What does a foodie do on a Saturday morning in New York? Go and join the back of a queue to wait for the latest and greatest food of course! So that’s what I did. Several comments on our New York Meet Up announcement vid mentioned Levain Bakery… In fact, Nickikubz included multiple exclamation marks!
It turned out that the bakery was only a short walk away from our apartment on the Upper West Side and it was easy to spot… It was the one with a line of people patiently waiting outside and taking photos!
The bakery has been going for over 20 years now, founded in 1994 by a couple of friends in search of the world’s best chocolate chip cookie! Today it attracts both locals (who know their favourite baked goods and order as if on auto-pilot) and tourists like me (who ponder over the choice and then opt to buy probably too much, just so we can sample loads!).
It’s small, tucked away and understated, but as you slowly descend the stairs, the smell of freshly baked cookies, cakes and breads wafts past you!
When I got to the front I ordered one of each of their cookies to take back to the lads in the apartment. It’s fair to say that these cookies stand out… They’re so big! A 6oz cookie that’s almost as tall as it is wide. They remind me of rock cakes which we used to have in the UK as kids. Big Boulder-like cookies crammed full of nuggets of flavour! The flavours were:-
- Chocolate chip and walnut
- Oatmeal and raisin
- Dark chocolate chip
- Dark chocolate and peanut butter
Yes they were all really fresh, but they weren’t still warm… so how they got the chocolate chips in the middle to be so gooey I have no idea. Messy things to eat… but well worth the occasional need to grab for a napkin or to lick your fingers.
The dough was a little under cooked in the middle and therefore offers that characteristic cookie dough chew which is epic and the walnuts give an awesome texture crunch. Plus the nuggets of peanut butter in the Dark Chocolate one were ‘stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth’ good!
I kinda wish I’d tried some cake or bread from there too because the cookies certainly lived up to the hype… but then I wouldn’t want to buy up all their stock… Since everything is cooked fresh on site, anything left unsold at the end of each day is given free to the hungry. A really nice gesture that they’ve been doing since it opened!