At the encouragement of several long-time reader of this blog, as well as a few newly-introduced readers, I have decided to begin reviewing some of my well-enjoyed food adventures around my little town of Manhattan. To this point, I refrained from doing reviews on purpose, for several reasons - I don't eat out very often, I don't order a wide variety of items when I do go out and, honesty, I don't believe I am the best source for reviews of places around the city. So, I do sincerely hope that you enjoy these occasionally installments; I hope you will remember them as you search for a place to provide a special treat or places to savor during a trip to NYC. Please take them for exactly what they are - the experience and recommendation of a good friend.
I first passed by The City Bakery just about two years ago. I was a recent transplant to Manhattan - and I was lost and lonely. I found myself alone on another humid, stifling weekend and I headed to the only place I could find refuge - the cookbook section of Strand and the Union Square Farmer's Market.
As I wandered the sticky streets around the market, fresh spinach and strawberries in tow, I ventured past The City Bakery. I peeked through the tinted windows and was immediately intimidated. It was fast paced and the locals looked as though they knew exactly what they wanted.
So I ventured on, convinced myself it was like every other over-rated bakery in the city and tried to forget about the sighting.
At least, until later that year, when one of my favorite bloggers, David Lebovitz, wrote about how much he loved The City Bakery.
I had to have one of those pretzel croissants.
Still, because I always have, and always will, hate eating alone, it took another two years to actualy open the doors and be formally introduced to the famed-pretzel croissant.
After my Dad and I had explored the farmer's market last Monday morning, he asked if there was a place we could grab a quick snack. I prefaced my response with saying I had never actually eaten there, but The City Bakery came very highly recommended.
An unexplored, potential-gem? My Dad was practically hauling me through the doors.
My Dad filled-up a plate with the roasted vegetables, as I explored the space and reserved a spot in line. Drooling over the pastries and baked goods, I ordered my long awaited pretzel croissant.
And then we also spotted the maple bacon biscuits. And ordered one of those.
And then I asked the server what made up the Baker's muffin. He politely answered and my Dad scoffed. Not at the server or his response, but at me.
"There is only one way to properly research," as he instructed the server that we would also happily be taking one of those.
We found a spacious, out of the way table and dug-in.
The pretzel croissant. The long wait. The flaky, salt crust. To die for. If you go to The City Bakery and only order one item, let it be the pretzel croissant.
I found the whole croissant so intensely interesting - the buttery, salty, flaky crust, but a thick, doughy crumb.
I could not, and did not, stop eating this, although allowing my Dad a significant taste, until nothing was left. Not a crumb. Not a sprinkle of salt. I cannot wait to enjoy another - perhaps in cooler weather, with a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
The surprise of the afternoon was the maple bacon biscuit. It was like breakfast in a compact form. It was equally delicious - and my Dad bought five more on the way out, which Mike and I enjoyed throughout the long week.
The baker's muffin was good, well-executed, but probably not something I would order again. Maybe it just wasn't my taste, or maybe I was already thoroughly blown-away by the pretzel croissant and maple bacon biscuit.
So, if you are ever find yourself in area of the Union Square Farmer's Market, mosey on up to The City Bakery. I hope you enjoy the pretzel croissant and maple bacon as much as me.