Tag Archives: Bakeries

Bike the Back Streets of Key West

Some say that Key West is a trashy tourist trap with a trail of tchotchke shops strung along Duval Street, the town’s main drag. Once you’ve snagged a neon-hued flamingo you can stop by one of the many bars for a drink.

In fact, many people come to this semitropical island at the southernmost tip of the US solely for the purpose of getting on a non-stop buzz. A river of booze flows through Duval day and night to accommodate the many boozers.

On the other hand, once you get off Duval Street, Key West projects a raffish beauty that’s one part southern Gothic, one part Carribean and one part counterculture, circa 1968.


I like to ride my bike through the back streets, pedaling past the bougainvillea-draped Conch houses, some dating back to the 19th century. The locals seem caught in a time warp. Facial hair on men is big. Not ala Williamsburg. More a 60s Haight look. Lots of T-shirts with peace signs.


During my bike ride the other day, I stopped at 4th of July ice cream parlor at 1110 White Street, part of the Mattheessen’s mini-chain, which also owns two scoop shops near Duval Street.

I’m a sucker for ice cream parlors, but this one disappoints. I sampled the Cuban Coffe and Butter Pecan ice creams. Both, I’m sorry to report, are pretty bland. So generic are these two flavors that it was tough to distinguish between them.


At Old Town Bakery at 930 Eaton Street, the story is much the same. This time, it’s the OMG Brownie that’s lackluster. The pastry barely tastes of chocolate, even though the center of the brownie oozes a crater of molten ganache.


Maybe the reason for this tropical scourge of blandness is that local purveyors are peddling to the tourist trade. Whatever the cause, don’t come to Key West for the ice cream and brownies. Not that you would anyway.

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The Best Rugelach and Croisaants: Two New Bakery/Cafes Open on the Upper East Side

Rugelach via flckr by by Soup Spoon Blog

Two new bakery/cafes have opened in the last several months on the Upper East Side. Le Moulin a Cafe, a French spot on York Avenue between 76th and 77th streets, serves up some of the best croissants I’ve eaten in the city. Plenty specializes in homey desserts like rugelach and crumb cake, along with cakes and cookies.

Le Moulin a Cafe

Forget all those leaden faux croissants on offer at your neighborhood bodega. Instead, head for Le Moulin a Cafe. The cozy spot opened over the summer when it started dishing up croissants that are as flaky and tender as any I’ve had in France.

The reason? Nicholas Lecuq, the co-owner, imports frozen dough from Brittany. Lecuq’s chef then bakes the dough in-house. Who would think pre-frozen croissants could turn out so well?

The weekday morning I stopped by, the place was hopping. Stroller moms who had dropped their kids at the Lycee Francais de New York across the street, flooded the cafe’s tables. Neighborhoods folks were stopping by too. And I’ll bet there’s more than a few NY Presbyterian docs–cholesterol be damned—who are sampling Le Moulin a Cafe’s offerings as well.

In addition to pastries, there’s a menu of quiche ($10), salads ($11-$12), and entrées (skirt steak with fries ($21) and the like, and wine is coming soon.


If it’s old fashioned cakes and cookies you’re hankering for, Plenty is your spot. Arrayed in glass cases, the pastries are pretty much like grandma used to make—and there’s a reason for that. Jessica Weiss, the proprietor and a lapsed MBA, earned her chops baking alongside her grandmother Hannah, one hell of a baker judging by the fare at Plenty.

The crumb cake was light and moist with a buttery, tender topping.  Delicious but not for me.  For me, the chewier and doughier the cake, the better. The rugelach?  I wish that my grandma who’s ruglach were reliably uneatable, had taken some lessons from Hannah. Plenty’s were flaky and not too sweet, just about a perfect bite.

Along with these homey standards, Weiss also offers chocolate cake ($4.75), cinnamon sugar donut muffins ($1.75) and homemade Oreos ($2.50). There are whole cakes for $35-$40 that can also be ordered by the slice.

The place sports a few tables and you can purchase various coffees and teas to go with your pastry.

