From Sugarless to Sweetly Cheap: Dessert

written by Maya Klausner

As dinner draws to a close, you are craving something sweet but are reminded of the bitterly thin state of your wallet. Chains like Pinkberry and Dunkin Doughnuts can get the job done, but sometimes one needs a little splendor with their Splenda. Even with its sumptuous supply of lavish restaurants, New York City can sometimes feel more limiting than an airplane menu if your fiscal position is unfavorable and can even lead you to desert the prospect of dessert.

However, where there is a sweet tooth, there is a way.  New York City is full of undiscovered gems, some of which dwell in unsuspected corners. For example, decadent French patisserie and bistro, Payard, at 714 Madison avenue between 63rd and 64th streets, might deter you with its aureate aura and $22 appetizer portion homemade Foie Gras Terrine. However, the new Francois Chocolate bar may surprise you, with a menu that boasts an extravagant variety of cakes and tarts that transport your taste buds from the second floor of a jewelry store to Paris, and not at the cost of airfare. Payard offers an assortment of specialty macaroons for $8, an assortment of cookies for $8, and a selection of their homemade chocolates for $8. In addition, they generously price their succulent house-made chocolate mousse grand-pére Payard at $7.

One can also bypass the Upper East Side overpriced curse at one of New York’s favorite Italian restaurants, Serafina, with its two locations on 29 east 61st street and 1022 Madison Avenue. Both restaurants have a tempting dessert menu with a Fritelle di Mele, (apple fritters dipped in vanilla bean sugar,) for $7.95 and an assortment of gelato and sorbet for $4.95 or biscotti for $3.95. And when looking for a quick, but uncompromised treat, skip the sit-down/slow-down and enter the express lane on 79th and Madison at their takeout shop with its colorful display of gelato, freshly made smoothies, and buttery croissants.

For a more inclusive experience, visit Chikalicous Dessert Bar, located at 204 East 10th Street, at their intimate 20-seat eatery, where customers can engage in savory repartee with the chefs and sommeliers who serve the food themselves. Upon entering under the whimsical dusty pink canopy into a cozy dining room bursting with the seductive aromas of frosted cupcakes, crispy pastries, and baking chocolate cakes, one gets the idea they are not in the frozen dessert aisle at Food Emporium anymore. Their daily menu features a $14 prix-fixe that will give you more than your New York City cynicism bargained for with an amuse bouche, dessert, and petits fours. Enjoy a unique experience with individual recipes like their lemongrass Panna Cotta with Basil Sorbet, or their Warm Chocolate Tart with peppercorn ice cream and red wine sauce. They also boast an array of signature desserts for those loyal returning customers who can no longer fight off the Chikalicious twitch. These include their red velvet cupcakes, adult chocolate pudding, molten lava cake, and chocolate éclairs. All of these desserts strike a harmonious balance between golden crispiness and warm, gooey centers, The chocolate éclair reaches a perfect fusion with its warm exterior while the inside yields a soft, chilled chocolate mouse.

While the lesser known spots can add a little extra thrill to your experience, sometimes a serving of familiarity can be just what the stomach ordered. Ice cream empire Haagen-Dazs, has enhanced their menu and spruced up their ingredients for an even more scrumptious experience than you remember from when you were six years old. Try their new ‘five’ products, which only use five natural ingredients that blend into a pure and delicious treat and come in a variety of flavors such as caramel, strawberry, lemon, mint, ginger, and passion fruit. The beloved ice cream favorite also offers a new variety of specialty desserts with their all-natural ice cream or sorbet Dazzlers, made with three scoops of Haagen-Dazs ice cream and three layers of toppings. If you are still longing for something sweet after a ‘Dulce split’ or  ‘Mint chip’ Dazzler, seek medical assistance: these rich desserts are packed to the brim with three creamy scoops, layered with fresh toppings, and drizzled with caramel and chocolate syrup. If their prescribed combinations do not suit you, put on the chef’s hat and create your own ice cream sundae, choosing from their boundless selection of flavors and toppings. In addition to their standard ice cream parlor prices, Haagen-Dazs also offers special deals and coupon codes at their plentiful locations sprinkled about the city. Indulge your stomach without indulging your wallet with free coupons that can knock up to 40% off of shakes, sundaes, and gourmet cakes.

So while frozen yogurt in paper cups can be a cheap, quick way to sate that sugary hankering, how much Tasti-D-Lite and Red Mango can one person eat before feeling like a giant human health-conscious cone? You may be attracted to the light prices, but not as enthralled by the dietetic limitations of these frozen treats. With an economical approach to opulence, your post meal experience can be rich, (even if you’re not.)

Maya Klausner is a writer for Campus Clipper. You can read more of her tips on food, fun, and entertainment in the Campus Clipper guidebook, “NYC Student Guide” due out this fall.

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