Today marked the one year anniversary of me moving to New York. And fittingly enough, Flaneur and I also have Italian friends in town. So in order to celebrate both of these facts, I pulled a Marie Antoinette and said, “Let them eat cake! Cheesecake!”
Sure, there’s cheesecake in Italy, but it’s got nothing on New York cheesecake. When I lived in Florence, I was only ever able to find authentic cheesecake at one place in town, Sugar & Spice, a small American bakery near the Duomo. Italian cheesecake isn’t bad, it just isn’t quite cheesecake. It isn’t creamy and soft and there’s no buttery, graham cracker crust. It’s basically New York cheesecake’s Italian cousin, maybe even second cousin.
So today we went to Eileen’s Special Cheesecake in Nolita and had a little lesson in what a real cheesecake should look and taste like. Although Eileen’s has cheesecakes in all sorts of flavors like Rocky Road, pumpkin and cappuccino and topped with fruit toppings like strawberries, pineapple and raspberries, all of us opted for the plain cheesecake— and it was good, really good.
Eileen’s boasts the title of “Best cheesecake in NY” and I have to say, agree. The cheesecake was buttery, creamy and smooth with a moist, crumbly soft crust. It was simple and sweet without being overbearingly sugary or tangy. The Italians were wide-eyed and quiet as they ate their real American cheesecake. Who am I kidding? So was I.
I couldn’t have picked a better dessert to commemorate a year in New York, than the city’s best dessert.