Crumbs (gluten free)

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted here in a few weeks. Well, there’s a pretty good reason as to why I haven’t shared with you my culinary adventures: I simply haven’t had any.

I’m now on a strict diet, due to a health issue, and can’t eat at restaurants as much as I once did (or as much as I’d like to). Basically, I’m on a low-carb, gluten-free diet, which limits the options available to me in this great big city of food.

gluten free crumbs red velvet and blackout cupcakes

red velvet and blackout

So, what better way to indulge when on such a diet? Try a new gluten-free cupcake joint.

For the uninitiated, Crumbs has now opened a gluten-free bakery down on 8th street in the West Village. Its sterile interior betrays the warmth and splendor of the baked goods that lie within. With no seats or tables to park at, the gluten-free outpost forces patrons to take their baked goods elsewhere. I have to say, the store itself is slightly unwelcoming, save for the delightful faces of staff who helpfully assist you in buying your sweets.

Primarily, this Crumbs sells cupcakes, but they also offer baguettes, quiches, macarons, and other treats to taste. Samples of baguette were carefully cut up and placed upon a platter near the cash register. I tried a piece, and it was pretty good, although the graininess of the bread made it taste less “authentic” than other gluten-free breads I’ve tried.

My Dining Partner (MDP) and I selected two small-sized cupcakes: red velvet and blackout. As for the cupcakes, they were pretty good–no, they were better than Crumbs’ typical offerings. If you’ve been to Crumbs, you are familiar with the ultra-sugary, totally gigantic cupcakes they sell. They’re too sweet and too big, and just too much to even try to eat. In my former life, as a gluten-eating person, Crumbs was way down on my list of cupcake shops. But the gluten-free store surely has delivered. The red velvet cupcake was crumbly and sweet enough with a hint of cream cheese in the this-can’t-be-cream-cheese frosting, while the all-chocolate blackout cake was exquisitely frosted and featured the right texture for any cupcake, gluten free or otherwise.

gluten-free crumbs blackout cupcake

blackout, up close and personal

Here, at the gluten-free Crumbs, their primary target is obviously Babycakes. And, while I truly enjoyed my cupcake at the gluten-free Crumbs, Babycakes still takes the cake, as it were. Read why here.

But, if you’re interested in or need gluten-free confections and don’t want to make the trek all the way down to the Lower East Side, I heartily recommend the gluten-free Crumbs store to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Crumbs (gluten free)

37 W. 8th St.

West Village, New York

Take the N/R to 8th Street. Walk west about a block or so. 

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Pink Icing Bakery

The wait is finally over. Pink Icing Bakery has opened.

pink icing cupcakes

pink icing cupcakes

The long-awaited bakery has been teasing Sunnyside residents for more than two months now. First, Sunnyside Post said it would open the first week of March. Then, Pink Icing’s sign went up some time in April. Then, I saw a “we’re hiring” sign a few weeks later. As of yesterday, Pink Icing is in business.

Nestled between a fish market and Mr. Wonton Chinese food eatery, Pink Icing (which took over a failed Indian restaurant’s space) is just a few doors down from The Sugar Room baking supply store, which is owned by Juan Arache, the man at the helm of the much-anticipated bakery.

So, what exactly does Pink Icing offer?

Well, tons of stuff.

Today, when I visited, they had mini and full-size key lime pies for a few bucks. There was also a pecan pie and what looked like an apple crumb pie (both in mini and full-size form). But the real attraction here is the cupcakes.

Available in big and small portions, the beautifully decorated cupcakes–at a fair $2 price point–are delicious. Without a thick slather of icing (who can bear that?) but rather a delicate application of it, the small cupcake has the ideal balance of frosting and cake. Moist and not-too-sweet, the vanilla cake was just right. I can’t speak for the larger cupcake, but, based on what I saw, I believe it mirrors the perfection of the smaller cake–just more of it.

In addition to the decorated, vanilla cupcakes, Pink Icing serves up red velvet cupcakes, in both large and small sizes. The woman ahead of me ordered a red velvet small, and I envied her. I’ll have to go back and try it. But, then again, I want to try everything at Pink Icing.

pink icing cupcakeThough the space is cozy, there’s room for a handful of tables and a countertop with stools. Several customers milled around the bakery, talking over coffee and cupcakes and enjoying the morning. It seems as though Pink Icing has already become a hallmark of the neighborhood in the mere two days it’s been open.

I sincerely hope Sunnyside residents partake in the wonder that is Pink Icing. After all this time–the waiting, the hand-wringing at the closed door–Pink Icing has finally arrived. Hopefully, to stay for a long time.

Do I think Pink Icing is a destination bakery? We’ll have to see. The cupcake trend in New York has certainly died down (is it fried pizza that everyone’s fascinated with now?), but the cupcakes are so good–and so cheap!–that it just might attract the non-Sunnysiders. Pink Icing is open until 8 p.m., which gives the Manhattanites who frequent Salt and Fat just enough time to grab dessert (before a late dinner, perhaps?) prior to heading back to the city.

If you’re in the neighborhood, try Pink Icing. It’s the kind of cupcake that wholly satisfies the body and soul. You don’t want to miss out.

Pink Icing

44-12 Queens Blvd.

Sunnyside, Queens

Take the 7 to 46th Street and walk west for two blocks on the north side of Queens Boulevard. Do check out The Sugar Room, too!