Owner Jim Lahey imbues his experience as a sculptor into every aspect of the bakery's rustic Italian breads. Sink weary teeth into the spa-like sourdough specialty pane casareccio ($7.25), a dark-crusted oval of mouth-based mollycoddling, or try the light ciabatta grande ($3.50), which translates to "large slipper" in Italian because of its prevalence among the night's giant, roaming bread legs. Sullivan Street Bakery also offers high-quality sandwich-based applications of these yeasty masterworks, such as the pork and peach, gently bread-enveloped shallot puree, roast pork, dandelion, peach, chili powder, salt, and olive oil ($6), as well as daring takes on classic Cuban and Caprese sandwiches. The bakery also offers authentic pizze and sweet-tooth-satiating dolci.
Lauded by the New York Times for creating “first-rate indulgences,” Mille-Feuille confectionary guru, Olivier Dessyn, honed his dough-centric savvy under the tutelage of some of France’s leading pastry chefs during a yearlong stint at Paris’s famed Ritz cooking school. With Chef Olivier at the helm, the bakery’s sparkling open kitchen bustles with culinary wizards concocting sweet and savory goodies using only organic, all-natural ingredients and free-range pixie dust. Throughout the day, Mille-Feuille staffers replenish the shop’s display cases with fresh treats, including gluten-free French macarons and golden croissants that “[rank] among the city’s best” according to Time Out New York. The shop boasts a warm Parisian ambiance bolstered by glossy, white-tiled walls, a percolating espresso machine, and occasional visits from the chatty ghost of Victor Hugo.
Alice's Tea Cup is a self-described "dream come true" for sisters Haley and Lauren Fox, Upper West Side natives and fervent believers in the magic of tea parties. Three Manhattan locations—nicknamed Chapters I, II, and III in homage to Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland—welcome patrons into cozy, light-filled spaces for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and light supper, in addition to traditional afternoon tea. Whimsical interior touches abound, such as Chapter III's giant wall mural depicting the great hall Alice encounters in the book. Tiered trays of housemade sandwiches, cookies, and scones with jam and clotted cream share the menu with more than 100 varieties of tea, all precisely steeped in 180-degree double-filtered water for optimal flavor. After polishing off elevenses, patrons can also peruse funky clothing, tea accoutrements, and eclectic gifts at the retail shop, taking care to avoid dashing rabbits frantically checking their watches.
Cheesecake versus brownies. It’s a storied rivalry that until 1924 had no clear winner. But rather than indulging this age-old debate, enterprising baker Mario D’Aiuto combined the two in his signature Baby Watson cheesecake, a brownie cheesecake that put the discussion to rest once and for all.
Thus began New York New York Cheesecake, which, 88 years later, continues to produce these sweet treats alongside other baked goodies including pies, cakes, and cookies. The bakers still pull plain cheesecake and cherry cheesecake out of the oven, but they also get a little more creative. Their cheesecake carrot cake blends the richness of cheesecake with the classic Bugs Bunny flavor of carrot. And their layer cakes also rise to the challenge, as evidenced by 10 inches of tiramisu fashioned with tuscan sponge, mascarpone cheese, and flavored liquor, dusted with cinnamon, and surrounded by a ring of ladyfingers.
When a career as a fitness instructor instilled in him the importance of a balanced yet palatable diet, Stephen Charles Lincoln founded The Protein Bakery in 1999 to sate clients' sweet teeth while maintaining fitness-focused bodies. Lauded by Oprah Winfrey as "genuinely delicious," the bakery's cookies, brownies, and blondies—all baked in small batches daily—blend decadent flavors with nourishing whey protein and wheat-free, high-fiber ingredients. Perfectly cut brownie squares in flavors such as mint and espresso¬ mingle with peanut-butter and chocolate-chip blondies to create protein-packed snacks. Cookies in flavors such as oatmeal cranberry and chocolate chocolate chip pack up to 6 grams of protein each to forge healthy treats and help to jump-start the bodybuilding careers of dessert-addicted Muppets.