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One day in September to visit bakeries

Hi,

I will be in and around NYC for several days in late September, but I'll only have one free day to explore (the 27th). My main interest is bakeries. Specifically, I'm interested in pastry, cookies, cakes, bread, donuts, bagels, and macarons. I can skip super-fancy cake shops specializing in glamorous-looking cakes with gelatin stabilized fillings. I live in the Bay Area and my favorite bakery is Tartine (how unoriginal, I know). I like Craftsmen and Wolves, but less so and find it a bit too precious. So I've done some preliminary research and have come up with the following. Any suggested additions or deletions would be most welcome! I'll also probably stick to Manhattan.

Sullivan Street
Balthazar
Bien Cuit
Zucker
Levain
Doughnut Plant
Dominique Ansel (not for cronuts ... no time to wait in line)

For macarons, I know there's a Ladurée but I've had their goods in London and Paris, so am keen to try something local. Looking on Yelp, I see Bisous Ciao, Takahachi Bakery, La Maison du Macaron ... any thoughts?

Thanks!

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  1. At Sullivan St, I'm guessing you're trying some bread & maybe their bombolini?

    Love Balthazar Bakery's fruit focaccia, chocolate bread, doughnuts. There are better croissants to be had, though.

    Near Bien Cuit also is Blue Ribbon Bakery Market, Bosie Tea Parlor, Amy's Bread, Rocco's and Bruno. It might be interesting to try the house made matzoh at Blue Ribbon Bakery Market or a freshly filled cannoli at Rocco's or Bruno. And Murray's Cheese if you need some cheese to go with all that bread. :)

    For bagels, I hope you've read this:
    http://mobile.newyork.seriouseats.com...

    Doughnut Plant is fine but not as good as doughnuts I've had in other cities. I have a feeling SF has somewhere better. Also I find the DP yeast doughnuts to be too chewy.

    I've found that our best macarons to be imported (Laduree and La Maison du Chocolat). If you do find yourself on Bleecker St, Biscous Ciao has a branch there, and Bosie Tea Parlor is just around the corner. Try their Ispahan.

    As for cakes, what about Lady M? Too fancy?

    Momofuku Milk Bar for cookies and cake truffles?

    City Bakery for a pretzel croissant?

    Two Little Red Hens? Maison Kayser? Beurre & Sel?

    See also:
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892090
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/897618

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      SF does not have better doughnuts than Doughnut Plant, unfortunately. Many other cities do, though.

      http://endoedibles.com

      1. re: kathryn

        Many thanks for the terrific recommendations! I've updated my map. In the Oakland we do have great donuts at Pizzaiolo and Donut Dolly, but I agree that there's nothing great in the city (that I've had any way).

      2. Il Cantuccio is an Italian (Tuscan) café that uses entirely authentic recipes when preparing their biscotti, bread, pizza, and focaccia menu items (including Italian sandwiches). They produce baked goods that are of superior quality. The biscotti and cookies will cost you about $1 each. They give generous samples of biscotti, cookies, and focaccia. Too bad the 27th isn’t on a weekend when they make their Italian donuts. There are wonderful variations on focaccia with everything from pizza to toppings of tomatoes and olives, sandwiches too. This place makes a very traditional cappuccino that puts most places to shame. The staff is very friendly.

        It is located in the West Village (91 Christopher St) just down the street from the subway (Christopher St. - Sheridan Sq (1, 2). The location near the corner of Bleecker St. allows you to walk down Bleecker where there is an Amy’s Bread and Pasticceria Rocco’s. There is also a very small rustic bread and pastry shop in this area but I cannot remember its name. It has a full length window with bread and cookies in the window---tiny but looked great--I think it is on Bleecker. I know it is on the left side as you walk down the street.

        Additionally, for a classic NY Slice of pizza, you are near Joe's Pizzza (7 Carmine Street)--just around the corner and across the street from a nice park with plenty of shade and benches(Father Demo Square) at Bleecker and Carmine. I know you mentioned bakery items but since Joe's is in the area, I mentioned it.

        This area should satisfy your hunt for unique bakery items. Hope this helps.

        11 Replies
        1. re: facultyandtraveler

          The bakery you're talking about is Rocco's.

          1. re: kathryn

            Hello Kathryn, I certainly respect your vast knowledge base. Regarding Rocco's, are there two of them? The place I am talking about is very, very tiny. It doesn't look anything like the famous Rocco's that has been there for years. The place (I can't remember the name of has about 2 small windows) has rustic wood on the outside, bread, maybe pasta, and some black and white cookies in the window. I wish I had snapped a picture of it during my last visit. Sorry if I seem too vague. We walked past it during our treks up Bleecker from the park across from Joe's. Maybe I'm mistaken about its location on Bleecker but it is within a block or so. Thanks for any information. Have a good afternoon.

            1. re: facultyandtraveler

              I walk my dog up and down Bleecker St between 6th and 7th all the time, and I have no idea what you're talking about.

              When was your last visit?

