The term ‘Pop Up Cookie Bar‘ should be enough to get any self respecting sugar addict excited.
Well I was and while my first thought was that it was not conducive to my healthy eating plan I decided that since it was the last day of the event I was in little danger of a relapse irrespective of how good the cookies were.
The next term, ‘the early bird catches the worm’ is one of those meaningless clichés that only comes up when someone wants to say I told you so. In this case myself. It is like many a cliché, so obviously true that when someone points it out the only normal response is a punch in the face.
Having got to the cookie bar literally just in time to watch the last cookie being handed over I decided that to then punch myself in the face as well would be adding insult to injury, and instead I should lick my wounds and head somewhere else for cookie therapy. I would add that I was consoled in the best possible way by Dorie Greenspan (whose pop up it was) when her husband seeing the disappointment on my face rummaged around to find the last albeit slightly damaged cookie and offered it to me free of charge. It was the best all butter cookie I have ever had, so I left happy with a rueful smile thinking of how things could have been had I got up earlier…..or not gone to the gym!!!
Since I do not travel into Manhattan all that often it seemed to make sense to at least make the most of it. The Pop Up Cookie Bar was on 59th and Lexington in a hair salon of all places, and I know of two good sweet spots that way. One is Dylan’s Candy Bar which I am sure I will come to in another post and the other is the ever reliable Bouchon Bakery. For my money they serve the best cookies in NY barring pop ups….It is Thomas Keller after all who is according to many one of the greatest chefs ever.
The Bouchon Bakery is in the Time Warner Centre and while not exactly cheap it is the only way to sample his food without shattering the bank balance. There is a simple cafe where you can enjoy fancy salads, sandwiches and soups and then a take out bakery counter where all manner of sweet treats beckon. They even sell Foie Gras doggy biscuits, pretty distasteful to my mind but not enough to start boycotting the place.
With sweet fix in hand I decided to check out ‘Wichcraft, Tom Colicchio’s sandwich place. Colicchio has a small empire of upmarket restaurants across NY, but ‘Wichcraft is his attempt to offer the same guiding principles behind his food at a lower price point. This concept mirrored in Keller’s Bouchon is something that is missing in the London eating scene.There are simply too many high-end restaurants who do little to widen their reach, short of the excellent Fino-Barrafina connection I cannot think of any.
They offer gourmet sandwiches priced slightly above the normal take out joints but not dissimilar to if you were ordering in a restaurant ($9-$11). My free range chicken and cauliflower with olive aoili was generously filled and with interesting flavours. The chicken was perhaps a little dry having been warmed up, and it was unfortunate that the curried cauliflower was fridge cold not making for a great contrast. However overall it was a good sandwich with excellent ciabatta roll. They have many locations across the city, many take away only but if you are nearby The Lincoln Center they have a branch with plenty of seating.