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Mssmltzr

NY Pastries

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It all started here with one question:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=68685

Now I am in Manhattan. Here is my first entry (sorry about the pictures. They will come later).

Today I stopped by both Payard and Hot and Crusty bakery. Payard, in all of its magnificence, will be saved for the later part of this entry. Let’s start with the very New York Hot and Crusty.

To say on behalf of Hot and Crusty—the place was packed at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. That can’t be a bad sign, right? It looks like Hot and Crusty is a favorite place to get fresh bread with out having to buy it from a boring grocery store. Besides, the name Hot and Crusty is great. Someone needs to make a t-shirt out of that.

I grabbed a loaf of whole wheat bread for $2.75, but was tempted to try the host of other things that this place sells. I saw everything from black and white cookies, elephant ears, carrot cake, and some classy looking chocolate mousse. Personally, I like that sort of variety in my bakery, just as long as it doesn’t affect the quality.

Turns out my loaf of sturdy wheat bread isn’t all that…well, sturdy. The crust is nice and tough. Underneath the crust lies bread that is sort of soft and lacks in real character. Perhaps I could have found what I was looking for in their multi-grain. Don’t get me wrong, the bread it good. Just not all that impressive. I am very willing to stop by there again to try everything else that can be found under their counter.

Now…for Payard

*cue La Marseillaise*

(pictures later)

Payard, as you might expect, is tres, tres French elite. Oooooohh but it’s so pretty! Honestly, I was already won over by the predominantly French wait staff, the Toulouse Lautrec inspired furnishings, and the fact that I heard more French than English spoken in the middle of Manhattan. They could have served me poodle-poop with a French flag stuck in it. I still would have been impressed.

The dished I ordered is called “Le Louvre” (mais oui!).

*see picture later*

And it came in such a great box (and yes, I do plan to keep the box. I don’t care how obsessive it is).

(picture later)

Le Louvre (silly French. Naming desserts after museums) was delightful. The first layer is a dark, rich ganache that just barely grabs onto the chocolate mousse underneath. It is amazing to me how the dessert maintains it shape given the heavy ganache on top. The core of the dessert consists of whole hazelnuts, the chocolate mousse, and tissue-paper thin wafers. Oh mon dieu! It was like a chocolate pillow! Now that was an impressive, $5. 25 dessert. I would, with out a doubt, go to Payard again. Next time I will bring a friend and spend some time checking out the bar. It was well worth my time and money. So what is the wait staff is a little snobby? I would too if I sold such freakin’ awesome desserts.

Tomorrow, we are going to Austria at Café Sabarsky!

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Yeah, I kind of figured that was the case---especially after finding another one two blocks down from the one I visited. Oh well, it was still worth a visit. That's what I get for straying from my egullet recommendations.

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Hey, you could have done a lot worse. One thing that's nice about Hot & Crusty is that at least some of their branches are open either 24 hours or really, really late (I forget which).

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Thanks for reporting, I'm looking forward to your report on Cafe Sabarsky, a personal favorite of mine. I hope you had the strudel!!!!!!

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And here's my humble opinion on Cafe Sabarsky

Today I made a visit to the well hidden Austrian cafe, Cafe Sabarsky.

The atmosphere is great, I have to give them that. But the wait staff was a little cold. Maybe I should come to expect that by now, but their attitude definitely made me feel uncomfortable.

They have a great dessert menu, with about 10 traditional Austrian desserts (including Apfelstrudel and Sachertorte). I decided to go for a chocolate marzipan cake with orange croifiture. By the way---the cheapest dessert on the menu is a $6 slice of marble cake. Bo-ring.

Honestly, I don't think the cake I ordered was worth $7. Perhaps chocolate marzipan just isn't my thing to begin with. The orange flavoring was very discrete and gave this heavy chocolate dessert a light feel. However, I just wasn't all that crazy about this dessert and left pretty disappointed. In this case, I think I just made a poor menu choice. I am quite willing to visit the cafe again to determine where the problem lies.

Tomorrow I plan to make a stop at William Greenberg Jr. I am ready for another "payard" moment : )

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VivreManger:

I can very easily see how your dissapointing experience at Payard came about. My Louvre had to travel about 10 blocks in 90 degree heat before I was able to even take a look at it. Needless to say, the box did not do a very good job of keeping my dessert in shape. You would think, given that they do sell such complicated desserts, that they would find a way to make them travel better.

I am going to take a harder look at your suggestions and make my bakery itinerary for next week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Mary

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Please don't let your hopes soar for Greenberg.

As for Payard's packing, the one advantage my experience had over yours was that my visit was in January. At least heat was not the problem.

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And here's my humble opinion on Cafe Sabarsky

Today I made a visit to the well hidden Austrian cafe, Cafe Sabarsky.

The atmosphere is great, I have to give them that. But the wait staff was a little cold. Maybe I should come to expect that by now, but their attitude definitely made me feel uncomfortable.[...]

I for one don't think you should expect that. Cafes are service businesses and should provide good service. However, if you have found the service at most of the other establishments you've visited in New York to be cold, I would wonder if there's a cultural element in your appraisal or whether New Yorkers would also consider the service cold. I expect professional, businesslike service, which people from some other parts of the U.S. might consider cold compared to the effusive friendliness they may be used to. Where are you from? (Sorry if you already mentioned that.)

