Yesterday, new baked goods shop, Vegan Divas, opened up on the UES with a slew of health-friendly treats. Founder Fernanda Capobianco (wife of famed Francois Payard) is excited about opening her flagship store after her brand took off in the US. Celebrities such as Madonna and Alicia Silverstone have already caught on to the phenomenon that is Vegan Divas. The vegan sweets replace animal products with healthier ingredients such as maple syrup and cold pressed coconut oil, making the goodies less caloric, kosher, and both cholesterol and lactose free.
Translating as “The New” from Spanish, La Nueva is a South American-style bakery located in Jackson Heights, Queens. Situated on 37th Avenue and 87th Street, La Nueva compliments its busy surroundings, not to mention the loud music playing at immeasurable volumes out of other establishments and cars passing by. Getting there by subway, one must take the 7 from Manhattan, and enjoy the elevated view this ride offers once the train emerges into Queens. By bike, one will likely become distracted by the intense jumble of interesting urban planning that surrounds this area.
Eldridge Street, on the Lower East Side, has changed yet remained mainly the same for as long as many of the longtime residents can remember. The neighborhood is mainly comprised of Chinese and Dominican families, combined Chinese and Spanish grocers, and underground nightclubs that only locals can spot. Slowly, with the opening of a few art galleries and other day-businesses the neighborhood has begun to change. Nestled among residential buildings on Eldridge Street between Delancey and Broome is the small specialty bakery, Panade Puffs & Pastries and we mean SMALL—the bakery is a whopping 250-square feet.
Everyone knows Argentina for their amazing beef, flavorful wine, authentic leather goods, romantic tangos, their peoples’ thick Spanish-like accents, and not to mention their beautiful men. Don’t kid yourself; we know you wish you could just turn a corner and find yourself in the streets of Buenos Aires whenever you wanted. Since the lovely country of Argentina is, unfortunately, only 4373 miles away, we have Panizza Bistro in Miami Beach to thank for.
Panizza Bistro, located on 122 Lincoln Road, is like a little page taken out of an Argentinean fairy tale, and best of all: it’s über cheap! Their menu items range from $.95 to $15! With its outside seating and indoor benches, it’s the quintessential cozy little coffeehouse/bakery that people search for years to find. Grab a basket and tongs to select from their many displayed pastries or select from their authentic Argentinean delicacies like empanadas, pies, tortillas, or miga sandwiches. I, personally, am addicted to their beef empanadas!
The woman behind Lil Rae Cakes is Jenny Rae, who started the successful “cake-ball” bakery after prompting from friends and family. Taste one or two of her cake balls and you can see why. Biting into a Lil Rae Cake is like biting into a piece of your southern grandma’s secret family recipe. It is both immensely rich and dense but perfectly light and fluffy at the same time. The vanilla is reminiscent of the animal cookies of your childhood. The lemon inspires visions of a gorgeous lemon pound cake with vanilla frosting dripping down the sides. And, luckily for all of us, that is just the beginning.
1523 South 8th Street
Philadelphia is the city of brotherly love and it's also the city of restaurant love. The Center City District recently issued a "State of Center City Report" in which it details the enormous growth of the sector. Apparently, roughly one-third of all retail space is occupied by restaurant and food establishments. In total, 750 food spots exist between Vine Street and South Street alone. 750! And this staggering number doesn't even include the massive growth in areas like Northern Liberties, South Philly, and West Philly. It also doesn't reflect the star power behind many of Philly's restaurants.
There are a lot of restaurants in New York touting organic, locally grown food. There aren’t so many restaurants that have their very own farm supplying them.
75 Washington Place
at 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Blue Hill is just such a restaurant. What would seem like just another organic eatery in Greenwich Village is something more. The restaurant owners are refurbishing the Blue Hill Farm to supply their restaurant with personally chosen ingredients, (rustic ingredients are already chosen form several farms throughout the New England region.) While the family farm is still in early stages of production, it already supplies the several restaurants under the Blue Hill name with grass-fed meats, vegetables and fresh milk.
One can always tell Easter is here by the endless rows of pastel colored marshmallow animals in stores like Duane Reade. The affectionately named candy I’m talking about called Peeps usually take over shelves for a few weeks- just long enough to give the kiddies toothaches and cavities.
Recently, the Bouchon Bakery in Manhattan has decided to play copy cat, but with a twist. The bakery has created Peep-inspired lollipops. It’s pretty much a Peep on a stick, but one side is made out of white chocolate. They definitely look cute, but I think the white chocolate is a bit much- a marshmallow covered entirely in sugar doesn’t really need chocolate (but hey, who am I to judge?) They’re available through Easter Sunday, but at $3.50 each, I’m sure only true fans of Peeps will venture out to score one of these.
If your inner caffeine dependent sweet tooth aches, might I point your attention to Soho’s new-esque City Girl Café. The small locale adds new levels of awesome to many an item, most specifically of the coffee and brownie persuasions. Word on the street is that their brownies are legendary: fudgy at the center, delicious, and even, dare I say, “Profound.” Apparently their ginger cookies, peanut butter balls, apple cake, and granola bars are also first rate.
Sounds great - especially considering that I haven’t had a great bunch of brownies since the 3am Cheerios Carnage incident of 07. Don’t ask.
City Girl Cafe
63 Thompson Street
(between Spring and Broome Streets)
New York, NY 10012