New York City Bakeries

pumpkin donut

There’s nothing like New York during the holidays. As many of you know, I spent Thanksgiving in New York this year visiting family, staying with my little sister in Soho and eating many, many cookies. And slices of pie. And cupcakes. I wanted to share a quick photo tour of our time spent bakery-hopping  so next time you find yourself in the city, you have a sense of where to go and what to try.

nycBefore we get started, let’s talk about walking around New York. I don’t tire of it. I also don’t tire of room service coffee or cute hipster bikes.

guest bookOr very sweet notes written in restaurant guest books. This one made me pause. I like this couple and don’t even know them.

soho

And definitely never tire of window shopping, pondering brownstones I’d buy if I were wealthy, or… pie.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

4 and 20 blackbirds

Four and Twenty Blackbirds is in Brooklyn and we fell for this quaint pie shop much like I knew we would. They’ve gotten a lot of press lately and are in an out-of-the-way neighborhood, but this is the place to come and seek out a good old-fashioned slice of pie served by two charming sisters who have successfully created a shop that’s drawing in the masses. We tried the maple custard pie and the salted caramel apple pie. Both were outstanding. Request a dollop of whipped cream and snag the seat by the window with the breezy curtains. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Baked
bakedA few hours after wandering around Park Slope, Zoe and I hopped on a bus and headed over to Baked in Red Hook. If you read this blog regularly, you know I’m obsessed with these guys. And the small neighborhood bakery didn’t disappoint. We tried many things and brought a bag of treats home for Zoe’s roommates. Baked is known for their salted caramel brownie and the Brookie (half brownie/half cookie) and both are absolutely worth the trek to Red Hook. The Brookie kind of turned our afternoon upside down–it’s one of those things you try and wonder why no one thought of doing it before. And they do a darn fine whoopie pie: not at all dry, perfectly cakey and ultra chocolaty. It’s tough to nab a seat but there are benches outdoors and the block itself has a few cute shops.

Lulu

luluBack in Manhattan, there’s a great new American bakeshop in Chelsea called Lulu. Much like Baked, they specialize in my favorite kind of desserts: nostalgic American baked goods. And they’re seriously not messing around. Their chocolate yodels were incredible and the selection of cakes is kind of like a step back in time. Our favorite though, hands down, was the red velvet yodel.  It’s decadent and rich and you probably shouldn’t eat a whole one yourself, but you can always justify it with a brisk stroll around Chelsea Market (across the street) afterwards. A really charming spot not to miss if you appreciate retro desserts.

yodels

The Donut Plant
Valrhona donut? Yes, please.

donut plantMy other sister Rachael and I had heard of this great place to get donuts in the city called The Donut Plant. Another bakery in an under-the-radar location, The Donut Plant rocks. Go here. Get their infamous square jelly -filled donut (another brilliant invention!) and any seasonal specialties that sound like they’d make you happy (the pumpkin was quite something). Share with a sister, a friend, a neighbor on the subway.

Vesuvio Bakery

vesuvio
Maybe all you New Yorkers know the deal with this place, but the spot on 160 Prince Street that’s labeled “Vesuvio Bakery” has apparently been sold to another bakery but they haven’t changed the signage? We were a little unclear about this, but we were very clear about how amazing their chocolate chip cookies were. It was an impromptu, unplanned cookie–the best kind. When cruising around Soho, a good pick-me-up spot.

Clinton Street Bakery

clinton street bakery
The folks at Clinton Street Bakery are known for their fluffy blueberry pancakes. And there’s a perpetual 1-2 hour wait on the weekends which, truthfully, I always find a little annoying. But it was a sunny crisp Sunday in New York and I was meeting a friend for brunch and we had a whole lot to catch up on, so it was all good. Were the pancakes legendary? You know what? They may have been the fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever had, actually. They were pretty darn good. I’m not sure they were ‘2-hour wait’ good, but you can always buy one of their amazing buttermilk biscuits to nibble on outside while you hang out and people watch.

Milk Bar

milk barPart of David Chang’s Momofuku mini-empire, Milk Bar is his little dessert off-shoot. I was smitten with this place. Smitten in a ‘I can’t talk right now, I’m taking all of this in’ kind of way. They do this really brilliant soft serve with innovative flavors in which you can actually taste the layers of flavor. It’ll make you look at soft serve in a whole new light. They’re known for their Crack Pie and Compost Cookie which we tried–both buttery, buttery goodness, and fun packaging. Standing-room only communal tables, good buzz and energy and desserts you don’t see every day make this a must-do on any NYC bakery-hopping adventure.

So that about wraps it up. There was also cappuccinos at Caffe Reggio–apparently the first ever cafe to serve cappuccino in the U.S. (really?!) We were lucky enough to eat at some great restaurants as well: The Little Owl, Blue Hill, Momofuku Noodle Bar and Craft among them. And if you haven’t been to Mario Batali’s Eataly, you really must see it. I wrote about our trip there on Bay Area Bites last week if you’d like to know more. There were so many other spots I really wanted to go to but there are just so many hours in the day. Any of your favorites you don’t see here? What’d we miss?

Comments

  1. Maddie

    Sounds like a fantastic trip! I'm impressed that you were able to try all those treats on top of Thanksgiving dinner -- but in all honesty, I'm sure I would've been up to the task, too.

    And clearly, I now have a very long to-do list for my next visit to NYC...

  2. Mary

    The guest book entry is lovely. I love New York. Megan, you captured so well why I do. And why I find myself rolling on to the plane after each visit. ps. I recommend eating some Marge Bakery sweets before reading this post, like I did - to die for.

  3. Janet

    I need to get myself to NY ASAP. I want a Brookie!

