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Archive for May, 2010

Barcelona Tapas: Tapac 24

Posted by Niko on May 31st, 2010

Tapac 24 in Barcelona

I only managed to try one dessert at the New York Times recommended Tapac 24 in the Eixample in Barcelona, but I can tell you it was memorable.  As a matter of fact our whole meal was memorable and a spectacular value for what we ate.

The “xocolata pa, oli i sa”  was one of those desserts that just doesn’t sound that good when you hear the ingredient list but when you eat it, it just works.  Chocolate mousse.  Ok, that sounds good but then you learn it will be sitting in a half-inch of olive oil!  Hmm.  Well, no worries the mousse was very dark and super flavorful and was unusually dense for a mousse.   It was more a cross between mousse and softened, solid dark chocolate  And something about the olive oil and the coarse salt really made the chocolate taste “pop”.  What can I say?

Recommended: xocolata pa, oli i sa

Tapac 24 is located at Diputació 269;

Phone: 34-93-488-0977

Chocolate pyramid from Aldonando in San Sebastian

Aldonando in San Sebastian Spain, is a traditional Catalan restaurant serving unpretentious, perfectly prepared regional specialties.  It’s old school, with rustic wooden tables and old men smoking cigarettes.  There are no plexi-glass counters or foamy amuse bouches served in bent spoons.

I never guessed they would have a modern French-style plated dessert like the chocolate pyramid.   It consisted of a cake layer and two dark mouse layers, one very dark one less dark.  The outside shell was also made from a light colored dark chocolate and was very soft not crisp.  This is actually not easy to do and the dessert must be kept at a constant temperature after it’s made to keep its form.  This dessert would have held it’s own in any of NYC best restaurants.

For our last meal in San Sebastian we went to the one-star Michelin restaurant Kokotxa for lunch.  This place was the polar opposite of Aldonando.  The interior was bright, airy and modern.  Smoking was not allowed as it was inside Aldonando and we were served an amuse bouche in a decidedly bent, folded over spoon!

After a great meal I ordered the chocolate crisp – which turned out to be the same dessert that Karen DiMasco used to serve at Craft a few years back.  I’m not certain she originated it but it was good then and it was good here as well.  In any event, the crisp consists of phylo-dough wrapped, semi-molten, warm chocolate cake made from very dark chocolate.  It was served with mango sorbet and was made to order over like a souffle.

This lunch represented somewhat of a splurge for team dessertbuzz, however we thought the staff was particularly friendly and helpful and I thought all the courses we had were special and perfectly prepared.  I think Kokotxa lived up to their Michelin star.

Recommended: Aldonando chocolate pyramid, Kokotxa chocolate crisp

Aldonando is on Euskal Herria, San Sebastian, Spain

Kokotxa is on Campanario Angel, San Sebastian, Spain

Dessert Truck Works, one of my favorite places for desserts in NYC is going to be giving away free desserts this Thursday from 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m (did I mention the word “dessert” enough in that sentence?)  Every customer will have a choice of their “throwdown-winning” bread pudding or a scoop of one of their ice creams or sorbets.

Why do I like their model so much?

Dessert Truck Works rocks because you get to eat pastries and restaurant-quality plated desserts created by real-deal pastry chefs for less than half the price of a dessert in fine restaurant.   See my report from earlier this year to see what to oder

Dessert Truck Works Pomegranate macarons from Nov 2008

If you like great desserts, you would be crazy not to hit this.

Dessert Truck Works is located at 6 Clinton St.

Dessert from A Voce in the Time Warner Center

Had a really nice meal at A Voce tonight.  The 2 pasta dishes I tried lived up to the high expectations I walked in with (after reading so many glowing reviews).  I also had a great side dish of brussell sprouts.  Most importantly, I had a few of of the tasty house-recommended pineapple  cocktails and got quite drunk.  So take this review with a grain of salt as A Voce could have served me two lumps of coal with dish soap and I would have thought it tasted ok.

