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Butter Lane Cupcakes, East Village

So a couple weeks ago this happened. Actually, because of a cold, I only made it through a half dozen cupcakes, and yes, I ate all of them by myself within 24 hours. Don’t judge. One Groupon went unused (I was that sick); let’s not dwell on it.

Butter Lane has three cupcake flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and banana) and at least 20 different frostings, so you can mix and match your little cakes right on the spot. I normally hate all things banana except banana bread, but I decided to give “The Elvis” (banana cake, peanut butter frosting, topped with mini marshmallows) a go. Thank God. This actually was my favorite out of the whole bunch.

Using the picture below and going clockwise from The Elvis (also ranked 1-6, 1 being the highest, and going to The Elvis):

  • Chocolate cake with chocolate raspberry frosting (5)
  • Vanilla cake with strawberry frosting (6)
  • Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (2)
  • Vanilla cake with honey cinnamon frosting, swirled with honey on top (4)
  • In the middle, vanilla cake with burnt caramel frosting, topped with popcorn (3)

The vanilla cake is sometimes a little dry, but the frosting is outstanding, the creative flavors are ridiculous, and the thoughtful way they top the cupcakes is just the "icing on the cake.“ Butter Lane is one of my top four cupcakeries in the city, along with Crumbs (I don’t care what you haters say!), Baked by Melissa, and another place I’ll tell you about soon.

PS- they also have frosting "shots.”

2

I found two new things to chow at the Flea this weekend. 

  1. Lonestar Empire’s mesquite, 15 hour-smoked angus brisket sandwich, complete with homemade barbecue sauce, bread and butter pickles, and Texas-style potato salad. I really know nothing about meat–heck, I haven’t been eating it most of my life–but this year I’ve become quite the carnivore. I can tell you this: sinking my fork into that brisket felt the same as digging into that cream pie. The brisket fell apart at the slightest fork nuzzle. I think that means something very good.
  2. Rachel’s Pies chocolate cream pie with homemade whipped cream and pretzel crust. Sweet and salty perfection. This was my reward to myself for having to stay inside Saturday afternoon to do work. Best reward ever. I will be spending a lot more time inside doing work this fall if Rachel’s Pies is always my payoff.

Sweet Revenge, West Village: NYC's best cupcake?

 

To be honest, I can’t name the absolute best cupcake shop in the city. As mentioned in this post, I have a top three: Butter Lane, Baked by Melissa, and–a little secret I’ve kept until now–Sweet Revenge in the West Village. Can we just talk about their signature cupcake, perhaps the best flavor ever-ever-ever? Peanut butter cake, ganache filling, and peanut butter fudge frosting. The pictures can do the rest of the talking.

The tiny bar/bakery is the kind of place you don’t want to tell anyone about. It’s oh-so-cute on a charming West Village block, has wine and beer pairings for all cupcakes, is open late (12:30), and there’s a cupcake happy hour (cupcake and drink for $10).

 

This is real life: frosting flower stacked on tiny cupcake stacked on giant cupcake. I took a huge bite of it, and that tasty little flower toppled right off and splattered on the floor. You can decide for yourself if i licked up the tippy top that wasn’t touching the ground. 

Beautiful birthday treat from my dear friend Rena, purchased at Whole Foods.

Momofuku Milk Bar, East Village: Best Cookies in NYC

Here’s a little secret about me: I don’t love cupcakes. Sure, if someone offers me one I’ll take it, and I do get a hankering for them from time to time, but they’re not my all time fave. That distinction belongs to cookies. Cookies are my number one favorite food, xoxo times infinity and beyond.

Yet surprisingly, until lately, I hadn’t found the ultimate best cookie in New York City. Previously, my top three favorite cookies ever (all chocolate chip) were from Sueann’s Bagels (Green Bay, WI, now closed–RIP), Kavarna (Green Bay, WI), and the Eastern Market (Washington, DC). But those are all in the past now because I’ve officially hit the jackpot. The best cookie in NYC (and possibly the world) is at Momofuku Milk Bar.

