some for dinner. Dinner!
Better than average cupcakes and their pumpkin is mighty good. They lost some of my good graces because I kept calling ahead for the pumpkin cupcake and getting denied when I showed up at the store (seems they make small batches day-by-day) but overall I've had a couple of their cupcakes and given some to friends who have been impressed. Plus, their cupcakes are mighty reasonable in Manhattan at $2/each.
Their brownies are spectucular, but are overpriced at $2/each for the tiny size you get.
Sugar Sweet Sunshine
A former co-worker introduced my friends and I to this spot and it's become a fave since. The only cupcake I truly enjoy from here is their pumpkin, which they offer year-round! So a big plus in my book. Their claim to fame is their buttercream icing and varied flavors of cupcakes, so I'd highly recommend. Also quite cheap at $1.50/each, so splurge people, splurge!
My was I highly disappointed after this place. And thankfully I have a rock hard stomach so it doesn't upset easily. I happened to pass by this place from having lunch with a friend and figured "why not?" I should've kept moving.
Butter Lane is known for it's freshly made, organic buttercream icings and that's pretty much it. The place has a lovely decor but their cupcakes are disappointing and look/feel kind of hard. Also disappointing is that their cupcakes are named for the icing only. So I picked up a pumpkin cupcake thinking I was getting a pumpkin cupcake, but all I was getting was a golden cupcake with pumpkin icing. And such is the same for ALL their cupcakes. They either have golden or chocolate cupcakes and many types of homemade icing. The icing was good, the cupcake was not and I don't purchase cupcakes just for the icing so I probably won't go here again. Also their cupcakes are $3/each a bit hefty considering you're paying for the icing mainly.
I've loved crumbs since I first had it several years ago and that didn't stop this year either. They have a fluffy moist cake in various sizes (tiny, regular, and ginormous!) They have various flavors year round and I've received pretty darn good service from the ones around the city. The regular cupcakes are reasonable at $2.95/each and the massive ones even more reasonable at $3.95/each.
Fay Da Bakery
A nice Asian bakery in Chinatown where you can get Asian desserts or savory treats like pork buns, chicken buns, etc. I particularly liked their rolls. Their vanilla roll and lemon rolls are delicious and reasonable. A big one costs about $11 and an individual one would be a little over $1.
How I miss thee! They had amazing goodies like homemade donuts (with jelly), hot chocolate (as thick as pudding and very tasty!), and a chocolate mousse that made me curl my toes in delight! Woowee! Unfortunately something about permits deterred the Dessert Truck from making a resurgence for most of the year, but at least I had that bit and it was lovely!
Since the two locations aren't located that far from me in Queens it's nice to know I can get crepes any time I want! Sweet or savory take your pick, but I have to say I love the warm cinnamon apple crepe with ice cream or banana and nutella (staples at most crepe shops). Good and good for you!
Tried a chocolate cupcake and sea salt brownie. The brownie was quite good I have to say. The salt did not over power the sugary & chocolatey goodness of the colossal sized brownie I had. The cupcake was okay. A bit dry (which tends to be a consistent problem at bakeries) but the peanut butter icing was very good. Plus, the lady at the counter was very knowledgeable and kind about telling my husband and I about the different choices. I also liked how they put the cupcakes in cups (upside down) so as not to smoosh them in transit. I'd recommend.
A co-worker enthusiastically told me about Grom and one day while strolling around West 4th Street and 6th Avenue on a summer's day I just waltzed right in. Grom serves freshly made gelato in various flavors. I had the plan vanilla which was quite good. The small (one scoop) is pricey at $5 but it is good for the money.
This Italian staple became a growing chain when another one opened up just a block or two from my building. They have lots of breads, sandwiches, pizzas, and desserts! One of my favorites is the tortino di cioccolata (aka chocolate tart aka big ol' brownie) delicious. They also have a good sandwich cookie which is two butter cookies with nutella in the middle. They also have tortes (tarts/cakes) and bread pudding! The slices of tarts and cakes is a bit pricey, but individual cookies are pretty good at $3 each considering their size. A slice of their bread pudding would run you $6. I have yet to take the plunge and keep going to Whole Foods for their bread pudding that I can get at $3 or less.
Once upon a tart
I have yet to try the tarts here, but had a couple of their humongous cookies! Pretty good and reasonably priced for such large confections. I'd say their chocolate chip is better than their peanut butter. Though I will be returning to try their pear tart that just looks darling from its place perched high in their window.
Sweet Melissa Patisserie
In the heart of family friendly area of Park Slope (there's also a location in Carol Gardens, Brooklyn) sits a cute patisserie started by a lovely lady who seems to enjoy pumpkin as much as I do. I tried the pumpkin bread pudding with caramel rum raisin glaze/icing and loved it. It's not as mushy as your typical bread pudding, more cake like in it's look and portions. But warm with the glaze it is very satisfying. My husband bought me the Sweet Melissa Baking book after we tried her tasty goods. I can't wait to go back when we just happen to be in the area.
I look forward to retrying some of these places and trying many new ones.