This time when I went in search of dairy free sweets, stopping at Babycakes and Tache along the way, I did actually go on a crawl of sorts. I was in midtown, having visited the dentist, and was puzzling over where I should go, and realized it had been many years since I had been to Babycakes. And after all, if you are going to do a series on vegan bakeries in New York City, how can you leave out Babycakes, right?
So I was really only going to stop at Babycakes and get a few things from them, and then head straight home. The thing is, that there isn’t one subway that goes from there (the Lower Eastside) to where I live, so I thought, well, if I walk down Broome Street, I can get to a subway that DOES go to where I live. Plus, it was snowing, and the city had that quiet magical feeling to it. And having a walk before I got back on the subway was a very appealing idea to me, so I walked west on Broome and came upon Tache, and kept walking past Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, and finally reached Lafayette Street, and my subway home. It was a fun, magical, fruitful journey! Let’s go back for a minute, and I will tell you all about it.
So as I said it all started at Babycakes.
I will admit, I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder for Babycakes. I haven’t been there in many years, partly because what I remember from the last time I went there was overly expensive, slightly pretentious cupcakes. I guess I’ve gotten used to the fact that good baked goods are often not cheap, this time I wasn’t bothered by the price. In fact, I’m very thrilled with what I got: a slice of pumpkin chip loaf, a mocha donut, a cute little candy cane cakes and a savory biscuit with red pepper and zucchini.
Ok, so the price didn’t bother me – but did the pastries taste good? Overall, I enjoyed them immensely. My favorite was probably the savory biscuit: the zucchini, pepper and onion and spices gave it a hint of Southwestern flavor. The donut was pretty nice, and the pumpkin bread wasn’t bad (and I left the candy cane for my wife). My one criticism would be that everything was uniformly dense – I suppose that if I were just eating one pastry with a nice big glass of almond milk, the density wouldn’t matter to me. And surely, there were a number of offerings that I did not try this time – for example, I did not buy any cupcakes!
When I left Babycakes, I made the decision to go for a walk down Broome toward the subway. It was not long before I began my walk that I ran into Tache, a lovely chocolate shop.
I was eager to find out what chocolates they might carry that would be dairy free, but first I was curious about the title. I asked one of the young ladies there (who may have been Aditi Malhotra, the shop’s owner and head chocolatier) what “Tache” meant, and she explained that it is French for “smudge” and that since they get smudges of chocolate on their aprons all the time, it seemed like a good name for the shop. Satisfied with the answer, I told her about my allergy and asked what they might have that would be dairy free.
She gave me the options: dark chocolate grignotine, a candy made from chocolate, puffed rice, nuts and dried fruit; a fruit and nut bar; a dark chocolate lollypop; and I believe there was one other thing which I’ve forgotten. She laid out these options for me almost apologetically, as if she were sad that she couldn’t offer me more. I assured her that she had left me with good options, and was encouraged as well to hear that she will have more dairy free options in the future. After thinking just a moment, I bought a small package of grignotines.
These chocolates are wonderful. I love the interplay of the chocolate, rice, nuts and fruit. I ate just one, vowing to pace myself on these since they are so good that I don’t want to run out of them any time soon. It is a testament to the love I bear for my wife that I have told her that I will save some of these grignotines for her.
Leaving Tache with now a package of chocolates and my box of pastries from Babycakes, I was thrilled. The rest of my walk was mainly about taking in the beautiful scenery of the snowy day. A highlight was certainly running into Sara Delano Roosevelt Park, a long thin park that is in the middle of essentially 2nd Avenue (although 2nd Avenue below Houston Street is actually two streets, Chrystie and Forsyth Streets), running from Canal to Houston Streets.
Not long after passing through the park, I reached the subway, and headed home. Not long after that, I tasted the results of my dessert crawl, to my great pleasure as I have already told you.
In the process of this crawl, I successfully washed the bad taste from my mouth in regard to Babycakes. And I am sure I will be back there soon, even if I do have to take two whole subways to get there (yes, I know, you are playing the world’s smallest violin in recognition of my terrible ordeal). A visit to Babycakes and – yes, Tache too – are in my future. Maybe next time I will even buy a cupcake.