Edible Hearts of Dough(nut)

It's been a while since I've visited Doughnut Plant in Chelsea for a sweet breakfast or snack, and I realized that I was missing out on some new, tasty doughnuts!

Doughnut Plant

For Valentine's Day (since the beginning of the month I'm guessing), Doughnut Plant has created some rose flavored and heart-shaped doughnuts to celebrate the upcoming holiday.  Even those who aren't into the overdose on the whole lovey-dovey theme of February 14th, that doesn't mean you should deny yourself a wonderfully baked treat.  

I didn't see any rose flavored doughnuts when I dropped by, so I opted for the heart-shaped passionfruit yeast one instead.

Doughnut Plant

The heart-shaped doughnut was perfectly constructed, and I enjoyed the light passionfruit flavor. It wasn't too sweet or too fruity as passionfruit flavored foods tend to be.  The balance was just right. It looks pretty cute too, doesn't it? 

I love both yeast and cake type of doughnuts here, but I've got to say that the yeast will always be my favorite.  Something about the lightness and airiness of it is probably why I enjoy it so much!  

Doughnut Plant

The selection of doughnuts that afternoon

As much as I'd really like to try the rose flavored varieties, especially the doughseed type, I don't think I"ll be able to make it to the store before Valentine's Day. Hurry over there, because after tomorrow, the themed doughnuts will sadly be no more. On the brighter side, we can look forward to the new flavors they'll be debuting for the next holiday - St. Patrick's Day! 

Shamrock-shaped or "Lucky Charm" doughnuts, anyone?

 

There are two Doughnut Plant locations in Manhattan:

Doughnut Plant LES (the original store)
379 Grand St. (between Norfolk and Essex Sts.)
New York, NY
(212) 505-3700

Doughnut Plant Chelsea (at Hotel Chelsea)
220 W 23rd St. (between 7th and 8th Aves.)
New York, NY
(212) 505-3700

Visit their website here: http://doughnutplant.com/

Teas to Tempt the Heart

Just for Valentine's Day, my favorite premium French tea purveyor, Palais des Thés, has created a special gift to share with your loved ones. So I popped into the SoHo flagship store on Prince Street over the weekend to check out the gifts set and the festive display with some friends and had them taste the new teas. 

Palais des Thés for Valentine's Day

SoHo flagship storefront display for Valentine's Day

The "LOVERS - tea miniature set" (Thé des Amants) is an exclusive limited edition blend created by Palais des Thés and comes with miniature tins of black, green and rooibos tea, and a box of pink cane sugar hearts. Each tea has romantic hints of almond, apple, cinnamon, and vanilla, and warm notes of ginger.

Although I enjoyed all of the teas in this set, I love, love, love the Thé des Amants black tea. The strong taste of the black tea is beautifully complemented by notes of apple, almond, and cinnamon, the latter of which adds just the perfect amount of spice. I've been having a great time quenching my thirst with these enchanting teas since they've been released late January. They're optimal to drink throughout the day and they'll seduce your taste buds too.  I suggest starting with the black for a caffeine boost in the mornings (or when you're losing energy in the early afternoon), go with green for moderate energy for the rest of the day, and end with rooibos in the evening since it contains zero caffeine to disrupt your slumber.

With this winter's snowy weather and chilling temperatures, these playful teas will definitely warm you up especially during the cold nights when you feel like staying in hanging out with your loved one over Netflix and Seamless or cuddling with your adorable pet.  

Palais des Thés for Valentine's Day

Miniature tins blends in green, black, and rooibos teas + pink sugar cane hearts

If you're a tea lover like moi and want to try something new, I recommend you visit Palais des Thés and pick up this limited edition set before Valentine's Day for all the people you love who love tea. Very good tea.  You'll enjoy this sensual and delicious surprise that brings new meaning to "love potion."

Screen shot 2014-02-10 at 3.47.23 PM

"LOVERS - tea miniature set" (Thé des Amants), $27
Available now online at Palais des Thes, and in-stores:

http://us.palaisdesthes.com/en_us/

SoHo: 156 Prince Street 
(between West Broadway & Thompson Sts)
Mon-Sat. 10am-8pm, Sun. 10am-7pm
Tel: (646) 513 4369

Upper West Side - Lincoln Square 
94 Columbus Avenue 
(between 68th & 69th Sts). 
Mon-Sat. 10am-8pm, Sun. 11am-7pm
Tel: (646) 664 1902

A French Pastry in Best Form

Recently I visited the newest French addition to the Upper East Side, and it was wonderful in all its brick and mortar glory!  Now we have a shop that exclusively makes and sells the fantastic French pastry from Bordeaux called canelés.  

Storefront of Canelé by Céline

What is a canelé? 

