Thursday, March 5, 2009


Yesterday was a dream. A dream that had me gliding through the vibracious streets of Manhattan, flitting from chocolate boutique to designer bakery. Sampling luscious tidbits and exquisite morsels along the way. Devouring NYC with every sense and in every sense. New York will always be my first love.
Fantasia began at Max Brenner (Broadway between 13th and 12th) where I met my ex-roommate from my early days- Jessiqua for lunch. Well, after my second "mixed drink" I was ready to choc 'n roll. We ogled the chocolate displays for a while. It wasn't Sophie's Choice when deciding between the Hazelnut Cream with cornflakes or the Hazelnut Cream with peanut butter, but only because I decided to get both (plus 12 other flaves). The huge pots of churning tempered chocolate (milk, dark, an white) almost had me hypnotized, I had to fight the urge to strip and take a langorous dip.
We then floated down to the West Village, to visit Magnolia Bakery. I love the look of this bakery chainlet (black and white tiled floors, cream lace curtains), the smell of the place (sweet butter and sweet cream), the friendliness and efficiency of the staff. But above all else I love their baked goods; gorgeous, fluffy topped coconut cream cakes, cakes with thick swirls of chocolate frosting, dainty pastel cupcakes that make you imagine the most perfect tea party. Magnolia is what I think heaven looks and feels like, either it's heaven or a Southern bakery straight out of yesteryear. After much deliberation and consultation with Jessiqua, I chose a slice of devil's food cake glorified by an impasto layer of mocha frosting, which was quite delightful.

After some initial confusion we found Jacques Torres' chocolate utopia. We watched his little elves behind the glass making sweet magic. The choices behind the paine were dazzling, the flavor combinations fascinating and exciting. I left with a 12 piece box of impeccably wrapped, impeccably presented chocolate...ooops, there goes my francophilism again!

And then we happened upon the much hyped SweetiePie on Greenwich between Christopher and 10th. SweetiePie was were my dream took on a whimsical Alice in Wonderland quality. This charming spot is a pleasure to behold, purely on an aesthetic level. By this point in my reverie, I could not take another nibble I was so filled up with yummies. We parked ourselves on the hot pink leather stools facing the grand bar, and I ordered a Shirley Temple. As I sipped my drink, we chatted with the very gracious staff, who showed us a sampling of their wares. Gorgeous elaborate tiered mini cakes. ice cream sundaes presented in chic crystal bowls. The large gilded cage that contained a table for six with matching hot pink chairs goes beyond novelty and almost verges on performance art. One bathroom looked like it belonged in Holly Golightly's apartment, the other I could only dream of having in my home. The menu was tempting, luxe comfort food. Next time I will have the full SweetiePie experience.
After Jessiqua and I parted ways. I wafted uptown to meet Hub, it was our anniversary after all, and we had reservations at Craft. We stopped for a sparkling cocktail at a champagne lounge named Flute, which got us in a bubby mood for our 7th anniversary celebration. Craft was as good as I knew it would be, from the arugula salad with toasted pine nuts and a lemon parmesan dressing mixed through to the perfectly seasoned roasted fingerling potatoes. Simple, straightforward food done superlatively well.
The whole day was just fantastic- from beginning to end. And, in danger of sounding completely ridiculous, 7 years has just glided by, not always smoothly- but always with great gusto. While NYC might be my first love, Hub is my true love- and on the whole he's a lot easier on me than NYC was.

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