A cake draped in fondant cherry blossoms; a cake crowned with an edible gift bow; a cake that could be mistaken for an elegant purse—sweets such as these are custom-designed for weddings, birthdays, and baby showers at Sapienza Bake Shop. The Italian bakery has been in the Sapienza family for three generations. Guided by old-fashioned recipes, rather than whatever appears in the encyclopedia under “food,” its culinary team crafts crunchy biscotti in flavors including coconut and chocolate chip, as well as confections such as the tri-colored rainbow cookie, layered with chocolate and jam. Their éclairs and sfogliatelli, a flaky pastry filled with semolina and ricotta, delight the sweet tooth, as do pies, cheesecakes, and other delicacies.
The Bagel Factory's industrious bakers kettle-cook fresh, hand-rolled bagels each morning, providing solid foundations for rich cream cheeses. The menu's avalanching array of regular bagel varieties includes cinnamon raisin, whole wheat, garlic, egg, and pumpernickel, great for silencing tummies' grumbles and garage-band practices. In addition to preparing an array of freshly baked pastries and desserts, the kitchen staffers sandwich Boar’s Head meats and cheeses between bookends of bagel, roll, or panini bread slices. They also provide lighter options such as build-your-own salads, which come topped with the customer’s choice of meat, dressing, and toppings.
Stepping into Walt Itgen's Ice Cream Parlour may feel a little like stepping back in time. Not much has changed in the shop's 40 year history?the hot fudge sundaes are still topped with real homemade whipped cream, and the malts and milkshakes are still thick enough to eat with a spoon. The charm of the homemade ice cream creations is only enhanced by the shop's vintage surrounds, which include a long counter with red leather stools, and booths that offer just enough privacy for couples on first dates or adults who like to play with their food without ridicule.
In the early 1970s, after years spent as an analyst in the cocoa industry, John Whaley began experimenting with chocolate in his home. As he worked, he devised a simple recipe for truffles: a secret concoction of whole cream, butter, and cocoa powder. In 1973, he founded 5th Avenue Chocolatiere to preserve and share his findings. Though only three people and one ominous floating brain know the recipe today, shop staff reveals that they hand-craft all of their confections using 100% natural Belgian chocolate.
Each day, the staff casts chocolates in more than 10,000 molds such as motorcycles, New York icons, and dinosaurs. They also turn strawberries and apricots into chocolate-covered fruits, and inject more than 15 flavored truffles with fillings such as raspberry, green tea, and champagne. At children's birthday parties held in private rooms, certified teachers help children mold their own candy on a 40 ft. enrobing machine, as well as dip their own pretzels or little sisters' toys in chocolate.