Showing posts with label bakeries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bakeries. Show all posts


AWESOME ALERT: Win Prizes from Peloton, Levain Bakery, Uplift Studios and More!

Have you ever wanted to support a worthy cause, work out at a fancy fitness studio for free, and munch on some divine chocolate chip cookies at the same time? If so, I have some fantastic news for you.

For my 12th year of fundraising for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in their annual MS Walk, I've organized a contest to try and raise $3,000 for research and programming to benefit those with this terrible, debilitating disease. 

The prizes are valued at over $1,500! For every $10 donation, you will earn one chance to win one of these items:
  • 30-class pack to my favorite spin studio in NYC, Peloton Cycle ($650 value!)
  • 5-class pack to the Fhitting Room, where you'll get an amazing high intensity workout and personalized attention ($170 value!)
  • 5-class pack to the amazing, kick-your-butt in the best way possible Uplift Studios ($160 value!)
  • 5-class pack to ((305)) Fitness, the best and most fun dance cardio workout from Miami located in the Village ($149 value!)
  • 5-class pack to the Union Square cycling studio with all sorts of theme rides, Revolve ($140 value!)
  • One dozen assorted cookies from the place in the world that makes them best, Levain Bakery ($71 value!)
  • 2 eyebrow waxes to the place that does them best, Boom Boom Brow Bar ($50 value!)
  • 2 2-packs of classes from Throwback Fitness to get your recess on ($35 each!)

To enter, make a donation on my walk page and include how many raffle tickets you would like ($10 per ticket) in the notes section. Be sure to include your full name and email address when donating so that I can contact you if you win. Entries will be accepted through 9am ET on Sunday 4/12. All winners will be contacted by Monday 4/13.

Please spread the word to friends! These prizes are too good not to! And thanks for helping fund vital MS research and programming!


The Perfect Valentine's Day for Your Sugar Tooth

You may recall a sweet post from last May about Sugartooth Tours, but now that Valentine's Day (aka: You-Better-Give-Chocolate-To-Your-SO day) is fast approaching, listen up for a fabulous V-Day experience.

Starting tomorrow, Sugartooth will be offering its Sweeter than Sugar Valentine’s Tour! The tour will take you to 6 decadent shops throughout Chelsea and the West Village. Think half-pound cookies, artisan hot chocolate, and a final stop where you have the option of adding a wine or beer pairing with your final sweet treat for some extra one-on-one time with that special someone. In addition, the tour guides will feed your minds with the tasty and colorful culinary history of Chelsea and brush you up on your Valentines Day history and trivia.

Available tour dates include February 7th, 8th, 13th, 14th and 15th at 5:30pm and February 14th and 15th at 2pm. Tickets are $50/person and include all six tastings. Click here to purchase tickets.


Back in December, my Dad was in town from LA and we had a blast at the Union Square holiday market tour. We tried warm German gluehwein, gingerbread boys and girls, Liegewafels from Wafels & Dinges, cinnamon sugar donut holes from the Doughnuttery, mini canollis from Stuffed Artisan Cannolis, and chocolate dipped pretzels from Fatty Sundays. Here are some pictures from our tour:


Finding Heaven in Hell's Kitchen With Sugartooth Tours

Here at Awesome in New York, we love a good tour, especially when there is food involved. The city has so much to see (and eat!), that to spend an afternoon running around eating every 15-20 minutes is a totally acceptable (and encouraged!) thing to do as far as we're concerned. If you're up for skipping savory food altogether and going straight for dessert, we suggest Sugartooth Tours for a fabulous sugar-high of an adventure.

Sugartooth Tours specializes in walking dessert food tours, combining culinary and cultural history with the best desserts in New York City. Tour guides showcase the city's best hidden bakeries and off-the-beaten-path gems where the locals go. Tours run year round with many special seasonal tours, including private tours and special events.

The fine folks at Sugartooth invited my mom and me to their signature "Heaven in Hell's Kitchen" tour a few Saturday's ago, and though I used to work in the neighborhood and visit it quite often, I had only been to 2 of the 6 stops we made. Yay for trying new things!

Our first stop was SoHo transplant Kee's Chocolates (315 W 39th Street). A tiny storefront offering high-quality, hand-made chocolates, Kee's was featured on the Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" for their Creme Brulee Bon Bon ($2.70). Naturally, that was the one I had to try. Our bubbly tour guide Nathalie, encouraged me to eat it in one bite, which I was a bit apprehensive about because it was rather large, but I was so glad I did since it's pure liquid on the inside. This was truly a chocolate experience! Other exotic flavors on the menu include Earl Grey, fennel, honey kumquat, and yuzu.