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I wonder if Sullivan Street Bakery is on your list? And the new Bouley's Bakery.

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In reference to Pan's question:

I am from Raleigh, North Carolina. I will be the first to admit that I prefer a more comfortable, laidback (but not fake and over enthusiastic) form of service--which I have found is more typical of the south than the north.

However, I have visited places in New York that are less austere and just as professional in service as Sabarsky. They aren't running to the door to greet me, but they are still nice and ready to serve. This guy would barley even look at me. At first I thought it was just me, but I think this waiter just didn't waste his time serving a young woman that was only ordering dessert. And in the end, a business has to be ready to cater to all demographics.

Eh, oh well. Thanks for asking though.

Sullivan Street and Bouley's are on my list. They are a little farther away from me, so I am saving them for last. Thanks!

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I find service personnel in the Carolinas to often be really bubbly and effusive, but it does sound like you were given somewhat of a bum's rush at Cafe Sabarsky in particular, and I don't think that's acceptable.

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As of this week, the Silver Moon Bakery is offering fresh peach brioche. I had one this morning. I'm a very, very happy girl. :wub:

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Well, I did make it to William Greenberg Jr. I stayed long enough to realize that they sell the basics (brioche, croissants, brownies). Those basics I'm sure are great (although their brownies looked like something a 5 year old could make) I was in the mood for something I couldn't get anywhere else.

Since I passed by Quotidien (www.lepainquotidien.com) on the way to Greenberg, I decided to give them a run for their money. Quotidien looks like a really neat place to eat lunch---everyone eats at a long, common table. The service was pretty friendly too. They weren't sugary sweet, but they didn't make me feel rushed to make a decision. Ah, by the way, I now know they are a chain. Doesn't really shock me.

However, their pastry selection was a bit limited. They have several small fruit tarts, a chocolate mousse dessert similar to the Louvre, pain au chocolate, brioche, muffins, and the biggest chocolate chip cookie I have ever seen (about 7 inches in diameter). They also sell breads, but that wasn't what I was interested in.

I ordered a pistachio tarte that had been kept cold a little too long. The filling was a syrupy with a slight flavor of lemon. And that was about all the flavor I could find in it. The crust, which was really quite thick, was also rock hard. Man, this pastry just didn't taste good.

So what's on tap for tomorrow? I may try to get to Silver Moon tomorrow. That peach brioche sounds incredible. I'll let you guys know.

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I hope you also add to your list Big Booty Bakery on W. 23rd St. They have amazing looking stuffed brioches. It's owned by a Wall Street refugee turned baker. Gotta love the name of the place.

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Big Booty Bakery .... Gotta love the name of the place.

That's Big Bootay! Big Bootay!

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Big Booty Bakery .... Gotta love the name of the place.

That's Big Bootay! Big Bootay!

This place sounds like a salon of sin. :biggrin:

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My good friend Kate reminded me of my lack of devotion to the blog recently. So, by God, let's catch up!

I have been to only two bakeries since our last visit. One of which was Two Little Red Hens (www.twolittleredhens.com). I loved it. This one is a winner for all the right reasons. No it's not "so-French-it-hurts." It is pretty bare bones. It sells the basics that we all love and can some times be hard to find (banana nut bread, ginger bread, carrot cake). But what it is really known for are the the cakes, tarts, and cheesecake. Oh lord was it hard to make a decision. But I finally decided on their cheesecake, which so many of you have recommended. It was worth every damn penny. I only wish I could have ordered more. In fact I still may go back for the key lime pie.

I also made a visit to the Little Pie Company(www.littlepiecompany.com). Being silly as I am, I did not buy a little pie. I really don't know why---for goodness sake, I didn't buy a pie from a pie company! Regardless, I did buy a cupcake. But not just any cupcake---a German Chocolate Cake cupcake. Ooooooh yeah. That was good. They put about 1/2 inch of toping on that sucker, and got no complaints from me. It was big cupcake too, worth the $2.25 I paid for it. In Raleigh, I would have paid $5 for at Cafe Carolina.

Kate reminded me that I must make it to Les Halles while I am here. I couldn't believe I had forgotten about it! Im not even sure if they would let me into the place. But maybe I could stop by to just take a picture of it. Maybe say hello to Anthony : )

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I like Two Little Red Hens a lot. If I remember correctly, their original Park Slope branch is a little more spacious than their Upper East Side branch, and feels a little more like a cafe, but I haven't been to the Park Slope location for a few years. I'm guessing you went to the Manhattan location?

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Big Booty Bakery .... Gotta love the name of the place.

That's Big Bootay! Big Bootay!

This place sounds like a salon of sin. :biggrin:

No matter where you go... there you are. That movie was one of my adolescent favorites.

I haven't been to the Manhattan Red Hen, but the one in Park Slope is tiny. There are a couple tables squeezed in, but if there's more than a couple people waiting to order it isn't a comfortable place in which to sit.

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I did go to the Manhattan location. I think I remember seeing two, maybe three small tables in there that sit two people each. Honestly, I wouldn't want to eat on site, it is just too tiny. Oh but they have great stuff.

Update: Tonight I am meeting the pastry chef that works at Lever House (http://www.leverhouse.com/index_flash.html). I may even make it to the kitchen to see her work! I will fill you in on the details.

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