Bodega Finds

Ah, Half Baked. One of my favorite movies of all time.

Ah, Half Baked. One of my favorite movies of all time.

Living in New York can be a pain in the ass and every one of us that lives here has a million things to bitch about, but if there’s one distinctly New York thing I’m actually thankful for it’s bodegas.

That’s right, bodegas. Convenience or corner stores for those of you that don’t live in this zoo.  You can find them on almost every block in every neighborhood in this city and if you’re ever in a pinch— be it for ice cream, dishwashing soap, condoms, or any other random thing— you can almost always just run down the street and they’ll have what you need.

Sometimes, they even surprise you with things you didn’t realize you needed but then wonder how you lived without them. That’s what’s happened to me anyway the last few times I’ve popped into one of the million bodegas in my neighborhood.

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I already love Ritters, and then they went and made a coconut macaroon type. Ah-mazing.

Take this Ritter Sport, coconut macaroon holiday edition, for example. I originally stopped in for coffee but walked out with a delicious chocolate bar that I hadn’t seen anywhere else and made my crappy, cold morning precisely a thousand times better.

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I gotta tell you, this cookie on cookie action works for me.

Then there was the time last week when I ran into a bodega to use the ATM and spotted these insane Oreos with chocolate chip cookie dough flavored creme. What?! How do you pass those? You don’t. You buy them and you take them home and you devour them with your roommate. Happiness ensues.

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I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for gimmicky M&M’s.

And then there was the recent time when said roommate and I ran to the nearest bodega for bottles of water to squash our awful hangovers, when we spotted these at the register: birthday cake M&M’s. I mean, really, it’s like each one is filled with a core of chocolaty deliciousness, happiness and sunshine.

So thank you bodegas of New York. Sometimes you’re weird, sometimes your clerks are creepy, and sometimes I’m convinced you’re just fronts for God knows what kind of illegal activity. But most of the time you just have exactly what I need exactly when I don’t even know I need it. And for that, I thank you.

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Definitely Better Than Oreos

Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade, so I completely understand why Coffee + Milk, the cute coffeehouse at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), named its outrageously delicious chocolate cookie sandwich a BTO, as in Better Than Oreos.

An appropriate name for an insanely good cookie

An appropriate name for an insanely good cookie

Because yes, Oreo, darling, you know I love you, and I prove that with my inability to ever eat just one of you (or even two or three, sometimes it just really gets outta control) but C+M’s BTO is serious stuff. It’s really not messin’ around. It is better. It’s way better.

But it’s almost not even fair to compare the two. The BTO is rich and chocolatey, made with two large, palm-sized sable cookies, all wonderfully crumbly and grainy, speckled with dark chocolate chips, sandwiching a thick, decadent, oh-so-sweet, frosting-like cream filling.

LACMA is a great museum full of wonderful, beautiful works, but C+M’s BTO might’ve just been my favorite.

Move over Pillsbury, I have a new favorite Doughboy

A good cup of joe and a good cupcake will do wonders for the soul. Trust me.

In New York— Manhattan specifically— I am, at any given moment, within a 45-second walk from a cupcake selling establishment. And this is ok with me. It’s more than ok. It’s marvelous. I like my cupcakes delicious, plentiful, and easily accessible, so the abundance of cupcakes shops in this city works well for me.

Perhaps the most famous cupcake hot spot in the neighborhood is Magnolia Bakery, which is about two blocks from my apartment, but it’s almost always packed and sometimes, when people are feeling especially batty, there’s even a line snaking out the door. But when a new place called Doughboy Bake Shop opened up a few months ago, also just a couple of blocks away, and they turned out to have really fantastic cupcakes, I was all about them.

On a recent lazy Saturday, I decided what I needed to put some pep in my step was a bit of caffeine…and hell, why not, a cupcake to go with it. First of all, a note on their coffee: it’s from Mud, which if you’re in New York, and you like coffee, you should have this coffee. It’s pretty phenomenal. As for the cupcakes, I’d had them before and they were always great, moist, fluffy with lots of icing.

On this particular weekend I went with an Oreo cupcake, which with it’s tall, fat swirl of creamy frosting and whole Oreo on top already looked intense, but little did I know just how serious it would be. I took it home so we could have some privacy (i.e. so I could unhinge my jaw like a python and practically swallow it whole) and as I was peeling off the baking wrap from the bottom, I discovered something awesome. Baked at the very bottom of the cupcake was…wait for it, waaaiiit for it… BAM! an entire OreoJust sitting there, waiting like the delicious little surprise that it was. I’ve had plenty of Oreo cupcakes, some with Oreo crumbles, others with chunks, but never an entire Oreo inside the cupcake.

A whole Oreo... INSIDE the cupcake. My kind of surprise.

I love that there are cupcakes everywhere in this city, but I especially enjoy that one of my new favorites is so dangerously close to my place, and that inside some of their delicious cupcakes are ENTIRE freakin’ Oreos waiting to be eaten!

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Move over, Little Debbie

Before I left the nest, the De Angelis household was always made up of my parents, my sister and I, and the occasional pet. But if there’s someone who could’ve counted as an unofficial member of the bunch because of her constant presence amongst us, it was Little Debbie. You know, the cutesy, snack-cake pushing girl on the boxes of Oatmeal Pies, Star Crunch and Honey Buns.

For the most part though, since becoming an adult, I’ve parted ways with Deb. Truth be told, though, I miss her. Which is why I was so happy to find out that Thomas Keller, of uber expensive culinary meccas The French Laundry and Per Se, had come up with adult versions of similar sweet treats at his boulangerie-style Bouchon Bakery.

Behold, the Bouchon Ho Ho

Perhaps my favorite Little Debbie treat of all time was the Swiss roll, a chocolate coated, rolled-up chocolate cake with cream inside. So when I saw a Bouchon Ho-Ho (a variant of the swiss roll), chocolate covered, foil-wrapped, and with the girth of a mini burrito, I knew I would need to get it. Debbie would have wanted it that way.  Added to my box was a palm-sized TKO, an Oreo lookalike, whose name I’m assuming stands for Thomas Keller Oreo, and two chocolate bouchons, sugar-dusted, cork-shaped mini brownies. Continue reading