Donut Crazy

1 Ferry Ln – Saugatuck Train Station Westport, CT 06880 • (203) 293-4655 • donutcrazyct.com

One need only walk through the door to understand what makes this place so “crazy,” because directly across from you there are two cases filled with fried rings of dough that look like something Willy Wonka might create if he were really, REALLY stoned (pictured). Sporting more colors of the rainbow than Skittles, these things are topped with the type of stuff that keeps dentists up at night. Things like Cookie Monster, a blue donut topped with actual crumbles of chocolate chip cookies. Candy Crush, topped with gummy worms. Maple Bacon, topped with bacon, of course. That said, I think the best two by far are simplest ones. The Red Velvet (available year-round) and the Pumpkin (only available in Autumn, sadly). Others are decent, but on a textural basis in a head-to-head, flavor-to-flavor throw down with Coffee An’ Donut Shop, they would lose. But that’s only in a fair fight and Donut Crazy don’t fight fair, after all… it’s crazy!

And speaking of CRAZY good, you have to try their Cruffins. Easily the bestest thing they make. Think Cronut, but in muffin form. This is their haymaker and it packs a wallop! Down goes Coffee An’!!!

Other things worthy of note are the muffins and croissants, which are better than any other bakery in the area. My personal favs being the carrot and bran muffins. Yes, another hit from the people at Match going in the books. Not perfect mind you, but well played nonetheless.

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Dominique Ansel Bakery

189 Spring St. New York, NY 10012 • (212) 219-2773 • dominiqueansel.com

Made famous by the invention of the cronut and thus by default perpetrator of the Cabbage Patch frenzy that ensued thereafter, DAB is the stuff of legends. And not the kind you’ve been cautioned about, ya know, the ones who never live up to expectation?

Well fret not, because Dom delivers. And I mean that both literally and figuratively. Just go to Trycaviar.com and get yourself some baked-to-order-cookie-nirvana delivered right to your door, still warm and gooey and cracktastic!

The white chocolate macadamia alone is Ultimate-worthy and the chocolate brownie cookie ain’t too shabby neither. Okay, the chocolate chip cookie is pretty kickass as well. In fact, the only cookie that wasn’t just flat-out orgasmic was the gingersnap, but still very good, mind you, it just suffered from three, consecutive, tough acts to follow.

Oh, and the presentation? Like it was coming from Tiffany’s, if Tiffany’s sold baked goods instead of jewelry.

You can also get the cronut, pastries and croissants delivered, but if you want the cronut you need to order in advance, because they are still a hot item all these years later and will sell out before you even hit your snooze button.

 

The Ultimate Cookie

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City Bakery – New York, NY

Both the chocolate chip and the chocolate lava cookies are at the top of my list, and both from the same place. So that should tell you something. Something like, you should be putting on your shoes and heading out for these cookies.

Let’s start with the lava cookie, because it’s very simple to explain. You know those molten lava cakes you get for dessert in restaurants, where you break them open and then all of the gooey liquid chocolate oozes out? Well, this is that in cookie form. Nuff said. Oh, and it’s pulled off like a champ.

Then there’s the chocolate chip cookie. Now, considering there are SO many contenders in this bucket, and basically all of them are at minimum good (after all, they are cookies), I feel the need to clarify what puts these above the rest. First and foremost, they possess the single most vital cookie characteristic, they are moist. But not under-baked moist, where you still get a bit of that floury grain in every bite. No, that’s the cheap way at it. City Bakery takes the road less travelled making their cookies right-out-of-the-oven gooey. But here’s the thing, they are like this for hours after being out of the oven. I don’t know how they do it (other than a plethora of butter), but it tastes like the stuff dreams are made of. Hell, I don’t even dream of cookies this good. Well, now I do because I’ve had them. But until you do, you don’t. Trust me.

 

Sherry B – Chappaqua, NY

Now I know what you’re thinking. Really? Chappaqua? The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie is from Chappaqua? Well, yes it is. Sharing the title with City Bakery and Dominique Ansel Bakery. It’s three inches of diameter deliciousness.  A clinic on balance and texture and decadence. Get one fresh baked and fuggetaboutit!

 

Dominique Ansel Bakery – New York, NY

It should come as no surprise that the inventor of the cronut also bakes a decent cookie. In fact, make that four decent cookies, the chocolate molten cookie, the salted white chocolate macadamia (my personal fav), the chocolate chip and the gingerbread cookie. All, baked warm and gooey to order if you ring those babies up on trycaviar.com. Yes, screw Seamless. TryCaviar has more game in its dot than Seamless has in its entire URL. And yes, that very well may be the first, and lamest, URL slam.

BOA Steakhouse

101 Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90401 • (310) 899-4466 • innovativedining.com/restaurants/boa

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If you heard that it’s a great place for star spotting, I’m afraid that’s the other one. This one is just for a good steak. Although the last time I was there, we did see Jon Favreau so go figure. And while it’s no Mastro’s, if you’re craving a steakhouse experience on the West side, I would look no further. That said, I wasn’t actually THAT impressed with the steak itself to be honest. The blackened sea bass was a bit of an eh as well, granted as gargantuan as that hunk of fish was, I found it impressively well cooked.

The goat cheese baklava, however… Thank you Yelpers! Would’ve never thought to order it without your reco. But my god is that thing good! Best dish of the night. Both times I’ve been here. So flaky and creamy and nummy nummy.

As for the Caesar salad, it’s good. But, it’s just a Caesar salad at the end of the day. And the heirloom tomatoes don’t exactly wow either. The blue crab cocktail on the other hand is quite money (belated Jon Favreau sub-reference). Second best thing of the meal.

