The Pastry Crawl Vol. 5

One thing that I like about pastry crawls is that they allow me to extend visiting time with friends… time that would otherwise be rudely cut short after a barista starts to glare at us, perturbed that we’ve been taking up valuable table space for so long.  Unlike bar crawls, pastry crawls allow for those less-sloppy conversations that are just as important as tipsy “real talks.”  And hey, I would choose a sugar high over a hangover any day.  Here’s a peek at my latest SoHo pastry crawl.

We picked out a bouquet of orange blossom and rose flavored macarons at Ladurée SoHo. Clearly we had spring on our minds when we made our order.  I’ve always been drawn to floral flavors, and Ladurée nailed them with their poignant yet not overpowering delicacy.  The shop’s mint green storefront was perfect backdrop for staging high-contrast photos with the colorful treats.  I started the pastry crawl here because was the perfect warm-up stop; it’s hard to fill up on a few innocent and airy macarons.

Is it weird that I’ve been living in New York for about four months and I hadn’t visited Dominique Ansel until last week?  By the time we moseyed into the shop in the early afternoon, lines that rivaled your worse DMV nightmare had formed.  Alas, the coveted Cronuts were gone.  Definitely have a few back-up pastries in mind when you visit this bakery.  We were forced to settle for some Nutella milk bread and some cookie and milk shots.  Of course, you can’t really call this “settling.”  The insides of the cookie shot glasses were coated with a chocolate shell to prevent the cookie from soaking up the milk and falling apart.  The Nutella milk bread was not as overwhelmingly sweet as other Nutella products.  This can be viewed as a good or a bad thing… as a huge Nutella fan, I found myself wondering why I could only taste chocolate and not hazelnut, as if the nuttiness had been baked out.  Still, this bread was extremely fun to pull apart.

By the time we arrived here, we were already on the fuller side of stuffed.  The shop does offer some samples.  In retrospect, we should have held off on one of the two milk breads at Dominique Ansel so that we would have more stamina to enjoy some luxury chocolates.  With self-interest in mind, sharing is caring!  The red wine truffle sample at Vosges, however, was perfect in small quantities; a little bit of wine goes a long way for me.  Their toffee wasn’t half bad either.  When I visit again I definitely want to try some of their more unusual offerings like their truffle called “Funk & Disco” (banana pudding, vanilla powder, and 45% cacao deep milk chocolate) and their “Naga” truffle (sweet Indian curry, coconut, and 45% cacao deep milk chocolate).

I somehow always end up here, and this is the second time I’ve given them a plug on my blog.  Something about sitting in the tranquil cafe with healthy-ish greek yogurt and an espresso shot makes me feel like everything in life is working out.  These days, moments like that are worth far more than the price of an espresso drink.

P.s. If you want to try this pastry crawl, start at Dominique Ansel and you’ll cover roughly .6 miles!  The question is, is .6 miles enough walking distance to burn off your pastry crawl calories?  Good luck, and tell me how it goes!

 

You’re a Sky Full of Star Fruit: Candied Star Fruit Chips

“I don’t care, go on and tear me apart/I don’t care if you do, ooh
‘Cause in a sky, ’cause in a sky full of stars/I think I saw you” – Coldplay

If you’re like me, you’re itching for the first signs of spring.  Sigh, I know, it’s still February.  I find this time of the year to be the hardest time to maintain my creative drive.  February is a time for baby steps that build up to a larger goal…  It’s those thrilling later months that feel like the real accomplishments, but these moments of measured progress are just as important as the big conquests that will come later.  I keep having to remind myself that pacing is everything!

This week I went to Irish cookbook author Susan Jane White‘s “A Virtuous Tart” book signing and talk at Rizzoli Bookstore.  She focuses on making recipes virtuous, that is, healthy in a way that isn’t intimidating.  I am the BIGGEST fan of the white sugar/butter/flour trifecta, but I know that my body has its limits.  To be honest, an entirely gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle spooks me.  I can, however, see the benefits of switching things up from time to time and adding a few healthy treats to my repertoire.  I’m excited to test some of Susan’s recipes.

Further boosts of inspiration this week came from listening to Radio Cherry Bombe, a podcast dedicated to women and food.  It features bloggers like Joy the Baker, who is the mastermind behind the Drake on Cake Instagram account, among other culinary accolades.  Hearing other women’s stories about finding success in the culinary business realm is exactly what I needed this past week.

This candied star fruit recipe is as simple as it gets.  Rest easy knowing that you’ll be snacking on handfuls of antioxidants.  Throw some in your breakfast cereal or sprinkle a few on top of vanilla yogurt or ice cream.  Insert some Vitamin C into your grazing/star gazing routine!  Remember to keep shining, it’s almost spring.  Scroll down for the recipe!

Ingredients

  • 2 star fruits
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar

Directions

  1. Cut the star fruits into thin slices, about 1/16th inches thick.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add the star fruit to the pot.  Remove from heat, and let sit for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Strain the star fruit from the sugar mixture.
  5. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Arrange the star fruit slices on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake until dry, about 1.5 hours.