Flavors include:

  • Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow (my absolute favorite)
  • Blueberry Cream, with dried blueberries and milk crumbs
  • Compost, with pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, and chocolate chips (crazy intense flavors!)
  • Chocolate Chocolate

What’s more, this place has flavored milk. And not just boring vanilla or chocolate, but cereal flavored milk. There is no way they could make this any other way besides actually letting cereal sit in milk and then bottling it. That’s how accurate it is. Outrageous.

While devouring my first box of Momofuku cookies back in March, I was perusing New York Mag’s Best of New York issue. When I arrived at Best Chocolate Chip Cookie, I greedily laughed (as I shoved another Momo cookie in my mouth), because no way in hell was there a better chocolate chip cookie than the one I was currently eating. Ma Peche? I’m so sure. But seeing as this place is only a couple blocks from my office, I decided I’d check it out (for comparison’s sake) when the time came for my Famous Amos afternoon cookie binge. Well, it turns out Ma Peche is part of the Momofuku empire, and now a second Milk Bar resides in midtown. Lord help us all (that would be me, and any civilians that get in my way while I rush over each day during my afternoon sugar crash).

Seriously. These are Grade A, change-your-life cookies. As a bonus treat, here’s recipes for the Compost, and the Cornflake Choco Marshmallow cookies. Enjoy!

Changes at Pinkberry

In case, like me, you haven’t been to Pinkberry in a while, let me inform you of a couple changes.

  1. You now get unlimited toppings
  2. Toppings have probably doubled, and include brownie and cheesecake bites, cinnamon toast crunch cereal, and sauces
  3. There’s chocolate-flavored yogurt, which is so rich it actually taste more like ice cream (also pomegranate and mango flavors)
  4. Cones

Great improvements all around. Pinkberry addiction has officially been renewed.

Levain Bakery, Upper West Side: NYC's other best cookie

Thanks to my severe cookie fetish, people are always telling me to try Levain Bakery. I finally found myself there this weekend. The rumors are true: these cookies are holy-moly-nom-alicious. 

First off, this isn’t your over cute-sified dessert shoppe. It’s just a tiny downstairs bakery counter with a couple stools. Secondly, cookies do sell out. I got there around 1 on Saturday and there were less than a dozen cookies left. The double chocolate peanut butter chip was prime for the taking. 

The $4 cookie chunk didn’t look especially appetizing, but inside, ooey gooey, warm, half cookie/half brownie filling awaited me. This place is definitely giving Momofuku Milk Bar a run for its “best cookie” money.

Pinkberry’s new summer flavor is watermelon, which to me did not taste at all like watermelon until you put the fresh watermelon and watermelon puree on it. Nonetheless, a refreshing treat, especially if you also add diced cucumbers!

And right now, Pinkberry is offering a watermelon happy hour: 50% off from 5-7 when you order any watermelon yogurt or toppings. That’s right, my medium pinkberry with unlimited toppings cost me just $3.67.

16 Handles, East Village

Another way to celebrate fantastic weather: ice cream! I finally tried 16 Handles a few weeks ago, hence our winter wear. Yes, that’s right, the place has 16 flavors of frozen yogurt. (Oreos and cream, peanut butter, and red velvet cake were my choices.)

It’s not the most flavorful stuff I’ve ever had, and is more comparable to Tasti than tart yogurt. But having so many yogurt flavors and at least twice as many topping choices was exciting.

Drawback: with toppings like brownie and cookie dough bites and peanut butter sauce (guilty on all counts), don’t expect this to be a healthy treat unless you have incredible willpower. Good thing the yogurt is nonfat.

Cupcakes for Boys: Butch Bakery

This is hilarious. Via DailyCandy:

Butch Bakery peddles big, boozy cupcakes with XY-approved patterns like camo, wood grain, and houndstooth. Manly flavors include rum-soaked Madagascar vanilla cake with cola Bavarian cream filling (Rum & Coke), chocolate beer cake with beer-infused buttercream and pretzels (Beer Run), and peanut butter cake with banana Bavarian cream and crumbled bacon.

Read more about Butch Bakery here.