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London Pastry Chef Visiting, need your input!

Hi guys,

I'm a baker / pastry chef visiting NY in a few weeks time, and would love to know what are the best / most interesting bakeries and pastry shops around? Other than Milkbar (which is the only one I can think of at the moment...) Don't have to be limited to the outer boroughs

Thanks for your help

ps and if you could reccomend good farmers markets too, cheers!

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  1. Artopolis in Astoria, Queens is an interesting place.
    Have fun in NYC!
    Regards,
    johnk

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    Artopolis
    23-18 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

    1. Hi cookiebitch,

      I recommend that you check out a neighborhood in Brooklyn called Red Hook. There, amidst the tumbledown, still-scruffy atmosphere, you will find a place called Baked (359 Van Brunt Street), where I hope you will try a chocolate whoopie pie.

      A few blocks to the west is the waterfront area and Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies (at 204 Van Dyke St). There's a retail counter but I'm not sure of the hours. I've picked up a "swingle" there on occasion. A swingle is a frozen piece of key lime pie on a stick that has been dipped in dark bittersweet chocolate. (since you're nearby, check out Louis Valentino Park at the end of Coffey Street for the view of the Statue of Liberty, also don't miss the ancient trolley cars down by the Fairway supermarket at the end of Van Brunt Street - yep, this is a pretty interesting area)

      In Jackson Heights, there is Cannelle Patisserie, a place that has garnered quite a bit of praise for various French items.

      In Flushing, I like Paris Baguette, a Korean chain that specializes in interesting French-Asian hybrid baked goods. They are freshly made and are well labeled with the ingredients they use. However, I caution you. There on some on this board (Cannelle lovers usually) who think Paris Baguette is worse than Hitler. I don't know why...

      In Woodside along Roosevelt Avenue, you can find Philippino bakeries selling bright purple Ube cake among other ethnic baked specialties. Red Ribbon is a chain but there are others that are not and which are probably better. I can't vouch for what bakery is the best here since I haven't explored them that extensively.

      I hope this helps you out!

      Enjoy your stay in the City and please don't spend all of your time in Manhattan. The Outer Boroughs have some of the most interesting (and often authentic) ethnic food in New York.

      Ciao,

      Glendale is hungry...

      -----
      Baked
      359 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      Cannelle Patisserie
      75-59 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11370

      Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies
      204 Van Dyke St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      Red Ribbon Bakeshop
      65-02 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11377

      Paris Baguette
      136-20 38th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

      7 Replies
      1. re: Glendale is hungry

        Hi Glendale, thanks so much for your insight, your list sounds pretty wicked! I have a couple book from Baked and like their stuff, is there anyone else like them around?

        P.s. I plan to pretty much stay outta Manhattan this time round, i didnt get to hit up Brooklyn at all the last time I visited, and I think a loooooot has popped up there since.

        Thanks again

        1. re: cookiebitch

          Glendale is leading you the right way. Baked is either one of the best or THE best.

          A sampling of some of my faves:

          I quite enjoy One Girl Cookies on Dean St. near Smith, for their cookies, cupcakes and whoopie pies. The best cupcakes in the area, for my money, in an area with a lot of them (most of which are pretty eh).

          Around the corner, Bien Cuit (Smith St.) is making very good pastries, I've only tried them a couple of times but have been very satisfied. Same with the home-made Italian pastries at Catania (Atlantic/Court-Clinton).

          If you like pastries perhaps you also like ice cream, check out Blue Marble on Court. They also have Baked brownies.

          My favorite bread bakery is Mazzola at Union and Henry - don't let the opportunity pass to try their "lard bread" (I guess it's made with lard, but most notable for the chunks of salami baked in). That's just one of the bakeries in Carroll Gardens - everyone has his preference, and no one of them is right or wrong. Mazzola's the one thing I miss most about being right around the corner when I lived in CG.

          And on 7th Avenue near 9th St. in Park Slope is 7th Avenue Donuts, which is a regular old luncheonette/coffee shop that makes its own donuts and they're good. Not artisanal, not fancy, just regular old 80-cent donuts to get with a cup of coffee. They have good diner food too.

          -----
          Baked
          359 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

          Mazzola Bakery
          192 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

          Seventh Avenue Donuts
          324 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

          One Girl Cookies
          68 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

          Blue Marble Ice Cream
          196 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

          Catania
          193 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11201

          Bien Cuit
          120 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

          1. re: cookiebitch

            Baked is worth visiting with a caveat. They often sell out of their cakes, sometimes as early as mid-afternoon and their cupcakes are not worth making a trip. Also, they've been bad about alternating their best flavors. The past few years if they even have cake, they always seem to be their weak cakes: malt, pistachio, lemon cake, etc. Their best flavors are sweet & salty, red hot, grasshopper, coconut and diner dark. Lastly the staff has been very obnoxious and surly my last few visits. I still remember the old staff from when they first opened, they were warm, friendly and happy.

