Best spare-no-expense bakery - help?!
I will be going home for Christmas next week (PA) and want to bring along some baked goods and pastries that will blow everyone away.
Any suggestions to the best midtown/downtown bakery to fit the bill?
For one stop shopping, it is hard to beat the much maligned (around here) Bouley Bakery for both rustic and fancy tarts, flavored breads and the wonderful beeswax-coated almond pastries. Fill up the back of your car and wow your family back home. Sullivan St. is great for rustic, half-burnt, astonishingly flavorful Italian breads, `carta de musica' and foccaccia, especially the sweet ones with rosemary and grapes. Patisserie Claude does nonpariel croissants, quiches, eclairs. Balthazar has swell rustic breads. Hell...hit 'em all. And stop at Kossar's for bialys while you're at it.
Try Once Upon a Tart on Sullivan betw. Prince & Houston. The gift box in the window of xmas cookies is absolutly beautiful (marbelized icing), the huge array of sweet and savory tarts (try the pear-chocolate) in both big and small sizes are sure to impress. My fave muffins are: apple-oatbran (rustic, chunky-oaty texture, studded with yellow raisins and green apples), the apple cranberry (totally different: subtle and refined), the raspberry walnut scone (looks like a huge linzer cookie, the walnuts are finely chopped throughout and the raspberry jam on top is mellowed by the very vanilla-ness of it all..........), the banana poppy is good too (just don't like the pear-ginger: boring). The brownies are excellent and the madelienes (sp?) could be good for kiddies.
Other places I have enjoyed stuff from but have never been to are the Black Hound and Patisserie Marquet... both downtown, you can look them up. Have fun!!!
Oh, and there is always Taylors but it may weigh down the car too much: huge bricks of brownies and rice krispie treats, etc. :-)
Try Payard Patisserie and Bistro, which is at 1032 Lexington Ave (between 73rd & 74th. It makes traditional French pastries too beautiful to touch but very much worth your while if you do.
There's also City Bakery, which makes fabulous mini-tarts with a variety of fillings. It's located on 22 East 17th St (just off Union Square).
I'm not a bakery expert but I like John Vie on Sixth in
the village. And the new Belgian bakery on Grand St.
And don't forget the splendid fruit tart at Veniero's, or the weird and fussy individual pastries named after religious edifices of Paris at Payard.