Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tu-Lu's Gluten-Free Bakery

Tu-Lu's Gluten-Free Bakery
338 E 11th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 777-2227

They are on twitter and facebook too!

Tu-Lu's Gluten-Free Bakery was another of those I-happened-to-stumble-upon bakeries. We were walking to a shop on the same street when I saw the sign above the door. Yes, a spatula and the colour pink will always catch my eye. I was very lucky that I didn't just walk into the blackboard sign.

Mini cupcakes! Chocolate with chocolate, chocolate with peanut butter, and vanilla with chocolate. What to pick, what to pick?

Chocolate with peanut butter icing will do!

Eeee! The art on their wall is so adorable!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Momofuku Noodle Bar

We almost missed it.

We almost couldn't find it!

We actually had an outdated map (in our defense, we thought it was up-to-date) on this trip. Some of the stores and shops listed were no longer in business or had moved just a couple of blocks down. So, we found the spot were our map said Momofuku would be and after looking up and down the street, we decided to ask a taxi driver.

Howard: Hi, do you know where Momofuku is?
Taxi Driver: What?
Howard: Momofuku.
Taxi Drive: Momo...?
Howard: Momofuku
Taxi Driver: What's that?
Howard: A restaurant...
Taxi Driver: No, sorry.

I was in the middle of searching for free wifi with my iPod, when we were saved! A very nice pair were just turning the corner and overheard Howard's conversation with the Taxi Driver. They told us that they were actually on their way to Momofuku and we were welcomed to follow them.

Yes, please!

We thanked them and scurried after the quick walking pair. The guy was from California visiting the girl. She was currently living in New York, but was originally from the same part of Toronto as us! Unbelievable!

Here, we made it:

Momofuku Noodle Bar
171 First Avenue
New York City, NY 10003
(212) 777-7773

We parted ways with the friendly pair in Momofuku as they were actually seated at the bar (lucky). We squeezed in to share a table in the middle of the restaurant with another group who were already enjoying their appetizers.

The lunch menu for August 17, 2010. They have prix fixe meals, very tempting (chocolate chip cake truffles!), but a bit out of our lunch budget for 3 people...

The customer service there was really good. They understood that they had lots of customers and did their best to be quick, clever, and courteous.

At first, all three of us wanted the Momofuku Ramen, but I persuaded the guys that we should try all three noodles on the menu. Dispite their whining, my brother listened and ordered the Ginger Scallion Noodles that had pickled shiitakes, cucumber, and menma.

It was really good! Something that I would order again because it was perfect for a hot summer day. The combination of the ingredients made the noodles taste very fresh and spring-like.

In the end my brother prefered his noodles over mine! See? It all worked out to everyone's favour!

Howard can handle the heat. So he got the Chilled Spicy Noodles that contained Sichuan spiced sausage, spinach, and cashews.

I tried one small strand of noodle and it was spicy!! But so good. So I only recommend it if you can handle it. Our very clever waitress came by many times to refill our glasses of water. =)

Again, in the end, Howard preferred his order to mine!

Finally, the Momofuku Ramen with pork belly, pork shoulder, and a poached egg. Picture perfect of what I expect when I think ramen.

Howard wanted to go back for the rest of the week. Ever since we've been home, he's whined for Momofuku at least 5 times this week. You know Howard, we do have the cookbook if you want to try your hand at making it yourself. =P

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blueberry Pie

We had ordered some products (we got mini pans and a zester) from CSN Stores for review. I want to say that their website is easy to use and ordering was quite simple. They ship pretty fast and keep you updated on each item's transit!

To test our new products, I had thought it would be fun for Howard to make some pies:

Wow. The perfect pie dough is hard to make! Howard and I were pretty sad about the way ours turned out, I think we may need to learn the techniques and practice more. With that being said, this is no reflection of the recipe we tried, we're pretty sure we messed up because the dough didn't turn out as flaky as it should. We will keep practicing in order to add pies to our repertoire!

