The NYC Dumpling Festival was held yesterday. The only reason I’m aware of this is because one of my (very brave) friends participated in the dumpling eating contest. Seeing pictures of his feat put a huge smile on my face, and for some crazy reason, even though everyone looked a little sick at the end, I had a craving for dumplings.
Off to Vanessa’s Dumpling House on the Lower East Side. Compared with most dumpling spots in the area, Vanessa’s is considered a “splurge.” Eight vegetable dumplings for $3.00 and Peking Duck on a Sesame Pancake for $2.25. The Peking Duck sandwich was delicious, and the size of a large man’s hand. Seriously, not to up their prices, but they could easily sell that thing for $4.00! Next time I go there I’ll try their pan-fried pork dumplings (4 for a $1.00). It’s a great place to stop and get a snack in the middle of shopping or sight-seeing.
Just a few blocks away is Babycakes, a well known vegan bakery visited by many celebrities. I had heard the name before, but it wasn’t until Lady Butterbuns asked us East Coast Buttery sisters to investigate that it was officially on my radar. “Can it really be that good?” Lady B asked, considering it’s wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free (the only thing it’s not is nut-free)?
I tried 3 of their offerings, and here is my professional buttery opinion, in order of taste-test:
Mini Chocolate Brownie: A two-bite brownie. It was moist, chocolately, and had just the right amount of sweetness. It also had chocolate chunks inside, which enhanced the texture. If someone had told me it was a regular-ol’ brownie, I would have believed them.
Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting: Disgusting. The cake was so dry and it had a definite cardboard taste. Don’t even go there.
Pumpkin Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting: Very nice. It was more of a muffin texture than cake. What it had going for it was the pumpkin, which makes anything moist, and the spices. A key to making a low fat, low sugar food taste better is adding spices. And this one worked nicely.
Babycakes is totally cute. From the name to the storefront design, it beckons you in. If you’re vegan, it’s probably a little bit of heaven on earth. When I ordered, I was asked if I had any food allergies, so you know that there’s a greater purpose behind it than just baking cupcakes. For someone who’s not a vegan, and has no food allergies, it’s a trial and error type thing. I’d definitely go back for the mini brownie if I just happened to be passing by.
There’s a small park about a block away with a beautiful red bench to enjoy your vegan treats:
I ended my adventure with Where the Wild Things Are. A lovely Sunday afternoon indeed!
♦ Buttery B