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Archive for March, 2010

I have been meaning to get down to Locanda Verde to try some of their baked goods (ok, so it took nearly a year, I’m slow).  The restaurant itself as well as the bakery has received raves from all over the place.   Sometimes this can lead to a let down but not in this case.

Both the lemon rosemary scone and the nutella cookie were first rate.  And for a scone bought at 1:30 p.m. to still be really good after sitting around for half a day means that if I had tried it at 8:00 a.m. it would have been totally off-the-hook.  You could taste both the rosemary and the lemon but what makes this scone so good is the texture, like a slightly less buttery biscuit.

The nutella cookie reminded me of the Bouchon Nutter butter in that the filling is even better that you can imagine.  The cookies surrounding the filling are crumbly, textured and delicious.

The woman in charge of Locanda Verde’s bakery counter is Karen DeMasco from Craft.   She is also the pastry chef.  Grub Street had a cool chart of what was on the marble bakery counter last June.

Recommended: Lemon rosemary scone and nutella cookie

Locanda Verde is  located at 377 Greenwich Street (off North Moore St.)

Chocolate Matzo update: Zabar’s takes up the slack

Posted by JK on March 28th, 2010

Still available as of March 28th, 2010

I  am hearing reports that Jacques Torres on Amsterdam is out of  large dark chocolate covered matzo so I thought I would let readers know that Zabar’s still has Ozem brand dark chocolate matzo in regular and orange flavor.  The Ozem product is not in the same class as Jacques Torres but in a pinch they’ll do, and they come all the way from Israel.  The Ozem product is real dark chocolate and the matzos underneath stay reasonably crunchy but they just aren’t as flavorful as the locally made Torres matzos.   $5.69 at Zabar’s 2245 Broadway.

I am also told that some Vosges stores still have some Dark Chocolate matzos left as well.

Dark chocolate matzo from Jacques Torres

I’m not sure exactly what role dark chocolate covered matzo played in the original Passover seder.  But if I ever had to flee somewhere, one of the things I would grab on my way out would be the nearest batch of good dark chocolate.   It travels pretty well, doesn’t need to be refrigerated and provides valuable calories for long treks in the desert.  Add in a little unleavened bread and you have a nutritious sandwich, chock full of antioxidants (ok maybe not that nutritious).

I do know that if the Israelites had access to a Jacques Torres they would have equipped themselves with all 3 kinds of chocolate covered matzo’s: dark, milk and peanut butter.

The small dark chocolate pack contains four, 3-inch square matzos and is a good deal for $5.00.  The Dark chocolate provides a nice snap when cracked open.  The matzo inside retains all of it’s crispness underneath the chocolate.

Dark chocolate covered peeps

If the historical connection between Passover and dark chocolate matzo is murky then the record on chocolate covered peeps and Easter is even more muddled.

Both Jacques Torres and Gristedes are selling dark chocolate covered Peeps  right now.  Surprisingly, the Torres Peep is the far better deal here given Christedes pricing of $0.99 for one, mylar-shrouded Peep vs. Torres 4-for $4.00, hand-dipped and gift-packaged version. Both use actual Peep brand flourencent-yellow colored marshmallow with Christedes selling a bird shaped Peep and Torres selling the rabbit shape.  Both coat the marshamallow with dark chocolate but as you might expect the Torres chocolate is far superior to the shelf-stable covering on the Christedes Peep.

The Christede’s Peep was not bad but the dark chocolate was just a bit sweet for my tastes, I checked in my local CVS to see if they could be had for cheaper there but they didn’t carry it.

Peeps from Peeps

Recommended: Dark chocolate covered matzo and Peeps from Jacques Torres

Jacques Torres has 3  locations in the New York City.  I visited the Upper West Side location at 285 Amsterdam Ave (73  St.).

