The day is dragging on, the week is dragging slower. You're hungry and grumpy and in no mood to go out or to cook. Tonight's battle plan includes picking up a few things on the way home that require zero effort to prepare, but are far removed from the idea of a greasy bag of fast food. A foraged meal like this could be just the thing to perk you up and get you through the rest of the week.
The Meal: New York-Style Baked Goods and Kitchen-Sink Sandwiches
The Spot: New York West Bakery
Location: 10101 West Grand Avenue, Sun City
Closest Freeways: 101 Freeway and US 60 (Grand Avenue)
Open Until: 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday
Is there any more appetizing sight than a white pastry box tied with red and white yarn? For anyone who has spent time on the East Coast, the sight of such a box will make your mouth water and set your mind alight with memories of Italian pastries. Like creamy, sweet ricotta encased in a crisp pastry shell.
From savory to sweet, this bakery has the classics covered: loaves of marbled rye, Italian rainbow cookies, lobstertails, biscotti, and one of the holy grails of Italian-American desserts: the cannoli.
If you're having a rough week, a trip to this old-school bakery is sure to make it a little bit brighter. Friendly patrons with thick New England accents are sure to stop you and give their opinion on the best items to order. "You tried the cheesecake?" a fellow shopper asked me. He kissed his fingers and declared: "It's so creamy and thick, you'll think you're back home at Juniors."
Service is fast and efficient, so the only delay will be of your own making, as you ogle the vast array of offerings laid out behind the glass case.
Pick-Up List (choose as many as you can handle):
Rye Bread: The fresh baked two-pound loaves are sold in regular, marbled, and onion varieties, depending on the day. Thick slices of the caraway-studded bread make are perfect for sandwiches and slices of cheese.
Cannoli: Crisp-fried pastry shells are piped full of lightly sweetened cheese, the ends dotted with miniature chocolate chips. They are as beautiful to look at as they are to destroy, in crunchy, creamy bites and nibbles.
Biscotti: These classic coffee-dunkers come in six varieties. We recommend getting one of each to enjoy with your espresso or drip coffee.
Bagels: The bagels here are not quite New York-level fluffy and chewy (blame the mineral-rich Arizona water), but, in a pinch, they're a way better option that the bagged version at Fry's.
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Cheesecake: The cheesecake comes in miniature and full-size, either unadorned or cherry-topped. Either way, you're in for a subtly sweet, intensely dense slice that bears no resemblance to the sugary versions found at the likes of Cheesecake Factory. These are the absolute real deal.
Assorted Cookies: The pastry case is a veritable wonderland of small cookies in all different shapes, sizes, and flavors. Among them: rugelach, jelly-studded cookies, various chocolate-dipped confections, and more. It will take you some time to select your perfect box, but I can't think of a better way to unwind after work.
Total Price: Around $25 for enough baked goods to accompany a light meal and have a hearty breakfast the next day.
Average Time in Shop: 10 minutes or less