03/24/19 1:36pm

There are many, many treats at the Heights’ new bakery but this chocolate bar steals the show.

Acclaimed pastry chef Michael Mignano’s Farine Baking Company opened about a week and a half ago in Jackson Heights, a neighborhood better known for such multicolored Indian sweets as jalebi and chum chum than French treats like brioche and kouign amann. I stopped by last weekend to ogle the Viennoiserie and other goodies, but the place was a madhouse, so I returned on a weekday when things were a bit more chill and was lucky enough to meet the man himself.

“Try this, the 2017 Iron Chef champ said as he handed me an ingot-sized chocolate bar. “This is our Mignano bar. It’s layers of cashew and macadamia nut caramel, dark chocolate, crispy nougat, and graham cracker crust, all covered in dark chocolate with black Hawaiian sea salt,” the bar’s namesake told me as I bit into it and held on to the counter to avoid fainting from sheer bliss. (more…)

11/23/16 5:41pm


If you’re anything like me—and I suspect you are if you read my musings about food and culture in Queens—you might still be struggling about what to bring to Thanksgiving tomorrow. Rejoice procrastinators and noncooks! Japan has come to your rescue in the form of pumpkin creme brulee KitKats. Let me say that again “Pumpkin Crème Brûlée KitKats!”


04/06/15 9:52am

“Sriracha chocolate cake!!??”

“Sriracha chocolate cake?” I muttered quizzically as I browsed the cupcake selection at Silk Cakes. “It’s a Southeast Asian . . .” the gal behind the counter stopped mid-sentence as I interrupted to tell her that I had indeed heard of the ubiquitous “rooster sauce.” My surprise stemmed from seeing the hot sauce namechecked at an upscale bakery instead of a pho joint or hipster sandwich shop. (more…)

09/02/14 12:10pm

It’s no mere pain au chocolat.

At first glance it looks like an especially robust chocolate croissant. This burnished breakfast treat is no mere pain au chocolat though. For one thing, it’s not French at all. I found this glorious $3 beauty at Andre’s Hungarian Bakery a couple of weeks ago. The Forest Hills establishment is better known for apple strudel and rugelach than French breakfast items. I have never waited on line for a Cronut, and don’t plan to anytime soon. The chocolate croissant—or rugelssaint as I’ve taken to calling it— is worth waiting on line for though. Not that there’s ever a line at Andre’s. (more…)

02/06/14 10:42am


At first glance the brownish slabs in the basket looked like pottery. “It’s chocolate,” the dude behind the counter at Los Paisanos told me. Chocolate for drinking that is. Mexican hot chocolate is one of my favorite treats in the dead of winter. The tablet like slabs of chocolate at Los Paisanos are organic Ecuadorean and will run you $10 a pound. Five bucks bought a nice-sized piece that should keep me well-supplied with hot chocolate in the next few weeks. As I found last night it is unsweetened. I am still perfecting my hot chocolate technique. Last night I melted the chocolate in a cup of milk in saucepan while stirring. Next time I’m going to try melting the chocolate a bit and then adding the milk. I’ve a feeling it will result in a smoother texture. I might even invest in one of those little cappuccino frothers. Viva el chocolate!

Los Paisanos, 79-16 Roosevelt Ave, Jackson Heights,718-898-4141

10/31/13 11:12am

These are just some of the British candy bars to be found in Woodside.

Happy Halloween to one and all. This festive, sugar-laden time of year brings back fond memories of fun-sized candies, along with fear of being pelted with eggs. These days my tastes in candy runs toward either high-end truffles, green tea Kit Kats, or perhaps my favorite of all, British candy bars. I grew up eating Cadbury Fruit and Nut Bars, but my first real introduction to British candy bars was Yorkie. The chocolate-covered raisin and biscuit treat was originally marketed at truckers hence its rather misogynistic “Not for Girls” marketing campaign. For a while it was my go to British candy bar. Once I even tried a misbegotten peppermint version called Yorkie Blue Ice that tasted like it was made with crushed up menthol cough drops. (more…)

04/10/13 12:00pm
At $17 a box these chocolate chips aren't cheap.

At $17 a box these chocolate-covered potato chips aren’t cheap.

A couple of weeks ago after a visit to The Marrow I found myself on a block of Bleecker St. that I like to think of as the West Village’s dessert district. I wandered into Royce’, a Japanese chocolatier, which for some reason uses a superfluous apostrophe. Inside I found something that I haven’t seen in some time, chocolate-covered potato chips or as the Royce’ copywriters put it, “Potatochip Chocolate.”

After sampling onecrunchy, slightly salty, and coated with milk chocolateI gamely forked over $17 for a box. That’s right $17. Yes, they’re imported  from Hokkaido “where the climate and the clean air are ideal for making confection,” but they’re not $17 good. I know this because a week later I still have most of the original box.

I suppose if you really must have $17 chocolate chips Royce’ will gladly take your money and give you a boutiquey little shopping bag to carry home your precious cargo. Here’s what you should do instead, sample a chip or two. Then go the newstand and buy 15 or so Take 5 bars with the $17 you would have spent at Royce’. The pretzel, peanut, caramel, peanut butter, chocolate bar is the tastiest and cheapest way I know to slake a thirst for sweet-salty snacks.

Royce’, 253 Bleecker Street, 646-590-0650

02/18/13 10:02am
At first glance it looks like most any other dosa.

At first glance it looks like most any other dosa.

Dosai, the gigantic South Indian rice and lentil crêpes take many forms. Lacy crisp paper dosai flavored with little more than ghee are great for dipping into spicy vegetable-loaded samber broth. Their more substantial cousins are filled with potato and other veggies. And for spice freaks like me there are fiery varieties with chili worked right into the batter. Some even resemble flapjacks. Until I paid a visit to Dosa Delight, though I never encountered a dessert dosa.

Inside, find chocolate and cashews.

Inside, find chocolate and cashews.

At first glance the chocolate dosa ($7.99) looks like most any other, save for its brown freckles. It’s even served with the traditional coconut chutney and samber. Closer inspection—and a taste—reveals that those brown spots are chocolate. Between the chocolate-enriched  folds of this dessert dosa find a delectable mixture of melted chocolate and cashews. Think of it as a South Indian brownie.

The crunchy chocolate dosa is a fine indulgence with a cup of strong Madras coffee ($2). It’s even kind of tasty dipped into the coconut chutney. I chose  not to try it with the samber. That would be just weird.

Dosa Delight, 35-66 73rd St., Jackson Heights,  718-397-1000