(Photo by Amanda: Dessert Truck Works)
A few weeks ago, my friend Amanda (from Kevin and Amanda) wrote me an e-mail to let me know she was going to be in New York City for a blogging event (and meeting Bobby Flay!). She said she had some free time on the Sunday and would love to meet up for brunch and a little bakery hopping. How could I say no to that?
Yesterday she and I stuffed ourselves silly with some of the best food that New York City has to offer. I’d like to say that I (the New Yorker) set the agenda and took her (the girl from Huntsville, Alabama) to all these wonderful eateries, but Amanda had done her homework and I was along for the ride. I think my only contribution to the day was navigating us through the subway.
We started at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery (which is totally hidden on the 3rd floor of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle). The cases were filled with beautiful French confections, but Amanda told me that the vanilla macaroons were the best. Ever. We got one of each macaroon (including my favorite, the Peanut Butter and Jelly version) and also the Pain au Chocolat Trois (my least favorite). The vanilla macaroon was perfect in its simplicity. The center tasted like sweetened vanilla butter. I will definitely go back.
(Photo by Amanda: Macaroons and Pain au Chocolat Trois at Bouchon Bakery)
Next stop, Bar Boulud. Having recently moved to the Upper West Side, I had checked out Chowhound for the best brunch places in the area. Bar Bouloud was mentioned several times, but it was Amanda who suggested we go there. And who also told me that their Croque Monsieur had been featured on “The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Brunch” by Frank Bruni. Firmly of the belief that a runny egg makes everything better, we ordered a Croque Madame and an appetizer plate of Brioche French Toast. It’s all heavenly. But I was stuffed. Do we stop? No, we powered on.
(Photos by Amanda: Croque Madame and Brioche French Toast at Bar Boulud)
As we paid the bill, Amanda scrolled through a list of possibilities on her phone and we settled on Dessert Truck Works. It was a bit of a hike, but she said it would be worth it. I then made my one contribution to the day – getting us from the Upper West Side to the Lower East Side by way of subway (and I didn’t even do that all too well) but it was worth the trek. Stuffed though I was, this was the highlight of the day. We ordered Warm Chocolate Bread Pudding with Bacon Custard Sauce, Goat Cheese Cheesecake with a Rosemary Caramel Sauce and Blackberries, more macaroons and the show stopper of the day: Warm Brioche Donut Squares (one filled with Nutella and the other with Vanilla Custard). I cannot tell you how subliminal these donuts were. I owe Amanda my first born for bringing them into my life.
(Photos by Amanda: Desserts at Dessert Truck Works)
Next time you find yourself in New York, check out one or two of these places. Or e-mail me and I’ll give you a whole load more. Because New York is all about the food! And the friends.