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A Popcorn Sundae and Creamsicle Pie at North End Grill

Posted by Niko on April 24th, 2014


[Photographs: Niko Triantafillou]

[This article first appeared in Serious Eats NY] Despite the glamourous modern interior and seemingly intimidating open kitchen, North End Grill is a quite comfortable restaurant. That’s a theme extending from sleek, plush leather booths to a delicious but unfussy dessert menu from pastry chef Tracy Obolsky.

Two of my favorite desserts—on a menu packed with many superb offerings—both feature whimsical takes on childhood favorites. The Popcorn Sundae ($9) is the very embodiment of a fun elevated comfort food dessert. Your first clue? The tall sundae glass it’s served in.

The sundae is packed with the flavor and aroma of popcorn, from the popcorn-flavored ice cream to the chunks of financier made with popcorn flour. Salted butterscotch sauce is drizzled down the sides and some black pepper whipped cream tops it all off.


The chunks of popcorn financiers softening in the ice cream is a winning combination, like a brownie sundae transformed entirely into popcorn. And salted butterscotch plus crunchy candied popcorn is reminiscent of an old candy shop’s buttercrunch. This is what a great elevated comfort dessert looks like: something that works on an immediate level, then delights even more as you think about it.

Obolsky’s Creamsicle Pie ($9) with vanilla whipped cream and candied orange is another take on a childhood favorite, but like the sundae, it’s no simple popsicle.

Things start out similar to a good key lime pie with a crumbly, buttery graham cracker crust, but there’s a sweeter vanilla Bavarian cream in lieu of the standard lime curd. To balance all that sweetness, Obolsky adds a generous layer of bitter marmalade just above the crust. Get the two components in one bite and boom, you have creamsicle.

A thin layer of orange gelée and some candied orange slices add a citrus dimension and some pretty aesthetics. Despite all the layers, some vanilla flavored whipped cream reminds you that this is still a proper pie.

Ice cream and pie lovers: engage.

About the author: Native New Yorker Niko Triantafillou is the founder of his photographs of desserts and pastry chefs have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Dessert Professional Magazine. He is an unabashed foodie nerdling. Follow him on Twitter at @DessertBuzz.


[Photographs: Niko Triantafillou]

[This article originally appeared in Serious Eats NY] The challenge of evaluating chocolate chip cookies is that even mediocre ones tastes damn good when served hot from the oven. With decent chocolate and plenty of butter, it’s hard to go wrong.

That’s why my benchmark for fresh chocolate chip cookies is high. What did the chef do differently or better? This brings me to Dominique Ansel Bakery’s new Chocolate Chip Cookie Milk Shot ($3), which debuted in Austin at SXSW and has already seen several cycles of media coverage, but is only available in New York starting today. The design is deceptively simple: cookie dough shaped into a shot glass, then filled with milk to be eaten on the spot. Read the rest of this entry »

Dessert at Jean Georges: Citrus Four (Delicious) Ways

Posted by Niko on April 23rd, 2014


[Photographs: Niko Triantafillou]

[This article originally appeared on Serious Eats NY] The prix-fixe lunch at the three-Michelin-starred Jean Georges offers one of the best fine dining values in New York, but their fantastic pastry program has always been the draw for me, so I try to visit at least once a year.

You can pick between three or four different themes, one of which is Citrus ($15 a la carte) featuring an array of unique and rare seasonal fruit. The Citrus includes four desserts served on one (giant) plate, but the four could easily stand alone as individual courses. But the all-together format is how Jean Georges has done it for years, and perhaps more importantly, it’s what their regulars have come to expect. Read the rest of this entry »


[Photographs: Niko Triantafillou]

[This article originally appeared in Serious Eats NY] Despite today’s obsession with over-the-top, deep fried, caramel coated, whiskey soaked indulgences, not all chefs are on board. Leading the charge on the high end is Rouge Tomate. Though the restaurant employs its own nutritionist, it’s not a health food restaurant. Nor is it 100% vegetarian, organic or gluten free—though much of their menu matches those descriptions. It’s really in its own category. Read the rest of this entry »

Where’s all the content?

Posted by Niko on January 1st, 2014
Niko's reviews on Serious Eats New York blog

Click here to see my latest reviews on Serious Eats NY

Since April, 2013 I have been writing the dessert column (“Sugar Rush”) for Serious Eats NY.  I usually write three dessert reviews a week and also cover special dessert features like the best rugelach in New York.  I always post my latest reviews on Twitter.  Follow Dessertbuzz here.

Here are your three finalists  (from top to bottom): Thomas Raquel, Meg Galus and Sean Pera.

Latest updates can be found on Twitter at dessertbuzz and on a publi gallery on FaceBook here and here.

Snaps from StarChefs Int. Pastry Competition Day 1

Posted by Niko on September 30th, 2013

The latest updates can be found on Twitter at dessertbuzz and in two public galleries on FaceBook here and here (no FB account needed).