Top 5: Best Desserts in New York City

Let me begin by re-stating what I said here: Dessert makes my world go round. I have a sweet tooth of epic proportions. It has become the stuff of legends. And lucky enough for me, I live in New York City, a place never short on dessert establishments. Here is my five favorite desserts in New York City.

5. Led Zeppole: 328 E. 14th Street (between First Ave. and Second Ave.), NY, New York

Led Zeppole’s Fried Oreos

The same owners who have successfully established and upheld the reputation of Artichoke Basille’s Pizza and Brewery are also responsible for the fabulous dessert spot, Led Zeppole.  As you can gather from the name, their specialties are zeppoles, which are balls of fried dough smothered in white, powdery confection sugar.  The other desserts on their menu include fried Oreos, cream puffs, fried Twinkies, fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, funnel cake, cannolis, Italian ices, soft-serve ice cream, and waffle ice cream sandwiches.  My personal favorite is the fried Oreos.  There is nothing as novel as America’s favorite cookie, deep fried, and coated with powdered sugar.  This may not be an everyday type spot, due to the richness of such a treat, but it sure is good when you’re in the mood for that special something to satisfy your pallet.

4. Momofuku Milk Bar: Locations

Milk Bar’s Crack Pie

This next dessert location is rather unique.  Momofuku Milk Bar is owned by accredited chef David Chang, who has lucratively launched many restaurants including, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ssäm Bar, Ko, Pêche, Seiōbo, and of course Milk Bar.  Here, they offer a variety of unique “pies,” cookies, cake truffles, shakes, soft serve ice cream, croissants and bread.  The pies are served by the slice, although full pies are available for purchase, and come in an assortment of original flavors; the Crack Pie, which is my favorite, comes in a crumbled oatmeal cookie and brown sugar crust, with a rich creamy filling consisting of brown sugar, egg, butter, vanilla and heavy cream to hold it all together.  The taste is incomparable, as is everything at Momofuku.  My other favorite item here is the birthday cake truffles.  The little spherical shaped truffles hold immense flavor that overpower your taste buds with sweetness as the colored sprinkles evoke a jovial feeling as you bite into these delicious dessert specialties.  It is so difficult to explain just how great Momofuku’s creations are because of the uniqueness of their offerings, so you must go try for yourself.

3. Molly’s Cupcakes: 228 Bleecker Street (between Sixth Ave. and Seventh Ave.) NY, New York:

Molly’s Cupcakes

Molly’s Cupcakes captures you from the beginning, as its pretty and quaint yellow paneled façade catches your eye and allures you inside, where you’ll find a country styled seating area with marble topped tables and chairs, and wooden counters atop the bakery showcases.  What I love about Molly’s is the freshness in their products.  Their specialty, obviously being cupcakes, although they do have assorted other bakery goods, is baked homemade on premise everyday, which becomes obvious after taking a single bite out of a Molly’s creation.  There are so many flavors available here that you will never see anywhere else – my favorites being the crème brulee and the happy birthday (which is a level above any other bakery’s attempt at this style of cupcake).  Each flavor tastes exactly as the name describes.  The happy birthday is filled with a delicious filling that tastes and has the consistency of raw cake batter.  The crème brulee fittingly has a custard filling, and the top of the cupcake has that torched sugar taste like actual crème brulee.  The best part of Molly’s is the little counter area where they have fun shaped sprinkles that you can add to your cupcake or carry out on the side.  I love giving my business to such an amazing little local bakery. It may not have the level of corporate branding as chain cupcake bakeries do, but the homemade atmosphere from décor to baked goods makes you feel at home, which has gotten me to come back time after time.

2. Wafels and Dinges: Food Cart- locations vary

Liege Waffle

I sought out the waffles from this cart one day to appease a hankering I had for a good old Belgian waffle.  I had seen this cart around the city, and had to act on my craving, which brought me here for the first time.  The Brussels waffle was my first endeavor and I chose to top it with strawberries and whipped cream.  This waffle looks and tastes like a classic waffle you make in a waffle maker.  It was delicious, but did not compare to the second waffle I ordered and have been ordering every since.  The liege waffle is a thinner and sweeter waffle.  When topped with speckuloos, which is one of their signature toppings, this waffle sends you soaring through an unfathomable dessert dream.  They heat up the waffles before they top them, which makes this creation even more delicious.  This is a sweet and filling dessert and ever since the first time I tried it I have been hooked.

