Oh, for the Love of Sweets…

Ya know, I should be paying attention of my intake of pastries these days, especially with the fact that my birthday’s next Friday. Aging would mean the slowing of metabolism, cholesterol levels are bound to be high by now, especially with the blood sugar levels with the stuff I’m eating. I would eat healthier foods but I would feel deprived if I don’t eat sweets or any “bad” foods. At least I’m working out…

A few days ago, I went back to Amai Tea & Bake House since everyone from the previous post about them, were commenting about trying out their scones and cookies. It seems strange that I came back so soon, but I was in the neighborhood and I was STARVING. I don’t know why, but I was.

As you’ll see on the photo below, I went insane for pastries. I ended up with a vanilla bean scone, an Early Grey and currant scone, a green tea matcha cookie, white tea and strawberry cookie, and an almond chai cookie. Yeah, that’s a lot…along with a side of lavender butter for an extra fifty cents.

My plate of sweets... The whole shebang

My blob of Lavender Butter
Blob of Lavender butter

Schmeared scones...with lavender butter Schmeared scones…with lavender butter

The Earl Grey and currant scone was pretty interesting. It’s florally and light with a touch of spices and bergamot orange that is usually in this particular tea. The currants was a nice, slightly sweet, chewy touch to the scone. And the addition of lavender butter compliments the florally essence of the Earl Grey tea. The problem with the scone I had was that it’s a bit dry.

The vanilla bean scone is basically the typical scone. It’s delicately sweet, crumbly, and it has a hint of vanilla flavor. It’s nice with the lavender butter since the vanilla bean is the most versatile of the scones they have, but it didn’t blow me away. Also the problem with this particular scone is that it’s a tad under-baked in the center.

At least their cookies fared a whole lot better than the scones…

Amai Cookies... The three cookies…

All their cookies are basically shortbread-based; they’re all crumbly, buttery, lightly sweetened with different flavor variations. Of the three, the white tea and strawberry cookie was the most intriguing and tastiest. The white tea played a clean, delicate background flavor, not much of the grassiness that green tea normally would contribute, while the sweet strawberry flavor was bursting through a few seconds after the bite.

The matcha green tea cookie was nice but I tasted more of a vanilla-buttery flavor more so than the green tea. And the almond chai tea was also good but nothing really stood out except it had a nice hit of chai flavor.

I really do like Amai. The best thing I would go for after trying a whole bunch of sweets from the past two visits is the Roasted Sweet Potato puff pastry. I should correct myself about this particular pastry a bit from my previous post. Kelli told me that she was surprised that I said that I have tasted hints of spices, even though there weren’t any added at all. It’s just plain sweet potatoes from the Farmers’ Market down a couple of blocks east, and roast them in the oven to its delicious sweetness. That’s some sweet potato. Probably I should get some meself and make an awesome sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving…which isn’t too far away.

Then on Halloween, I went to Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Haven in SoHo.

Jacques Torres
Jacques Torres

Lately these days, I’m having a huge craving for hot chocolate and it’s not even that cold. Nevertheless, I ended up going sugar happy again and got myself a caramel hot chocolate, a pumpkin chocolate chip cupcake, and a passion fruit macaron.

My grub...of sorts
More sugar…

I tried the hot chocolate first since that’s what I’ve been craving all day. It’s nice and warm, thick, but a tad too sweet. They’ve used a bit too much caramel sauce and the fact that not all of that sauce was dissolved, that I’m chewing bits of caramel in between sips. It’s pretty good but they need to reduce the amount of caramel.

Caramel Hot Chocolate

Then I went for the macaron. The last time I had it, it was pretty good: thin shell, moist innards, and it has a sweet and flavorful filling. But this was awful. It does have that thin, smooth shell but the innards are so dry. The filling is surprisingly a slightly insipid jam. This left me with a gaping hole of disappointment in my heart. My macarons hopes are getting dashed quicker than I expected.

Passion fruit Macaron Macaron

Innards of Passion fruit Macaron Depressing innards

Then I dived into the cupcake. It’s very adorable and Halloween appropriate since usually one would think of pumpkins for this holiday.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin It’s so cute!

Innards of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcake Innards

The cupcake was light, very moist, just sweet, a good pumpkin flavor with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon to compliment the pumpkin. The chocolate chips were more like chocolate chunks that sank to the bottom of the cupcake forming a semi-solid layer of chocolate which made it a tad hard cutting with a plastic knife. The cream cheese frosting was smooth, sweet and a touch of tartness to round out the cupcake, and it’s topped off with a marzipan pumpkin. How sweet. Arguably, this cupcake was the salvation of my trip here.

Later on the afternoon, I went to Chelsea Market because I was shopping for kitchenware for my upcoming party at Kathy’s place. Since I was looking for good chocolate around the city that doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg, I walked into Buon Italia to check out their chocolates. Even though I had no intention of getting anything more beyond chocolate or espresso beans, I saw this [points down]…

A Bag of Pan di Stelle Cookies
A bag of Pan di Stelle cookies

How I love thee...
How I love thee…

Remembering the cookie that Robyn loves so much from her recent vacation from Italy and eating one at Serious Eats, I bought myself a bag. I fell into the hole of addiction ever since I opened this bag of chocolate lovelies; eating them two out of three meals within three days. Robyn’s right, it’s like eating potato chips. You eat one, you just can’t stop. Robyn, as much as I love you, I blame you for my obsession for these cookies! Pierre Herme macarons are one thing (since it’s so elusive getting one here in the States, it’s harmless) but this cookie is accessible, which is obviously a bad thing. Ugh…is there such a thing as Pan di Stelle Anonymous out there?

Amai Tea & Bake House

171 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Haven
350 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014

Buon Italia in Chelsea Market
75 9th Ave
New York, NY 10011


There are 12 comments

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  1. dana

    A green shortbread just looks so wrong, although I’m sure it’s perfectly delicious =D I haven’t eaten a cupcake since I was in 5th grade, but now I want!

  2. thewanderingeater

    Amanda: The cupcake was awesome! The cookies were tasty; just some better than others, in my opinion.

    Dana: Well, the green shortbread, is matcha so it has every right to be green. Lacked the tea but you get the gist of what I wrote earlier. GO and get that cupcake before they’ll stop making them!

  3. thewanderingeater

    Kathy: Yay for party! :D I can’t wait…
    Anyways, you don’t have to get the Pan di Stelle cookies since I’m lugging them to your place with all my other stuff.

  4. Tea

    I was in Jaques Toress as well, but at that time there was classic and wicked hot chocolate and I chose both! mmm, it was VERY good.THey were both really good; the classic was just a regular hot chocolate which I found reaaally good and the other one was spicy or as it is called wicked :))
    And about Pan di Stelle…Thso cookies I’ve been eating for years, we love them but basically anything from that brand-Mulino BIanco is extremy good, try something else next time ;)

  5. thewanderingeater

    Tea: Whoa, two hot chocolates! You go, girl! Both flavors are tasty…

    Ah, being that it is the U.S., we don’t have them readily available; only select stores have them. :(

    Danny: That cupcake was awesomely tasty…

  6. parisien1

    “Happy Birthday Tina!” May this year’s be among your best ever!
    I discovered you recently back in August and I really enjoy your writing. You’ve a wonderful style that allows the readers to really share in your joy… I like that!

    Keep writing, keep inspiring…


  7. beelove

    my sister is a pastry cook there (her friend is the head pastry chef and my sis just works there 2 days a week in between her restaurant gig)!!!

  8. nycgirl

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! PAN DI STELLE! I used to work at a little gourmet Italian store where they sell them. Suffice it to say I was a pan di stelle-aholic.

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