The Babylon Bean has excellent taste. And I don’t just mean the food and drink! They have an eye for decorations and a good ear for music! Whether I’m hear catching up with a friend over a good cup of coffee or working on a paper, this spot is without a doubt one of my favorites in Babylon.
Although I love my starbucks, there’s nothing quite like a traditional coffee shop. I’d much prefer the mismatched drinkware or the piping hot herbal teas paired with a freshly homemade pastry. Now that’s what I’m talking about. The Babylon Bean has ample parking in the back and on the street so you won’t have to worry about nabbing a spot. And inside, they have small tables or large couches to choose from. It has a cozy yet funky kinda vibe with the unique artwork hanging up on the walls. Best part is… they’re local artists which is very cool.
As for their drinks, how can you go wrong? I’ve had their chai latte, “almond joy” latte, hot chocolate, regular coffee… and it was all excellent. As well as, last time my friend and I came we shared their chocolate coffee crumb cake which was heavenly. (I think we managed to get every single crumb!)
Looking forward to attending one of their open mic nights! Rock on Babylon Bean! This adorable spot is a must-try.
17 Fire Island Ave
Babylon, NY 11702
I don’t like donuts. I don’t know, maybe its because they can be cloyingly sweet at times, the powdered ones make such a mess or possibly because I feel like crap after I eat them. Nonetheless, I usually try to avoid them. However, the Doughnut Plant is the exception to the rule. They’re sophisticated bites with really out-of-the-box flavor combinations.
For my birthday, my friends created a food tour for me with all my favorite spots (including some new ones) and the DP was on the list. The best thing about my college friends is that we’re expert share-ers. So everyone in my party each tried a different flavor both from the cake side and the yeast side.
For the Yeast flavors – the Valrhona Chocolate, PB&J Square
Cake flavors – Tres Leches, Green Tea, Carrot Cake
My favorites were… the Tres Leches which was such an unexpected taste. This “three milks cake” was soft, buttery and had that nice milk-sweetness from the glaze. The Valrhona packed a punch in chocolate goodness and was super rich. And lastly, the PB&J Square… I mean, what’s not to love? Turning a classic childhood memory into a decadent dessert. And a donut nonetheless! Genius.
Yeah they’re a bit pricey. But can you really put a price on sugar-y happiness? (Wow, that was horrible.) But in all seriousness. Take all that change in your piggy bank, head to the DP and try something new…. Be adventurous. You won’t regret it, they’re the best in the area.
379 Grand St
New York, NY 10002
What’s not to love about the Witches Brew? This gothic/eclectic styled coffee shop was the home to many high school hangouts several years back. There is a pretty diverse crowd here which is nice to see. The Witches Brew is everything I look for in a coffee house:
-Oversized comfy couches
-Funky menu items (food & drink!)
They have STELLAR teas here. Me being such a big Tea-Drinker, I know that every visit will be a great one. During the fall season, the pumpkin and chai make it’s guest appearance. My favorite! The cookies, cakes and other assortments of snacks are enough to convince me to travel to Hempstead anytime. Don’t forget this is a CASH only place! I have to make sure to go back here soon. It’s been a while and I’m waaay overdue for a nice chai latte and a giant ooey-gooey cookie.
Weekends can bring the crowds, so plan to wait a bit. And yes, the drinks may be a tad bit pricey but you’re paying for the ambiance, the service and good company! And as you can see by the other reviews, this coffee house is loved by many.
*I could totally picture the cast of FRIENDS hanging out here. This is like the hip version of Central Perk.
311 Hempstead Tpke
West Hempstead, NY 11552
After visiting Bien Cuit, you’ll never look at pastries the same way again. Is it possible to love something without even trying it yet? That’s how I felt about this little bakery.
To preface this review, I have a short story…
As most of my family/friends know, I hardly ever watch TV. But when I do it’s usually a show about food of some sorts. This brings me to my next point: “Unique Sweets” featured Bien Cuit on one of their episodes and whenever I watch these shows, I make sure to make a mental note to visit ESPECIALLY when it’s close by. Just from the images and descriptions, I knew I had to visit. Their featured item was the elusive Chocolate Almond Croissant… double baked in brandy. I’m such a visual person and was immediately enticed when watching the show. More or less, I was sold.
