The fun of traveling is experiencing something new and for me, this usually means desserts. I can honestly say I have an international sweet tooth and the quest to satisfy it is quite fun, especially as my food journal and I are divorced when I travel. Plus we all know that there is no such thing as international and/or travel calories on vacation so they don’t count! Before you try to bust my bubble with a dose of reality or a healthy suggestion of moderation, let’s just agree that my dessert ignorance is bliss. When I am home, I am good with a 90% gluten/dairy/soy free life (note: there’s no joy in being good), when I travel there are no limits.
Some of my best memories are recalled by dessert and the people I was with enjoying the new flavors of the cities around the world – the amazing Panna cotta in Santiago, Chile at Tiramisu across from the W Santiago, the decadent chocolate and glass of Bordeaux in Paris, the Hummingbird cupcakes and Paul A Young chocolates in London (part of my DIY Cupcakes & Chocolate Walking Tour of Soho in London) or the morning maze of alleys in the small Turkish town stumbling across a woman selling homemade donuts from her window to name a few favorites.
So with my trip to New York, just a bit over an hour by train from Philadelphia, I had a bit of a covert mission if I found the time (of course, for dessert, I would make the time, who are we kidding?). After checking out of the Muse Hotel (a bit early) I did what most people would do – I wandered aimlessly around New York.
How convenient that my wandering involved a plotted out turn right to wander near Rockefeller Center to Bouchon Bakery where I wanted everything in the display case. The way the line is set up you don’t have much time to look around and contemplate – it is a quick decision line which lends itself to this, that and at the register the other. I left with a bag of goodies that I vowed to not try until I was back in Philly that night (less than an hour later I would be sneaking chocolate chip cookie pieces on the Amtrak). I bought a chocolate chip cookie (this). a peanut butter cookie sandwich (that) for my friend who would pick me up at the train station later and I forget what the other was but am sure it was chocolate and delicious.
I then walked past the Magnolia Bakery (made famous in the television show Sex and the City) and without the line outside I easily entered the sugar heaven. The small store constantly buzzes with tourists wanting to channel a bit of Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda with a sugar rush. Here is another place you can’t really dawdle as they want the lines to move – get in the cake line, the brownie line or the cupcake line and work your way to the register and out the door. Having sampled my way through this bakery over the years, I can say my favorite through process of elimination are the cake slices and famous banana cream pudding.
The hotel concierge had recommended a local bakery Amy’s Bread. I made sure to walk past Amy’s the night before after dinner (ok, I went a few blocks out of my way in order to walk past it) and picked up some cookies – I was tempted to buy armloads of bread and rolls but would add that to the next visit’s checklist. I managed to polish the cookies off quite easily as they paired well with the red wine the hotel has provided.
I had already indulged in the mini-cupcakes from Baked by Melissa that the concierge had sent (I actually order these mini-cupcakes for the office, our parties and special treats so my family, friends and co-workers all benefit from my sweet tooth). Baked by Melissa has many mini-stores/locations throughout the city so make the time to seek them out and take some home by car, train or plane and see how many actually make it home! I bought the box below and they made it home intact which was only made possible because I was already full of way too may treats.
Thankfully, I walked all weekend in New York but given the all of the dessert treats, I probably should have walked back to Philly and maybe all the way to Florida in order to put a dent in the caloric intake but then again, vacation calories don’t count, right? I knew I’d be back to my gym routine once the train pulled into 30th street station, back to reality and my food journal.
What are your favorite cookies, cakes, desserts when you travel? Have you also planned a mission to seek out pastry indulgences? Comment below so I can add them to my list – I’m always looking for new bakeries, treats and flavors when I travel.