Astor Bake Shop
Inaugurate the a.m. with a two-egg sandwich ($3.25) with applewood-smoked bacon ($1.95 extra) and a cup of coffee ($1.49–$2.25). Astor Bake Shop serves a custom blend that's roasted by Brooklyn-based Stone Street Coffee. For noontime noshing, Astor Bake Shop's recently revamped menu offers sandwiches, salads, and the Astor Burger, a six-ounce burger on a challah roll topped with lettuce, tomato, spicy Astor sauce, cheese, creamy coleslaw, and a pickle ($8.75). If you skipped the main event, go to the after-party with a large cupcake ($3.25), baked fruit tart ($3.95), or slice of maize almond cake ($3.50), which is made with natural ingredients (eggs, butter, milk, etc.) rather than shortening or robot tears. Astor Bake Shop's owner and head chef, George McKirdy, has plumped pastries and forged fine fare at numerous notable restaurants, including Nobu, Patria, and Robert De Niro's Tribeca Grill. He has often cooked for famous folk such as Julia Childs, and he journeys regularly to France to collect newfangled culinary secrets and handwritten encyclopedias.