Bien Cuit, meaning “well done” is certainly appropriate. All of the desserts here are carefully crafted down to the very last bite. Upon arrival, the storefront is simple/minimalist and reflects the rustic nature of the inside. Although its spacious, there isn’t much seating to go around. I was there on a mission. My friend was cooking me dinner that night and I can never go empty-handed. So I asked the girl at the counter for suggestions (she was very helpful) and I ended up deciding on three pastries:
-Huckleberry Danish with Yuzu Curd, Huckleberry Jam: Flaky, tart and very flavorful. Those berries certainly packed a punch. This was my wildcard if you will. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t had this fruit before, so take a chance on it. It’s good.
-Apple Cardamom Danish with Pureed Apple and Cardamom Strudel: Second favorite of the night. I’m a HUGE fan of apple desserts so this was a win-win. The unique pairing of flavors certainly works.
-(The true star of Bien Cuit) Chocolate Almond Croissant/Twice-baked with Brandy: If you have to pick an item, CHOOSE THIS. You can thank me later. It’s everything a croissant should be — flaky, soft, buttery, nutty (from the almond paste)… you get the idea. And the fact that its baked in brandy? Say no more. It’s a true showstopper.
Yes, Bien Cuit may be a tad bit on the pricier side. But I can guarantee the quality is there within every single bite. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
120 Smith St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Disclaimer: I take my cupcakes very seriously. I’m by all means no expert, but then again my taste buds don’t lie. And with that being said, YOU SHOULD GO TO MOLLYS.
Despite the fact that this place is freakin’ adorable, they produce some really sweet treats. With the combination of those swing seats and the childhood decorations, Molly’s truly transports people of all ages back to the good ol’ times.
I came here with a food tour group and out of all the places listed on the tour description, this was one of the spots I was looking most forward to. I was told that what makes this establishment unique is that they were one of the few places to come up with the “interactive/customized” approach. Here you can pick a cake base, a frosting, a cake filling and even some toppings if that tickles your fancy. Their daily selections vary so make sure to ask at the counter. I truly wanted to sample everything in the bakery, it was tempting.* As for my cupcake: moist, buttery, held the frosting magnificently, dense enough and with the perfect note of sweetness. They also even have a sprinkle station if the cuteness factor hasn’t reached its limit yet.
They also have ice cream, cookies, pies and more but they’re best known for their cupcakes. I also saw that with every purchase donations are made to help schools in the community. Fun fact, am I right?
Overall, I’d have to give that coveted gold star we always wanted as a kid to Molly’s. They offer a fun, engaging, bright environment…. the workers are friendly and let’s be honest… who doesn’t love cupcakes?**
*I didn’t wanna be THAT person on tour.
**If that person is you, I’d like to meet you. I’ll change your mind, I promise!
228 Bleecker St
New York, NY 10014
Oh, my childhood.
I have very vivid memories of coming home from school to the sweet, sweet smell of freshly baked cookies coming right out of the oven. I remember running up the stairs, so excited that I almost didn’t want to wait for them to cool. There’s something about your olfactory nerves — it can trigger the most vivid moments. Levain did just that.
This place has been on my “to-try” list for practically forever. I don’t make it to the UWS often, but since I was seeing a show at Beacon Theatre, naturally I had to go! From what I heard, there’s always a line… the inside is tiny… and it’s 100% worth it. At $4 a cookie, it’s not cheap but you’re paying for the king of all that is cookies.* From looking at the small selection, the obvious choice was the Chocolate Chip Walnut. Decent size, very pillow-y looking and that smell was heavenly. I just hoped it would taste as good.
One word: PERFECTION.
The best moment is when you take that first bite. Cookies have a serious power over people** and immediately transport them to their happy place. It’s a beautiful thing, really. Slightly crunchy on the outside but OOEY-GOOEY almost half-baked goodness on the inside. There is some serious magic going on in that kitchen.*** We were lucky enough to get a uber-fresh batch out of the oven. I was so surprised my cookie was strong enough to hold together. My experience there was everything that I thought it would be.
I don’t know if you’re the type to travel for food. But if you had to pick a place, THIS IS IT. You bet I’ll be back. No doubt about it.
167 W 74th St
*Levain=Heisenberg of cookies.
**Instant smiles/positive mood. Cookies should be the solution to all our problems.
***I bet you there’s Keebler elves working in the wayy, wayy back of that tiny store. Wouldn’t be surprised.
New York, NY 10023
b/t Columbus Ave & Amsterdam Ave inUpper West Side
Billy’s is like Magnolia’s little brother. The pesky brother that you have a love/hate relationship with. Hate because of all the calories you will be inhaling the moment you leave that door. LOVE because why? It’s delicious and delectable.