Perhaps it was due to my drunken-ness, maybe it was just poor judgement, but I broke one of the most sacred DessertBuzz rules tonight about always ordering the fried dessert).  Yes, one of the dessert options tonight was a  Bombolini with bittersweet chocolate but I took a pass and didn’t order it.  Instead, I got the Crostata with chocolate-caramel tart, fior di latte (a type of mozzarella) sorbetto and sea salt.  I’ll never know how good the deep-fried bombolini would have been but the crostata was excellent.

The tart had the whole salty sweet thing going on and it was easy to eat instead of being clumsy and hard cut into with a fork without the filling running out all over the plate like the one at Picholine.  The fior di latte sorbet was excellent despite how mozzarella flavored ice cream may sound.  The dessert also came with a rice-crispie-treat like garnish that really made the dessert.

Recommended: Crostata

Special savory recommendation: Brussels sprouts

A Voce is located in the Time Warner Center at 10 Columbus Circle

I was in the theater district on Saturday evening and all night long I was thinking about a quick trip to Kyotofu, one of the original destination dessert restaurants in NYC.    I have always been a big fan of their cupcakes which are really more like little souffles but I had never tried their macarons.  Which is odd since I tasted nearly half of Manahattan’s macarons a few weeks ago.   Eating a few more for comparison was just a good idea.

a nice looking macaron

The passion fruit macaron with chocolate ganache inside was a solid winner in my book.  A perfectly soft but not stale outside and a smooth layer of chocolate paste inside.  I asked when it was made and the host wasn’t sure but it seemed like it was either very early in the morning of that day or at around noon.

passion fruit macaron from Kyotofu

The strawberry macaron was more straight forward.  It had the same nice texture as the passion fruit macaon but it was strawberry through and through.  No Ganache of any kind inside.

Of course, Kyotofu also has plenty of fancy plated desserts too.  I actually once celebrated my birthday their with 6 friends but unfortunately, that was one of the posts that was lost when DessertBuzz crashed back in Feb.

Recommended: Kyotofu chocolate and green tea cupcakes and passion fruit and chocolate ganache macaron

Kyotofu is located at 705 9th Ave (48 and 49th St)

If you are sick of cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and your usual chocolate fix, I recommend you check out Bee Desserts.    They have an unusual menu of both savory and sweet offerings.

The main reason to visit Bee Desserts is to try their signature honey cakes.  These cakes really hit the trifecta.  They are novel, delicious and very well prepared.    The consistency inside the honey cake is like the amaretto soaked  bottom of a slice of tiramisu.   They are about the size of  a small hockey puck and have a thin layer of artistically embossed dark chocolate that cracks when you cut or bite into it.  If you let them sit for a moment, the inside gets very  soft.   They are available in 4 flavors: original, marshmallow, honey, and Cognac.  The marshmallow was my favorite but the Honey is also very good.

Each cake is wrapped in colored foil and comes in its own box like a hi-end Ding-Dong.  The cakes make excellent gifts at $4.00 each or in boxes of 4.

As for their savory offerings I defer to Serious Eats NY who says their unusual food is worth trying too.  Bee Desserts also has a nice outdoor patio on the backside of the restaurant.  Perfect for an evening dessert and coffee.

Recommended: Marshmallow Honey Cake

Bee Desserts is located at 94 Greenwich Avenue

Spot Dessert Bar: Mint chocolate cookie

Posted by Niko on May 2nd, 2010

Spot's chocolate mint cookie: lots of mint flavor

I was in the neighborhood and thought a trip to Spot was long overdue.  Unfortunately, I had already consumed 3 desserts by this time so I just ordered the smallest thing I could find.  That turned out to be the mint chocolate cookie.   I have had these cookies many times but just never wrote about them.   Their texture is like that of a very flavorful brownie with a slightly crispy outer crust.  Their main feature is a very strong mint flavor.  One person, who I shared half my cookie with thought it was too minty, which I thought was ridiculous.  Anyway, try one yourself and let me know.

Recommended: Chocolate mint cookie

Spot’s website. Spot is located at 13 St Mark’s Place.