Posts Tagged ‘New Year’s’

Sweet Dreams Are Made of These: Where to Order Your Holiday Desserts

Bakeries, restaurants and chocolatiers are encouraging you to leave the dessert creation to them during this unusual holiday season. Many ship nationwide, some require in-store pick-up, and others will deliver to your home.

Chocolatiers and Bakeries

Sugar Plum’s

Decidedly different, Sugar Plum’s Breakable Chocolate Christmas Wreath Gift Set (complete with mallet) is sure to bring a smile and maybe a surge of passion. This wreath has nothing to do with pine needles; it’s 12 ounces of decadent milk chocolate carefully molded into a gorgeous wreath shape as imagined by these Pennsylvania chocolatiers. Designed for sharing, the wreath breaks into specifically engineered pieces. Depending on the energy of your bubble, you may want to order several of these.


If there are true chocoholics in your household, you’ll be happy that second-generation LA chocolatier andSons ships everywhere.  Kriss Harvey knows her stuff. She was formerly executive pastry chef for the inventive The Bazaar by José Andrés.  Joy is the name of the game with andSons’ Holiday Joy Chocolate Boxes. Filled with hand-crafted bonbons, the box is seasonal all the way with an assortment of Eggnog, Spiced cinnamon caramel, Fresh Mint & Berry, and Marzipan & Saffron goodies along with signatures such as Speculoos Cookie, Pop Rock Praline, Passionfruit Caramel and 64% Dark Madagascar. The box itself is a keepsake, designed by pop artist Angela Chrusciaki Blehm. Supersize your dessert box with a Holiday Joy Gift Collection, adding holiday delights such as Eggnog Snowmen, Chocolate-coated Nuts and Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Cranberries.

La Monarca Bakery

La Monarca Bakery has been a staple in Los Angeles for almost 15 years. Started by two Stanford graduates who grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, La Monarca brings the sweet flavors of Mexico anywhere in the world. For the holidays, order their scratch-made orejitas, wedding cookies and cinnamon cookies, all made without trans fats or preservatives.


Have you totally forgotten to order dessert (or just don’t feel like baking)? No worries – there’s to the rescue. This NYC gourmet company guarantees overnight delivery of a toothsome variety of holiday desserts that are as festive as they are delicious. You can order jumbo and mini holiday cupcakes, the playful and adorable Santa’s Bag filled with holiday cookies and chocolates, a tin of Candy Cane or Snowman cookies (also adorable) or a sinful Chocolate Peppermint Bundt cake. Can’t decide? Order a tower of fruit and sweets to combine with a mix of cookies and cakes. You’ll also be doing a good deed — 5% of all purchases will be set aside to benefit small businesses affected by COVID through the Bake Me A Wish! Business Empowerment Fund.

Seven Sisters Scones

From artisanal bakery Seven Sisters Scones, you can order a selection of savory and sweet scones in creative flavors like Fig and Goat Cheese and the holiday-spirited Strawberry Champagne. Started by Hala Yassine, one of seven sisters (with two brothers), the Georgia bakery spices it up for the holidays with “naughty” and “nice” boxes.  The boozy, “naughty” assortment has a dozen mini or large scones in Eggnog, Chocolate Kahlúa, Pomegranate Martini and Orange Mimosa flavors. The “nice” box veers to the classic with twelve Coffee Cake, Maple Pumpkin, Cranberry Orange, and Gingerbread versions.

Bread Basket

Bread Basket has curated seven sweets and bread baskets for the holidays. Mixing craft breads, brioche buns, cookies, holiday loaf cakes and other treats, baskets include the best of NYC artisan bakeries Pain d’Avignon, Padoca Bakery, Grandaisy Bakery, Amy’s Bread, Orwashers, Eli’s Bread, New Yorker Bagel and more. Think orange olive cake with a seeded sourdough bread, or Black & White cookies with “everything bagel” seeded twists, for example. Since Europe is out of reach this year, the European Basket fills in with Roman pizza Bianca, a classic baguette, Swiss Health breakfast bread and Swedish butter cookies.

