A doughnut, that’s all

August 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have always noticed the various Doughnut Plant offerings at Joe but until now (despite my penchant for things sweet and fried) have never been tempted. Perhaps it was because they tended to stock mainly yeast and jam varieties instead of cake, or perhaps I am fiercely and subconsciously loyal to Peter Pan of Greenpoint; for whatever reason it was not until yesterday that I finally walked away with a doughnut alongside my morning coffee.

A banana pecan cake doughnut, to be precise! And, while this was indeed a well-done thing: moist interior reminiscent of banana bread and a crisp, sweet glaze studded with pecan bits, it honestly did not give me much to remember.

Yes it was tasty, and yes perhaps my expectations were too high — I was anticipating being lifted onto another plane by the sheer majesty of the thing — but I honestly can say that I would have been more content eating a slice of good banana bread than I was with this treat. Maybe that’s the problem: the Doughnut Plant’s cake creations are really not suitable for breakfast. Now, if only Joe would start stocking banana bread…


When taste trumps sight

August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yesterday I had the most magical muffin I can remember in a very long while.

It comes from Van Leeuwen, its name is Apricot brown sugar, and it is most likely not going to be around when I look for it again next week. But alas, those one-time affairs are the ones we remember most fondly, do we not?

Soft, tart apricot. Rich, sweet crumb, all with a hint of char that lingered well beyond the last bite. I believe this was love: swift, fleeting, and pure. Or maybe just a passing infatuation, until Van Leeuwen brings around its newest flavor. I suppose I’ll just have to wait and see.

Monday Moves

August 10, 2011 § Leave a comment

Most likely as a reaction to my weekly cubicle confinement, this summer I have absolutely maximized my weekend endeavors to the extent that I often spend a greater proportion of those blissful two days in sunlight or water than I do in bed. While I could not be happier, generally come Monday morning (especially after a raucous Sunday night kickball game, or two) I need some serious sugar and caffeine to keep me moving.

Hence, chocolate:

I am once again frequenting Tazza pretty much daily, and come Monday I knew I would need more than a muffin to make it through the morning. This chocolate-chip banana bread from Baked (down in Red Hook) was sitting right next to the cash register, and good thing indeed. My eyes were not in the mood to scourge the pastry case as per usual– they wanted to find something sweet and sturdy that I might easily whisk into my bag without having to expend any more precious energy.

This loaf was good: well proportioned, a nice grain, amply moist from banana. What was missing was some real chocolate; its like the bakers actually wanted this to be a suitable breakfast option. Alas, I savored the few cocoa morsels and let the loaf’s more healthful ingredients tide me over until lunch. Perhaps this was a good thing since I surprisingly did not have a sugar crash and was more productive on Mondays than I otherwise should be. Oh Baked, I really should trust your judgment more often…


Berries galore

August 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

Thanks to a random work-related errand, this morning I found myself strolling past the Borough Hall farmer’s market before getting into the subway. While my intention was merely to look at all of the fresh produce and perhaps grab a sample or two, I was immediately smitten with the fresh, tiny blueberries being sold for $4 a pint. Not batting an eye I forked over the cash and dug into the tart blue wonders. One mouthful reminded me of how those overblown, bulbous grocery berries are just not the “real” things– not the way berries taste right off of the hiking trail or backyard bush.

In line with the day’s trend, I opted for the blueberry muffin at Joe’s along with my morning iced Americano. Both were delicious, and while the berries in the muffin were of the larger, sweeter grocery-store variety, they were found with such abundance that the overall muffin experience was quite enjoyable. The sweet muffin (made even more so by the cinnamon sugar-coated top) paired beautifully with a handful of tart market berries and a sip of Americano.

A brilliant blue Tuesday, indeed.

Believe it or not, this cookie is amazing.

August 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

Whenever I find myself at the aforementioned Tazza I can’t help but pick up a certain, aptly-named “Monster” of a cookie despite the array of beautiful and dainty sweets at my disposal. Delicate lemon tart? Famed Robicelli’s cupcake? Elegant and tender puff pastry wheel? No thanks! I’ll take the monster.

Stacked high in one of those glass jars on the counter, this is definitely not the eye-catchers of Tazza’s pretty bunch. However the flavors, a trifecta of oats, peanut butter and chocolate, truly are. The base is equally balanced in taste and texture between the oats and peanut butter, which provide the perfect heft for the cookie’s true gems: 20 or 30 chocolate chips and M&Ms scattered throughout. You can’t tell from the picture but I guarantee every bite will contain at least one piece of chocolate (and very often more). This cookie is more akin to a power bar, or several– it definitely pays to split this between two separate meals (or, if you are a sharer, two separate people). One half of this baby got me through the second part of my LSAT exam and yet, I still associate it with pleasantry! if that’s not testament enough to the powers of this monster, I don’t know what is.

Tazza, mislabeled?

August 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

The other day I stopped by Tazza to pick up a refreshing iced coffee and pastry on my way to work. Since the scones looked way more enticing than the muffins (and lately I have had no interest in croissants), I had no problem narrowing my scope of choice. I wavered briefly between the all-berry and “apple cranberry”, and, since I had never tried the latter, I went with it.

It had all of the markings of a wonderful scone: crisp, crunchy exterior, nicely browned, light in the hand (no hockey pucks here), and a few hints of red indicating the fruit within.

Er, the fruit… within? Upon opening this scone I found a total of 3 cranberries, all which had been visible from the outside. There were absolutely no apples, leading me to believe this scone was not, in fact, an “apple cranberry” variety but was simply “plain scone with three cranberries”. Once I overcame my shock I realized it was in fact quite good– moist, fluffy, simple in tastes with a hint of tart from the berries. The crust was indeed crunchy (especially with a dusting of demarara sugar) and the flavors blended well; in fact, I think having apples in here would have been a mistake. Thank you, Tazza, for knowing your stuff– even though your attention to labeling details might need some work.

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