Eli Zabar

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When you think of old school, classic New York, you might think of delis and bakeries. Well, decades later, Eli Zabar is still a staple in Manhattan with more cheeses, meats and snacks than ever. With a few locations in NYC, you’ll be sure to find one, or, you can go to Grand Central, which I did as part of my Grand Central Tour

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Since I’m a bakery connoisseur (at least I’d like to think so), I had to go that route and focus on all of the treats they had to offer. Now, they have a wide variety of things from fresh baked breads, to pastries, to cakes, so, it was a little tricky for me to even decide. But, my eyes finally settled on something I don’t usually see in most places.

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I got their Hazelnut Meringue Shell. Although its about the size of my hand, it’s light as can be. I’ve made my own meringues before, but none as festive and decadent as this one. It’s light, and the meringue itself melts in your mouth, but the flavor is rich with caramel woven throughout and pieces of hazelnut folded in. 

The Shorts:
Name: Eli Zabar
Location: Grand Central Market (43rd Street and Lexington Avenue), NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure, way too many things to try. Or, to just get another one of their Meringue Shells (they have a few other flavors). 
Would I recommend it? Yes, a New York staple for sure. 

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The Sweet Shop at 4 Rivers

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Well, I checked off the BBQ aspect of 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park, FL. But then, I noticed they had a separate bakery, The Sweet Shop, and, well…duh, I had to check that out.

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It’s a common habit, we eat with our eyes first. These desserts were pretty eye catching with their large, grand size and their perfectly confected baked goods. They offer cupcakes, cakes, ice cream and brownie bars, to name their most prominent items.

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They also have some really novel and unique items such as their Cupcake Milkshakes (your choice of a cupcake dropped into a milkshake and blended up into a shake that is sure to bring all the boys to the yard…Kelis…) and their Mountain Dew Dorito Cupcake (novel, yes, but sorry, I wasn’t too interested in eating one). 

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I certainly have eyes a bit bigger than my stomach, and had to get a few things to try. Their desserts are not for the weak, each one is large and hefty. I first had their Double Chocolate Cookie with nuts. So, if you haven’t worked out in a little while, fear not because this cookie can double as a weight for arm curls, weighing in at around 1lb. It’s huge, but the chocolate flavor and sweetness are actually more on the mild side, allowing you to make your way through more of it. It’s also a little fudgy on the inside, almost like a brownie. 

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Next, I got their Kryptonite Brownie (pecans and caramel), another huge portion. The brownie was rich, moist (I hate that word) but also not overly sweet either, allowing the sweetness and creaminess of the caramel to take that spotlight, and adding the pecans for a nice nuttiness and crunch. I think Superman would have been pretty happy eating this one. 

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Last, I got their Texas Bourbon Pecan Bar, which, was hands down, my favorite. The bourbon absolutely comes through, giving it a really rich, warm flavor. And who doesn’t love the taste of a little booze in a delicious treat? The whole pecans were coated in a crisp, sugar crumble coating, giving the bar a sandwich effect of crunch from the pecans and the bottom crust, and the contrast of the creamy, oozy boozy center. 

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And, of course, some wise words to live by.

The Shorts:
Name: The Sweet Shop
Location: 4 Rivers Smokehouse, 1600 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park, FL
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. And hell, I might even get the Mountain Dew Dorito Cupcake. 
Would I recommend it? Definitely, something for everyone sweet tooth, and each item makes great to share among a few people.