Tuesday, 21 February 2012
I was overwhelmingly excited when my mother casually mentioned a bakery/restaurant she heard about in one of her food magazines. Living in a house with people who are obsessed with food and checking out new eateries in the NYC area and beyond is a plus. I myself am a self-proclaimed foodie and thanks to my foodie mother, have help in finding out about great places to dig in.
I will explain why I was so excited about Astor Bake Shop. While New York is the city to be if you're into food, the bustling food scene is only starting to make its way to Queens, especially in the way of baked goods. The places I have been to in Queens fall short of fantastic, leaving my palate itching for a Magnolia cupcake.
Let's start from the beginning. I could not resist mulled hot apple cider. It was much needed as it was cold outside. You can tell that this place takes no shortcuts in food preparation, including beverages: everything seems to be made from scratch. When you walk in the smell of sugar and bacon permeates your nostrils. I can't think of anything better paired. An expansive display case is to the left of the restaurant with plenty of tables to the right.
Now, finally on to the baked goods. I came here with two friends, so we decided to share four different items.
Red Velvet Cupcake: It was very satisfying. I can honestly say it was the best I've found in Queens, and that says quite a bit. The cake was a little crumbly but with good flavor, and the cream cheese frosting was delicious.
Eggnog cheesecake: This was hands down one of the most unique desserts I have every tried. The graham cracker crust, the white chocolate ganache frosting, and the eggnog cheesecake worked perfectly together. I would come back for this alone. My friend had to coax me into ordering this. It was quite daring in my eyes- I had never even tried eggnog before!
Chocolate cake: The ganache frosting and filling was pretty good but I found the cake bland. No matter, everything else was spectacular.
Carrot cake: It tasted different from other carrot cakes I have tried. There was an ingredient in it that I couldn't quite name. I enjoyed it a lot. The cream cheese frosting was tasty and the golden raisins inside the cake lended a nice bite to the cake.
You can't come here and not pig out. If you are like me and have no willpower, you will end up ordering copious amounts of sweets after scarfing down the Astor Burger with fries. This burger is classic served on a challah bun and "special" sauce which I believe is some sort of spicy mayo concoction that really goes well with the buttery meat. The fries are just the right size; not too fat, not too skinny (I'm particular about my french fries), with just the right amount of grease and salt. The burger is served with a nice helping of leafy greens, which somehow makes you feel better about the whole thing, but we all know deep down inside that salad with your fattening meal will not cancel out the indulgence.
Astor Bake Shop does food and dessert right. It is not often you find a place that excels in both. Before your visit be sure to view the menu and photo gallery on http://astor-bakeshop.com/home.html to get your mouth watering. Oh, and make sure you come on an exmpty stomach!
I can't wait to come back and try the quiche, sanwiches and other sweets!
Are you adventurous when it comes to dessert?