Monday, November 1, 2010

The Cupcake Tour of Manhattan (10/9/2010)

Purchasing my Crumbs cupcake
      The Saturday after our arrival in New York, my daughter took us on a personally orchestrated tour that we lovingly refer to as the “Cupcake Tour.” This tour only required a love of sugar (and chocolate.) I would have been first in line had I been able to actually lead the tour. I reluctantly stepped back to second place and readied myself for the tour of a lifetime.
Jeffery & Katie look like they've
been sampling the goodies!

     We visited the Magnolia Bakery and succumbed to the temptation of a giant sized chocolate cupcake. We visited the Crumbs Bakery and purchased cupcakes iced with chocolate butter cream icing. We headed to the Buttercup Bakery for muffins that would delight even the most finicky of palettes.

The Magnolia Bakery

     After many blocks of walking (needed to compensate for the calories we would soon be consuming) and several train stops later, we stopped by the Taco Grill (run by a cute Chinese couple) for Mexican carry –out.
     One more stop was on the list before we headed to Central Park for a picnic, the Levan Bakery, where the most wonderful smell was emitting from the door, a smell easily recognizable as deep, dark chocolate. The minute little bakery was about the size of a bathroom and located in the basement of a brownstone. Inside this diminutive unassuming little room were the biggest, most luscious chocolate cookies I have ever had the joy of feasting my eyes on. The mounds of cookie dough scattered on the enormous cookie sheets awaiting their turn in the oven were beggaring description. If there are chocolate cookies in Heaven, this is where they come from.
The cookie is as big as she is.

     This little bakery sells only four types of cookies: pecan-chocolate chip, walnut-chocolate chip, oatmeal-raisin, and the infamous chocolate-chocolate chip cookie. Once I sank my teeth into the scrumptious, melt in your mouth chocolate cookie, I knew I would never taste anything that would satisfy my chocolate craving taste buds to this extent ever again. (This precious little girl seemed to know that she had found something extraordinary as well.)
Jeffery & I on the famous
Central Park Bridge

Central Park

Jude, Katie-Beth, Donna, Jeffery

     After our little tour guide (my daughter) managed to drag me practically kicking and screaming from the bakery, we headed off to our picnic in Central Park. We found a bench along the pond walkway and sat down to enjoy our Chinese Mexican take-out (which was very Mexican and quite delicious.) We had a fabulous view of people out on the water in the rowboats enjoying the wonderful sunshine and cool breezes. The skyline of New York was in view just above the tree line and the beautiful old architecture lent itself to the picture perfect day.

Jude playing for money

     My son-in-law, Jude, decided to join the park bench entertainment next to us. He pulled out his own guitar (having just returned from playing at a children’s birthday party) and joined the old man playing music. It was so cute that we could not resist throwing a few bucks his way!

The Bird Man
     After our leisurely lunch and of course, pictures on the famous Central Park bridge, recognizable from many movies, we toured the West Village and the East Village, Washington Square Park (where we saw the “Bird Man”,) Union Square Park, and Grand Central Station.

Central Park

      Our day would not have been complete without stopping by still another cupcake shop. We visited Sweet Revenge and topped that off with a trip to The Strand, a three-story bookstore. Jeffery had to drag us all out of there kicking and screaming, books being my second favorite thing in whole world!
     I have to add here that I am not receiving compensation for mentioning all of the above bakeries. I do have to admit that compensation in cupcakes and cookies in lieu of monetary gain sounds like a great idea. I only wish I had thought of it while I was in New York; maybe next trip.
     With a short train ride, our first Saturday in New York ended with a stroll down Riverside Drive at dusk. Lights were out early and sweet dreams had by all.

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