Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mother/Daughter Dessert Crawl in NYC

     When my men go on their annual father/son weekend trip in the summer, my teenaged daughter and I try to plan fun things to do while they are away.  We have considered planning a mother/daughter trip at the same time, but more often we have opted to stay home and plan local activities or mini day trips.  Although it seems like we are getting the short end of the stick, we find that there are so many things that we want to do that are within a short drive from home.  This year, along with going to the beach and seeing chick flicks, we decided to make our NYC day trip double the pleasure by not only riding bikes in Central Park, but planning a Dessert Crawl, as well. 

      Prior to our day in the city, we did a little research as to which places we wanted to visit for our Dessert Crawl. We didn’t want our day trip to take us all over the island of Manhattan, so we chose our bike rental location, the parking garage we were planning to use, and all of the Dessert Crawl establishments according to their locations on the map. Not that we were opposed to winging it, or walking far, but we were only going into the city for the day so we wanted to make the most of our time by planning our locations.  Although I tend to be the organizer of events and travel in my family, I relinquished the reins of control, (not easy) and let my daughter choose the dessert places she wanted to visit. With the plan for the day in motion, we set off to first bike through Central Park, so we would work off the dessert calories in advance, and then walk (possibly crawl after biking 7 miles in Central Park) to all of the dessert places. 

We arrived in NYC earlier than our reserved bike tour time, so we decided to walk to the nearest dessert location, the Momofuku Milk Bar in Midtown on 56th street between 5th and 6th. We arrived excited to try our first dessert, and my daughter’s eyes immediately zoned in on the cake truffles in the display case at the counter. Sold. That’s what we were getting.  

Momofuku Milk Bar display case.
We settled on two flavors, birthday cake and cookie dough, each of which came in packs of three. We each tried one cake truffle in each flavor, and although we both usually think that anything birthday cake flavored is way too sweet, the birthday cake flavored Cake Truffles at the Milkbar are tiny orbs of confection perfection! So delicious, and not overly sweet, we highly recommend the birthday cake flavored cake truffles, and we are excited to visit again to try all of the other delicious items that tantalized our eyes like the cookies, pies, and bagel bombs! 

Momofuku Cake Truffles come in packs of three.

Momofuku Birthday Cake Truffle. A Tiny Orb of Confection Perfection!
Our first dessert crawl establishment was a success! We then headed back to peddle our way through Central Park.After our 7 miles of peddling through the park, we dismounted our bikes, calories earned, and we prepared to walk to the remaining establishments on our carefully mapped our Dessert Crawl.  We thought it best to start with the furthest location and then work our way back, so we set out for Serendipity3 on 225 East 60th Street, which was six streets up and 6 avenues to the east. Now, after our long, and somewhat challenging bike tour, we decided that we would most likely be taking a cab back to the parking garage later that night, because although we still had energy to walk, such may not be the case later in the evening.

After a brisk twenty-minute walk, we finally arrived at Serendipity3’s at 6:45PM and we realized that we were starving! So we decided that not only would we be sampling a dessert, we were going to eat dinner, too!  Since we didn’t make a reservation, we put our name on the list and were told there was a forty-five minute wait, which wasn’t bad for a NYC restaurant without having a reservation. We decided to use our wait time to satisfy other dessert establishments on our list, which were much closer than we originally thought. 

My daughter at age 5 (in the middle)
           at Serendipity3 with close friends.
At the end of the block from Serendipity3’s is Dylan’s Candy Bar, a candy store extravaganza!  There were so many types of candy to choose from such as loose candy, candy bars, nostalgic candy, and oversized candy, etc. My daughter chose a little glass jar with her brother’s name on it to fill with candy (miracles do happen). This was especially thoughtful, since his name is Dylan, too. We bought some candy for dad that he likes: a Zero bar, Cowtails, Turkish taffy and Now and Laters, and then we picked up a few things for ourselves for after dinner, as we were starving and wanted to eat some food first! 
Dylan's Candy Bar

Themed Candy Choices

Candy! Candy! Candy!

