Some people are a sucker for a pretty face. I'm a sucker for a pretty piece of pastry.
Mind you, I recognize that the true beauty of a dessert is more than pâte à choux deep. And, lucky for me, I live in New York City, home to some of the finest places for pastry in the U.S., if not the world. (Yes, yes Paris ranks supreme in the pastry wars - but my Metro Card can't drop me off in the 2nd arrondissement.)
I'm particularly fond of Brooklyn's Bien Cuit, its mesmerizing Matcha Eclair pictured above. One step into their Smith Street bakery/cafe location and the intoxicating aroma of butter, yeast and unmitigated goodness fills your nostrils. One look at their case of pristine croissant and pastry, and you'll be saying "Yes, please!" before you know what hits you.
The bakery at Lafayette in Noho is another dangerous spot. Individual housemade brioche baked with cream filling, topped with bright pink rhubarb? "I'll have one!"
The West Village's Bosie Tea Parlor is also a dessert-lovers' paradise, with melt-in-your-mouth macarons in flavors like Passion Fruit-Milk Chocolate, Pistachio, and Salted Caramel, and an array of tempting miniature tea cakes and tarts. I'm often drawn to their Darjeeling Tart, which sports a sweet triple-play of Darjeeling Ganache, Darjeeling Chantilly, and Nougatine.
And, I haven't even begun to talk about Dominique Ansel Bakery's gloriously buttery, crispy, caramelized sugar-encased Kouign Amanns. (Who needs to stand in line for a freaking Cronut when you can have one of these pastry marvels without the ridiculous wait?)
We're only scratching the surface when it comes to great NYC bakeries with pastry ready to charm and seduce. Hell, I haven't even gotten above 14th Street.
Needless to say, I'm in trouble - sweet, sweet trouble.