Monday, February 7, 2011

Chikalicious Dessert Bar, New York


I left Peels today with a mission, or more specifically two recommended dessert-focused shops to try. Since I had already skipped work to try to meet Shuna, I figured what the hey and started walking to her two recs. The first was farther over in the East Village - home of various movie/TV shoots like this one, and also where Chika and Don Tillman operate New York's first dessert bar.

On limited days of the week.

I'm not totally sure if this is the store, but it does have that cupcake on the shutter.

And across the street Chikalicious Dessert Bar, where they let me know that the (shuttered) restaurant is open Thursday-Sunday from 3 to 10:45 (alright, the web site told me the specifics. I already knew and had planned for the 3 PM bit.).

The selection here is mostly the currently-omnipresent cupcakes, macarons, and a bunch of cookies. Seems like the bakery is in the back; maybe they just got this space for baking and realized they should put a cafe in? You would not, I think, be delighted by the atmosphere. I was in fact uncertain what was up when I peered in, because it seemed sort of like a Sbarro selling baked goods, a small Chinese family was eating cakes, and a young man of Indian descent was working the counter. The multiculturalism of New York is really startling when you live someplace as homogeneous as Japan (even though I'm not part of the sameness. I don't see myself all the time, you know? It dawned me a while ago that since every person I interact with, and almost every person I see, on a day-to-day basis is Japanese I feel like I must look Japanese too. It puzzles me when people look at me like I'm different.).

Hmm, that was a weird digression. The cakes are like unto these. My apologies for the deformity of the back of the cupcake's icing; I carried the specimens around all afternoon and ate them that night in the hotel. The theme here is definitely light and smooth - the cake was light, but the icing was surpassingly so. The macaron was very good for something that's not Pierre Herme...the cream was as smooth and buttery, while the shells were a bit more dense and chewy than the benchmark. Not at all in a bad way; people might like this way better. Top quality straightforward baking, this, and makes me wish I could try the fancier desserts.

This 'chocolate situation' cookie is more extreme and very well-made. I couldn't help thinking the accouterments were gimmicky in their size and protrusion; the pretzels and caramel popcorn would have been better in smaller pieces. Still, a minor quibble for a nibble this good.

Disappointed about the opening hours on the main store...next time. The menu looks fun.
212.475.0929

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