Friday, 2 September 2011

The Bakeries of Lore

I have been hearing the words New and York alot lately. I don't know why they are coming up in conversation it seems. It brought back memories of my trip a couple years ago. My former employers were kind enough to take me to Manhattan for 3 days of "bakery research". It was pretty darn cool. One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me. I got to see alot of the places I had only ever read about. Of course there were some hits and some misses. Overall the experience was fabulous, and I would love to go back with some more time (and money) to really check it all out on my own terms.
Abraco was the way to start the day AMAZING coffee, and the most efficient tiny kitchen I have ever seen. Stop there first to get our caffeine fix and then come up with a game plan (that we weren't going to follow)to see as many bakeries as possible in our day. During our visit we saw alot, and I was feeling like I was just kind of along for the ride. I was on someone elses' dime, and I tried not to be a burden. I just went with the flow and soaked up as much as I could. There were many things i missed, and alot of pics I could have taken better. But i wouldn't take any of it back. especially not the bakeries.... so interesting to see.  I will never again complain of my kitchen being too small!

Magnolia Bakery...Being one of the most famous bakeries of New York, I was neither impressed or disappointed. it was just a shop, a very busy crowded shop.

I could have gone here everyday !
We went in for lunch, and had a divine experience. I felt kind of out of my league, but I tried to just enjoy. I'm not used to the "finer things" and this place is definitely fine 8) the bakery had
the most gorgeous bread. I wish I could have taken home several loaves to try.

 there were acouple shops worth seeing, but I probably wouldn't return. Pastis left me with a sour taste in my mouth, the food was good, but the service and ambiance had me annoyed throughout my meal. There was a fun  "rice pudding bar" which didn't really appeal to my palette, but i thought the decor was amusing. No skinny Bitches and other cute signs, including a self affirming bathroom mirror. Birdbath was appealed to my inner hippie, but not much else.

Butterlane. One of many... many ..... many cupcake shops. I don't personally have a hate on for cup cakes. OK maybe a little bit I do. i just don't feel like they deserve all the hype. There are so many more interesting treats to make or eat. So to me this is just another cupcake shop. a one trick pony that jumped on the bandwagon. There is a time and a place for cupcakes, but I am not often there. there have been few cupcakes that stood out to me, these included. I do like their fresh and local philosophy though!

Milk and Cookies, best shortbread I have ever had. Not to much else to say about that. great product, obviously specialized in cookies. They do it right, if you are going to do one thing, do that one thing exceptionally well. so Milk and Cookies were a win. City Bakery. Huge by NY standards, with a wide range of products. I bought some fresh marshmallows here that put a smile on my face. it was good overall, but didn't blow my mind they tried to do too many things it seems.

Babycakes. This was one shop I requested to visit. I really respect the ideals behinds Erin McKenna's baking. I have one of her books, and the other is on my must haves list. It was surreal. I was shocked by the normalcy of it. We walked in and it was a bakery. It was one of those moments, where i realized the people and chefs i look up to are just people. and these bakeries i idealized are just bakeries. This bakery did live up to my expectations, the only thing that really surprised me was the size. it is just so tiny. all the shops in new York are tiny. I guess not to them, but up here in Canada we tend to take up abit more space and spread out. The decor was quaint and cute, and the products were fresh and tasty. Babycakes for the win.

My other favorite was Momofuko
I don't know why exactly but i just adored this place. I would hang out there. the menu was imaginative, and fun.there were choices for people wanting comfort food, and choices for people craving culinary adventure. The layout, design, and menu were all a hit for me. I adored the burnt honey butter, compost cookies, and pie. I want to go to here... often. Like every 3 months or so to check out the new menu.

there were other highlights, to the trip, but they don't involve cakes, or baking..... so here are some random pics
Flat Iron Building... Iconic
Who has a mild obsession with Drew Barrymore.... This gal... ME! happened to walk by the Barrymore theatre COOL!
The street art was even interesting.... well some of it
The trees had their own personality
there was one little street we turned down, It was my favorite street, but not really the kind of places my hosts would want to hang out in. So i didn't get to go in to any of the intriguing shops there, but that's OK... there is always next time
pouty look over his shoulder. He made love to the camera. Seriously this guy loved having his picture taken!
Sadly no Ninja Turtles were sighted.

Next... there are so many places I would like to go next. Top on my list are MOTO, i missed that while i was in NY, I would love to pick the brain of Ben Roche. And Bleeding Heart Bakery in Chicago. Thank Michelle Garcia for being so GD rad. there are so many places I want to go, and things to see. Scents to smell, flavors to savor... I may have caught the tasting travel bug now, I must find a way to get around and try all the world has to offer. If I love cardamom this much now, imagine what would happen if i went to India?!? And what could I do with pastries after afew weeks in France?!?

the world is so full possibilities, go try something new today!


  1. I have to read the entire post - but the cupcakes at Magnolia were very disappointing....

  2. at Magnolia I tried the banana pudding... it was alright. nothing exciting. the lemon square was also alright but nothing exciting. I don't think I tried a cupcake from there, if I did I don't remember, which is not a good sign LOL!
    The banana pudding, if you look in their cookbook is made with instant pudding. INSTANT PUDDING! and boxed cookies! When i developed a similar recipe for a shop I worked in, it was all from scratch, and delicious! Just sayin 8)