Healthy eating? Yea, I do that sometimes. But mostly I gnaw on carrot sticks and salad to balance out my binges on cookies, pastries, and all other deliciously naughty things. It’s pretty challenging for me to resist that new ice cream shop downtown, a doughnut hot from the fryer, or a patisserie with the perfect croissant. So basically I find myself having to eat a lot of carrot sticks.
Last week, I went completely off the rails for a full-carb-attack on some of my old favorite eateries in the New York City. I was in town to celebrate my sister’s birthday and Easter, but also got to squeeze in some time in the Big Apple to meet up with my college girlfriends. It’s been nearly a year and a half since we all got together, so I curated a little dessert tour for us to spend the day wandering downtown and eating. Five stops in five hours? Yup! Pure gluttony and it was worth every calorie.
Normally I would have gone crazy trying to find all the perfect places to meet up and nosh, but I decided that it was more important to be together and catch up on life, love, and the perfect french macaron. Okay, perhaps I was the only one concerned about finding the perfect french macaron. Either way, we gossiped, laughed, and just generally enjoyed the gorgeous weather and delicious treats.
We started at Eataly, the Batali and Bastianich Italian food emporium on 23rd and 5th right near the Flatiron. Given that this was my old stomping ground when I used to work in the city, I figured it was the perfect place to grab a panini and lounge in Madison Square Park. However, I seemed to forget what a tourist trap it can be, and how insane the crowds can get even on a Monday afternoon. Regardless, my pricey panini was still pretty good, and was certainly necessary as a savory beginning to our dessert tour.
200 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY
From there we walked over to Doughnut Plant to sample a variety of cake and yeast doughnuts. I forgot that the entire location is covered in doughnut paraphernalia- stuffed doughnut cushions on the walls to bright doughnut benches along the front window. We ended up with a nice spread: meyer lemon poppy seed yeast, tres leches, Vahlrona dark, creme brulee, vanilla bean and strawberry jam filled square, and carrot cake. I have to say we didn’t love all the combinations, favoring the cake doughnuts to the yeast (which is odd because I usually favor yeast doughnuts). That being said, we all thought the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (on the inside too!) and tres leches (delicious creamy core inside the cake as well) were the best, with tender crumb, light texture, and overall best flavor.
220 W 23rd St.
New York, NY
From there, we hopped on the subway in hopes of coming face to face with a famous cronut, but Dominique Ansel was closed for a party, so we skipped ahead to Laduree for some insanely delicious macarons. The macaron is all the rage these days, and being naturally gluten-free, it’s a great alternative for those seeking flour-less treats. I’ve always been a fan of meringues, so naturally I fell in love with these delicious little sandwiched sweets. First opening in France in 1862, Louis Ernest Ladurée’s little shop has grown to over 40 patisserie and tea rooms around the world and with good reason: their macarons are exquisite. Light, crispy exteriors give way to the perfect chew of the interior shell and then melt together with luscious fillings, whether it be buttercream, jam, or ganache. We had a variety of flavors including lemon verbena, caramel with salted butter, orange blossom, citron, red fruits, rose petal, pistachio, and vanilla. While I thought all of them were delicious, my standout favorites were the caramel with salted butter (I’m nothing if not predictable), orange blossom, and red fruits. Simply divine and my favorite shop by far.
398 West Broadway
New York, NY
We needed a bit of a salty interlude after so many macarons, so we walked up to Pommes Frites in the East Village. I freaking adore this place, as it is truly proper Belgian fries, twice fried for the perfect crisp exterior and fluffy inside. Add in about a thousand dipping sauces from curried ketchup to garlic mayo to Bordeaux wine, figs, and sage mayo? I know, it’s too incredible to resist. I’m salivating just writing this. Go now, just go. Eat.
123 2nd Ave
New York, NY
Final stop? The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. With a name like that how can you not love this place? I always get the salty pimp and when I try to deviate from my favorite I always regret it. More like custard than traditional soft serve, this rich and decadent ice cream gets layered with dulche de leche, salt, and dipped in chocolate. So basically all of my favorite things. Did I mention that Butter Lane cupcakes is right next door? Yea, it’s cruel and amazing all at the same time.
Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
125 East 7th Street
New York NY