              1. re: kathryn

                I was there about 3 weeks ago. It is a hole in the wall. My wife and I almost went in but we were on another mission. The first time I saw it, we missed Carmine Street off of 6th Ave. and walked down past the park and came back up Bedford St. Sorry I can't be more specific. Rustic and not much more than 10 ft wide. Thanks

                1. re: facultyandtraveler

                  Perhaps a screen shot from Google Street View could help?

                  1. re: michaelw

                    14 Bedford Street, Blue Ribbon Bakery and Market. I had seen the picture but the name wasn't clear. We did not go in but it looked interesting. It is a dark gray building and next to Quinto Quarto. Enjoy your trip

                    1. re: facultyandtraveler

                      Ah, yes. On Bedford. They have excellent house made matzoh, as I mentioned above.

                2. re: kathryn

                  Hello Kathryn, the place is next to Quinto Quarto on Bedford and it is gray...the natural wood of Quinto Quarto threw me off. I called Quinto Quarto and I could not understand the name the person gave me. Thanks. Just solved it, it is Blue Ribbon Bakery and Market. Whew!

            2. re: facultyandtraveler

              ll Cantuccio looks fantastic! I love this sort of bakery and will make sure to give it a try.

            3. At Sullivan try the different Canottos, especially the sweet fruity ones. Bomboinis that Kathryn mentioned are nice as well.

              And while you at it since its a little far out there go to Guelaguetza a mexican deli across the street for a spicy Chicken Burrito. Studies show Canottos taste better after chicken burritos

              1. Kathryn mentioned Maison kayser and they some really amazing breads right now. The broadway/21st location isn't far from city bakery. I highly recommend the tumeric hazelnut walnut loaf, the olive bread and baguettes. They also have pastries but those have had mixed reviews.
                The bread counter inside of eataly (close to this maison kayser) has a nice selection of focaccia- avoid lunchtime craziness if possible.
                At amy's breads the raisin fennel semolina buns are a personal fav

                1. While I wholeheartedly disagree with you on Craftsmen and Wolves (what about B. Patisserie, and Knead?) I think the NYC Bakeries most worth your time and effort are Dominque Ansel (no, not for the Cronut, but for everything including the DKA, Macarons, and Paris-NY, plus whatever fruit based éclair he is doing...or anything choux based, really), Bien Cuit (Almond Croissant,) Almondine (if you can get over to Brooklyn,) Breads (Chocolate Babka and Marzipan Almond Croissant,) Bosie (Scones,) Lady M (Mille Crepe), Two Little Red Hens (Cupcakes,) Dunwell (Donuts,) Pies n' Thighs (Donuts and Pie,) Baked Brooklyn (Pretty much anything they make,) Levain (Cookies.)

                  Skip Kayser...and even moreso, Mille Feuille and Claude.

                  http://endoedibles.com

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: uhockey

                    Funny you should mention B. Patisserie. I was just there this morning and sampled the sugar brioche (excellent), bostock (event better), a croissant (dry and tasteless), the ten hour apple tart (fine but not exceptional), and a macaron (too dense for my taste). Overall an excellent bakery and I'll be back. I only tried three items from Craftsmen and Wolves so perhaps just need to visit again. I didn't know of Knead but will certainly visit next time I'm in the Mission! Thanks for the tip.

                    Thanks also for helping to narrow down the exploding NY list!

                    1. re: michaelw

                      At B. Patisserie the liquid Chocolate Croissant (go when its warm) Kouign Amann, and Mille Feuille are exceptional. At C&W it is all about The Rebel Within and the sipping Caramel. At Knead - imo, the butter pecan croissant is the best pastry in America today and the pomme d'amour is pretty excellent as well.

                      http://endoedibles.com

                      1. re: uhockey

                        I looked at the Kouign Amann at B. Patisserie but it is of the more open style ... I tend to prefer a denser version, like from Starter Bakery. But I'll give it a try next time.

                        1. re: michaelw

                          You missed out—B. Patisserie's kouign amann are not just the best thing there, it's what single handedly won Belinda Leong recognition in the national media publications.

                          1. re: W42

                            It is quite remarkable, actually. I really like Ansel's DKA and the one at Bouchon Beverley Hills, but Belinda's literally shatter to the tooth and have a center so dense with butter that it is nearly molten. I think the key to everything at B. Patisserie (and most bakeries, really) is to get there when they open and things are warm. When Payard used to only have the one location on the UES his Almond Croissant, still warm, and those flourless chocolate cookies were beyond compare in NY, but room temp they aren't nearly as impressive.

                            http://endoedibles.com

                        2. re: uhockey

                          I had 45 minutes to spare this morning and paid a visit to Knead. The butter pecan croissant really was excellent. Much denser but with vastly more flavor than those at B. Patisserie and Le Marais. I definitely prefer Knead's version. The pomme d'amour was terrific as an after lunch snack. Thanks for the tip!

                      2. re: uhockey

                        If you sit towards the back of Dominique Ansel, you can watch the bakers work!