Pie Dough
Adopted from The Grand Central Baking Book
(Makes one 10- to 12-ounce disk)

1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 stick of cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoons of cold water
Omitted 1 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice (maybe this is where we went wrong?)
  1. Measure out your flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Let is refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
  2. Dice the cold butter into 1/2 inch cubes and toss them with the flour mixture.

  3. Add in your cold water. (But don't. This is where you're suppose to add the cold water to the lemon juice, so do that instead.)
  4. We mixed our dough by hand, move quickly so that your hands don't warm up the butter. Use your fingertips and thumbs to rub the butter together with the dry ingredients. The butter should be cold enough that you're coating the butter cubes with the flour.
  5. Stop mixing when the texture of the flour changes from silky to measly.
  6. You can hydrate your dough with the cold water and lemon juice mixture, one tablespoon at a time.
  7. Check your dough, if it holds together, it's ready. If it's dry and crumbly, mix a little longer before adding more water.
  8. When the dough has the proper amount of water, it will come together with minimal effort and no deliberate packing.
  9. Wrap the dough tightly and chill it (don't roll it out, it isn't ready to be used yet) for at least 1 to 2 hours or overnight (we left it overnight).

Blueberry Filling
Adopted from The Grand Central Baking Book
(Makes about 3 to 4 servings)

2 cups of blueberries
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of lemon zest
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
  2. Begin by zesting your lemon and squeezing out the lemon juice.

    The Microplane zester was easy to use and easy to clean. Look at how quick Howard is zesting!

  3. Toss the blueberries with the sugar and lemon zest.

  4. Combine the cornstarch and lemon juice, stir it a little.
  5. Roll out your pie dough, work quickly so that the dough doesn't soften. If it becomes too soft or sticky, cover it and refrigerate until firm.
  6. Place your rolled out pie dough in your pan and trim off the excess sides.

  7. Pour your blueberry filling in.

  8. Bake for 20 minutes until the crust is a rich golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Funny note: our crust remained quite pale and did not reach a golden brown colour. =(

The blueberry filling was really good, so we just have to work on creating flaky, buttery pie crust. The pans we tested out are non-stick and do just as they say. The pies popped out of the pan with ease and were easy to clean (since nothing stuck to it).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Dessert Club, ChikaLicious

Dessert Club, ChikaLicious
204 East 10th Street
New York, NY 10003
(212) 475-0929

This was our last stop before lunch and I really liked how all these places were still quiet. Check out all those yellow boxes on top, they form such a neat display pattern. First off, Dessert Club, ChickaLicious is small - perhaps best for walking in. There is a small bar-like seating area on the left and booth-like seating on the right. The menus are posted on the walls and I can imagine this place getting full with people forming a line right out the door!

Let's have a better look at the case over on the left counter there.

The cupcakes are neatly lined up and labeled (except for S'mores and Toasted Almond - tell you why later). The Dessert Club has two types of cupcakes, regular and premium, mostly distinguished by flavour and their price. Your basic Vanilla, Lemon, White & Black are regular while flavours like Mocha, Carrot, Strawberry are considered premium.

They also have an assortment of macarons (Lemon, Salted Caramel, Strawberry, Chocolate, Rose, and Blueberry)

Look! More shiny cupcakes! I liked how the cupcakes all looked uniformed, they all have relatively the same height and dollop of frosting.

Look at those peaks!

Howard got to pick this time and he went for the S'mores Cupcake. But technically, he wanted the Toasted Almond Cupcake! He ordered the wrong one because of the switched labels! All I could do was shake my head because he wasn't thinking clearly. Even without the labels you could still tell which was which! ;)

Not bad, the cupcake did taste like a giant S'mores. I think the cupcake had graham crackers and there was a chocolate filling, topped with marshmallow. I really like how they even torched the top of the marshmallows too. And look! The cupcake liner got a little burned too.

