Friday, February 09, 2007

New York - The Big Apple Pie, Tart and other baked goodies

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of New York? Sex and the City? The Statue of Liberty? No matter, wherever I go I'm thinking about fooooood.

I went on a little quest for bakeries, coffee and chocolate - since, firstly, I like baked goods, and secondly, it would allow me to try more places. I was short on time (2-3 days) and there were only a certain number of proper dining establishments I could visit. Pastries I can fit in between - breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea, supper, you get the point.

So here's a quick overview of what I had on my whirlwind NYC bakery "tour":

Chocolate and Pear Tart from Once Upon a Tart
Can't say it was great - the chocolate was super heavy and the pear was a nice change - I just wish the top of the chocolate and/or the tart were crispy - then there'd be a good contrast to make the whole thing less, well, heavy. I also had a cranberry choc chip cookie (not pictured - I ate it too quickly haha and it wasn't so much of a looker). It was the white sugar crispy variety - I dunno, I like my cookies to be slightly chewy, especially these hugeass ones. These can totally be dwarfed by the heavenly cookies from Olive's (see last item). Plus, although I've learnt not to expect much in the way of service, esp in NYC, but things actually had gone quite well for me, until I came into this store...

Apple tart from Ceci Cela
This French bakery is perfectly located (shopping tea-break wise) at the conjunction of Soho, Nolita and Little Italy. All things flaky seem to be their forte - this apple tart is simple but great - the chunky, slightly charred baked apples have an excellent texture and the pastry is hard to fault. Also bought a financier that I laster had on the plane (it was too dark so I couldn't really take a photo) and it was very, very good. Perhaps it was the effect of heightened palatal and nasal senses (of not having light i.e. not being able to see what I was eating), but the almond meal in the financier shone through so well. Never had anything quite like it. Coffee was pretty decent too (if not a bit pricier than the city's average). Totally deserves all it's good comments I read on the net.

Old-fashioned Apple Pie from the Little Pie Company

I was waiting to go into the musical that I went and got student rush tickets for, so I took a little walk around the block. Right next to Esca (to which I later went for post-show dinner), this is a really low-key kinda place. No faff, no frills, just lots of pies and baked goods. Bought this "mini" apple pie (about 6 inches diameter at the rim), without really thinking about when I was going to eat it (how typical of me - I'm just a prolific food shopper). Ate it on the plane, eventually. Maybe I'd left it for too long and I should have put it in the oven, coz the pastry had gone a bit soggy and probably expanded with the moisture. So I ended up scoffing mouthfuls of soggy shortcrust before I could get to the apple. A decent pie, I suppose, but let's just say I wasn't crazy about it. The coat guy at Esca seemed to want to try it (I'd left the bag with him along with my coat) so I guess it's pretty famous...?

Unfortunately I didn't have the patience to take photos of their uber scrumptious choc chip and double choc chip cookies. I just had to eat them right then. There were crumbs all over my mittens, scarf etc. but did I care? This kitchy, country-kitchen lookalike also seems to do a thriving trade in sandwiches (you can see them being made right behind the front counter). Their salads didn't look bad either. Next time, next time.

Once Upon a Tart
135 Sullivan St (between Prince and Houston)
Soho, NYC
Tel: +1 212.387.8869

Ceci Cela
55 Spring Street (between Lafayette and Mulberry)
Nolita, NYC
Tel: +1 212.274.9179

Little Pie Company
424 W 43rd St (near 9th Ave)
Tel: +1 212.736.4780

120 Prince St (between Wooster and Greene)
Tel: +1 212.941.0111

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