The Pastry Crawl Vol. 5

One thing that I like about pastry crawls is that they allow me to extend visiting time with friends… time that would otherwise be rudely cut short after a barista starts to glare at us, perturbed that we’ve been taking up valuable table space for so long.  Unlike bar crawls, pastry crawls allow for those less-sloppy conversations that are just as important as tipsy “real talks.”  And hey, I would choose a sugar high over a hangover any day.  Here’s a peek at my latest SoHo pastry crawl.

We picked out a bouquet of orange blossom and rose flavored macarons at Ladurée SoHo. Clearly we had spring on our minds when we made our order.  I’ve always been drawn to floral flavors, and Ladurée nailed them with their poignant yet not overpowering delicacy.  The shop’s mint green storefront was perfect backdrop for staging high-contrast photos with the colorful treats.  I started the pastry crawl here because was the perfect warm-up stop; it’s hard to fill up on a few innocent and airy macarons.

Is it weird that I’ve been living in New York for about four months and I hadn’t visited Dominique Ansel until last week?  By the time we moseyed into the shop in the early afternoon, lines that rivaled your worse DMV nightmare had formed.  Alas, the coveted Cronuts were gone.  Definitely have a few back-up pastries in mind when you visit this bakery.  We were forced to settle for some Nutella milk bread and some cookie and milk shots.  Of course, you can’t really call this “settling.”  The insides of the cookie shot glasses were coated with a chocolate shell to prevent the cookie from soaking up the milk and falling apart.  The Nutella milk bread was not as overwhelmingly sweet as other Nutella products.  This can be viewed as a good or a bad thing… as a huge Nutella fan, I found myself wondering why I could only taste chocolate and not hazelnut, as if the nuttiness had been baked out.  Still, this bread was extremely fun to pull apart.

By the time we arrived here, we were already on the fuller side of stuffed.  The shop does offer some samples.  In retrospect, we should have held off on one of the two milk breads at Dominique Ansel so that we would have more stamina to enjoy some luxury chocolates.  With self-interest in mind, sharing is caring!  The red wine truffle sample at Vosges, however, was perfect in small quantities; a little bit of wine goes a long way for me.  Their toffee wasn’t half bad either.  When I visit again I definitely want to try some of their more unusual offerings like their truffle called “Funk & Disco” (banana pudding, vanilla powder, and 45% cacao deep milk chocolate) and their “Naga” truffle (sweet Indian curry, coconut, and 45% cacao deep milk chocolate).

I somehow always end up here, and this is the second time I’ve given them a plug on my blog.  Something about sitting in the tranquil cafe with healthy-ish greek yogurt and an espresso shot makes me feel like everything in life is working out.  These days, moments like that are worth far more than the price of an espresso drink.

P.s. If you want to try this pastry crawl, start at Dominique Ansel and you’ll cover roughly .6 miles!  The question is, is .6 miles enough walking distance to burn off your pastry crawl calories?  Good luck, and tell me how it goes!


Treat Yo’self (And Your Friends): Pastry Gift Guide

The best way to legitimize the those great expanses of time you spend online shopping during the holiday season?  Writing a blog post about it!  Indulge yourself in my shopping guide that captures some of the internet’s cutest pastry related gifting options.  Treat the sweeties who love sweets in your life, especially if that person happens to be you.

Step in the Right Confection Journal


This journal from Modcloth is perfect for documenting all of those sweet moments!  Use it as a journal or use it for recipe notes.  I go through piles of journals… I try to write down one positive thing that happened to me every day, and I’ve been doing this since 2010.  There were a few lost days during my hectic academic flurry at the University of Chicago, but other than that, I have a pretty good record of my life and its upward trends.  It’s comforting to look back and see that no matter how I’m feeling in a given moment, positive energy and outcomes can be gleaned from just about any situation.  (But for the record, I do have a separate journal for ranting, and I never reread that!)

Taiyaki Pancake Mold


Are you a fan of Taiyaki NYC?  I’ve been obsessed with these fish-shaped pancake treats since I first sampled them in Tokyo five years ago.  Instead of buying a plain old waffle or bubble waffle maker, why don’t you get a taiyaki maker so that you can indulge in these bug-eyed cuties?  Taiyaki are traditionally filled with custard, but who says you can’t go wild with your own ice cream, fruit, or chocolate filling?

Pie Earrings


“I’m attracted to pie.  It doesn’t mean I feel the need to date pie.”  -Lorelai Gilmore

While I’m actually down to date the right lemon meringue pie if it comes along, I’m pretty sure that wearing little slices of pie on my ears is a good substitute.  These dangly handmade pecan pie earrings look so good that you’ll be tempted to take a little nibble.

Sugar Monster Socks


If you work in pastry, sometimes you have to abide by a very strict dress code.  In pastry school, we wore matching pants, jackets, hats, shoes, and aprons.  The only way we could express ourselves was with our socks.  Not a huge canvas, right?  We worked with what we got, and tried to infuse our otherwise bland uniform with as much “kick” as possible.  These pink and orange socks let you flaunt your pastry obsession loud and clear.

Japanese Tea Towels


What could be cuter than pandas ice skating?  I use tenugui, or Japanese tea towels, frequently for my pastry photo shoots.  Short of going to Japan and hitting their spectacular traditional markets, you can find tenugui with modern twists at places like Kinokuniya and Mitsuwa.  Etsy also has quite a few to choose from!

Confection Cutie Nail Art


One of the bummers about working in pastry is that you can’t wear nail polish for health code reasons.  Live vicariously through a friend and get them this ultra-cute pastry inspired nail wrap set.  The design is inspired by Ann Reardon of How to Cook That, one of the sweetest new blogs I’ve discovered!