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Archive for August, 2010

Barbecue this weekend: bring marshmallows!

Posted by Niko on August 26th, 2010

Perfect for some caffeinated s'mores

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Spot Dessert Bar: Chocolate Marquise and excellent sorbet

Posted by Niko on August 23rd, 2010

Spot Dessert Bar

Photo courtesy of Kathy YL Chan at A Passion For Food

A friend who I turned on to Spot told me they put a laminated DessertBuzz review inside the restaurant.  So when I was near there last nigtht I figured it was time to show some love.  When I arrived I was happy to see there was a wait and that the place was bustling.  I ordered the Chocolate Marquise and my companion ordered one scoop each of the chocolate and mango sorbet.

The Chocolate Marquise is a legitimate, three-part, schmancy-pants restaurant dessert.  The Marquise itself is a dark chocolate based mousse-like cake dusted with cocoa-cookie crumbs.  It’s not sweet at all, just very smooth and chocolaty.  Next to that is a bit of  mango tapioca.  This particular tapioca is made from the large format balls like those found in bubble tea (which they also serve at Spot).

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Don’t fear the word: VEGAN desserts at Peacefood Cafe

Posted by Niko on August 21st, 2010

Peacefood Cafe Vegan Desserts

Dear readers,
For those of you who are terrified of any dessert that has “vegan” in the title I have some news: The mini brownies at Peacefood are actually really good especially when you consider their $0.99 price.

These brownies are moist and “cake-like” rather than “fudge-like” but the thing I like most about them is their dark chocolate cocoa flavor.  This is what is often missing from many brownies IMHO.  Maybe the lack of eggs and milk forces a vegan baker to focus more on flavor?  A more traditional baker might take for granted that a brownie with all the usual ingredients will taste pretty good no matter what they do.  Check these out for a buck and let me know how they were.

The mini cupcake with chocolate frosting was good as well. I doubt too many people could identify it as “vegan” in a blind taste test.  Like the Brownies, it was moist.  For some reason it did not have the deep, dark chocolate flavor that the brownies had.  If you like your frosting with the sweetness-o-meter jacked to 10 like Magnolia or super-high in volume like Sweet Revenge then you might not love these.

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PeaceFoods Cafe vegan chocolate chip cookie

Posted by Niko on August 19th, 2010

Peacefood Cafe on the Upper West Side seems to have hit their stride and people have taken notice.  The place is frequently very busy and their vegan baked items which started out in the “very good category” seemed to have improved even more.  I swear their standard chocolate chip cookie recipe has changed for the better.  Maybe they just added a second batch during the day now, but I remember these cookies being a little dry and brittle.   However, over the last few weeks  I have eaten 3-4 of them and they are moist, soft and have some nice chocolate chips inside.  At $1.25 each a good deal I think.

Peace Foods is here:

460 Amsterdam Ave, corner of 82 St.

Chocolate mousse cake from Ceci Cela

What always amazes me about New York is how many great bakery or dessert places there are that I have either 1) never been to or 2) never heard of.   When a member of the dessertbuzz team learned that I had  never heard of Ceci Cela Patisserie he forcibly took me there the same day.  ”How could you have never had their croissants or their French pastry?” he said.   [Dammit Jim, a man can only review so many desserts!]

French macaroon from Ceci Cela Patisserie

When we arrived, before I could even look at the full menu, my associate was shoving a hot croissant in my face, and then a macaroon.  ”Try this thing, it might be better than Balthazar!”  The Croissant was pretty damn good.  It was hot out of the oven and I couldn’t think of a better one that I had  eaten in New York City.  Ceci Cela is one of the few places that has fresh batches throughout the day rather than one delivery at 6:00 a.m.  I took a note to try and get a hold of a hot Payard or Balthazar croissant.

Fruit tart

The lemon macaroon was also very good.  It had a nice lemon flavor and the crust was soft and fresh.  They were keeping a pile of macaroons handy in a nearby fridge so they must move a lot of them- usually a good sign.

After the initial tastings, we ordered a traditional chocolate mousse cake ($5.50) and sat in the back and ate it.  My first thought was how much better it was than the “world’s best chocolate cake” which is located right next door.

A very good croissant

The cake had a sponge-like mousse and it seemed to have very little sweetness or sugar.  What I liked about this dessert, besides the dark chocolate flavor, was that it wasn’t just a solid column of mousse.   It had a cake layer that blended seamlessly with the mousse layer.  The top was dusted with dark cocoa as well.  All-in-all a very solid cake.

Recommended: Croissants (one of the best in the city), almond croissants, chocolate mousse cake and any Ceci  macaroons that were made recently.

Ceci Cela Patisserie is located at 55 Spring St.

Ceci Cela’s web site is here.

Locanda Verde: Karen DeMasco’s masterful desserts

Posted by Niko on August 3rd, 2010

Dark bitter pistachio tart from Karen DeMasco

A few years ago I stopped into Craft and asked if I could sit at the bar and just have dessert.  ”Of course!” they said, and proceeded to treat me like I had just bought a $250 dinner.   I ordered the dark chocolate souffle and a “waffle with maple custard and huckleberry compote”.  At the time, I thought these were two of the most special desserts I had ever eaten in New York.  And now I’m a jaded dessert blogger so I didn’t know if DeMasco’s desserts would still be the standard.

Lemon Tart from Locanda Verde in New York City

Well, it’s been a few years since that experience but I finally got around to trying a few more desserts by Karen DeMasco who has since moved from Craft to Locanda Verde.

What makes her desserts so good?

When the lemon tart arrived it was almost glowing.  The lemon flavor was simply spectacular in that it struck the perfect balance of tart and sweet.   It comes with buttermilk gelato which was very subtle, I wouldn’t have know the flavor was buttermilk if it wasn’t on the menu.  Mrs. Dessertbuzz said it was the best fruit-based tart she had ever had and I couldn’t think of a better one either.

Nutella cookie from Locanda Verde

In a way, the chocolate Pistachio tart was similar to the lemon tart.  It’s much less sweet than you would expect it to be.  The pistachio flavor almost had a burnt quality to it.   This tart is for the lover of dark 70%+ chocolate.  It’s devoid of any sweetness.   You really need the pistachio ice cream to cut the  bitterness.

Recommended: Lemon Tart, pistachio chocolate tart, also any of the baked goods from the cafe counter during the day

Locanda Verde’s web site is here.

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