    I've said it before and I'll say it again - if I was you I'd weigh 300 lbs! ;)

  4. Katie

    I'm planning a trip to NYC in February and will refer back to this page as my travel date approaches (also going to get some pants with an expandable waistline)! Thanks.

  5. heather

    Great round-up... and now I'm craving doughnuts and a trip to NYC. I can't believe I haven't been there since middle school -- and that was on a class trip! None of the *good* sight-seeing or eats. Maybe I can convince my fiancée we need to visit...

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

  6. Nicole

    This past year I decided I really need to get to New York and San Francisco. I ended up choosing San Francisco for this year, but will get to New York this year. I took some of your suggestions for the San Francisco and look forward to checking out some of your choices for New York.

  7. Kitty

    Great post. I miss NY so much. I live in Australia and I get back whenever I can. I have lots of NY bakery cookbooks and they help me through the days when I am really 'homesick' and feel like a rich, dark whoopie pie!

    That guest book entry was so sweet it made me cry! I am so sentimental!

    Thanks again, now I have more places to haunt when I get back to my beloved NYC.

  8. Deanna@Marzipan

    Isn't it funny - I was just in New York City bakery-hopping and went to about the same number of bakeries, but not one is the same as the ones you went to - I guess I'll have to go back for another tour!

  9. Amanda @ Easy Peasy Organic

    I love this! Haven't been to NYC since I was 10 ... *definitely* must get back to try all these goodies :)

  10. Y

    Oh this post makes me miss nyc! Those brookies are just genius. I wish I had bought more than one!

  11. Lisa Waldschmidt

    Your life is good! I have done the same thing in NYC only with chocolate shops. What fun. I did hit Donut Plant for a Creme Brulee donut. Yum.

  12. Sarah

    Hi! I just love your blog and am definitely going to star this entry for my next trip to NY! I have read about most of these places and am glad to know you thought they were as awesome as they sounded.

  13. Anne Zimmerman

    I don't know how you do it (though when I go to NYC my trips are bakery heavy, too!) Thanks for the tips, I am headed back in March (book signing!!!) Wheeeee!

  14. Lori

    Wow. I'm impressed by how much ground you covered, Megan. Like you I love to walk in New York and am always amazed by what you see and find.

    Happy holidays!

  15. LimeCake

    It's the bakeries alone that make me miss NY. Gah! All the pastries look so delicious! Happy holidays!

  16. Dana

    I have only been to Milk Bar and I'm so jealous of your trip! I was just there - how did I not go to every single one of those bakeries?? I think we should plan a IFBC reunion and put you on dessert planning. Glad you had such a good time and this was a great read!

    1. megang

      I would love that, Dana! We definitely need an IFBC reunion something in 2011!

  17. Adriana from Baking Powders

    i'm only sad i don't leave in Boston anymore, because NY is not 4 hrs of bus ride away... still, all these give me a great excuse to visit the big apple, which i must confess i'm not a big fan of, but... that doughnut? worth a trip!

  18. Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

    A comprehensive list - thanks for this Megan! Will be in NYC briefly in March and need to check a few of these off my list :-)

  19. Dmarie

    this post is a gift! thanks for sharing!

  20. Mandy

    Your pictures are always so beautiful ~ you have an amazing talent!

  21. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

    Reading this post is making me CRAVE some New York City... and some sweet treats! Absolutely loved seeing all of your photos. They are stunning!

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

  22. kamran siddiqi

    Beautiful post! And the photos- absolutely gorgeous! I just started craving some pancakes from Clinton St. Bakery!

  23. Abby

    Such a delicious post! I can't wait to get back to New York to try all these places. I lived in Brooklyn for a year, and right before I left, my roommate and I discovered The Donut Plant. It was pretty disappointing to know that all those donuts had been right there the whole year.

    1. megang

      Hi Abby. Oh, man. Isn't that the way it always is? Right as you're about to move you discover greatness? Well...now something to look forward to when you visit!

  24. El

    Incredible research. I'm bookmarking now. You've had quite an amazing year. Here's to a healthy and prosperous 2011 for you and Marge!

    1. megang

      Thanks, El! Yes, we did much eating. I'm sure you'll love each and every place listed. Let me know if/when you go--love you hear your take!

  25. Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul

    Happy New Year.
    I live in NYC, but I'm stuck at home now in Atlanta GA (because of the Christmas blizzard). Your post makes me miss NYC so much. I'll be back tomorrow, and my first stop is the Donut Plant!

  26. nancy

    ooh, I knew that was a donut plant donut the minute I laid eyes on it :) The best! I've got to get to 4 and 20 one of these days, too. Thanks for this thorough compendium!

  27. Mags

    Oh man. The cereal milk soft serve at Milk bar is ridiculously good, too.

  28. taylor

    Hey Megan! THanks for this little collection of some of new york citys best bakery's. My sister was living in new york and i fell head over heels for the city... for all the bakeries you just listed! however, planet donut was closed every time we went to go try them... which may have been a good thing because after reading the posts about the place i may have just dropped everything and moved to manhattan! A couple places you've probably already been to but should add to your list for next time.. Whimsy and Spice (chocolate marshmallows), Bakeri in brooklyn (rosemary, salt, dark chocolate chip cookies) & ChocolateBar (peanut butter and jelly truffles). I gotta go back! Thanks for the post you got me inspired!

    1. megang

      Taylor! This is brilliant! Thank you so much for your very sweet comment and for your excellent recommendations. I've heard of Chocolate Bar and can't believe we missed it. I suppose it's good that it's an impossibility to see it all on just one visit...gives us an excuse to return, yes?

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