It’s no secret that I’m a total foodie. On my recent trip to New York, I basically ate my way around the city. I also have a severe sweet tooth and a total lack of willpower, so walking past any bakery/café/cake shop just doesn’t happen! I’ve rounded up my favourite sweet spots from New York below – apologies, this is not going to do wonders for your bikini body…!
1. Magnolia Bakery
The Magnolia Bakery is a New York institution, featured in Sex & The City, and now with outposts all over the city and also the world. The original bakery is on Bleecker Street, and this is my favourite one to visit, with it’s grannny-style curtains and cramped interior, but there are also bakeries in Bloomingdales, Grand Central and Rockefeller Center.
Food-wise, my favourites from the Magnolia menu are:
Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes – chocolate sponge with chocolate buttercream. The icing on these tastes like REAL chocolate, not too bitter and not too sweet, it’s bang on the money. They really load the icing on, but it’s not overwhelming because it’s just so perfect!
Also available with vanilla sponge, or with vanilla buttercream:
Magic Cookie Bar – a Graham cracker base, with coconut and chocolate chips. I love all 3 ingredients individually, and the combination was even better:
Magnolia also do chilled desserts – such as Ice Box Pies and old-fashioned style Cheesecakes:
Top tip: Magnolia Bakery has pretty long opening hours, staying open till at least 11:30pm and even later on weekends. I visited one evening and it was like a beacon glowing in the night 🙂
2. Eleni’s New York
Eleni’s is a must-stop in Chelsea Market, even if only to gawp at the exquisite biscuits piled high behind the glass.
Sugar cookies, hand-made and hand-decorated with royal icing, in every design you can imagine. I loved the New York themed range, with yellow taxis, Big Apples and NYPD cars. The weather cookies were cute too, with rainbows and sunshine that looked too good to eat.
In the end, influenced by the hot weather, I plumped for an ice cream cone shaped cookie. Simple, sweet and more-ish, it was reduced to mere crumbs pretty quickly!
Eleni’s also does gift boxes, cupcakes and seasonal designs (the shop was bursting with Graduation and Mother’s Day cookies when I visited).
3. Amy’s Bread
Amy Scherber’s unpretentious bakery serves up creative breads (semolina-fennel-raisin is a winner), cakes, cookies and muffins, with locations in Chelsea Market, Hell’s Kitchen and The Village.
At Amy’s, my absolute favourite is the Coconut Dream Bar. Almost identical to the Magnolia’s Magic Cookie Bar (as mentioned above), this treat features a gooey layer of coconut and chocolate chips on a Graham cracker crust. Absolutely delicious. I actually think I preferred the Amy’s version over the Magnolia one…
Sprinkles is home to the world’s first Cupcake ATM, which dispenses freshly baked cupcakes and cookies 24/7 – perfect for satisfying out-of-hours cravings, the simple touchscreen requires only a credit card and is restocked with fresh cakes throughout the day. Ingenious!
Technophobes can still go inside the store to browse the array of cupcakes, chunky cookies and ice cream on display, and order from a real life person!
5. Georgetown Cupcake
Originating from Georgetown in Washington D.C. and founded by the sisters who were stars of the series DC Cupcakes, Georgetown Cupcake is THE SoHo destination for gourmet cupcakes.
Flavours rotate through the week, with everything from Peanut Butter Fudge, to Salted Caramel, to Key Lime and Lemon Blossom.
Gluten-free and vegan options are also available, and ingredients are of the highest quality – for example, the chocolate is Valrhona (really expensive stuff!).
If all this sugar is making your teeth hurt and rendering your diet a distant memory, I also discovered these two gems – perfect for reintroducing some balance to your diet (in the most OTT American way possible!)
A. Organic Avenue
The only organic plant-based grab-and-go brand in the US, Organic Avenue makes fresh meals and cold-pressed juices that make attaining your 5 fruit and veg a day (or is it 10 now?!) totally achievable.
You’ll find cold-pressed fruit and veggie juices, made daily in the Long Island City kitchen. Everything from Medicinal Green (dark leafy greens, lemon, cucumber, with garlic and cayenne for flavour and potent healing properties – $11) to Master Tonic (lemon, cayenne, coconut sugar and purified alkaline water – the water hydrates cells, lemon rinses organs, cayenne burns out towns and the natural coconut sugar sweetens – $8). A bit faddy? Maybe, but they do taste good.
My visit to Organic Avenue actually featured a cashew nut milk latte (tasty) and a booster shot. Boosters can be drunk straight or added to another drink, but you can expect to find the following in an OA store ($4 each): Dragon’s Breath (for cold-busting and boosting immunity), E3 (a wild-harvested organic blue-green algae for cleansing, immunity and stabilising mood swings?!) and Aloe (detoxify the body, from the colon to the bloodstream, and soothe the digestive tract). It all sounds super scientific, but what was my verdict?
How could I resist a shot of pure chlorophyll!?! Amazed that anyone would bottle such a thing (plants have chlorophyll, why on earth does a human need it?!), and intrigued by how it would taste, I picked up a one-ounce booster in the hope it would “regenerate and cleanse the body at molecular and cellular levels… may potentially improve how the body absorbs and uses oxygen”. A very dark green, I knocked it back, and can honestly say the taste of pure liquid seaweed was one of the most disgusting I have ever experienced!!
B. Vitamin Chick Juice Bar
Less scientific than Organic Avenue, and far better tasting, Vitamin Chick in SoHo serves up an interesting menu of juices and smoothies. I vacillated for ages, and eventual ordered a Peace & Harmony organic vita smoothie (not cheap at $12.50): cherries, pear, medjool dates, cocoa, maca powder, sunflower seeds, vanilla bean, home-made cashew milk.
It tasted good and healthy, and felt like the perfect combat to all the cake I’d consumed that day!
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