Yi Lan Zhang
Every fall, a group of sweet-seekers wander around New York City in search for a special treat. They march down the frigid streets in tune to the crispy crunch of autumn leaves, hunting down the perfect Fall dessert spot.
The first destination is in the Bronx: Conti’s Pastry Shoppe on Morris Park Avenue. Conti’s is adorned with serene fairy lights and lots of love. “It was literally just a shop that I’ve passed by once on my way to a bowling game in the Bronx, but passing by it that one time was enough for the shop to really catch my eye,” said Suporna Das ’20.
Our eyes immediately fall on a beautifully decorated $3 pumpkin cupcake made with pineapple, pumpkin puree, and cream cheese buttercream, all topped with golden sprinkles and a sugar leaf.
Christina DiRusso, the owner of Conti’s Pastry Shoppe said,“Conti’s has been here for ninety-six years, and we have added so much love into the shop. We have a great team, always bouncing ideas off of each other. We really encourage imagination and let our staff experiment with new designs all the time.”
The pumpkin cupcake sure did taste like love. “It has the best cream cheese icing that I ever had,” said Gordon Burrell ’19. “The atmosphere was really cozy; everyone had smiles on their faces, which isn’t super common in New York City. I enjoyed the retro feel with the soda bar and 1920s items; Conti’s is perfect for a group of two to three.”
We then visited The Black Ant on the Upper West Side, for their $4 Chapulin Ice cream. “The Chapulin Ice Cream is vanilla ice cream with smashed grasshopper and our secret spice,” explains Chef Fabiola. Chapulin ice cream is a popular dessert in Oaxaca, Mexico where chapulines, or grasshoppers, are incorporated in many dishes.
I was a little uneasy about eating such an exotic dish, but our waitress was quick to reassure me. “That’s my favorite part. People come looking for insect experience; some don’t even know that food can be made from insects. Their bewildered reactions are hilarious,” said Erica. She was right; the Chapulin ice cream left me shocked by the savory and spicy flavor combined with the creamy, vanilla sweetness. The grasshopper pieces added a crunch to the whole package.
Located in sweet Astoria, Queens, Chip NYC is a cookie haven. We decided to order four cookies: Walnut Chocolate Chip, Cookies n Cream, Blueberry Cheesecake, and Pumpkin Spice Latte.
The Pumpkin Spice Latte cookie was crispy on the edge and gooey on the inside, creating a perfectly textured cookie. “We put our twist on it [pumpkin flavored cookies] by adding an espresso dulche de leche filling,” said Andrea, the Pastry Chef of Chip. “Nostalgia is the number one ingredient in our cookies. Therefore, when creating the fall menu, we went back to our childhood and recalled our best memories of fall desserts.”
Chip NYC sells 1,000-1,500 cookies on an average day. Also, the owners of this successful cookie store are Bronx Science alumni: Peter Phillips ’05 and Theodore Gailas ’04. The wait was around ten minutes, and we got our cookies right out of the oven. Chip New York City has a buy five get one free sale; cookies costs $3.50 each.
”When you buy a cookie the size of a scone, you expect the cookie to be dry; however, Chip’s cookies were extremely soft,” Vanessa Fang ’21 said. “The store was really cozy, which I thought was perfect for a cold day.” Julie Lin ’21 plans to return. She noted, “the cookies were some on the best I’ve ever eaten because they were thick, warm, and perfect.”
At The Blue Stove, we settle in and order an apple pie, a chicken pot pie, and a slice of pumpkin pie. Daniel Huang ’19 chose the pumpkin pie as his favorite. “The texture did throw me off, however, because I was not expecting it to just dissolve in my mouth like that,” Huang said. Since the price of one slice might be outside of a typical high school student’s budget, sharing a slice with friends is recommended. “The crust can be its own dessert. It tastes like French pastry — flaky and buttery,” said Waly Ndiaye ’20, while going in for another dive.
“The crust can be its own dessert. It tastes like French pastry — flaky, and buttery,” said Waly Ndiaye ’20
“To do pies well is very labor intensive. Our pie dough is made by hand, which is time consuming, but makes for the most flakey pie crusts,” owner Rachel McBride Beyers said. “I think the best part of The Blue Stove is being part of a family,” Sam Stubbs-Wirtz, our wonderful hostess, said. “We’ve watched little children grow up to be able to order over the counter individually.”
In tune with its nickname, the Big Apple, New York City sure is a sweet spot.
Thank you to Chip NYC, The Blue Stove, Conti’s Pastry Shoppe, and The Black Ant.