Cotton Blues Cheesecakes

Move over, New York, you’ve got serious competition. Cotton Blues Cheesecakes hail from Mississippi and are as droolworthy as they come. These handcrafted cakes, created from an original recipe by Executive Pasty Chef Shaun Davis at Cotton Blues restaurant in Hattiesburg, call themselves “Mississippi Made-New York Approved.” As a New Yorker who loves cheesecake, I agree. Their strawberry cheesecake is a real knockout.

Piedaho Pie

Paris-trained baker Rebecca Bloom’s Piedaho Pies are handmade as well but this time at a family-owned bakery in Hailey, Idaho. Local ingredients are finessed to create seasonal specialties like Cherry Bourbon Crumb, Salted Caramel Apple, Ginger Pear and Chai Apple pies. You’ll likely be craving more than one pie but that’s not a problem –you can sign up for Piedaho’s Pie Club to be treated again and again. Pre-baked and flash-frozen in a vacuum-sealed pouch, these pies spark conversation and comfort.

Daddy Ray’s Famous Gingerbread

A favorite since 1983, shipping from Fort Worth, Texas, Daddy Ray’s Famous Gingerbread Bundt cakes are a thing of beauty. Lovingly baked and decorated by three generations of the Elledge family, the cakes are not only moist and delicious with a perfect balance of ginger and spice, they also add a festive touch to any gathering. You can order gingerly, pun intended, with a small cake, but you’ll probably regret not having ordered the larger version. Plan ahead to freeze some for after the holidays.

Paris Baguette

At Paris Baguette whimsical decorations like snowflakes, Santa Claus, polar bears, snowmen and Christmas Bears find their way onto Santa’s Chimney Chocolate Chiffon Cake , Rudolph the Red-Nosed Chocolate Cake, Frosty’s Chocolate Chalet Cake and the Stargazing Santa Chocolate Cake. Capturing memories of beautiful snowfalls, the Merry Berry Choco Crunch Cake is a winner with soft-cream snow drifts and berries on top.

Sully & Vanilla

Sully & Vanilla, a NYC-based women-owned bakery, has cornered the market on fun holiday treats. How can you not be obsessed with Santa hat flamingo cookies or Red and Greens, a holiday take on traditional NYC Black and White cookies?  Customizing cake pops, cake cones and decorated cakes is the bakery’s M.O.


FLOUR SHOP is the creative playground for cake mastermind Amirah Kassem. With color and whimsy as her inspiration, Kassem mixes rainbows, glitter and unicorns for cake magic. At FLOUR SHOP, you’ll find glitter counters showcasing the most popular treats including cakeballs and the six-layer explosion cake. Be sure to look around the website for some holiday cheer.

Milk Bar

Chef Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar puts a peppermint spin on holiday desserts. If you love peppermint bark, you’ll love Milk Bar’s Peppermint Bark Cake with layers of crunchy cocoa crumbs, chocolate fudge, peppermint frosting and crushed candy cane bits. The same decadence is available in bite-sized Peppermint Bark Truffles rolled in red and chocolate sprinkles and minty sand. Peppermint Pretzel Snaps are a sweet-and-savory combination of pretzels, peppermint, caramel and chocolate atop a chocolate wafer, dipped in white chocolate peppermint bark. Pick-up and on-demand delivery in five cities or shipping nationwide.

Baked by Melissa

Cupcake lovers will thank Melissa instead of Santa for the Baked by Melissa collections featuring bite-sized cupcakes with festive flavors like Chocolate Babka, Jelly Doughnut, Caramel Hot Cocoa, Candy Cane and Cookie Blizzard. Gluten-free assortments, too. Pick- up in multiple locations and nationwide shipping.

Restaurants and Tearooms


Renowned Paris tearoom and pastry house, Angelina, brings the taste of the century-old patisserie to its first US location in Manhattan. With takeout and delivery of its iconic hot chocolate, powdered or beautifully bottled for transport, and a special Bûche de Noël edition of their Mont Blanc pastry, Angelina gives you  another way to bring Europe home this season. You can pretend you’re dining next to Coco Chanel and Marcel Proust, two of Angelina’s famous patrons, while enjoying sweets like caramels, jams and chocolates.