This small shop has a lot of character. And I mean small. Big groups, beware! It’s got that clean, classic look. Kinda retro style. Chalkboard menus are always a win in my book. The sweet, sweet sugary air is also an enticing factor. I came later on in the night so there wasn’t as large of a selection if I came during the daytime. But still we have a nice variety to choose from. My friend and I ended up splitting their homemade chocolate chip cookies and butterscotch ginger cookies. They were wonderful. My type of cookie is one that you can break into without crumbs flying everywhere. A cookie that holds on its own and has some height. Billy’s cookies are just that! As for their cupcakes, ($3!) I tried one of my favorites… carrot cake and red velvet! The cake had a great kick of spice. It was moist and had the texture from the walnuts and raisins. Yum. And the red velvet… the cream cheese icing was spectacular.
I am such a sucker for desserts, so Billy’s was a great unexpected find. Thank you Yelp for bringing me to the cutest little shop. There’s gonna be sibling rivalry with Magnolia’s! Family intervention anyone?
184 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011
b/t 21st St & 22nd St in Chelsea
5 stars for this little slice of heaven.
If you don’t mind, while I indulge myself in telling my Lady M Cake story…
I was sitting at home watching “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on Food Network. It’s one of my favorites since I had the opportunity to learn about new places to eat, from people that truly know what their talking about. Then what appeared on my screen? None other than the Mille Crepe cake. Just the sight of it on tv and I was hooked. I thought to myself… a cake made from layers and layers of crepes?! With cream in the middle? Perfection. I must try this. That was about a year ago.
It wasn’t until recently when I came across Lady M again and remembered I this culinary confection. Luckily enough it was close to my old work so I could pop on in during my lunch time. The place itself is pretty small. I could have easily missed it if I wasn’t paying close attention. It’s decor and colors are clean and simple. The first thing I saw of course when I walked in dundundun… was the Mille Crepe Cake. Usually I would say heck no to $7.50 a slice, but this was necessary. I’ve been waiting to try this cake forever! Ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you… every bite was worth every. single. cent.
The cake is perfectly put together. The stacked pieces adorned with the creamy filling makes for the most interesting yet glorious texture. It’s smooth yet rich. They have other cake flavors like the Green Tea and Strawberry Shortcake which I will have to venture yet again to try. I am sure if it’s anything like the original, it will be nothing short of phenomenal. Thank you Lady M for fulfilling one of my dessert bucket list items.
Oh. And they have locations throughout Manhattan. So if you can’t make it up to the UES, no worries my friends.
41 E 78th St
New York, NY 10021
b/t Madison Ave & Park Ave in Upper East Side
Photo Credit: Yelp
What does one do on a beautiful Saturday night with a bunch of your closest friends? Cupcake tour of course!* For my birthday I created a mini college reunion/celebration of my birth kinda weekend. Seeing as I am a big cupcake enthusiast, I had to hit up a few places on a night like this. We headed down to the Village and stepped into the lovely store Butter Lane. (It’s been on my “cupcake bucket list” for a while.)
It was later in the night so there wasn’t a big selection but still enough to choose from. We each had different flavors — hey that’s strategy right there.** My friends having to make it as obvious as possible (which I love) made me wear a “Birthday Princess” plastic tiara. The super friendly worker explained what flavors were being offered and that since it’s my birthday I could have my cupcake for FREE! Here’s the catch: I had to take a picture with the cupcake and it would be put on their Instagram. COUNT ME IN!
Photo Credit: Butter Lane
One Cupcake: $3.25
Cupcake on your birthday: FREE
Pic on their Instagram/website: Priceless.
Honey Cinnamon (vanilla): Superb. The frosting was just the right touch of sweet and with a backdrop of spice.
Maple Pecan (banana): Nutty, yet had the sweetness of the syrup. Reminded me of pancakes, but better.
Coconut (chocolate): Mounds bar anyone? Toasted coconut and chocolate is a match made in heaven.
That birthday/cupcake/instagram pic!
I think it’s really interesting they not only have vanilla and chocolate as a base, but banana. Unique and smart thinking… it was super moist. TIP: Check in with Yelp for a free frosting shot. I had a great experience at Butter Lane and will most definitely be back. Thank you to the girl who helped make my birthday extra special and for the scrumptious (and not overly sweet) cakes.
* Well okay, maybe not all friends do this. But mine do. We decided to keep our drunken debauchery to a hiatus and actually remember our nightly festivities.
** This way, we can taste a multitude of flavors and plus… sharing is caring am I right?
123 E 7th St
New York, NY 10009
b/t Avenue A & 1st Ave in East Village