1. Lula’s Sweet Apothecary: 516 E. 6th Street (between Ave. A and Ave. B) NY, New York

Cake Batter Soft-Serve at Lula’s

Lula’s reminds you of the tiny little country store you would see on the Andy Griffith Show.  Lula’s welcomes you with a black and white checkered tile floor, and a wood counter topped with penny candies.  The front freezer holds the homemade ice cream flavors, and in back is the soft serve machine where the most incredible cake batter soft serve ice cream is dispensed.  I have come here in the rain, the snow, and the sunshine just to get some of their cake batter soft serve.  When you take your first spoonful, you don’t exactly know what hit you, nor are you able to fully make sense of the grandness of the flavor. It tastes so similar to actual cake batter that if you closed your eyes you would think that you are really eating a piece of cake (except for the coldness of the ice cream).  When I finish my Lula’s I am always left wanting more.  I never tire of this flavor, and do not foresee that happening in the future.  It is one of my absolute favorite desserts in the city, and if you live in the area I highly encourage you to try it one day.       


Food Review: The Stanton Social

Tapas/Small Plates is a style that has really grown in popularity over the past years.  The Stanton Social, as you may presume, a tapas style restaurant, was one of my finest eating experiences with this type of cuisine.  Located in the Lower East Side on 99 Stanton Street in New York, New York, this chicly decorated hot spot left a lasting impression on me.

Old School Meatballs

When I first arrived, I was a little intimidated by the looks of this place.  It was still early on a Friday night, but the large, dimly lit dining room was already filled a generous amount with a posh looking crowd.  When I dine out, I really don’t care about the reputation of the place nor the crowd it attracts; all I’m looking for is great food and service, and wherever I can find that is great in my book.

Chicken n’ Waffles

I was excited to crack open the oversized menu. The Stanton Social has a unique layout of their menu; although all of their dinner selections are created in the small plate style, they still group certain dishes based on their qualities, making subtle distinctions between appetizers, lite entrées, main courses, sides and snacks, and dessert.

Crabcake Corn Dogs

I dined with one other person, and man can we eat.  We didn’t want to go overboard though to the point where we felt like we never wanted to eat again.  We also followed the mentality that since the restaurant operates in the tapas way, you can always order more dishes if you would like.  After lots of back and forth, we finally decided on the nori spiced tuna tartare roll, beef carpaccio, Maryland jumbo lump crabcake ‘corn dogs,’ ‘chicken n’ waffles,’ old school meatballs, and chipotle grilled shrimp.  What was great about Stanton Social was that every dish had such complexity and was different than anything you would find at any other restaurant.

I would have to say that the ‘chicken n’ waffles,’ the crabcake ‘corn dogs,’ and the tuna tartare were my three favorite dishes that we ordered.  Each one had such a distinct taste and was a wonderful combination of flavors.  The ‘chicken n’ waffles’ and the crabcake ‘corn dogs’ were the most exotic dishes that we ordered.  They were both extremely tasty and fresh.  The ‘chicken n’ waffles’ was definitely the hardiest dish, and one that I strongly recommend if you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods.  Dinner selections were a 10, now on to dessert..

Warm and airy donuts

Let me preface this by saying that dessert makes my world go round.  I must have something sweet after every meal, and after my dinner at The Stanton Social, all I crave is their dessert creations.  We selected the warm doughnuts – which sits tall at the top of their dessert menu and is the acclaimed house special – and the red velvet twinkle.  The doughnuts were the perfect culmination to this innovative, inventive meal.  The balls of warm dough came coated in a cinnamon and sugar mixture, on a plate with three different dipping sauces.  The doughnuts were really one of the best desserts I have had in NYC.  The red velvet twinkle was a classic Twinkie, but red velvet flavored cake with a vanilla cream cheese filling.  This was also a great choice, but those doughnuts were the clear standout as far as dessert went.

