Eli’s Redux

February 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

I really cannot believe I had yet to try the breakfasts at Eli’s Bread before this week. This babka “muffin” just made my life so much sweeter:

The bread could not have been more fresh, its interior impeccably airy and light while the outer edges held a necessary crunch. Like the best, most indulgent cinnamon toast rolled up and dusted with powdered sugar, each bite revealed tiny layers of babka held together by a pervasive cinnamon-raisin swirl.

There’s a reason (and in this case, a perfectly plump and flavorful raisin) for Zabar’s impeccable reputation. Eli, please make me breakfast anytime.

Eli’s

February 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

So I finally purchased something from the new(ish) Eli’s Bread in Grand Central Market:

Banana chocolate chip muffin.

When something has “chocolate chip” in it’s title I tend to assume the chocolate exists throughout instead of simply resting on top of the item in five (yes, I had already eaten one before taking a photo) solitary chunks.

Alas, this really was a banana muffin wearing dainty chocolate accessories. While I never quite got over my initial disappointment at this chocolate-chip letdown, the light, airy, and extremely banana-y muffin still won me over. What a nice change from my usual suspects and perhaps one of the more virtuous breakfast choices that still contains chocolate.

Mini Medley

February 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

Our cafeteria has some pretty decent mini muffins, an assortment of which I have been able to sample over the past year:

 

 

Clockwise from top left: Corn, blueberry, and two “mystery” flavors (one might be raspberry?)

Perfect for those mornings when I’m just a tad hungry yet can’t seem to commit to a particular breakfast, one or two of these guys hit the spot. While I think I have tried almost all by this point there are a few varieties whose tastes still prove illusive. I might have to become more scientific in my attempt to nail down these flavors, but for the meantime I’m going to keep eating them in the hopes that my taste buds will evolve. The things we must do for research.

Montrose Pumpkins

February 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Last week I ended up on the same corner two mornings in a row, leaving both times from two separate stores with a coffee and pumpkin muffin in hand. You might say I was going through a phase; you might also say I conducted an ad-hoc neighborhood survey.

The first was from Cup: decent if not a little bland and uniform in texture:

The second, from Boulevard, was definitely my favorite.

This guy had more punch, more flavor, and just the slightest bit more contrast between crisp outer edge and moist interior. It tasted like real pumpkin, a little earthy and not too sweet.

A combination of Boulevard’s muffin and Cup’s coffee and service would make any decadent Bushwick Ave. breakfast complete.

Shaking Things Up

January 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Sometimes people are just nice.

One morning last week it was raining, I was grumpy, and the L train did not seem to be running to Manhattan around the time of my commute. In a fit of impatience I jumped onto a Brooklyn-bound train and decided to get off at the Graham stop, in search of coffee and a pastry to provide sustenance before attempting to commute again.

Stumbling into Variety Café it appeared I had found my safe haven: no line, wafting Stumptown, and an ample supply of muffins. I asked for a small french press and a pumpkin-apple option– only to discover that the contents of my wallet in no way fit with the “Cash Only” sign on the register.

I told the barista to cancel my order as the rain outside felt ever more appropriate. But then, a miracle! He laughed and asked if I lived in the area. I replied yes and he said, “It’s not a problem! Just come on by and pay us another day. Really, we do this all the time. Don’t worry.”

As emotions were running high that morning upon hearing these words I almost cried; instead I simply told him he was wonderful and that I’d be back that evening.

True to my promise I returned later with a $5 bill in tow. And the muffin? Tasted like the best apples, pumpkins, walnuts and flexible payment schedule I’d ever swallowed.

The Shop

November 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

This fall has brought several new additions to my midtown coffee/bakery arsenal (which once was comprised solely of Joe), what with Culture and Steve’s breaking onto the scene. And just today (after reading some pleasant reviews) I finally made it to The Shop, located across the street from the NYPL in the lobby of the Andaz hotel.

I felt it was my duty to sample both dessert and breakfast items and I can now say with authority that the chocolate-chip cookie (house baked!) and carrot-walnut muffin are divine*. The cookie was moist and studded with a plethora of tiny, tiny chocolate chips which, despite my general preference for huge chocolate chunks, added to the softness and general character of the cookie.

The muffin was potentially groundbreaking even despite spending a few too many seconds in the oven (as indicated by char marks on the muffin’s outer lip). Hints of cardamom played between finely chopped carrot and walnut, the inside moist against the firm and walnut-dusted edges. I might have to find a way to stop by 5th avenue more often; this could easily become a part of my morning menu.

*So divine, and my office break so peaceful as to involve no cell phones/cameras, that I did not get a chance to snap either item. Use your imagination!

RBC

November 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

‘Tis the season:

Pumpkin muffin at RBC.

I entered in a contest to guess the meaning of the coffee shop’s mnemonic. Located on a street near several financial institutions, my “Royal Bank of Coffee” didn’t seem so far off…

 

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