In the spirit of reminiscing over the year that has just passed in the blink of an eye, here are my favorite sweet moments of 2014!
In the spirit of reminiscing over the year that has just passed in the blink of an eye, here are my favorite sweet moments of 2014!
Everyday is National Donut Day isn’t it? Well, I guess technically it is not, although it certainly feels like it or maybe it’s more that I make everyday National Donut Day. But today is in fact National Donut Day, so happy National Donut Day!
Whether you are in LA, NYC, ATX, PDX or any other wonderful city or town there is a donut out there calling your name. Answer the call – eat a donut today!
Los Angeles, CA
In a city filled with donut shops, there is no shortage of options for celebrating National Donut Day, but how about we get creative. What if I told you that to celebrate you could enjoy with a donut ice cream sammie? Two wonderful sweets together as one. Two please! Today Coolhaus and Donut Snob join forces to offer a limited number of donut ice cream sammies. A vanilla glazed donut with some coffee ice cream sounds like a match made in dessert heaven! <Available at the Coolhaus Culver City shop after 6pm while supplies last>
You can enjoy the same fun donut ice cream sammie offering from the Coolhaus ATX truck parked at 6th and Waller from 6pm-midnight! Enjoy a local farmers market fave Red Rabbit vanilla lavendar donuts paired with Coolhaus mango sorbet and Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream. Yum!
OR you can always hunt down my Austin decadent donut fave Gourdoughs. Have a Funky Monkey for me will ya!
New York City, NY
You New Yorkers are blessed with having Doughnut Plant on your island. I’m jealous! If I lived in NY I’d likely have a doughnut a day. Do you? Break that Doughnut Plant routine just this once and celebrate National Donut Day with a different kind of donut. Head over to Tres Carnes to enjoy a double smoked churro donuts filled with crema de carmelo from Fanny Gerson (owner of LaNewyorkina). If that description didn’t make your mouth water, one look at these beauties will. I want one! Have one for me, pretty please.
I just returned from Portland. I ate A LOT… of donuts. They were so good, but Blue Star Donuts, well those are the best seriously! Bourbon Blueberry Basil was the standout donut for me. Imaginative flavors, freshly fried fluffy fat donuts. These donuts are magical. Portland go get one of these to celebrate!
Happy donut eating!
When summer temperatures start to rise to a scorching high, I desperately seek an ice-cold sweet reprieve. On a recent trip to New York I found just that – the perfect cold summer refreshment from La Newyorkina Mexican Ice & Sweets. La Newyorkina is a paletas cart owned and operated by Fanny Gerson, offering Mexican inspired artisan popsicles (paletas: a quintessential Mexican frozen treat).
The mango-chile paleta bursts with bright, juicy mango chunks. Spicy chili flakes speckle the frozen delight offering bursts of heat to counteract the sweet juicy mango flavors.
I still dream about the pina colada paleta. It was milky and rich with thick strands of chewy coconut laced throughout. It was sweet and refreshing with a very present boozy bite. There were a variety of other boozy inspired paletas available, which I do not believe are available on normal occasion from the cart, this particular visit happen to be a private caterd event (lucky me!).
The paletas are inspired and well executed. I wish I was able to enjoy the avocado or the horchata that are also featured on the menu, but now I have something to look forward to on my next NY visit.
Cool and refreshing, I wish LA has it’s own version of La Newyorkina to help us Angelinos beat that summer heat!
* If you are lucky enough to live in NYC you can find La Newyorkina at the Hester Street Fair or book them for a private event*
Dough. The name says it all. This small doughnut joint in Brooklyn, NY is a doughnut lover’s paradise. You walk in and are greeted by big, fluffy, yeast raised doughnuts in a variety of mouth-watering flavors. The active ovens in the back fill the small space with the loveliest perfume of freshly baked dough. It was hard to choose from so many enticing flavors, but given the size of these doughnuts I knew we had to narrow it down to just a few. We ordered a cheesecake doughnut, a blood orange glazed doughnut and some toasted coconut doughnut holes. With a cup o’ joe and a glass of milk, I was eager to dive in!
The cheesecake doughnut was hands down my favorite of the bunch. The soft and sweet cream cheese slathered atop the doughnut was a glorious paring. It had hints of lemon and a delicate crunch from the graham cracker crumbles sprinkled on top. It maintained a nice balance of sweet, tangy and rich flavors, all in all delightful!