Le Moulin a Cafe
1439 York Ave
New York, NY
212  288 5088

Monday – 7 am – 9 pm
Tuesday-Thursday – 7 am – 10 pm
Friday – 7 am – 11 pm
Saturday – 8 am – 11 pm
Sunday – 8 am – 9 pm

1457 Third Avenue (82nd Street)
New York, NY
212 628 2110

730 am to 730 pm 7 days/week



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Recipe: Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts (Sufganiot)

Boy enjoying sufganiot or Hanukkah jelly donuts. Maxnathans via flickr.

For Hanukkah, it’s hard not to down lots of fried goodies. There are latkes, of course. And there are deep fried jelly donuts, or sufganiot. If you really must, you can add something healthy, like a green veggie. But for dessert why not try sufganiot? Take your cholesterol meds and enjoy!

For the uninitiated, About.com explains that sufganiot are deep-fried jelly doughnuts that are especially popular in Israel. The oil used to fry the doughnuts is a reminder of the oil that miraculously burned in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.

Sufganiot, or Deep-fried Jelly Doughnuts Recipes

Epicurious provides step=by-step instructions.

Another recipe from kosherfood.com.

Martha Steward offers up this version.

Here’s a video from www.howcast.com on making sufganiot:

If you’re beset with holiday stress—and who isn’t?—you can buy jelly donuts at the following purveyors on the Upper West Side and in Brooklyn:

Where to Buy Sufganiot

Supersol 661 Amsterdam Ave. at 94th St., 212 222 6332 (Serious Eats)

Lansky’s 235 Columbus Ave. between 71st & 72nd streets, 212 787 0400 (Serious Eats)

My Favorite Food 247 W. 72nd St., 212 580 5130.

Weiss Homemade Kosher Bakery 5011 13th Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 718 438 0407.

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Upper West Side: Cupcake Cafe Crumbs Moves into Shiny New Digs on Amsterdam Ave.

Cupcakes. Photo: CRUMBS Bake Shop

Not able to resist an apparently unstoppable trend, New Yorker’s continue to wolf down cupcakes. In fact,the Upper West Side branch of Crumbs has moved into shiny new digs.  And the chain is expanding nationwide.

In a recent story, the Wall Street Journal, wrote about New Yorkers’ obsession with the little frosted cakes.  Personally, I don’t get it. I know they’re considered by many a cheap indulgence, but frankly, it’s kid food for adults.

If you’re looking for the new Upper West Side Crumbs, you can find it at 350 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th.

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Where to Get Holiday Cupcakes, Gingerbread Houses and More at Upper West Side Bakeries

Christmas cupcakes. Photo: CRUMBS Bake Shop

Christmas cupcakes. Photo: CRUMBS Bake Shop.

Gingerbread brownstone. Photo: Bakery Soutine.

Gingerbread brownstone. Photo: Bakery Soutine.

By Miriam Gottfried

Upper West Side bakeries are ramping up for the holidays, adding various seasonal items to their menus. Here’s a look at the December goodies at a few of them:

Bakery Soutine will be offering various gingerbread constructions, honey bourbon fruitcake, Royal Navy plum pudding, croquembouche and Buche de Noel. www.soutine.com

Buttercup Bake Shop will be selling special gingerbread cupcakes with pumpkin icing as a seasonal holiday treat. www.buttercupbakeshop.com

Holiday cupcakes, including a Christmas confection with green cream cheese frosting and red sprinkles, a blue-and-white Hanukkah rendition, and a treat topped with eggnog frosting are on the holiday menu at www.crumbs.com

Magnolia Bakery will have red velvet cupcakes, topped with edible chocolate disks bearing pictures of dancing Rockettes. Other seasonal cupcakes include ones decorated with snowmen and snowflakes, and the Sno-Cap—devil’s food cake with meringue-icing peaks. www.magnoliabakery.com

Among many other holiday items, Silver Moon Bakery makes jelly doughnuts and Star of David layer cake for Hanukkah, a fig tart and traditional Stollen bread for Christmas. There’s also a triple chocolate bavarois to help ring in the new year. www.silvermoonbakery.com

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