A canelé is a French pastry, baked in a mold, with a soft, tender custard center and a dark, caramelized crust. Originally, it was created in a convent in Bordeaux (the Southwest of France) in the late 17th century. In the past few years, many NYC area bakeries have been introducing the canelé into their stores. Finally more of this delightful delicacy has made its way to our shores and into our stomachs. However, the best kind can be found here at Canelé by Céline.

Canelé by Céline

Canelé by Céline was started by Céline Legros, a business lawyer from Paris who had a huge passion for cooking. After leaving the corporate world, she started her own catering business where she created and sold tasty French pastries - mini and full-size canelés, and financiers. Her canelés were a hit with renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  Céline has reinvented the classic recipe by using her own take on it while introducing unique flavors. 

When I visited the store, I picked up a box of all the available sweet canelé flavors available that day as well as three of the four savory selections.  

Canelé by Céline

Canelé by Céline

Mini canelés in Vanilla (the classic & my favorite, not pictured) in Orange Blossom, Orange, and Lemon

Canelé by Céline

More minis in Rum, Pistachio, Rose Water, and Dark Chocolate 

Savory canelés

The Savory Selection: Truffle (made with black truffles from Truffes Plantin), Parmesan, Basil Pesto, and Chorizo

Each savory canelé is a mini meal in a bite! My favorite is the truffle. It’s rich in flavor and leaves you wanting more. The truffle is available in the larger size canelé as are all flavors. If you wanted to order for a special event or occasion, your selection can be customized. Bring to these to your next party or get-together with friends, family, or work, and you’ll make a good impression.

Canelé by Céline

I wasn’t able to bring home any of the mini financiers, but they were tempting!  The flavors here are PInk Praline, Walnut, Plain, and Chocolate Chip.  On my next visit, I’ve got to grab these to go.  

If you’re a fan of French food, sweets, and everything French (like me!), you must stop by Canelé by Céline.  Everything is freshly baked daily, and it’s open 7 days a week. It may be in the land far, far away that is the Upper East Side (haha!), but it’s a trek that is absolutely worth it!
 

Canelé by Céline
400 E 82nd Street, New York, NY 10028
(between 1st & York Avenues)
(646) 678-4124
https://canelebyceline.com/

NYC gets its first flagship macaron shop

MAISON Ladurée

[The Upper East Side Welcomes the Sweet]

Ladurée - the luxury, French pastry shop has opened its doors on the Upper East Side.

Having opened on August 30, 2011, the craze for Ladurée macarons has been insane!  The line wrapped around the corner of E. 71st street and ends inside the shop. A typical wait is 45 minutes to over an hour or two. Never have I seen such a wait for sweets like this in New York, only in Japan.  I always thought I would never subject myself to waiting 45 minutes to over two hours on a line for a cake or pastries from a famous maker after seeing people in Japan do it patiently and calmly.

Upon reading the news about the opening of Ladurée, I was determined to visit the place.  I love sweets, macarons especially, so I had to go. Seeing that the line outside Ladurée at 3:45PM on the Friday afternoon before Labor Day weekend was half the block of 71st street, I almost gave up and went to yoga early instead.  I became one of the many waiting for two and a half hours to get in.  Yes, 2.5 hours. I am insane.

Besides the delicate, delicious, and delightful macarons, Ladurée also sells handmade chocolate, tea, and ice cream. They also carry eco-friendly totes, candles, and home fragrances for sale. At $2.70 a piece, a macaron here is the most expensive in the city yet very well worth the price.  You can purchase them by color and design of box in six, twelve, twenty-four, and probably other multiples of six.

The macarons are shipped by boat daily from France since they’re so fragile, and because there is no pastry chef here yet to make these beauties.

There are only two cashiers available inside - one for cash, the other credit. Credit takes a bit longer because they must make a carbon copy of your card to in order to charge you. I hope they update their CC system. The sales attendants were very nice and helpful, but still need to cope with the volume of customers flooding the store. Well, they are new and probably did not expect to be overwhelmed once opening. 

I bought a 24-piece pink box of macarons that day.  All 14 flavors with a few doubles.  After a wait that long, I felt I should sample all flavors and take more home with me to share with my family. My favorite flavor is the Cassis Violette. I love, love cassis.

I can’t believe how patient I was during that wait! Good thing,I had a book with me to read, but that only distracted me for so long, hahaha.

Next, I’ll have to see how tea at Ladurée measures up to that of Mariage Frères.  (Mariage Frères needs to open a tea salon in New York as soon as possible. I’ll be ther first to go).

Will I return?  I braved the wait the first time, so I’ll endure another wait.

Maison Ladurée
864 Madison Avenue (bet. E. 70th & 71st streets)
New York, NY 10021
(646) 558-3157

http://www.laduree.fr/en/scene