The blood orange glazed doughnut looked better than it tasted. The bright pink hue of the glaze paired with the impeccably placed candied orange was too beautiful to pass up. The flavor however was cloyingly sweet and overpowered the dough. I still ate the entire thing, but I do wish I had tried the chocolate with cocoa nibs instead.
To top off an already decadent breakfast of champions, we ordered a half a dozen toasted coconut doughnut holes. The doughnut hole texture is slightly different from that of the larger version. The edges have a nice crispy oily bite. The toasted coconut glazed was creamy and nutty with tasty long strands of toasted coconut.
Do I think Dough is better than Doughnut Plant? Let’s just say they are different and both in a class of their own. Doughnut Plant has the cake doughnut nailed and I don’t think anything else compares, but yeast doughnut versus yeast doughnut Dough may have a very slight upper hand. The toothsome bite, the yielding folds of dough and the sheer density make me swoon! Mmm doughnuts!
Imagine if you will the most fanciful, delicate, and flawlessly gorgeous confections. Think Marie Antoinette decadence; quintessentially luxurious desserts. That is the essence of Lady M cake boutique in New York.
Lady M is not your average bakery. It is dainty, pristine and, well, just perfect. The small space is fabulously unspoiled, with white walls and gracefully minimal décor. The display of desserts is so masterfully presented you dare not slice into the cakes for fear of damaging their idyllic nature.
My trip to Lady M was an unplanned surprise. On my first afternoon in the city I met up with my friend and fellow blogger H.C. to embark on a dessert adventure. With so many options available, it was hard to narrow down a location, but a helpful recommendation led us to Lady M.
Lady M offers a large selection of cakes to choose from. Be prepared that while these may be the most splendid desserts you may ever have, they are quite pricey.
H.C. ordered Lady M’s signature cake, the intricate mille crepe. This cake is comprised of no less than 20 paper-thin hand made crepes layered with ethereally light and creamy custard. Its many accolades are well deserved. It has a gentle, mellow flavor that is all together sumptuous and dreamy. Each fold melts in your mouth.
I ordered the banana mille feuille. This capricious cake was a bit difficult to eat given the height of this masterpiece, but I dove right in. Layers of puff pastry snuggle against airy pieces of sponge cake. In the center is silky custard and fresh bananas. It is modestly sweet and decadent – a little slice of heaven.
It was the perfect day of indulgence.
Enjoy some pictures of their delicious cakes!
Where: 41 East 78th Street at Madison
When: weekdays 10am-7pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-6pm
Why: Because everyone needs a day of indulgence. Have your cake and eat it too!
We came for fried chicken. We left with a pie shake! Hill Country Chicken serves up Southern fried chicken and homemade pies in the heart of New York City. This casual diner-style joint is homey and comforting. The chicken is crunchy, well seasoned and oh so juicy. The sides should not be missed either, they offer an array of creatively crafted Southern comforts from fire and ice pickles to cheesy double fried mashed potatoes.
Did I mention the selection of pies? They offer such a large variety of pies daily it is hard to pick just one. Flavors include whiskey buttermilk, salted margarita, and Texas billionaire as well as classics like apple cheddar and banana cream.
To make things easy on ourselves we went for the day’s special – chess pie. Chess pie is an English transplant that has become a Southern classic. It is essentially just butter, brown sugar and eggs with a touch of cornmeal. The buttery sweet shortbread crust practically melts into the custard. It is a simpler version of the Momofuku crack pie. It was lusciously creamy and sweet, but a bit too rich as a dessert after a heaping helping of fried chicken and potatoes.
Pie in a shake is one of the signature desserts at Hill Country Chicken. What is a pie shake you ask? The name says it all: your choice slice of pie blended into a vanilla shake. Some may cringe with disgust but trust me there is nothing disgusting about this shake (if you love pie of course). My pie shake was a combination of blackberry nectarine pie with a vanilla shake. The tart fruit, flaky buttery pie pieces and vanilla ice cream contrasted nicely with each other. It added a welcome depth to a traditional vanilla shake.
Where: Hill Country Chicken
123 Broadway (Corner of 25th) New York, NY 10010
When: 11:30am – 10pm daily
Why: Because you can have your pie and drink it too.
On a beautiful Spring day, what is better than enjoying a burger and a shake in a lush green park? That’s what being American is all about right? Well, on a perfect Spring day in New York I spent the afternoon in gorgeous Madison Square Park enjoying Shake Shack.
