Ar first, there were absolutely no parking spots available, so we stopped near Francois Payard Bakery and I hurried inside.
Nothing really stood out to me in the moment. I like their flourless chocolate walnut cookie, and almost bought one, but decided to just leave it. (The published recipe for that cookie doesn’t work.)
A parking spot opened up and our hearts started beating fast. The ensuing 45 seconds to get to that spot before anyone else seemed like a lifetime.
Argh, Sadelle’s had closed. We walked to the address for Birdbath Bakery but couldn’t find it. But the picture from our guidebook matched what we saw.
Vesuvio Bakery is actually Birdbath Bakery is actually City Bakery. Anyway, we headed inside. Their goods looked good.
I really wish I could have had a homemade marshmallow, but sadly gelatin is not halal. The cookies looked great, and I hope to get one next time. The scones looked good, too. In fact, every scone we saw hereafter looked good. It was like NYC doesn’t know how to make bad scones. We had come for the pretzel croissant, though.
I am glad to have tried it. It was crispy and flaky on the outside like a croissant. On the inside, the texture and flavor were like a pretzel, and it was buttery like a croissant. Unfortunately, like most pretzels, it was far too salty. Otherwise it would have been a perfect pastry for me.
Next we headed diagonally across the street to Olive’s. It looked like they do a lot of breakfast and lunch business, but we came for the sweets, of course.
The cowgirl cookie had chocolate chunks, white chocolate chips, and dried cherries. The cookie had a texture kind of like World Peace Cookies. It started strong, but then became too sweet half way through. The Morning Bun – Olive’s take on a sticky bun – was outstanding. The outside was perfectly caramelized. The inside was soft, but not Wonder Bread-y, with a light richness. The crisp bits extended to the inside, too. This could stand up to any kouign amann, as far as I’m concerned. (Side note: Two cookies were stuck together, so they just gave us both of them!)
A very short walk away was Once Upon a Tart.
On this day, the tarts looked anemic, except the apple tart. We were informed the apple tart contained almond paste so I balked. Usually, almond paste is an overpowering element for me. Everything else looked good. Items were on the pricey side. They had a 2 for 1 muffin/scone special, so that made it easy. The muffins were baked without paper cups, giving them a nicely browned bottom. That gloriously risen walnut blueberry muffin in the middle there, we chose that one. And the cheddar (dill?) scone all the way in the front right corner.
The cheddar scone we devoured right away. It wasn’t overly cheesy, you could taste the other ingredients. The texture wasn’t too flaky and not too homogeneous like a muffin, it was just right. And the muffin was great, too. The walnuts had been broken into fine pieces and thus were evenly dispersed, not affecting the muffin’s rise like walnuts sometimes do. The blueberries were used sparingly, accenting the muffin’s flavor. The crumb topping was a thin layer, a noticeably sweet crunch, but not overpowering. Someone had obviously put real thought into it. It might seem silly to go crazy over muffins and scones, but for me, baking the perfect muffin is sort of a holy grail. I’m still kicking myself over not trying the apple tart.
We dropped our leftovers off in the car and walked to our next destination. There was a car waiting for a parking spot to open up. I felt bad for them. It’s so disheartening when someone comes to their car but doesn’t leave. Gets your hopes up.