NYC eats :: for the sweet tooth

Just a warning: your teeth might ache after reading this.

I’m a savoury > sweet person, but I would have any and all of the below again in a heartbeat. One thing E and I were both pleasantly surprised by, was how most of the desserts/sweet snacks we tried were far from being too sweet or sugary, which is kind of what we expected of these American offerings. Of course, New York is very different to the rest of the country and probably not a place you’d base any generalisations on, but still, we were impressed by that. 

The five places I’m sharing that are all worth a visit, and of course, there’s a doughnut double whammy. Let’s get into it…



14 West 19th St. 
(Area: Flatiron. Other locations available)

This is my personal favourite of the bunch, and I am filled with deep regret that we only tried it on our last day – if I’d tried it sooner, I definitely would have gone back at least one more time. We shared the plain glazed, which is the best way to judge a doughnut place in my opinion, and it was the best one I’d ever had. I mean it! Huge but light and fluffy, but also doughy. Not too sweet, strangely addictive. I’m getting sad just thinking about how out of reach this ring of heaven is from me, so let’s move on.

Levain Bakery
167 West 74th St.
(Area: Upper West Side. Other locations available)

I think this was probably E’s favourite, and I don’t blame him. He did some digging to find out where he could try the best cookie in NYC, and I think he nailed it. We knew it the moment we saw the queue outside, and the locals telling us how amazing they are as we waited. (By the way, I find the photo below hilarious – spot the French looking outsider!) Although they sell other things like breads, sandwiches and pastries, this tiny hole-in-the-wall is known for their cookies, and we saw people come out with huge bagfuls of them. We went for their classic chocolate chip and walnut, and were wowed into a cookie coma… absolute perfection. They are perfectly undercooked on the inside yet crunchy on the outside, and one is a meal in itself. I know that E had desperately wanted to go back there before we left, but we were too busy eating other things and ran out of time. What problems we have.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St. & 220 West 23rd St.
(Areas: Lower East Side & Chelsea. Other locations available)

Those who’ve tried both Doughnut Plant and Dough have a favourite between the two. Mine is Dough, but I can’t really argue if DP is someone’s favourite, because it really is fantastic – just different. We popped in to two branches, one to try out one of their mini ones on a day I really couldn’t manage a big one, and the other to commit to the square doughnut which they’re famous for. The apple cinnamon cream mini was delectable, but I can understand why the bigger ones are so popular – I went for the peanut butter and blackberry jam, and it was insanely good. Again, not too sickly sweet nor too dense, and it went down far better than it should have with a cup of black coffee, considering the amount of food I was putting away by this point. Thank you, stomach of steel.

Lady M
The Plaza Food Hall, 1 West 59th St.
(Other locations available)

We just about managed to squeeze this in on our last day, but we definitely thought it was worth it. Lady M Confections has boutiques in the US, Hong Kong and Singapore, and are particularly famous for their crêpe cakes, although everything they make looks incredible. They have a flagship store in New York, but we went to their stall at The Plaza and took a Matcha Crêpe Cake to share. It’s a thing of beauty, and would have been even more photogenic in good lighting – and the taste lives up to the reputation. We would have loved to try their classic one too, but we were pretty much eating the city on our last day, so it’ll have to wait for next time.

Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
17 Cleveland Place
(Area: Nolita)

Last but not least, the most unassuming little cheesecake store that looks like nothing from the outside, and yet is known to be one of the best cheesecake shops in NYC. E, being a cheesecake fanatic, found this place through rave reviews, and I was a little doubtful when we arrived. Even inside, the cakes looked a little garish in the yellow lighting and I wasn’t convinced, but we took a mini plain cheesecake to go and gave it a try. First of all, I love that they have mini sizes – something so rich is plenty in smaller portions! But here’s the verdict: do you know that episode from Friends, when Rachel and Chandler steal the cheesecakes and can’t stop eating them? This is the cake I imagined they were eating. Fluffy, creamy, sweet and salty. Perfect crust. Sorry for doubting you, Eileen – you are clearly the queen of cheesecake.

Excuse me while I go and sleep off this sugar high, and dream of biting into that Dough doughnut again…

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