In the flesh: an actual Bomboloni

Updated: Wednesday, March 24: Bombolini confirmed open!  After many false starts Bombolini, the highly anticipated Upper West Side Italian bombolini, gelato and specialty latte cafe is now open.

The super friendly staff of the Upper West Side store

After receiving just slightly less hype than the premiere for Avatar I was concerned that the opening of Bomboloni was going to be a let down.  But after being greeted by the super-friendly staff (in Italian)  and then immediately being offered a few free samples of gelato, I was won over.   During the day they had pistachio, raspberry jam and traditional (custard and powdered sugar) filled bombolonis but by the time we arrived at 9:00p.m. they only had traditional left.   We purchased two for $2.18 including tax, which is pretty reasonable.

Pick your bomboloni carefully: this one is half the size of the other...

The Bombolonis themselves were actually really good.   I know some people are concerned that these things are  just Krispy Kremes dressed in Italian suits.   In fact they are quite different and in my  opinion much better.   For one thing, the bombolonis are much less sweet and not quite as light and airy.  There was only a small amount of traditional filling in the two that I ate.    The dough reminded me a little of fresh baked challah bread, just a little bit sweet but almost bread like, a really fresh bread.   At $1.00 each this place is going to be mobbed this spring and summer.

There are some other interesting things on the menu that I didn’t try such as toasted marshmallow or dark chocolate raspberry latte.

Bombolonis are $1 each or 6 for $5.

Dessertbuzz prediction: a  huge Grom-like response on the Upper West Side.

Recommended: Traditional bomboloni, cioccolato gelato

This one hardly had any filing at all

Updated 9:00 a.m. Friday, March 19:

Last nigth at 10:00 p.m. I spoke to the man behind bombolini last night and due to Con Ed having to prioritze customers who lost service due to the storms last week, his appointments have been postponed.  He said he is dissapointed but that people having electricity is more important.  Definitely not opening this weekend.

Bombolini looks good and is just about ready but we are going to have to wait a bit longer

Just stopped by on the way home from work and there are about 12 workers laying tile,  doing stuff in the basement.  It looks like tomorrow for first open.   I suppose they could start making donuts tonight bit there seem to be a lot of stuff on the counters.

Bombolini from Dessert Truck Works

Thanks to Flo-Fab’s reminder, I grabbed my camera and headed down to Columbus Ave and 68th Street to check out Bombolini only to find a sign in the window that said “due to Con Ed issues we are delaying opening day until tomorrow”. Damn, I was in the mood for some deep-fried dessert.   Hopefully by the time you see this post I will have eaten, photographed and reviewed these guys.  Until then, here are some other great Bombolini’s from Dessert Truck Works and From David Burke Townhouse.

With filings like peanut butter cup, Gianduia (chocolate hazelnut), Apple Filled, Raspberry Jam and  Tahitian Vanilla I think there will be a flavor for every taste.

Bombolini or donut from David Burke Townhouse

 

Ben & Jerry’s is holding their annual birthday celebration and giving out free ice cream cones to anyone willing to stand in line for a while.   This is scheduled to last from 12- 8 p.m. .  You should call to confirm that your nearest location is participating.  Find locations here.

Saturday was Macaron Day and two great bakeries in my hood were participating.  Macaron Day is a good idea and I was curious to see how things were going.   The closest participating bakery is Georgia’s which is about 10 minutes from my apartment.  Impressively, they were still providing free macarons at 2:30.   Not only that, but they were going above-and-beyond the macaron day guidelines and had put out a small plate of macarons were not really limiting people to just one.   Interestingly, most people did only took one.   I took 3.   But also bought one, plus two scones and a cookie.

I found Georgia’s chocolate and strawberry macarons to be absolutely top-notch.   Especially the Strawberry.  It had tons of flavor and was perfect in texture: really smooth on the inside and crisp but not hard on the outside.     The chocolate was also very smooth.   I would buy both those again in a heartbeat.  They did have one flavor called “oreo” that had a kind of odd taste.