Stop #2 was a place I must have walked by several times before but had never been in. The Cupcake Cafe (545 9th Avenue) has been serving their namesake desserts since before they were trendy (since 1988 people!). Home of the "original buttercream," all cupcakes are decorated with beautiful flowers that almost look too good to eat. But eat we did! I had almond cake with peanut butter frosting while my mom sampled the coconut ($3 for small and $5 for large). The texture of the buttercream was noticeably smoother than any I had ever had before and I would definitely recommend you check out this cute, plant-clad cafe ASAP!

Next stop was a place I know well from my days working in the neighborhood. The Little Pie Company (424 W 43rd Street) is a New York City institution in my book and you haven't had pie until you've tried their sour cream apple walnut fresh out of the oven. My mom was in luck, because that was exactly what we sampled! What I love about this place is that in addition to selling standard size pies and other delectables, they are known for their little 5" pies ($8), which can still serve multiple people, or not, we won't tell.

Poseidon Greek Bakery (629 9th Avenue) was stop number 4. Nathalie gave us a bit of history on the food of 9th Avenue and explained that the family-run bakery is one of the last hold-outs from a simpler time when pushcarts ruled the area and Times Square was, let's just say, a little less Disney. Poseidon is known for rolling their own filo dough, a very laborious process, and specializes in several different kinds of baklava. We tried a log-shaped variety which was the perfect model of what the honey, nutty pastry should be.

Walking into stop #5, I was a bit sad because the space occupied by Schmackary's (362 W 45th Street) used to be inhabited by this kick-ass Soul Food spot that I liked to frequent when I worked in the area. However, after one bite of a sweet corn Schmackary's cookie with cranberries and pecans ($2.75 each), I was most assuredly not sad anymore. My mom tried the rocky road and OMG was that amazing as well. I want to go back and EAT ALL THE FLAVORS. The friendly staff made my afternoon all that much better when they served us each a little glass of milk to wash everything down with. This may have been my favorite stop on the tour.

Mom and Me at Schmackary's

Originally, our last stop was supposed to be Donna Bell's Bake Shop (301 West 49th Street), but since they were closed for store repairs, we ventured over to another of my Hell's Kitchen favorites, Amy's Bread (672 9th Avenue). My favorite thing to get there is their turkey cranberry sandwich on raisin semolina bread, but their cupcakes are a close second. We had their chocolate challah, which was sad to say, just ok. Maybe I had already passed my sugar saturation barrier for the day, but I don't think I would order that again. Their cheesy bread sticks...that's another story :)

All tours run about 2 hours and cost $50 per person, although several other members of our tour said they got deals on How About We Couples or Groupon, so be sure to keep your eyes peels for deals. Sugartooth Tours also offers a "Sweeter than Sugar" Chelsea dessert tour (Sunday's at 4), a "Village to Village" cupcake tour (select Fridays at 2 and Saturdays at 4), and they will be debuting an ice cream tour soon! I would recommend the tour for anyone, local or tourist because a) you eat A LOT and b) I learned a lot of good history nuggets that I can now impress all my friend's with! (Did you know the founder of Amy's Bread moved all her baking operations to LIC and is now calling that area the "flour district"?)


An Elegant Afternoon of Eating Cookies

I told you all about last week's Macaron Day and you're ever so thankful about that notice right? Either that or you're slapping yourself now for not participating and missing out on all the goodness. Well here's a recap of my experience.

I'm fortunate to work in a neighborhood surrounded by participating macaron bakeries so at lunch I went with a couple coworkers on a mini-macaron scavenger hunt. After lunch in the Plaza Food Hall (yay Luke's Lobster!), our first stop was FP Patisserie. There I chose the chocolate and nibs macaron, which I found delightful. The chocolate flavor wasn't too overpowering, and the macaron's texture was perfect (read: the cookies themselves were hollow like they're supposed to be).

Chocolate and nibs macaron from FP Patisserie
Gift boxes
Macaron display

Our next stop was Macaron Cafe on 59th Street and they win the award for the most amount of flavors and colors (some are even sparkly!). I decided on classic pistachio, though I was tempted by the lavender vanilla and nutella cookies. These macarons were a bit denser but full-flavored and a good all-around cookie.