            Cannelle is worth a trip, their praline cake is wonderful, the paris brest, the cherry or guava or passionfruit danish (depending on the day) are phenomenal. Almond croissant and coco fraise are delicious. The texture of their red velvet cake is gummy and unappealing. Their tiramisu can be unbalanced and too liquidy. Their bread pudding, oddly enough, has no cinnamon, something that would really cut through the richness, and something I have mentioned multiple times. They said, no promises, they might introduce cinnamon in their fall bread pudding.

            Artopolis has the best baklava and melomakarona. The coconut and pistachio baklava are really delicious. The galaktobboureko is very good, but a bit sweet for me.

            Little Oven has a delicious sakura cake, candied cherry blossom in gelee with green tea sponge cake. Their cupcakes and coconut cake are a bit weak and their mille-feuille crepe cake, while impressive to look at and pleasantly understated in sweetness, it has little flavor. Their macarons are well-made.

            Sweet Melissa has delicious bee stings when they are fresh and haven't been sitting all day to dry out.

            Four & Twenty Blackbirds has scrumptious cherry pie in classic Americana style. Their slices tend to be a bit stingy though.

            Manducatis Rustica has fresh filled cannolis that can't be beat and beautiful sfogliatelle. I would avoid much else. Their strawberry cake always has a weird raspberry flavor.

            Monaco's has delicious struffoli and ricotta cake. Old world style and really good bakery, especially compared to its neighbor the Little Cupcake Shop which is blindingly sweet.

            The only good Asian bakery is Minamoto Kitchoan in Manhattan. If you go, try the seasonal specials, they tend to be better and often less sweet than the regular offerings.

            -----
            Baked
            359 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

            Little Cupcake Bakeshop
            9102 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209

            Sweet Melissa
            276 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

            Sweet Melissa
            175 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

            Artopolis
            23-18 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

            Cannelle Patisserie
            75-59 31st Ave, Queens, NY 11370

            Manducatis Rustica
            46-31 Vernon Blvd, Queens, NY 11101

            Four & Twenty Blackbirds
            439 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

            Monaco's
            8511 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11209

            Little Oven
            12-07 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101

            1. re: Pookipichu

              Thanks cazique and pookipichu, I've started making a massive Brooklyn list! All the above help is greatly appreciated.

              I keep meaning to ask, is momofuku milkbar worth it or overhyped? and I know payard is in Manhattan but is that worth the hype too?

              Thanks again

              1. re: cookiebitch

                i think the flavors at milkbar are really gross and everything is overly sweet but there's an audience for that... palates vary, I like turnip and red bean pastries, crack pie not so much. Chikalicious is miles better than milkbar.

                As for Payard, it's not what it used to be. I wouldn't go for the macarons, some of the cakes are still executed well though and delicious. Vanilla marscapone with poundcake is so satisfying.

                1. re: cookiebitch

                  i would agree about milkbar being, in some regards, overhyped. i hate their crack pie, it's way too sweet. the blueberry cookies used to be really good but now that they don't make them on the spot they aren't as fresh. the cake and cake truffles are pretty great, though. and i really love the cereal milk soft serve as well.

              2. re: cookiebitch

                From what you posted in the other thread it sounds like you didn't get the best of Manhattan though, so don't discount Manhattan.

                "last time I came to NY i only got to hit up Magnolia for cupcakes and like Crumbs and a small place in Harlem."

            2. I disagree with a lot of what has been said here.

              I will add that you should try calling ahead (day before or so) to Baked or anyplace where you want to be sure to taste something special, introduce yourself as a pastry chef, and ask them to save you a slice of The Special Variety You Crossed the Ocean to Sample. I'm sure they'd oblige.

              Now: Milkbar is perhaps interesting to you as a case study, but eating "crack pie" (which is nothing more than sugar in a crust - literally) and similarly oversweet, "ironic" twists on the worst aspects of American home dessert cooking gets tiring pretty quickly. I would skip it.

              Baked is worth a trip, and don't get it twisted - it's a HIKE out there (and I say that as a fellow Brooklynite.) But worth it.

              Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies is *not* worth a trip - not only is the product widely available elsewhere in NYC, the product is nothing special from a taste perspective. Also, the "retail experience" is poor. There is noplace to eat your pie unless it's warm outside to sit at their rickety picnic table ( in the middle of a parking lot), and they don't sell coffee to go with. Also, it's in bum fuck. Don't waste your precious time getting there and back.

              Bien Cuit in Cobble Hill - new but very good. Envelope-pushing but technically sound French pastry. Go!

              One Girl Cookies - I never had anything worth eating there. The appeal appears to be in the cutesy presentation, not the craft of flavor.

