As you may or may not know, a week before my dad’s passing, Binks and I went to NY for a cousin’s wedding. We took 4 days for the wedding and an additional 3 days of non-wedding time (can we say too much extended family time?).
Call it a Babymoon if you will – I will not. Rather, the appropriate term would be my search for the best food ever.
I have an affinity/bias/love-affair with NY. When my family first moved to America, we moved to NY for about a month. We didn’t stay long but it left a lasting impression. From things I remember as a kid, I remember having the best Indian food in NY (heard of Jackson Heights anyone?), obviously killer pizza and the like.
This time, was really my first time in NY. Usually we spend our time with family and were deemed too young to travel outside of Queens. So, Binks and I made full use of the times we got alone to walk the streets of NY.
One day, as were heading out of our hotel, a girl walked passed me with the most delectable chocolate chip cookie in hand. I wanted one. Not just one. I wanted to try as many chocolate chip cookies as possible and find the best in NY. Call it pregnancy cravings if you will – I will not. It’s just me being me.
Here are my requirements for the perfect chocolate chip cookie:
1. Texture – Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside. This is a balancing act like none other. And, while I enjoy a good slightly under-cooked center as the rest of us, I don’t want the whole cookie to rest on that. (You should remember that Otis – although I will devour you any day and in anyway!)
2. Chip/cookie Ratio – Definitely more cookie that chip for me. If it’s too much chocolate chip, then I miss the whole point of a cookie.
3. Taste – buttery, deep, not too sweet, hint of salty – I know you know what I mean.
My first stop – Bouchon Bakery.
Luckily we had a bakery just one block from our hotel. Talk about tastefully convenient!
And speaking of tasty – this was just that. Dare I say perfect? I do. The dough is fantastic – sweet but not overly so with a nice rounded out flavor. What stood out the most was the chocolate. Far superior to any other chocolate chip I have had. Overall, I was one happy NY foodie tourist.
Then, came Levain. Known to many as offering the best cookies ever, I had to try. We were walking around the Upper West Side (Binks wanted to see where Seinfeld lived), we trekked south towards our hotel before catching a bus to the airport. With our time constraint, and the distance, I was sure we wouldn’t get time for a visit. But, this is when determination hits hardest.
I told Binks that I would gladly walk another 4 miles just to get this cookie. And, Binks being Binks, obliged.
Meet the chocolate chip walnut from Levain.
This is a beast at the least. Heavy and dense. A Goliath among chocolate chip cookies. I broke into one to discovery an ooey and gooey center. Yes, “ooey” and “gooey” is the ONLY way to describe it – I dare you to say differently. It quite literally melts in your mouth.
I loved it. The taste was there. Full of chocolate chips and who could ever complain about portions? Perfect? Umm…..don’t hate me but No! While nothing less than delicious, Bouchon ruined me (maybe for life). I prefer a thinner chocolate chip cookie. Levain was more like a giant dough ball. Again, while I love an under-cooked center, this was too much. And, there might have been too many chocolate chips. Binks, the president of the chocolate addict club, agreed.
I said don’t hate me!
Would I ever deny myself one in the future? Nope. But if standing in a line offering Bouchon or Levain – Bouchon for me, please!
I do have to say there were many places we didn’t get to try:
– Max Brenner
– Pret A Manger
Tasting only two cookies in my quest for the perfect cookie. Call it a failure if you will – I will not. Rather, I’ll be back – with a vengeance.
Tell me about your favorite chocolate chip cookie. What do you look for?