Macarons at Macaron Cafe
Pistachio Macaron
Lastly we stopped in the china store Bernardaud for MadMac macarons. Their display was very elegant and they were sampling 4 flavors. I chose raspberry and my coworkers and I decided that MadMac wins the award for best macaron of the day. We even met the chef Florian Bellanger, from Cupcake Wars!

MadMac Macarons
My raspberry macaron

This is always a great event and I particularly loved the charitable aspect. A percentage of every purchase at participating bakeries went to one of NYC's greatest charities -- CityHarvest. I hope they were able to feed a lot of people based on New Yorkers' love for macarons!


Holy Macaron-y!

We all love macarons but we all gawk at the ridiculous price tags and find it hard to justify purchasing more than one, am I right? Having attempted to make the confections more than once, I can understand first hand why macarons are so expensive--if you've ever tried, you know what I mean! However, it's because of this fact that tomorrow March 20, 2013 will be one of your most favorite days this Spring.

Sponsored by François Payard Bakery and benefiting Cityharvest, Macaron Day will feature many bakeries throughout NYC, EACH giving away free macarons all day tomorrow. Quantities are limited though, so I'd recommend you make this your lunch tomorrow. That's what I'm going to do :)

Here is the list of participating bakeries in Manhattan (go here for the full list):

Bisous, Ciao. Macarons, 101 Stanton Street (212) 260-3463, and 235 Bleecker Street (212)-675-6366
Bosie Tea Parlor, 10 Morton Street (212) 352-9900
Bakery at Time Warner Center, Ten Columbus Circle, Third Floor, (212) 823-9366
Bouchon Bakery at Rockefeller Center, One Rockefeller Plaza, (212) 782-3890
Butterfield Market, 1114 Lexington Avenue (212) 288-7800
Épicerie Boulud, 1900 Broadway, (212) 595-0303
Francois Payard Bakery, 1775 Broadway/3 Columbus Circle, (212) 956-1775
FP Patisserie, 1 W 59th St, (212) 759-1600
Macaron Café, 161 West 36th Street (212) 566-8300, 44 E. 59th Street (212)995-0888, and 750 Third Avenue (212)995-0888
Macaron Parlour, 111 St. Marks Place (347) 979-6023
Mad-Mac “The Authentic French Macarons” at Bernardaud, 499 Park Avenue at 59th Street, (973) 225-0930
Mille Feuille Bakery and Café, 552 Laguardia Pl (646) 626-6472
Todd English Food Hall at The Plaza Hotel, 1 W 59th St, (212) 986-9260


Hot Chocolate to Blow Your F****** Mind

Ready for the best news of the new year!?!? City Bakery's annual hot chocolate festival begins TOMORROW!!!

I'm intrigued by these "Ode to the Polar Bear" and "Sunken Treasure" flavors and I can highly recommend the caramel flavor from past experience and likening it to crack. Again, I'm going to also stress that you get the peanut butter cookie as well. Don't think. Just do it.


Macaron Gratuit (AKA: Free Macarons!)

Ever since attempting to make macarons on my own have I come to appreciate the beauty of a perfectly made little sandwich cookie. These guys are HARD to make and that's why they come with the hefty price tag you've no doubt seen at dozens of macaron bakeries that have popped up around the city in the past year.

So imagine my glee when I discovered that ALL 11 Financier Patisserie locations are giving away free macarons tomorrow 3/1 at 10:30 am. To get yours, you just need to show your loyalty card, which you can get from their website for free. From the email I received, it seems that supplies are limited so make sure to get there early if you want to taste some sweet goodness. If you miss the macarons, I'd highly recommend any thing else in their pastry display. Seriously, it's all good.


It's Baaaaaaaaack

It's February 1st and that can only mean one thing. Time for the 20th annual Hot Chocolate Festival from City Bakery! It may be pushing 60 degrees today, but that's certainly not going to stop me from salivating over delicious flavors planned for the month like caramel hot chocolate (2/11), beer hot chocolate (Brooklyn style 2/17 and Dublin style 2/24) and the mysterious leap year hot chocolate (2/29), all with a giant, fluffy, homemade marshmallow of course.

Check out the full calendar of flavors here and comment on which one you can't wait to try. Also don't forget to sample their peanut butter cookies (my favorite for only 75 cents!). Happy sipping!