Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Desserts from Batch and L'Arte del Gelato

Batch: StoreBatch is owned by Chef Pichet Ong, who also owns P*ONG restaurant next door. He is nominated for this year's 2008 James Beard Award for outstanding Pastry Chef.

When we walked in, there was no customer, which was good for us since that meant we could take more pictures (and we did!). The bakery was very clean and neat, with a single refrigerated display case straight ahead, and an L-shaped white counter to the left. The display case and counter were packed with a variety of nice looking goodies.

Behind the display case a pastry chef was working, so I guess some of those desserts had to be pretty fresh. The man behind the counter immediately greeted us, and he was very nice and patient -- especially since we spent the next 15 minutes asking a bunch of questions about what they had on display (again, thankfully it was empty).

I bought a lot of goodies from here: chocolate pecan pie, Vietnamese coffee cake, pineapple tart, raspberry and cream cake, hazelnut chocolate layer cake, mango chai pudding, and ovaltine banana pudding rice crispies. Don't worry, we didn't finish everything in one day. We live in New Jersey and there are not too many places that sell good pastries and desserts, that's why I always buy a lot of goodies from Manhattan on the weekend for my sweets supply during weekdays; otherwise I will have to make my own (doesn't hurt to be a pastry chef).

Batch: InteriorWhen we were at the store, Chef Ong came in from P*ONG next door. I heard he mentioned that he was looking for something. Without hesitation, I asked the man behind the counter if it was ok to have my picture taken with Chef Ong. Right away he called the Chef and let him know of my request. Thankfully, he was nice enough and agreed to have a picture with me, eventhough he looked a little confused :-) Just in case you are courious too, I consider him one of the celebrity chef, so why not have my picture taken with him.

Batch: Display
Pastries on the counter. Note the bone shaped biscuit for your best friend

L'Arte Del Gelato: StoreSince I couldn't eat the stuffs from Batch in the car (I had not taken the pictures of any of them yet), I asked my husband to stop by at L'Arte del Gelato which was on the way to Holland Tunnel. We both loved their gelato as well as their sorbetto, the gelato is creamy and not too sweet. In addition to that the owner, who usually is behind the counter, is very friendly (you'll recognize him pretty easily). This time I got medium tiramisu and pistachio gelato, and as usual he gave me a sample (without me asking for it) which happens to be vanilla gelato. As we expected, the gelato was perfect!

L'Arte Del Gelato: Vanilla gelato (sample), tiramisu gelato and pistachio gelato (close up)
Tiramisu and pistachio gelato from L'Arte Del Gelato

Anyway, as soon as we arrived at home, we went to bed for quick nap eventhough it was almost 7 pm. We woke up very early that morning, and at this time our eyes could barely open. When we woke up around 9 pm, I started to take pictures of everything, then we decided to try the chocolate pecan pie, Vietnamese coffee cake and pineapple tart from Batch.

The chocolate pecan pie was good, the filling was not too sweet like most pecan pie is and the crust was not too crumbly.

Batch: Chocolate pecan pie (close up)
Chocolate pecan pie

The Vietnamese coffee cake was only ok, the texture of the cake itself was moist, however the coffee taste was not strong enough, we could barely taste the coffee. For me, it tasted like a plain cake.

Batch: Vietnamese coffee cake (close up)
Vietnamese coffee cake

As soon as I saw the pineapple tart at the counter, I wanted to try it, since I used to eat this when I lived in Indonesia, also I saw Chef Pichet Ong made it on Martha Stewart show. It didn't disappoint me, the filling was not too sweet, the dough was not too crumbly, just a perfect combination.

Batch: Pineapple tart (close up)
Pineapple tart

Since we had a late lunch (at around 3 pm) and we're still full, we decided not to have dinner in addition to the sweets. Then before went back to bed, since I was still excited after seeing Pope Benedict XVI, I decided to write my very first post on this blog. That's wrapped up my whole experience of the day, what's another wonderful day.

The following night after we had dinner, we charged on to finish the remaining pastries from Batch.

The raspberry and cream cake was just as the name suggested. Layers of vanilla sponge cake and vanilla buttercream with raspberry fruits, covered with sparkly buttercream with raspberries on top and ground nuts coating on the side!! We thought it tasted pretty good, but not exceptional.

Batch: Raspberry and cream cake (another view)
Raspberry and cream cake

Next was the hazelnut chocolate layer cake, which we thought was much better than the raspberry -- except that we couldn't really taste the hazelnut. Chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, topped with chocolate ganache and chocolate cookie crumbs on the sides.

Batch: Hazelnut chocolate layer cake (close up)
Hazelnut chocolate layer cake

The mango chai pudding consisted of a mango puree at the bottom, chunks of sponge cakes, chai pudding and sprinkles of shaved chocolate with bits of something that we were not sure of. Taste wise, though, it was a disappointment. The mango puree was too sweet and we could not taste the mango flavor (more like syrup than puree). The chai pudding had an unusual taste. Overall, we didn't enjoy this.

Batch: Mango chai pudding (uncovered)
Mango chai pudding

The Ovaltine banana pudding rice crispies is probably Chef Ong's most famous creation. Ovaltine pudding with chunks of chocolate cake, sliced of bananas and sprinkled with caramelized rice krispies. This was actually pretty good, especially if you get rice krispies chunks in the scoop. The Ovaltine pudding was creamy and definitely has the chocolate-y flavor.

Batch: Ovaltine banana pudding rice crispies (uncovered)
Ovaltine banana pudding rice crispies

With this, we finished all the goodies that we bought from Batch. We will go back in the future, but after we try P*ONG first.


150B W 10th Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-0250

150 W 10th Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 929-0898

L'Arte del Gelato
75 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-0803

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