Lunch and Dessert at the "Bakeries" of Famous Chefs
The “bakeries” I’m referring to are Bouley Bakery (owned by David Bouley; located in TriBeca) and Bouchon Bakery (owned by Thomas Keller, in Columbus Circle). I don’t know why I happen to go to these famous chefs’ moderately priced establishments, but I did.
Lunch was at Bouley Bakery. I ordered a slice of their Tomato & Mushroom Quiche ($4.50), an Eclipse ($5.25), and a Chocolate Cupcake ($1.95). I know what you’re thinking; possibly you might be wondering why the heck did I order two desserts? It’s just that I want to and since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I might as well indulge with chocolate desserts.
Here’s what my order looked like.
Bouley Bakery has tables on the sidewalk but since it is cold, they let you sit upstairs where they normally have the restaurant named Upstairs, that runs during the evening hours for dinner.
It’s quite small in size. The kitchen takes up half the space available. It would be awesome to see the maestro actually cook in front of you but that of course, will be a pretty steep price to have a cooking class with him.
Anyways, the food. The quiche was delicious. It had enough cheese and egg to make it creamy and luscious. It was well seasoned and it had a good amount of custard that it isn’t too overwhelming to the stomach. The large tomato was fresh and ripe, even though it was slightly roasted in the oven. It also had a copious amount of mushrooms embedded in the quiche (as you will see below).
My only complaint with this quiche is that the crust is a bit too thin to hold the filling. Every time I cut a small piece, stab it with my fork, and try to lift it to my mouth, that small bit falls apart.
Next up, the Eclipse pastry. It looks decadently chocolatey and reading their description on the tag that was displayed in their pastry case and their menu that says, “Chocolate sablé with fleur de sel caramel ganache, chocolate sabayon and salted white chocolate” sounds awfully tempting to eat and purchase. Here’s the innards shots:
The chocolate sablé (a French version of the shortbread cookie) itself, was good. It wasn’t very sweet, good chocolate flavor, and it was crisp. The fleur de sel caramel ganache was an light, whipped ganache that initially tasted salty that ended with a slightly sweet chocolate finish on the palate. Interestingly complex but not blown away from it. The chocolate sabayon and the salted white chocolate just contributed to the saltiness of the ganache but nothing much from there. The pastry was overall, good. Not mind blowing good that I think I’ve reached an epiphany with chocolate desserts. The pastry sounded very fancy with interesting combinations of flavor, but I don’t think it worked too well for me.
The chocolate cupcake seem to outdo the Eclipse surprisingly. Here’s the photos of the cupcake:
The cake was moist, tender, and not really sweet. The frosting was possibly chocolate buttercream. I said “possibly” because when I tasted the frosting alone, it reminded me of whipped chocolate ganache; the butter flavor wasn’t really detectable. The frosting was sweet and chocolatey. Those little round chocolate balls (of puffed rice, it seemed) sprinkled on top gave the cupcake a nice crunch instead of having it tender and soft throughout.
Later on the afternoon, I was still early for my classes so I went to Bouchon Bakery for their macarons and coffee. I inquired what macaron flavors were available and the young lady who helped me said they had the “Traditional,” which is consisted of chocolate, caramel and coffee. As for their seasonal flavors, which somehow she called it “Holiday” flavors, were coconut, passionfruit and blood orange. Since I tasted the traditional flavors from here, I opted for the seasonal. Here’s the trio…
The first macaron I tried was the coconut.
The cookie is soft, lots of coconut flavor, as well as chewing a good amount of coconut flakes, and the filling is a bit on the scant side.
The blood orange…
Somehow, it didn’t go too well. The cookie had too much toasted almond flavor, instead of blood orange. I know that macarons are made from almond flour or almond paste, but usually it’s muted with a different flavor to take its place. The blood orange flavor only came through from the filling, which was a really sharp, sour tang. (It’s normal, for those of you who have never eaten a blood orange.) It’s not my favorite of the three.
The passionfruit macaron fared a lot better.
It had passionfruit flavor throughout the cookie with an essence of toasted almonds. It was chewy and soft, with a very thin crisp from the crust. I really like this one a lot. These three macarons cost me $8.25, or so. I don’t remember the exact amount but it was about that much.
That’s all folks! Happy Valentine’s Day! (for those of you who care about this so-called holiday). I’ll be pigging out on chocolate or chocolate desserts; not really caring about the holiday or anyone special. On Thursday, I’ll be spoiling a friend of mine with a ridiculous amount of chocolate based desserts for her “quarter birthday.” Why a quarter birthday, you ask? Well, ever since she saw my chocolate crepe cake post, she wanted it for her half birthday. Also the fact that I’ll be busy with papers and tests around April, I might as well celebrate a quarter birthday just to be early rather than never or an IOU. If you get my drift…