If you live in New York, you are damn lucky to have such an awesome lunch location as Shake Shack. Yes, the line is long. But it is worth the wait and honestly the wait isn’t so bad given the wonderful and lively park setting around you. *
The burger is perfectly charred and juicy with a sweet soft bun. The fries are crispy, not too oily with just the right amount of salt. Now getting to the good stuff…
Shake Shack offers shakes, cones, and concretes (think Dairy queen blizzards – dense frozen blends). With so many ice cream options it was hard to choose, but I went with a classic and got a vanilla shake. Some say boring, I say tried, true and delicious. The shake was thick while remaining drinkable and it was sweet, smooth and satisfying. Should I have ordered a cone, a sundae and a concrete to boot? Yes I should have, but I’ll have to save that for next time. Until then this will be the shake I hold all other shakes up to.
* On our visit we were lucky enough to get to experience the limited time Eat Madison Square Park, which was a mini festival of some of New York’s finest eateries. While waiting in line, R was able to check out Eat Madison Square Park and he brought back some Asia Dog while we waited to order our Shake Shack (yes we are pigs). If you live in NY go check it out, it lasts until June 3rd and offers some amazing eats.
Where: Southwest corner of Madison Square Park
Madison Ave and east 23rd st.
When: 11am -11pm
Why: The perfectly cooked burger is well worth the long wait. Bonus- just want one of their incredible shakes, or a cone, or a concrete jump in line B for a shorter wait!
Eat Madison Square Park now! No, literally, because it is ending June 3rd and you don’t want to miss this hidden treasure in the middle of NYC. A food market tucked beneath the soaring buildings and full of some of New York’s best eateries all in one central location, this is the perfect place to grab a pizza from Roberta’s or a couple Asia dogs for lunch. It is set up like a farmer’s market but sans the produce stands. Eat Madison Square Park is also stocked with a variety of sweet eat options. If you need a little afternoon pick me up, this is a great place to grab a treat.
People’s Pops uses local, sustainable fruits and herbs to make delicious handmade popsicles and shaved ice. This is the perfect summer treat. At People’s Popscicle you actually watch them shave the ice by hand. This creates a cold refreshing shaved ice that has a feathery lightness to it. They have a variety of popsicle flavors and one daily shaved ice flavor. I got the Bartlet pear, which was fruity and not overly sweet. I’m excited to see what other flavors they develop throughout the summer.
Stuffed Artisan Cannolis offers bite-sized cannolis in a unique array of flavors. I opted for the banana cream cannoli. The shell was light and flaky with a nice crunch. The custard filling was bursting with banana goodness. It was creamy and lush. The compact size was perfect for snacking.
Where: Adjacent Madison Square Park on 5th and Broadway
When: May 12th – June 3rd 11am-9pm
Why: Because you have all your favorite restaurants in one quick and easy to access location.
EAT THIS NOW!
If you love butter, milk and sugar (and who doesn’t), then Momofuku Milk Bar is calling your name. Pastry chef Christina Tosi is well known for the innovative and irresistible desserts she whips up at Milk Bar. After hearing nothing but vehement praise for Milk Bar, we decided to save it as our last stop on our NY visit. We spent a lazy afternoon in front of Milk Bar consuming as much as possible, and let me tell you, everything people say is true – Milk Bar is insanely delicious.
Here is what we devoured:
The Compost Cookie (a combination of butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, pretzels and potato chips) honestly was anticlimactic. There were no stand out flavors, but rather all components somehow melded to one and transformed into a singular indistinctive flavor.
The Cornflake Cookie was impressive. A sweet vanilla cookie dough melds with gooey chocolate, sticky marshmallow and a chewy corn cereal crunch. The flavors and textures compliment each other perfectly. There is nothing boring about this cookie.
The Corn Cookie is deceptive. A yellow, modest and unassuming disk turned out to be explosively sweet and complex. It was luscious, yet savory, and so delicate that it almost melts in your mouth. You are at once enraptured by the sweetness and at the same time confused as to how this cookie can taste like the perfect roasted corn on the cob. This is an enchanting cookie.
Milk Bar offers an array of flavored milks and soft serves, the signature flavor being cereal milk. Given the beautiful sunshine outside, we decided on an icy cold swirl of cereal milk soft serve. This is a childhood dream. One bite and you are nostalgically transported back to mornings before school, scarfing down your cereal just to get to the sweet milk at the bottom of the bowl. Cereal milk is a broadly appealing, perfectly executed, and oh so satisfying flavor. It was so good we considered getting another, even with the bounty of sweets already consumed.