L’Avenue at Saks

Another Paris sensation, L’Avenue at Saks is the go-to for elaborate desserts by legendary Pierre Herme. If you’ve been to Paris, you’ve likely tried his famous macarons that come in a glorious rainbow of colors and tastes. You can go a step further by ordering L’Avenue’s famous Ispahan with a rose macaron biscuit base and rose petal cream, raspberries and lychees; or the Tarte Orpheo made with shortbread pastry, dark chocolate ganache and toasted hazelnuts. Available in-store or with delivery via Caviar.


Two Jean-Georges’ restaurants offer pick-up or in-city delivery of their most elaborate desserts. Order the cute-as-a-button Chef Karen’s Cookie Box, an assortment of gingerbread cookies, chocolate caramel brownies, pecan puffs and brown-butter chocolate chip cookies from ABC KitchenJean-Georges’ eponymous restaurant has the only-at-Christmas Bûche de Noël  decked out with dried cranberries, Sicilian pistachios and orange confit in organic bourbon vanilla cream, all set inside a dark chocolate mousse and devil’s food cake. For New Year’s, the restaurant’s passionfruit almond cake is paired with a half bottle of Billecart Salmon Brut Rose for a decadent finish to any meal.


If you happen to be on Long Island, Pierre’s in Bridgehampton offers a sinful array of Bûche de Noël for Christmas. Offered in two sizes, you can choose chocolate made with chocolate mousse and layers of chocolate almond dacquoise, milk chocolate with crunchy French meringue coated with a milk chocolate glaze, or the very French Vosgienne which adds fresh raspberries and whipped cream to layers of chocolate sponge cake. Specifically created to capture the holiday season, the chestnut Bûche de Noël has chestnut and vanilla rum mousseline, layers of ladyfinger sponge cake and a dark chocolate glaze while the Snow Man is a pretty confection of Grand-Marnier chocolate mousse with orange candied strips and layers of Alsatian winter spice sponge cake, coated with French meringue. Order online and pick up at Pierre’s in Bridgehampton or Pierre’s Market in Sagaponack.


The Boozy Cakes from Izzy’s steakhouse in San Francisco are certain to strike a happy chord. Seven cakes, inspired by Izzy’s signature cocktails and full of (premium) spirit, will help you toast to Christmas, New Year’s, or maybe to just getting through another lockdown. Flavors include Triple Layer Chocolate Cognac made with chocolate genoise and dark chocolate ganache, Lemon Drop Cake boozed up with vodka, Spiked Red Velvet with Kahlúa and Baileys cream-cheese frosting, and Grandma’s Carrot Cake with Grand Marnier cream-cheese frosting. Preparing for Dry January?  There are “virgin” versions as well.

Kern’s Kitchen

Kern’s Kitchen can lay claim to being the sole producer of Kentucky’s famous Derby-Pie®. For more than 60 years Louisville’s Kern family has held the secret recipe to this confection. All they’ll disclose is that the pie has chocolate chips and walnut pieces. You’ll have to scope out the rest of the ingredients on your own as you tuck into a slice of history.

Thinking about Bringing the Kids to New York City for the Holidays: Here’s What You Should Know

With Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s looming, there are more than enough great reasons to bring the family to New York City. Beyond seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall, shopping for dolls at American Girl Place, or donning ice skates to twirl around the rink at Rockefeller Center, there are many things to do that will let you explore beyond crowded Midtown.

The Rockettes

New York City is a real toy box of activities for families. It’s a showplace of the world’s best: a fabulous introduction to great eats, culture and diversity and, without a doubt, fun! So get out, explore, and experience the magic of the Big Apple.

Where to Stay with Kids

Many NYC hotels are family-friendly, offering free cribs on request, high chairs, strollers and other baby-related gear. Younger ones are often free so be sure to inquire. Teens and tweens get perks, too. Specials vary by season and by week. Check out the hotel’s website for the best prices.

Gansevoort Hotel

The Gansevoort Hotel (18 Ninth Ave; 212-206-6700) in the trendy Meatpacking District will hold special appeal for older kids. The area is super-cool with interesting boutiques and the newly reopened Pastis, a perfect place to sit and watch the city’s beautiful people. The hotel itself offers all the requisite baby supplies (including cribs, diapers and bath supplies) and older kids get Sony PSPs and Nintendo Wiis to use during their stay.

