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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Say Yes to Dessert

We are all familiar with the enticing question at the end of a good meal: Would you like to see the dessert menu? If you are anything like me, the answer is always yes! From the French desservir, “to clear the table of what has been served”, dessert has become the rightful conclusion to a delicious experience. This sweet counteraction to a salty entrée can settle a stomach into pure bliss. Thoughts of chocolate, cream, fruit, flaky crusts, hot fillings, and cold ices, fill my mind at the waiter’s question, and my taste buds scream “YES YES YES! BRING ON THE DESSERT MENU!” But who says dessert has to come right after dinner? Here are three treats you can eat in, or order out, that are sure to add that spark of sweet you need (or simply just want) at any time of the day. Plus, walking to any of these spots will surely negate any calorie driven guilt you may be feeling.

FIRST BITE: Cranberry Everything Cookie at Eleni's

Found on our Chelsea Market/Meat Packing District Tour, Eleni’s pink walls invite you inside a cloud of sugary air. I urge you try the cranberry everything cookie. Made with oatmeal, dark chocolate chunks, nuts, cranberries, coconut, and just about everything, this cookie is worth every multi-textured bite. It’s chewy and delicious, and not overly sweet. It’s perfect for someone who enjoys dessert, but doesn’t want a toothache later! Because it’s not too sugary, you can enjoy this cookie at any time of day. I have to admit the first time I tried the buttery and perfectly crusted cookie was at 11:00 am one morning. A cookie before noon? Doesn’t that go against everything our moms taught us? Trust me, once you’ve tried it, you’ll understand.

MIDDLE BITE: Fresh Filled Cannoli at Rocco’s Pastry Shop

As a good Italian girl, it’s in my blood to be skeptical of every shop that claims to make a great cannoli. No one can possibly make the cream as smooth and as rich as my New York Italian aunts, right? Getting the tube shaped fried pastry to stay crispy is a delicate science. There’s nothing worse than a soggy cannoli! Needless to say, my hopes were not high when I first tried the cannolis at Rocco’s Pastry Shop, found on our
Greenwich Village Tour. After one bite, my life as a cannoli-snob was halted. Each cannoli at Rocco’s is filled fresh to order, giving each bite that needed, delicious crunch. The crust is sturdy, but not too heavy, and the cream is not overly sweet. If you’re a cannoli lover like me, you will not be disappointed here. If you don’t think you like cannolis, there’s a good chance you just haven’t had a good one; Rocco’s is sure to change your mind.

LAST BITE: Chocolate Pear Tart at Once Upon a Tart

Although I consider myself adventurous in the kitchen, tarts have eluded me. Are they pies without tops? Cookies topped with custard? They seem dauntingly elaborate, and glazed to artistic perfection. So I leave the tart-making to the experts. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy eating them though! At Once Upon a Time, found on our
Central Village/SoHo Tour, the name echoes their seemingly romantic tarts. Try the chocolate pear tart, which balances its layers of sweetness subtly. A creamy custard, on top of a crisp crust, with bites of soft pear—the variety of textures will satisfy every taste bud, and have you licking the plate. You’ll be forced out of your comfort zone of cakes and cookies once you’ve entered the world of tarts.

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