The Daily Meal and #NYCDessertQuest
An invitation to The Daily Meal’s Celebrity Chef Reception was the perfect opportunity for me to meet the people behind the website with which I am affiliated through its Culinary Content Network. TDM is where food enthusiasts find out what’s hot, what’s not, what’s happening and how to cook and bake.
Chef Kerry Heffernan, formerly of Eleven Madison Park was delightful. Kerry is a huge advocate of supporting locally grown vendors and of sustainable seafood and, as a result, we were treated to wonderful dishes like Crab Tomato Crostini and Southern Style Grits topped with Coppa. Scrumptious Desserts were from JARS by DANI. Dani packs a wollop of a punch of cake, filling and whipped cream in every jar.
My #NYCDessertQuest was a foodie’s dream. I met my friend, the Singing Chef behind Chocabaret, Jackie Gordon and her friend, who is now mine, Thông Nguyen. Together, we conquered 14 dessert/chocolate shops in just 6 hours!
Here’s a recap of the places we went and what we saw and/or ate:
1. Breads Bakery – the most gorgeous challah; round and covered in poppy, sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and nigella seeds, by section. Owner, Uri, surprised me with a warm Chocolate Babka; best I’ve ever had. The Chocolate Ruggelah and Leek Quiche were pretty fab, too.
2. City Bakery – pretzel croissant was a clever combination of salty and sweet. Bakers Muffin – tasty brioche soaked in syrup and stuffed with apples and raisins. The rice paper fruit tarte was just ok, mostly due to the flavor and consistency of the rice paper.
3. L.A. Burdick – signature Chocolate Penguin, Chocolate Mouse and nougat. Their Chocolate Mice were the cutest items of the day.
4. Maison Kayser Round #1, during the day, was so-so. Answers to questions were not very helpful. The plain and cherry financiers, mini almond cakes, were good. Round #2 at a different location for dinner was heaven on earth. The manager, Wilson, said their specialty is their breads; they were all outstanding. Much to my happiness, one of the bakers, Jimmy, was finishing up a batch of baguettes. The duck rillette was exceptional.
5. Mighty Pie – a kiosk in Union Square Park – Provencal Pie was fair. It tasted too much like pizza sauce.
6. Milk Bar – Crack Pie was my favorite but the Compost Cookie should not be ignored. Both the cereal and crack pie soft serve were a tad too sweet.
7. Dessert Club Chikalicious – Raspberry Crepe Cake was a work of art and sinfully delicious. Chocolate Dough’Ssant – a wonderful blend of donut and croissant with Teuchere Chocolate.
8. Snowdays – they make their ice cream bases, freeze them in blocks and then shave them down to order. Signature Yeti Tracks, a combination of oreos and blueberries was pure delight. The black sesame seed was, also, addicting.
9. Roni-Sue’s Chocolates – tasted some of their holiday bonbons (gingerbread, brandied fruitcake, eggnog and strawberry/rhubarb). Anyone would be thrilled to receive a box from here. Don’t forget to include Frida truffles, Down the Hatch pieces and Chocolate Covered Bacon.
10. Balthazar Bakery – went in for their chocolate bread but it is only available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
11. Dominique Ansel – Kouign Amann and Canele were both divine. Dominique Ansel is the mastermind behind the Cronut but I was not inclined to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to get in line to try one. Nor was I standing in line for the cookie and milk even though it did look interesting. The cookie is baked to form a cup in which milk is poured.
12. Kee’s Chocolates – Crème Brulee Truffle, great recommendation.
13. Xocolatti – both asthetically beautiful and top quality in taste. Gianduja truffle, marzipan truffle, caramelized hazelnut slate, mango paprika slate and rose hip pistachio slate.
14. Dean & Deluca – raced through but did not have enough time to, actually, buy anything.
I was pretty tired and stuffed to the gills by Thursday night, especially after round #2 at Maison Kayser but I would not have traded one single step or bite of my journey. Each stop was an opportunity to become a bit more knowledgeable about some of the finest shops in New York City. Time with my friends at The Daily Meal, Jackie and Thông were priceless memories that will, always, be treasured.