This is one place we'll have to try again because we didn't really get to try their frosting. ;)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Spot Dessert Bar

Gossip Girl: Spotted. S in the East Village swooning over cupcakes. H looks tired from all the walking. Say, weren't they heading for lunch?

Spot Dessert Bar
13 Saint Marks Place
New York, NY 10003
(212) 677-5670

They are on facebook and twitter too!

This was one of my other favourite stops during our trip to New York, the other being Baked. Here are my reasons. Baked is fantastic for updated classic American desserts. We tried delicious cupcakes, whoopie pies, and brownies there.

Spot Dessert Bar has American desserts with an Asian fusion. Something I have been thinking about for the past year. Why we do not have any place like that here in Toronto baffles me. We need a dessert bar!

We arrived at Spot around lunch time so it was still relatively quiet, with this in mind, customer service was friendly and very helpful.

My first impression on the cupcakes was, the frosting is really glossy! I had to wonder if edible glitter was used, but I think that it was just the lighting.

Let's have a closer look at those cupcakes! From left to right in colours: brown top - Vanilla Caramel Vietnamese Coffee, brown bottom - Mocha Maldon Salt Caramel, white middle - Vanilla Coconut Almond, green - Chocolate Green Tea Fruit Jam, white right - Vanilla Yuzu Lemon, pink - Berry Berry Chocolate.

I chose the Vanilla Caramel Vietnamese Coffee cupcake for a pick-me-upper!

Originally, this was for take-out because we were on our way to lunch. But look how inviting the place is! So, we took a seat. We really liked the decor of this place, it was clean, natural, and comfortable.

I still think the frosting is shiny, but yum! Look at the caramel bits and the coffee topping.

The caramel provided a nice crunch to the cupcake.

Surprise! The cupcake was labeled as caramel not because of the tiny crunches on top, but because there was a filling too!

Delicious! The frosting was smooth and silky, the cupcake was nice and moist. The caramel and Vietnamese coffee went really well together. Sigh... do we have to leave and go for lunch? Yes, lunch beckons the boys and we had one more stop along the way...

Until next time Spot Dessert Bar! =)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Doughnut Plant

Doughnut Plant was another recommendation from my Aunt and Uncle. Except, I had already put it on our list of things to see. There was suppose to be line-up, just like Grimaldi's from the other day! Luckily, we went early enough before any line-up started. We were really lucky. After we got our doughnut, the shop filled up pretty quick.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 505-3700

They're on facebook and twitter too!

Here's a list of their featured doughnuts of the day. They have different types of doughnuts for you to pick from: yeast, jam, and cake. We really wanted to try the crème brulée one, but we were told there would be a 30 minute wait. We should have waited for it, because in the end, the store we were going to next wasn't open until noon!

Since my brother didn't try the cupcakes on this trip, he got to choose a doughnut and he picked...

The vanilla bean doughnut! I took a bite and it was pretty good, although I would have liked to try a flavour we wouldn't find in Toronto. Next time, I'll come with an empty stomach. I really shouldn't eat breakfast before heading out, I get too full and don't get to try all the neat things we see.

This is where we sat and watched the crowds come in. =)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Little Cupcake Lover

This is why I like New York City. I can be walking around, turn a corner, and find cupcakes. It happened to me twice on this trip. I happened to stumble on something new, something I hadn't heard of before, and didn't set out looking for.

Little Cupcake Lover
Soho on Broadway between Houston and Bleecker

May I present to you, a cupcake cart! I've tried the cupcake truck (the Cupcake Stop) last year and now another experience! Howard wasn't brave enough to try food from any street vendors. I get the brave medal for this trip. =)

The front view of the cupcake cart. The top shelf contains all the mini cupcakes and the bottom one showcases all the regular cupcakes.

It was before 11am, but that didn't stop me from getting a mini cupcake. I was about to pick the Nutella mint but noticed that this one wasn't listed on their menu - so why not pick something that isn't there all the time? Banana caramel it is!

A nice quick bite! Bananas are still in the "breakfast" time zone right?