Travel Eats documents my food adventures outside of Chicago.
No trip to New York is complete without indulging my sweet tooth. I couldn’t even make it 12 hours before I snatched up a jumbo black and white cookie from Lenny’s. This particular cookie was my vice when I lived there, and is the standard to which I compare all other black and white cookies (I try them pretty much whenever I can find them in Chicago or when I’m traveling). No other has ever measured up. The base is golden and spongy, with a thick coating of vanilla and chocolate glaze – the most prized bites are the ones down the middle that contain some of each glaze.
NYC is also home to another gold cookie standard: the 6-ounce chocolate-chip behemoths at the famous Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side. These cookies are completely bonkers: they’re dense mega-cookie masses that are somehow able to stay gooey on the inside and crisp on the outside long after they’re fresh from the oven. I’m partial to the chocolate-peanut butter variety, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. I brought home two of these cookies for my roommate, who had already experienced their greatness on past trips, and she reacted as if I had given her a winning lottery ticket.
We found one more standout cookie at the Jacques Torres in Rockefeller Center. I already knew we were onto something when the cashier asked if we wanted it served warm, and saw a few of the dark chocolate chip cookies on a heating tray that was kept at the ideal melty temperature. Between the decadent cookie and sips of the rich “wicked” hot chocolate that was spiked with ancho and chipotle, I was teetering on the edge of chocolate overload, but I persevered in the interest of research!
And dessert didn’t stop at cookies. Other favorite treats included Doughnut Plant’s passionfruit-glazed yeast doughnut, which had a distinct and unique fruitiness, and a bite-size PB&J cupcake at SoHo storefront Baked by Melissa, which also won for cutest display case. Finally, the wrap-up to our brunch at The Spotted Pig was a swoon-worthy slice of the restaurant’s signature banoffee pie that layered banana, dulce de leche, tufts of whipped cream, and shaved chocolate atop a thin crust. A sweet ending to the trip, indeed.