In terms of sides, the chipotle lime corn is definitely the clear winner, followed by the truffle cauliflower. The creamed spinach, was just okay as was the squash medley. And while the truffle cheese fries aren’t terrible, they are terribly gut-busting, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to make room for a 50+ dollar steak.

For desserts, skip the crumble. The maple, bacon Bonut (get it? BOA’s branded version of the Cronut) was a table-pleaser, although WAY too bready to truly be compared to its namesake. The cookies and ice cream were another table fav. Followed by the S’mores.

As for service, while friendly, it’s a tad on the slow/spotty side. The view is stellar, overlooking the ocean. And the decor is clean and modern. So all in all a solid good. But definitely shy of great.

3 teeth

 

Sweetgreen

1164 Broadway New York, NY 10001(646) 449-8884 • sweetgreen.com

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While I find the line to get into this place both absurd and unworthy, I do have to say that the food is actually pretty good. Fresh, healthy- Just not worth waiting in that line for. And we’re not talking like Chop’t, whose line actually moves quickly. We’re talking DMV. I mean, c’mon people, it’s salad, not a cronut!

Of the things I’ve had, 3 salads and 3 juices, I can say that all of the salads have been good. Juices, however, are much better at Terri and Juice Press (also in the hood). But of the salads, my favorite is the “wild rice bowl,” with no modifications. It’s so different from anything else in the “fast salad category,” if that subset even exists. Served warm with chicken and apple and goat cheese. It’s better than it sounds. Anyways, all of the salads leave you feeling full and guilt free. If only the experience were aggravation free between the long line and the fact that you have to remember to get your own napkins and utensils.

There is a way to make the line marginally less painful if you order ahead. Then the wait is only annoyingly long as opposed to ridiculously-wanna-punch-someone-in-the-crotch-stupid-long.

3 teeth

The Ultimate Croissant

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City Bakery – New York, NY – Pretzel

Way before the cronut ever stepped onto the scene, there was this baby (pictured). The original croissant hybrid. Only instead of going sweet, they went savory. And I have to say they “nailed it!” (Read with a high-pitched lilt). The saltiness interacts with the butteriness in a way not unlike sea salt does with chocolate or caramel- and in that alchemy of decadence, all ships rise.

La Tulipe – Mount Kisco, NY – Almond

While all of their croissants are excellent, the Almond reigns supreme. Get there right at 7:30am (Monday-Saturday) or 8:00am on Sundays just as they come out of the oven, and then race home to eat it while they’re still warm- the almond paste still liquefied. The dusted confectioners sugar still settling. It’s like eating a warm hug from a hundred puppies.

Petrossian New York, NY – Plain

The buttery/flakey quotient of this plain and simple croissant simply can’t be beat. Like an explosion of pop rocks in your mouth, the flakes will seek out your taste buds like guided missiles, swooning every last one of them. Also, one other thing that is truly impressive about these croissants versus the others is that they are the only ones that travel well. The others won’t last more than hour or two before their magnificence starts to wane. These are more like the Energizer Bunny.

Santiago’s Bodega

 802 Virginia Dr. Orlando, FL 32803 • (407) 286-2903santiagosbodega.com

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While the location is a bit of a snore, as you enter you feel immediately transported by its thematic décor is nice. And while it is a touch on the Spanish theme-y side, at least it’s done well. And speaking of things done well, the food is no slouch, starting with the Port sangria, which much richer than its vino cousins, yet still refreshing.

Unfortunately that was quickly followed by the first miss. The pear and avocado salad was no bueno. The pears were unripe and hard. And the creamy dressing overpowered the other ingredients in the dish.

Fortunately, the hits would far outnumber the misses as the scallop special arrived. Perfectly cooked and prepared with a pear puree, then sprinkled with bacon, because why not? A bit rich, but a lot good.

Next came the Spanish plate and French plate and together I highly recommend them as a great way for two people to try a little of everything. The best of the batch was the Spanish plate’s spice rubbed pork with a raisin, mango chutney and the French plate’s tarragon chicken. France & Spain tied 1-1.

The spicy potatoes with capers and olives and peppers would be my next favorite. Obviously from the Spanish plate making it 1-2 in favor of Spain. Then after that I would go with the ceviche (1-3).

Rounding out the French plate was the asparagus with prosciutto and cheese- simple, yet delicious. And the only miss of the two plates came from the French, being the pastry. Sort of a mush of flavors wrapped in filo dough. Not terrible. Just nothing in it was discernable.

But Santiago ended very strong, bringing down a little NYC for dessert with a cronut on the menu. How could I resist? After all, I’m not about to wait 2 hours outside, Dominique Ansel Bakery. So, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to pop my cronut cherry. Or should I say berry as it was served with a compote of such (which was actually more like a drizzle if you ask me) and a phenomenal homemade bourbon whipped cream. And when that cream hit the berry drizzle with the sugary, dusted, warm, doughnuty center, my tongue did a flamenco in my mouth.

3 teeth

Doughnut Plant

379 Grand St. New York, NY 10002 (212) & 220 W 23rd St. New York, NY 10011(212) 505-3700doughnutplant.com
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While the cronut place is busy sorting out its health code violations, fret not. One bite of the Crème Brulee Doughnut and you will forget all about it. In fact, you’ll want to have your mouth’s jersey retired, because it has achieved all it can in the world of doughnut greatness. That said, should wish to venture on, the options of awesomeness are aplenty at The Plant (just not quite as “wet your pants” amazing as Crème Brulee).

The next best for me would be the Carrot Cake Doughnut. You might not wet your pants, but it is highly possible that you could start weeping uncontrollably.

After that I’d say it’s a toss up between the incredibly creamy Tres Leche, the Coconut Cream or the comforting PB & J donut.

The only miss for me was the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Doughnut. Not that it was bad, but let’s just say I’d rather grab a classic Krispy Kreme.

5 teeth