Strawberry Macarons from Georgia's are A+

I should note that Georgi’a also has excellent scones and cookies.    In the scone category I recommend the chocolate chip.  Their whole wheat oat scones are also worth a try.   In the cookie category you can’t go wrong at here.  Chocolate chip, oatmeal or double chocolate chip.

Recommended: Chocolate and Strawberry macarons, scones, chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies

Georgia’s is located on 2418 Broadway (corner of 90th).

Silver Moon Bakery chestnut Macaron

Silver Moon Bakery was also participating in Macaron Day but by the time we got there they had stopped giving out free macarons.   One of the employees said that they had given away 150 by noon.   I imagine their close proximity to Columbia may have led to a run on their inventory by internet savvy starving grad students.

After asking a few more questions and purchasing a $5.00 bread the Silver Moon employee took pity on me and offered me a chestnut macaron.  Honestly, when he said it was chestnut flavored I was kinda disappointed but after tasting it I was sold (have I been stupid to avoid chestnut flavored desserts all this time?)  When I was 5 blocks away I regretted not purchasing  another macaron to see how they were.

I have written about Silver Moon bakery before but in case you haven’t read those posts,  just know that nearly everything is excellent at this bakery, especially the breads.

Recommended: Chestnut macarons, and of the fresh breads.

Silver Moon Bakery is located at 2740 Broadway at 105th St.

Macaron Day NYC: Sat March 20…

Posted by JK on March 20th, 2010

Dessert Truck Works Pomegranate macarons from Nov 2008

Updated: Georgia’s on the Upper West Side and Cannelle Patisserie in Queens have been added.

François Payard is organizing the first annual Macaron Day in NYC on Saturday, March 20.   Discover just how good these gourmet little pastries can be at one of the bakeries below.  These retailers will be offering a free macaron if you tell them you are there because of Macaron Day (of course you should tell them you are there because of  DessertBuzz too, but you won’t get anything extra).  As you would expect in a city of 8 million, supplies are limited so go early.

Macaron Day NYC is inspired by and will coincide with the 5th annual Jour du Macaron in Paris, organized by Pierre Hermé.

Bouchon Bakery macaron from the Time Warner Center location

Chocolate macarons from L.A. Burdick

Macarons from Kee Chocolatier (as of yet not participating in Macaron Day)

Francois Payard's macarons from Francois Chocolate Bar

Almondine Bakery
85 Water Street, DUMBO
(718) 797-5026
442 9th Street, Park Slope
(718) 832-4607
www.almondinebakery.com

Bouchon Bakery
10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor
(212) 823-9364
www.bouchonbakery.com

Burdick Chocolate
5 East 20th Street
(212) 796-0143
www.burdickchocolate.com

Butterfield Market
1114 Lexington Avenue
(212) 288-7800
www.butterfieldmarket.com

DessertTruck Works
6 Clinton Street
www.dt-works.net

FC Chocolate Bar714 Madison Avenue, 4th floor(212) 759-1600www.fcchocolatebar.com

GEORGIA’S CAFÉ & BAKERY
2418 Broadway at West 89th Street
(212) 362-2000

Cannelle Patisserie
75-59 31st Avenue, East Elmhurst
(718) 565-6200
La Maison du Chocolat
1018 Madison Avenue at 78 Street
63 Wall Street
30 Rockefeller Center
Empire State Center Lobby
(212) 744-7117
www.lamaisonduchocolat.com

Macaron Café
161 West 36th Street
(212) 564-3525
www.macaroncafe.com

Madeleine Patisserie
132 West 23rd Street
212-243-2757
www.madeleinepatisserie.com

Mad-Mac “The Authentic French Macarons”
At Bernardaud
499 Park Avenue at 59th Street
(973) 225-0930
www.madmacnyc.com

Silver Moon Bakery
2740 Broadway at 105th Street
(212) 866-4717
www.silvermoonbakery.com