              Diner in Williamsburg has a very good pastry chef making seasonal American desserts. Recently I had a very good apple galette and a brown butter hazelnut cake with ricotta somethingorother on the side which was fantastic.

              I have to second the Blue Marble ice cream recommendation - to me it's an outstanding product. But perhaps Europeans, who haven't (generally speaking) grown up on processed hormone-injected overpasteurized poisoned milk as all Americans under the age of 50 have, might not find it so spectacular. I don't know.

              -----
              Baked
              359 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

              Diner
              85 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

              One Girl Cookies
              68 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

              Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies
              204 Van Dyke St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

              Blue Marble Ice Cream
              196 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

              Bien Cuit
              120 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

              9 Replies
              1. re: mig_nyc

                Thanks man, keep 'em coming! Everybodys recs and insight are damn helpful.

                I know Bubby's Pies isnt in Brooklyn, but again, worth the trip or overhyped??

                P.S. mig-nyc, I havent come visit in years, so my 'native' friend and i plan on hauling ass all over your fine borough, so any more suggestions you can think of, even if you think they might be in the ass end of nowhere?

                Cheers guys!

                1. re: cookiebitch

                  If you have a car, trip to Baked is worth it. If not, there's a bus that runs down Van Brunt and/or you can get Baked brownies (the salted one is my favorite) at Blue Marble. it's not the full selection, but it's a damn good brownie.

                  1. re: cookiebitch

                    There's a Bubby's in Brooklyn.
                    http://bubbys.com/brooklyn.html

                    You might be interested in First Prize Pies, I believe she sells the at the Essex Street Market at the Roni-Sue's shop, and they are also served at Fatty Cue.

                    Robicell's cupcakes are also Brooklyn-made.

                    -----
                    Bubby's Brooklyn
                    1 Main St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

                    1. re: kathryn

                      thanks kathryn...is bubby's worth eating at? like other than the pie, just saw on their menu that they do brunch / lunch / dinner...

                  2. re: mig_nyc

                    Hey Mig, this may be a really stupid question, but is there a 'better' location of Milkbar to go to, or are they all pretty much the same?

                      1. re: cookiebitch

                        Go to the Brooklyn one--that is the commissary where they make everything now. Maybe they'll let you look around?

                        -----
                        Momofuku Milk Bar
                        382 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

                        1. re: kathryn

                          great, thanks again kathryn...that would be cool to get a peek, hope they'll be ok with the idea

                    1. For something interesting and kind of outlandish, I'd recommend SCRATCHbread in Bed-Stuy: they make breads and pastries with a bunch of unique flavor combinations I've never seen anywhere else (a plantain bread cake with mole streusel, for example). They're only open a few days a week (I think it's Wednesdays and weekends, but check the website), but if you have a car, it's definitely worth checking out for "experimental" baked goods.

                      Nearby, too, is a doughnutterie called Dough that specializes in, well, doughnuts (mostly yeast-risen doughnuts with a variety of flavored glazes: Cafe au Lait, Blood Orange, Earl Grey, etc.). It's a bit more upscale and new-school than the more traditional places like Peter Pan or Seventh Avenue Donuts, and definitely worth checking out if you're in the area, although I don't know if I'd call it a destination.

                      -----
                      Seventh Avenue Donuts
                      324 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

                      Peter Pan Donut & Pastry
                      727 Manhattan Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222

                      SCRATCHbread
                      1069 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11216

                      Dough
                      305 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: versalgoodness

                        Thanks versalgoodness, i forgot you guys have 'artisinal' doughnutteries coming up over there that sound really interesting...the brooklyn list keeps getting bigger and bigger!

                      2. For the farmer's market, try the Jackson Heights on Sunday, but you really should visit Union Square. I find during the cold months that Wednesday has the most interesting selection, though it's still early enough that Friday and Saturday are still good. I recommend Cayuga's various flours.

                        I would say to go to a Colombian bakery like La Casa del Pan for pandebono, buñuelos, and pandeyuca. Pretty much everyone I've ever had try pandebono was quickly smitten.

                        For baklava, I'm going to disagree with Artopolis (it's pretty sweet) and say that you check out Al-Sham on Steinway. For Greek-style, Ya-Ya's. Artopolis is worth checking out for other things, though.

                        Serious Eats did a breakdown of best bakeries in NYC for both American style and French style pastries. They also have a daily column called Sugar Rush which highlights noteworthy items. You may want to check it out for further suggestions.

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                        Artopolis
                        23-18 31st St, Queens, NY 11105

                        La Casa del Pan
                        33-18 30th Ave, Queens, NY 11103

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: saria

                          i'd take their sugar rush column with a grain of salt. i've found most of their recommendations to be pretty disappointing or just way too sweet for my taste.

                          1. re: morisaur

                            I have the exact opposite experience!