Thursday, May 26, 2011

Scenes from Magnolia Bakery

On our first day in NYC, Andrew and I made plans to meet up for lunch with a college friend of his.  Eric wanted to stick close to work, and had gotten a recommendation from coworkers for Ted's Montana Grill.  Andrew and I had never heard of this chain but it's apparently a Ted Turner (of CNN fame) restaurant known for good burgers and bison beef. Bison as in buffalo.  I didn't bust out the camera for this meal, but let me just say that I was brave enough to try their bison sliders and I found them very tasty and juicy. Buffalo meat is described as being "sweeter" and gamier than beef, but honestly, I couldn't really taste the difference.

We always try to meet up with Eric for lunch when we visit NYC on a weekday, and I knew from a previous lunch with him that Magnolia Bakery was close to the financial district that he works in.  It was way too packed and chaotic the last time we had stopped by (around the holiday season) but this time (perhaps due to the rainy weather), the crowds were more manageable within the tiny bakery.
There were tempting displays of bars:

and all sort of decadent cheesecakes:

But like most of the other tourists in the place, we were interested in this section:

I was pleased to see the "Japan Cupcake" which was simply vanilla cake/frosting with a red raspberry on top - not only was this my favorite flavor combo for cake, but $1 of its purchase would go towards the Japan Society's disaster relief efforts:

There were around eight different flavors to choose from:

So I ended up picking two (the aforementioned white "Japan" cupcake and pistachio) and Andrew went with the Smores cupcake and the German Chocolate:

We carted these beauties home in the rain and exercised great self-control, and waited for Amanda to get home from work to eat them. We sliced each cupcake into thirds and did a mini taste test of sorts. While all were decent, this was another cupcake place that I felt was a bit overrated.  I think the best feature was the airy texture of the frosting - it was lighter than most cupcake frostings but I didn't think it had much flavor in any of the four cupcakes.  The cake texture leaned towards a finer grain and was bordering on being too dry. The only one that had a strong flavor was the Smores cake, which tasted of graham cracker, but overall, I think we'll be trying a different cupcake place the next time we're in town.

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