From authentic French morning dessert pastries to the unique take on shaved ice from the Taiwanese community, these are our favorite restaurants, trucks, and carts making New York City a little sweeter. By Siobhan Wallace.
The Ice Cream Sandwich
Last spring CoolHaus Ice Cream Truck made its way from Los Angeles for its East Coast debut. By the end of the summer, almost everyone knew about their delicious ice cream sandwiches made with Brooklyn-based Ovenly’s cookies and CoolHaus’ own creamy ice cream. With flavors rotating regularly, even the most ardent fan could each a different combination at every visit. Though pricey at $6 each, during the dog days of summer there were few better options to cool down the masses.
Pastry Chef Dominique Ansel, formerly of the Michelin 3-star restaurant Daniel, opened his own bakery in SoHo during November, and it is quickly becoming known as one of the best in the city. On a menu of highlights, his kouign-amann–pronounced kween a-mon–is a stand-out. It’s made from croissant dough and a good amount of sugar that produce a caramelized crust during baking. Though not a traditional dessert, it is sweet enough to be thought of as one.
With treats so nice, Dominique Ansel Bakery made our list twice. Another highlight from the SoHo sweet shop is his chocolate Mini-Me cake. The Mini-Mes are the small meringue chips covering the exterior of this four-layer cake, and add a fantastic textural contrast. Inside you find fluffy layers of rich dark chocolate cake separated by light chocolate cream, and amazingly one slice doesn’t put you into a sugar coma.
Toasted Banana S’more
For the second summer in a row, Quality Meats opened an ice cream bar inside the restaurant where you could get a of variety personal ice cream cake sundaes for $8 each. Worthy of repeat visits were the Grasshopper–mint chocolate chip ice cream layered with rich dark chocolate cake, and our favorite: The Toasted Banana S’more which involved a chocolate chip graham cracker cake and toasted marshmallow topping.
Taiwanese Shaved Ice
A new trend to pop up this year was the making of creamy and fluffy Taiwanese shaved ice. One of the most notable versions came from the 2011 Vendy Dessert Winner, Wooly’s Ice cart in Chinatown. They serve up shaved ice with the consistency of cotton candy with a variety of toppings from fresh fruit to brownies to condensed milk during the warmer months.