There's always a certain thrill about arriving in NYC and walking down the sidewalk in a canyon of silver buildings, hives of neon lights, honking taxis, subway grates spouting plumes of smoke, and New Yorkers dashing like irate road runners through traffic. And for the Babe, the most pressing sense of thrill is the certainty that on any given block in the city, there is a multiplicity of eating opportunities.
Prior to my trip there this weekend, I would've said that you can't go wrong in NYC. Pick a bakery and dive in. While hanging around for Broadway tickets on W. 49th Street, I saw what looked to be a promising Zabar's knockoff: Fine Foods Emporium. Feeling a bit peckish, I wandered in and found an enormous dessert case of every conceivable bar, cheesecake, brownie, and parfait. Truly, I thought I'd discovered some unknown treasure.
Everything looked good. And expensive. But in NYC, one must learn not to flinch at the idea that a cupcake costs $7. Or so I told myself as I buckled at the sight of this flaming beauty:
It was the red velvet cupcake to lay ruin and waste to all others. The Big Mac of cupcakes. It was enormous, and had looks like no pastry I'd laid eyes on before. I snapped it up and was barely on the sidewalk before I popped this weighty devil out and stuffed it in my mouth. But, OH, what sorrow. What tragedy. What a ding dang rip-off. The icing had the distinct flavor of dairy product that has gone off and may or may not be presenting a bacterial danger. And the cake had such an overdose of salt that I couldn't taste anything else. Bad cream cheese and a cup of salt. I'd been had. And there, flat and slithered on the sidewalk, lay my prospects of a sublime eating marathon for my weekend in NYC.
I can say with total certainty that you should shut your eyes and plug your ears as you walk past the Fine Food Emporium; resist the siren call of these bad-tasting beauties.
But don't despair, friends of the Bakery Babe. I had 2.5 days in the city. Do you really think I let one bad cupcake stop me? Stay tuned for my pilgrimage to such shrines as Magnolia Bakery, Tea & Sympathy, and Crumbs Bakery...and even, drum roll, THE RUSSIAN TEA ROOM!