When one trusted source refers you to a place when you're visiting New York, you put it on the list. When two do it, you make it an imperative. When it happens to be two blocks from your office, you go twice. Such was the case for City Bakery.
I was made aware of City Bakery by newfound friend (by way of David, with whom I just dined at Tía Pol) Thomas Locke Hobbes. A Bay Area native but longtime New York resident (and now transplant back to his hometown), Thomas advised that City Bakery produced the best chocolate chip cookies. Ever. And then the always engaging and informative Shuna commented that I simply must go there for the pretzel croissant. As far as I know they are not in cahoots with each other, or the bakery.
So. Pretzel croissant, eh?
Ho yeah. Explosively flaky on the surface and fluffy soft on the inside. Big time buttery yet never greasy or dense. And just salty enough to highlight the sweetness of the dough. This is a very dangerous thing indeed.
The next morning I found myself absent-mindedly headed toward the
bakery, though I hadn't made the conscious decision to go there.
Pastries have that kind of mind control over me. This time I thought
I'd branch out and try something different, something abstractly called
a baker's muffin.
"Muffin" is maybe not the right word for this confection. It's more like a baked bread pudding -- ropes of bready dough tumbled into a muffin tin with raisins and nuts and baked until set. The top is pleasantly crunchy, and the body of the muffin is, well, bready. It's not bad, and I rather like that it was almost not at all sweet (though the confectioner's sugar on top sends a different message), it's just ... not a muffin.
As for the chocolate cookies? Well, I tried. They didn't have any
out in the mornings when I came by for my breakfast, and just didn't
have the opportunity to make midday excursions to satisfy my sweet
tooth. But I have great faith that theirs are in fact the best. Ever.
3 W. 18th St. (at 5th Ave.)