Red Velvet Twinkies

The service was great and overall, for the amount of food ordered, the check was not exorbitant as it very easily can become at any New York City eatery, most of which do not even come close to The Stanton Social’s level.  This meal was really something special because of the uniqueness of each dish.  It was also a memorable meal, which to me, shows just how much I truly enjoyed it.  I am greatly looking forward to my next visit to The Stanton Social.

Food Review: Parm

“I just like simplicity. I like simple songs, I like simple chords, simple vocals, simple lead guitar. I just like simplicity. That’s just the way I like it.” – Jeremy Spencer

“I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity – all I hope for in my clothes.” – Yves Saint Laurent

“In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sensing a common theme here?  Simplicity is the idea I would like to highlight in this post; not in a serious and mundane way, more so in an abstract and analytical way to see the many wonders something that appears so simple can truly hold.  The depth that something so simple can hold can come off as an almost contradictory idea, but it is undoubtedly true that some of the simplest things in life can be the most splendid. 

I love food.  I may seem to be shifting gears in a rather rash manner, heading in an arbitrary direction, but I assure you the connection will soon become clear.  I like to consider myself to be a rather worldly person and an educated consumer, and when it comes to food, let’s just say I know my shit.  I can provide you with a list of restaurants spanning from local holes-in-the wall to the finest five star restaurants in the city.  This past weekend, I decided to step outdoors and embrace the wonders of New York City, which I often forget exist during the chaos of the workweek, and I ventured to Nolita for an epicurean adventure.  Following a tip from my brother, I decided to take out from a small, but reputable place on Mulberry Street called Parm.  The name pretty much captures the essence of this restaurant; small, but character filled, cozy and local, with the occasional tourist dining at the bar, and above all, basic, but far from common. 

I had checked out the menu earlier in the day, and at first glace, I thought there was a page or two missing from the on-line menu.  There are five main food options for dinner, some with slight variations offered.  Aesthetically bare, inadequate at first glance, and not at all what I expected to see. My initial disappointment blinded me from appreciating the humble style of this unique eatery. 

Parm is not the type of place to have a million different entrees and platters frankly because that is not who they are, nor who they’re trying to be.  Chicken, meatball, and eggplant parmesan are their specialty, and they are not afraid to hide it.  Other dishes offered at Parm are sausage and pepper heroes, sides of vegetables, mozzarella balls, a side salad, and baked ziti. 

As my appetite grew so did my anticipation to take a bite into my hero.  I ordered eggplant and the person I was taking out with ordered meatball.  We also decided to try the baked ziti as well as the one and only dessert choice on their take-out menu – house made coffee cake. 

Now, I have had eggplant parmesan many times before, but with just one initial bite of my Parm hero, I knew this was a level above anything I had ever eaten.  The thick, hearty slices of eggplant were perfectly encased in a light, yet tremendously flavorful coat of breadcrumbs.  My taste buds demanded more of this delicious Italian creation, and with the generous size of the hero, they’re requests soon became satisfied. 

 Baked ziti is another classic but simple Italian food staple.  Well, Parm once again redefines this dish by making it in a memorable and unique fashion.  The baked ziti came in a brick-like shape, with well-done cheese coating all six sides.  A light marinara drizzle was the finishing touch to this delightful treat, and also appeared inside this flavor blasted brick.  And, of course, what would baked ziti be without the presence of ricotta cheese?  The cheese to sauce ratio of the ziti could not have been more on point.  Needless to say, Parm nailed the re-creation of this typical side. 

I was left with a lap full of bread and cake crumbs and sat to both mentally and physically digest the wholesomeness of the meal I had just ingested. Despite my stomache feeling sufficiently fulfilled, within minutes I wanted more.

In hindsight, my full Parm experience began the second I read the menu.  The skimpiness that I perceived to be a mistake of sorts was the complete opposite.  The offering of only a handful of classic Italian sandwiches and sides is not a sign that this restaurant is one-dimensional, rather, it shows the ability to capture the true essence of one specific thing and highlight its greatness.  Less is so often more, and in a culture defined and characterized by its excess, it was refreshing to find a place that appreciates the simplicity that is so often overlooked.

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