BESFREN

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Pastries. I love em. Like, a lot. I’ve tried them from lots of different countries and cultures. However, when it comes to Korean pastries, I really can’t say that I’ve had any. Korean savory food, of course, yes, and, I love it, but was unfamiliar with the Korean world of pastry. So, I needed to check out BESFREN in K-Town, NYC

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Along with their own in-house made classic Korean pastries, with a modern twist, you’ll find some classic pastry items like chocolate chip cookies, and items from local vendors.

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Now, these guys have been getting a lot of Insta-love for their Triple Chocolate Cookie, so, I had to see what all the hype was about. First off, it’s large and in charge, pretty much the only way I like my cookies. There are three variations of chocolate chunks, hence, the triple part. Now, the cookie is super delicious, but, I wouldn’t go so far to say it’s anything ground breaking, it tastes like a good chocolate chip cookie. What they got really right is the great consistency, the edges are slightly crisp, the center is soft and chewy, and the chocolate chunks are rich and melty. So, while it’s not the most unique thing there, for it’s size, at only $2.50, it’s certainly worth getting. 

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Then, I went with something more unique to the shop, I got their Jasmine Green Tea Roll Cake. Visually, it’s really pretty and definitely photogenic (because, in this age, if you didn’t take a picture of it, it never happened). The cake is super moist (terrible word) and somewhat spongy, with a light green tea flavor. The center is where you’ll get a much more rich and strong green tea flavor, with the consistency of a buttercream. All together, it’s lovely and delicious, and has a feeling of decadence, yet still light enough so that you can scarf down that mega cookie. 

The Shorts:
Name: BESFREN
Location: 315 5th Avenue, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes. It’s a great little spot to grab a coffee and pastry, with a hand full of cafe tables along floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Sweet treats and a view.
Would I recommend it? Yes. The items and flavors are unique, yet still very accessible, so it’s definitely worth a try. 

Dominique Ansel Bakery

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Well, by now, I’d imagine you’re well aware of the Cronut, and heard a lot about the Cookie Shot. If you haven’t, well…how is that possible? Dominique Ansel’s Cronut creation is almost 2 years old, and, I still haven’t tried one. Yeah, I know, I live in NYC, not that far from his SoHo bakery location, and I haven’t been until now. Well, I finally went, but, sorry, still didn’t get the Cronut or Cookie Shot. What’s wrong with me, you might ask? Well, Cronut lines start early in the morning (yes, there are still massive lines this long after it’s launch), selling out before 9:30am. That doesn’t work with my schedule. Then, Cookie Shots aren’t served until 3pm, and sell out not long after. Again, not in my schedule (perhaps at some point I’ll hire a TaskRabbit to wait in line and pick one up for me). But, there are plenty of other delicious, unique treats to be enjoyed, whatever time you’re able to make it there. 

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Inside the narrow bakery, you can pick up your items to-go, or, travel to the very back, past the glass windowed kitchen, where you can watch the masters at work, and take a seat at a cafe table in their indoor patio. Items vary from savory to sweet, including their Frozen S’Mores and Coco little cat pastry.

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I ordered one of the classic items, the DKA (“Dominique’s Kouign Amann” flaky, croissant-like dough with a caramelized crunchy crust). Shaped somewhere between a muffin meets a turnover, this pastry is really amazing. Now, I will say that it is pretty rich, with a creamy, buttery flavor. But the texture is dynamic, both tender and soft, and light and flaky, all at the same time. 

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It’s presented with the caramelized crunchy crust on the top, but if you flip the pastry over, you can also notice the lovely detail, topped with large granules of sugar.

The Shorts:
Name: Dominique Ansel Bakery
Location: 189 Spring Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? For sure. Hell, I might even find some time one day to finally get a Cronut or Cookie Shot.
Would I recommend it? Yes, the items are delicious, whether you’re there for novelty or to enjoy a pastry or baked good, you won’t be disappointed.