We still had a half of an hour before our table would be ready at Serendipity3’s, so we walked around the corner to our next delicious, dessert, destination: Sprinkles, which is on Lexington Ave. My daughter chose Sprinkles because it has a cupcake ATM. Yes, an ATM that dispenses cupcakes 24 hours a day.  This experience is not to be missed.  We walked up to the ATM screen, chose the flavor of cupcake we wanted, and we were then prompted to swipe our credit card (no cash accepted at the ATM).  Once the transaction was processed for $4.95 (not bad for a gourmet cupcake in NYC), a window opened with our cupcake already in the box! 

Sprinkles on Lexington Avenue

All ATM's should offer the option of cupcakes!
People were standing near the ATM watching customers purchase cupcakes, because it was such an intriguing concept. You can also go inside Sprinkles, as it is a nation-wide dessert chain that offers other dessert selections, as well. There are two locations in New York, but only the Upper East Side Location has the ATM. In the vast array of trendy cupcake establishments, Sprinkles and its ATM is a must see, and my daughter said it was the best cupcake she ever had.  

Choose your cupcake and your quantity, and then swipe your credit card.

Wait for the Cupcake ATM window to open and take your cupcake!

So our Mother/Daughter dessert crawl was just about reach its final destination, as we were going to head back to our table at Serendipity3’s, when we saw that Baked by Melissa, one of our longtime favorite cupcake places was right on the next corner! What an unexpected pleasant surprise. We had just enough time before our dinner reservation to pick up a few of the bite sized cupcakes to take home with us.  My kids love the mini cupcakes, and I have had them delivered to our home many times for different occasions.  The mini cupcakes are always a hit, because you can taste a few different flavors without the guilt of eating a whole cupcake.  Baked by Melissa was definitely the perfect addition to our dessert crawl.

Baked By Melissa on Lexington Avenue

Bite sized cupcakes!

After hitting Dylan’s Candy Bar, Sprinkles, and Baked By Melissa, all within our forty-five minute wait for Serendipity3’s, we were ready to finally sit down and eat.  We had worked up quite an appetite peddling around the park, and walking through the streets on our Dessert Crawl. Although we took my daughter to Serendipity3’s when she was five, she didn’t remember the experience, so I was excited to see her experience it again as a nineteen year old.

Throwback Pic: My daughter with her close friends at age 5.
 We were seated upstairs, (Yay!, as I had never sat upstairs before), and it was interesting to see the original architecture of the building was still in tact, although it had been painted over in pastel colors of pinks and purples.  We were lucky to be seated in front of the beautiful fireplace, which was original to the building, and as we were seated our server mentioned that it was the table where a scene from movie Serendipity was filmed starring John Cusack. 

A lovely lighted display over the fireplace upstairs.
Since we chose Serendipity3 as part of our Dessert Crawl, we wanted to stay true to our goal of having dessert, but we did order the most delicious burgers first, which we completely devoured. Many people, we noticed, were ordering the famous Frozen Hot Chocolate as a drink, but wanted to wait until after our meal to order any type of sweet drink or dessert.  Also, the Frozen Hot Chocolate is really big, and after inhaling the burger we didn’t think that the two of us would be able to finish it, so we chose simple dishes of ice cream with whipped cream and a cherry.

The Frozen Hot Chocolate is enough for three or four people to share. 

Fourteen years later, my daughter is back at Serendipity3's
        enjoying some chocolate ice cream.
My daughter and I sat across from each other, satisfied that our planned day of a Central Park bike ride and Dessert Crawl went so well.  We paid the check, and contemplated whether we were going to take a cab back to the parking garage, but even after such a long day of biking and walking, we still had some reserved energy. The twenty-minute walk back to the car was just what we needed to balance out the calories we had just consumed during our Dessert Crawl and dinner. Surprisingly, our legs were not even weary or sore, even though we did more of a “Dessert Dash” rather than a Dessert Crawl.