The Mandarin Oriental Lobby

With a bird’s-eye view of Central Park and Columbus Circle, The Mandarin Oriental (80 Columbus Circle; 212-805-8800), welcomes kids with an age-appropriate gift and keeps them busy with children’s DVDs, crayons and coloring books. It’s also well situated at the Time Warner Center with its many shops, restaurants, and wonderful holiday decorations. And you’re close to Central Park for an easy stroll to the Christmas Market or even a carriage ride inside the park.

Eventi Hotel Livingroom

Eventi, a Kimpton Hotel (851 Sixth Ave; 212-64-4567) caters to the junior set with the Tween Trap, complimentary rentals of a range of gadgets including Instagram printers, iPad Minis, PlayStation Vita, Beats Pill Portable Bluetooth speakers, Beat by Dre headphones and night-vision goggles. It’s also a dream location if you’re heading to an event at Madison Square Garden.

The Giraffe Hotel Lobby

In the quieter Flatiron neighborhood, the boutique Giraffe Hotel (365 Park Avenue South; 212-685-7700) entertains kids with its selfie-inspiring giraffe sculpture on the roof, kids’ menus and large rooms. To make sure you soak up some of the city’s outdoor pleasures, Madison Square Park is a few minutes’ walk away with an expansive playground, dog run, and the original Shake Shack.

Where to Eat with Kids

Food is a key part of any trip to the Big Apple. Where else can you try dishes from so many countries?  Skip the fast-food or fast-casual chains that you can find anywhere and visit the one-offs that make NYC so special.


Coal-oven pizza was invented here, and Brooklyn offers some of the best. Try Totonno’s (1524 Neptune Ave, Brooklyn; 718-372-0606) in Coney Island after a walk along the boardwalk. Totonno’s knows just a little bit about pizza – it was founded in 1924. Or if you’re spending the day shopping or touring Little Italy, opt for a tomato pie or a clam pie at Manhattan’s oldest pizzeria, Lombardi’s (32 Spring Street, Manhattan; 212-941-7994) dating from 1905.

Jin Fong

Chinese dim sum is also a kid-pleaser. Did you know that NYC has three Chinatowns? In Flushing, Queens, join the crowd at Joe’s Shanghai (136-21 37th Ave, Flushing; 718-539-3838) for their rich soup dumplings, or in Manhattan go piece-by-piece at Jin Fong (20 Elizabeth St, 212-964-5256), where servers wheel a parade of dumpling carts to your table (hint: get there early to avoid the long lines). For the more adventurous, head to Brooklyn for a veritable Chinese feast of small plates at East Harbor Seafood Palace (714 65th St., Brooklyn, 718-765-0098).

Blue Smoke Photo: Melissa Hom

BBQ lets the kids eat with their fingers. Blue Smoke (116 East 27th St; 212-447-7733) is a great introduction with specially designed children’s portions and meals. If you’re in the middle of Times Square, Virgil’s is your go-to for kid-friendly BBQ with special menus and BBQ tastes from all around the country.  (152 West 44th Street, Manhattan, 212-921-9494). And while you’re in the area, be sure to visit the TKTS booth at West 47th Street for the chance to score discount tickets to family-friendly shows like Frozen, Aladdin, Harry Potter and Wicked

Serendipity 3

For dessert, a touristy “must” is Serendipity 3 (225 East 60th St, 212-838-3531), famous for its frozen hot chocolate, made with more than 30 kinds of cocoa. The concept makes no intuitive sense but it works, and it’s delicious. 16 Handles, a self-service frozen yogurt emporium, is a favorite among families, too, with creative toppings like mochi, Fruity Pebbles cereal, and fresh fruit.  There are numerous locations around the city.

What to Do with Kids

Staten Island Ferry

It’s a good idea to get an overview of the city to get your bearings, and you can do it for “free” by water. Splurge on a taxi downtown to the famous Staten Island Ferry. It costs nothing to grab a seat and see the skyline of New York and the Statue of Liberty, all from the warm, comfortable interior of this legendary vessel. Once you reach Staten Island, just grab the next ferry back to Manhattan.

