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Feb 3, 2008 06:04 PM

Grandaisy Bakery & Fay Da Bakery: moving north!

Nothing in common beween the two bakeries, except that they both seem to have been reaching northward...a very nice thing for those who don't always make it downtown.

Fay Da has opened a location right on 34th street at 7th ave. You can now satisfy your craving for a hot steamed bun (many kinds) or a Ji1 Wei3 Bao1 (oblong bread filled with coconut/condensed milk paste), without going all the way down to Chinatown. Huge selections of breads. Their version of Ham and Cheese bread is a tall square shiny bun with whitish savory filling of shallots and thin salty ham bits...Then there's the long steam table with the option of $1.25 per item, or $5 for 5 items over rice. If you ever crave Tomato and Egg over rice, you can get it here.

But, onto the real star - Grandaisy Bakery at 72nd street and Broadway next to Grey's Papaya. I've been reading about the pizza bianca, which i've had from the original location and which didn't really wow me before. What did it this time was the over all style of "less is more". Starting with the Torta de Capas, available until Feb 15 - I called blindly over the phone frantically trying to order one for my brother's birthday dinner the next night. Saw the item on their website and decided to order one for pick up on the day of. I panicked when I saw the unassuming torte that looked like a stack of thin pancakes. Yikes! Is that going to be enough for 12? With the suggestion using the long thin elegant candles it managed to look festive, but wow, the taste was what won everyone over at the dinner. Imagine a giant Stroopwaffle with some coconut bits sprinkled on top, and about 7-9 layers of waffle-dulce de leche stacked together. Indeed a very special treat, especially since they'd just started to offer it on Jan 30th.

The plain croissants were perfect. as was the very reasonable yet good Illy coffee (mine as a small Americano). In fact the two together vanished without a trace quickly. Moments later, the $7 dollar sandwiches that I hesitated at first but then decided to buy one each of...You see I was lucky I was picking up lunch for a small group of people, and boy were they all happy to be the recipients of "one of everything" as it seems that there were no losers. Every type of sandwiches were delicious. Also, I realized that Grandaisy is a great place to get things for vegetarians. The Braesola sandwich was probably one of the only thing with meat. Yet, all the sandwiches were perfectly conceived and constructed. One bite and my concept of sandwiches were now also altered (as was my concept of "birthday cakes"). The thinness of the amazingly flavorful bread worked as part of the interlacing of the fine ingredients - fine in size as well as in quality. I am no longer aware of the "bread" as separate from the "filling". It reminds me of Pointillism drawing, in the way how the food here is put together. I don't know if this makes any sense to anyone else. Anyhow, as one person said it, " I took a bite, and then I couldn't stop and just keep eating it until it was all gone!"
OK, so now I realized that the times when I felt guilty about not being able to eat all the bread of a sandwich, or when I fuzz at how some sandwiches are difficult to eat because chunks of this and that falls out, or that the bread is too thick, or too hard to bite....those were all legit complaints. A good sandwich, a good croissant, a good anything, should vanish easily, and go down smoothly, just like this, and leave you with no particular impression except a sense of well being. This way, you don't hold on to a certain taste or flavor (since if they stood out, they were probably not balanced) and later come to expect it. Instead you get to enjoy the moment of a perfect wholeness each time.

Thanks to NativeNYer for spreading the word about Grandaisy!

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  1. Soooo glad you sampled various GD items! Loved your post. They really do understand food and it's all presented without any fanfare - very unique with the finest ingredients at a small, understated location. I can relate to your description of those difficult sandwiches. Their sandwiches are fabulous. I gotta try the Torta de Capas. Oh, and thanks for the acknowledgment!

    1. Hooray! Does the UWS Grandaisy have the cauliflower pizza? That's also very good. I love the bresola sandwiches, whereas my fiance is in love with their sandwich cookies.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kathryn

        Kathryn, yes they have the cauliflower pizza, and it's probably my favorite pizza so far, though the potato pizza was pretty perfect, too, at least the little bite I got to nibble on. I will definitely want to try the bresola sandwich (someone in our group ate the whole thing pretty fast, without a chance for others to sample), as well as the sandwich cookies.

        nativeNYer, do try the Torta de Capas before Feb 15. (chances are they'll probably continue to offer it, but, you never know) Keep up the good work!

      2. Do you know where on 34th and 7th Fay Da opened? I work around Penn Station and I walked around today at lunch looking for it and couldn't find it. There's nothing on the website either. Thanks.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Hecate

          I'm sorry to have misled you. Thinking back, it should be closer to 8th ave than 7th ave, on the northside of the street. I think no more than 3 shops from 8th ave (which I thought was 7th ave when I posted, sorry again) They may have an English name on the outside for the place, but the cremy yellow and green plastic bags they give you still says Fay Da (in Chinese) on it.

          1. re: HLing

            Thanks for the heads up. It turns out it's only a few doors down from my office building. I can't believe I never spotted it before. I was so thrilled to have it in the neighborhood I stopped by at lunch time and got some goodies for everyone in the office.

          2. re: Hecate

            The 34th St. Fay Da is at #257, conveniently located between the Burger King and Wendy's near 8th Avenue. I had a delicious pork bun there this morning. This is a great addition for those of us coming through Penn Station!