This is a decadent slice of ooey gooey, buttery custard atop an equally sweet oat crust with just the faintest hint of lemon floating in a sea of butter. A bit is mesmerizing and addicting. You would think that such mass quantities of butter would be overpowering, but the crack pie is somehow rich without being overwhelming. This is not for the faint of heart.
Go big or go home!
Where: 251 E 13th St, New York – OR – 15 W. 56th Street, New York
When: east village- 9am to 12am midtown- 8am to 11pm
Why: The best part of your breakfast cereal is no in soft serve form! Who can say no to that!
I recently returned home from a mesmerizing five days in NYC and let me tell you I came back a little fatter and a whole lot happier. First on my list of decadent dining was Doughnut Plant. [In case you haven’t be keeping up here and here, I am completely obsessed with doughnuts. I think they may just be the best things on earth.] This was a much-anticipated pilgrimage to my personal Mecca, the holy land of fried dough. R and I decided to walk across the Williamsburg Bridge into the city to really earn our doughnuts. Upon arrival in front of the lower eastside shop, I was giddy with excitement.
Doughnut Plant offers a daily selection of yeast (raised) doughnuts and cake doughnuts. The yeast doughnuts are larger, fluffier and fried, while the cake donuts are smaller and denser. Doughnut Plant has tried and true mainstays as well as seasonal specials, all of which rotate monthly. Knowing we had a full day of eating ahead of us, it was extremely difficult to narrow down the selection to only three doughnuts. After what was honestly a good ten minutes of drooling over all the doughnuts available we made our decision: Vanilla Bean, Tres Leches and Coconut Filled.
I choose vanilla bean because for some crazy reason I was thinking I should try what would be the closest incarnation to a classic glazed doughnut. Bad idea. While it was tasty enough, it paled in comparison to the other options available. The flavor was flat and uninspired.
Let me preface this by pointing out that I NEVER order cake doughnuts. I find them dry and too dense. I much prefer the fried, fluffy, raised variety. With that said, the tres leches cake doughnut was full of flavors and textures that deceived and surprised me. It was moist and succulent with a delicate cream that had somehow perfectly woven its way throughout the dough. It was kind of magical.
If you are a coconut lover like I am this is the doughnut for you. The exterior is perfectly light and doughy with a slight chew to it. It is coated in a barely sweet glaze and studded with shreds of coconut. Wedged between the luscious dough is a supremely rich coconut cream. One bite and you will be raising your hands to the sky and sighing in blissful delight.
*Side note: Doughnut Plant sells the best milk ever: Unhomogenized milk straight from Ronny Brook farm in the Hudson Valley. It is rich, smooth and I swear it tastes like ice cream. It goes perfectly with a tray full of doughnuts.
Our inaugural visit to Doughnut Plant left such an impression on our taste buds that we decided to add a second doughnut breakfast to our itinerary. This time we visited their newer location near the Chelsea Hotel. The space was bigger and brighter with more seating that allowed us to leisurely consume our sweet treasure.
The day’s special was fresh mango – I hit the jackpot! This fried delight was coated in a sweet mango glaze with thin, almost unnoticeable slivers of fresh mango. The mango flavor was bright and prominent. It gave a bold fruity burst to the mellow dough below.
Given our success with the cake doughnut we opted for two more. The oatmeal cake donut had a nice subtle cinnamon sweetness. The dough was fluffy and moist with specks of cranberries throughout. The toasted oats that crowned the glaze gave the doughnut a nice heartiness.
The carrot cake doughnut was nutty, buttery and sweet. It was topped with candied carrots and walnut pieces, which provided a nice contrast to the soft light cake. Decadent cream cheese was swirled in between folds of dough. The flavors were exuberant. After trying this I only want my carrot cake served as a doughnut.
The crème brulee donut is dessert for breakfast. It has an enjoyable burnt sugar top that you crack into to reveal a soft and sweet doughnut filled with a heaping mound of luscious custard.
Writing this post made me both hungry and sad. I now desperately yearn for a sweet glazed bit of paradise and I am a bit disappointed that LA doesn’t have an equivalent to NYC’s Doughnut Plant. Come back to us Frittelli’s! You were the closest thing we had to Doughnut Plant, a valiant second place contender that I miss dearly. My fingers are crossed in desperate hope that the city of LA will soon have a Doughnut Plant of it’s own.
Where: 379 Grand Street New York
When: 6:30am -6:30pm
Why: These may well just be the best doughnuts you have ever had!