Central Park Sculpture - Alice in Wonderland

You can create a full-day educational and fun scavenger hunt for the family at the city’s central gathering place, Central Park. Even if it’s cold outside, you’ll see throngs of local kids climbing over the park’s beloved sculptures of Alice in Wonderland, the Three Bears, and Balto, so join them! Then wander through the various playgrounds to the Central Park Zoo and Children’s Zoo (fee required), buy a ticket for a performance at the adorable Marionette Theater at the Swedish Cottage, or take the kids to watch the sailboat races at the pond.

American Museum of Natural History Origami Tree

From the park’s Western edge, it’s a short walk to the American Museum of Natural History (Central Park West at 79th St; 212-769-5100). What child doesn’t like dinosaurs? But there’s much more to keep the little and big ones engaged. The wildlife dioramas are classic, a fascinating mix of educational and creepy, and the Hall of Gems is always a thrill. If it’s butterfly season, wear a brightly colored t-shirt to attract them to your shoulders. Be sure to venture downstairs to see the intricate holiday tree made of origami.

New York Hall of Science Art of the Brick; Dino. By: Nathan Sawaya

Head to the boroughs outside Manhattan for some more child-friendly attractions: the New York Hall of Science (47-01 111th Street, Corona; 718-699-0005) in Queens and the Bronx Zoo (2300 Southern Blvd., Bronx, 718-367-1010) are musts for curious kids.

New York Transit Museum Photo: Marc A Hermann

At the New York Transit Museum (Boerum Place and Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn Heights; 718-694-1600), set in an historic 1936 Brooklyn subway station, kids can explore all manner of urban transportation from buses to subways and trolleys.

For some park time while in Brooklyn, the ever-expanding Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO is a mecca for families and has terrific views of Manhattan plus a historic merry-go-round. On the other side of the river, at the tip of Manhattan, the futuristic Seaglass Carousel in Battery Park is a crowd-pleaser for all ages.

How to Get around with Children

The city is designed for walking. Most of the streets in Manhattan are laid out in a grid, so you can find your way around pretty easily. Wear comfortable shoes and bring a warm coat, gloves and a hat – you’ll be all set.

The outer boroughs are connected by far-reaching subway lines that run all day long. If you get lost, that’s half the fun. Don’t be shy about asking a New Yorker for help; rumors to the contrary, people in New York City are super helpful and love showing off their city.

If the kids are getting tired, there are lots of taxis and ride services (Uber, Lyft, Via) to bring you back to your hotel. Download the Arro, Uber, Lyft and Via apps to your phone for easy summoning.

If you’re traveling with kids, suitcases and, perhaps, a guidebook in hand, get in the queue at the airport for a yellow taxi. From JFK, there’s a flat fee of $52 to New York City plus tolls. Surcharges apply depending on the time of day. A taxi from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) will cost upwards from $35 or $55, respectively, plus tolls and surcharges depending on your final destination. A new Lyft partnership from LaGuardia has reduced the fee somewhat.  Ubers and other ride shares also service the airports.

Something Special

High Line

It helps to see the city from higher up, especially if you’re a little one. The wondrous High Line, a walking park built in an abandoned elevated train track, traces a route along the city’s Hudson River, with plantings, food carts and art. If you’re cold, you can stop off by the new Hudson River Yards and refresh at the kiosks and counters at Mercado Little Spain or duck into the shopping mall.  For another vista, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for an astonishing view of downtown Manhattan. And then walk back – you’ll get an entirely different impression of the city.

Cool Mess

Are your children budding chefs? At Cool Mess (137 East 62nd St; 212-355-9834) on the Upper East Side, you can don aprons and make your own ice cream.

Take Walks Backstage Tour

There’s nowhere better than Manhattan to give your kids an introduction to theater, TV and the movies. Are they wannabe actors? Take the kids backstage with Take Walks at the New Amsterdam Theater, home to Disney productions such as The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Mary Poppins. Here they can try on costumes and play with the actual props from some of these shows.

Older kids will love the Central Park TV and Movies Sites walking tour. They’ll recognize the Literary Walk from Glee, The Smurfs and Trainwreck; the Boathouse from Home Alone 2; the Plaza Hotel from Home Alone and the Bethesda Fountain from Stuart Little. And there are lots of photo ops to make their friends jealous.

Planning a trip to NYC?