I love desserts. I could go to dinner and be perfectly happy ordering an appetizer and dessert and if you want to skip the app, that would be fine with me. So when one of our daughters gave us a cupcake tour in New York City as a gift, my happy face had a happy face.
The tour happened in and around Greenwich Village and included six stops. Not every stop involved a cupcake, which was fine with me. You want to have a cupcake tour and throw in a few different kinds of desserts? That’s like asking me if it’s okay to take me on an ice cream tour and include pies, cakes and a chocolate stop. How is that even a serious question?
The walking tour was supposed to last two-hour but it ran over about thirty minutes and involved walking about a mile and a half.
The first stop was a little store called Baked by Melissa. These were not your typical cupcakes but rather the top of a mini cupcake. They were all very different and priced at one dollar each. Melissa’s is just off Union Square in case you’re ever in the neighborhood. Our sample was a seasonal creation called a Lemon Cuparoon and it was very good.
Our second stop was a gelato/sorbet place called Amorino. They don’t just serve gelato in a cup as many places do, they create a work of art, as seen by the photo below. Their gelato is served like a flower and it’s impressive to watch them make it, especially when they incorporate more than one flavor. Our sample today was a seasonal mango sorbet and I have to say I’ve never tasted sorbet like this. It was made with all natural ingredients and felt like I was biting into a fresh mango both in texture and taste. It really was very good and the best sorbet I’ve ever tasted.
Our third stop was my favorite. The front of Molly’s Cupcakes looks like a school bus and the tables inside were classroom desks. But the real attraction was the cupcake itself. If you are ever in New York, Chicago or Iowa City, I’d suggest you walk off your plane and find this place. The cupcakes were that good. We were able to choose our own full size cupcake and frosting and add toppings from the toppings bar if we wanted a little kick. My wife had a carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting and said it was the best she ever had. I went old school with a vanilla cupcake and chocolate frosting. When I was done I asked if I could work there for free. I didn’t want to finish the tour or go home that night. I wanted to stay and close the place down; sweep the floors, clean the tables, wash the tins, whatever it took. I was prepared to endure a sugar coma and if that’s the way it ended for me, the smile on my face as they carried me out would be enough for people to understand. Here’s a taste of Molly’s..
Our next stop was another little place called Bisous Ciao Macaron. It should be noted that these are not macaroon’s, those coconut cookies, but the French Macaron which is a little piece of heaven in a small dessert sandwich. We sampled a chocolate macaron which was just the right amount of sweet and so delicious. Bisous Ciao also served some other delights which you can see below. Great little place in the village that you should try if you’re ever there.
At this point the sugar was definitely kicking in, so what did we do? We went to a tiny little place called Milk and Cookies, of course. Most of these places are very small and this place was no exception, unless you’re describing the cookies. They were big and they were very good. Our sample, if you can call it that was a very large oatmeal, sea salt and toffee cookie. It was excellent but I could only eat a piece. Why? Because I had to buy a chocolate chip cookie and sample that also. And yes, you are reading the photo correctly; they are 29.50 for a baker’s dozen. And yes, people were buying them like crazy. That’s our tour guide, Mallory, in front of the store.
Our final stop was, unfortunately our least favorite. Magnolia’s Bakery has been credited with starting the cupcake craze back in the late 90’s based on its inclusion into the popular show, Sex and the City. Bus tours and a near cult following were a result but for us, the sample of a red velvet mini cupcake was not up to par with the rest of the stops. It tasted dry and kind of stale.
Some sights along the way included the snake man and the giant bubble man in Washington Square Park.
Of course after all those sweet, we were in desperate need of some real food so we hiked over to Little Italy and had an early dinner outside at La Mela. That enormous dish which could have easily fed two people was red snapper with rigatoni and a side of the best broccoli, (no joke), I’ve ever had. Must have been the roasted garlic.
It was a fun day, even though we walked over ten miles, according to our tracker. There are so many food tours in the city, if you’re so inclined to try one. We walked from midtown, down to Union Square, did the tour, walked to Little Italy and Canal Street and then back to midtown. The Village has a very different feel than midtown and you never know when you’ll run into a little club like Cafe Wha?, where Bob Dylan first played in New York and people like Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Springsteen, Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor also performed and honed their skills.
Hope you enjoyed our little tour. Stay hungry and now you can go and have a cupcake… or two.