While walking through Midtown, Averi, a member of the Manhattan Sideways team, popped into Bibble and Sip for a minute to rest her feet. The area encompassing Times Square is surely a destination for tourists, but it seemed to Averi that this bakery-café was luring New York residents to its busy street for tasty treats. She saw that regular customers in business attire were greeted warmly and had their orders recited to them before they reached the counter. Pairs of young adults held meetings and traded ideas under the chalkboard menus and afternoon wanderers sat at the window bar listening to music and sipping coffee.Averi went on to describe the jasmine matcha latte that piqued her interest and did not disappoint: the tea was whisked together into a warm mug of silky delight. After browsing the pastry case, stuffed with dainty pistachio-matcha white chocolate cake, orange-cranberry scones, cute glass jars of panna cotta ornamented with the shop’s signature alpaca logo, and baked egg, roasted tomato English muffin sliders, she decided upon an earl grey cream puff to complement her latte. It was a marvelous choice: presented on a miniature wooden serving board, the cream puff was filled with smooth custard holding the robust flavor of brewed spices.When she asked Gary, the storeowner, who was responsible for creating the unique offerings on display (all of which are baked in-house) he shyly raised his hand. With training in “French confectionery and inspired by Asian flavors,” Gary has developed a menu that certainly entices guests to "bibble and sip" on the side streets.
The delectable assortment of French pastries was only the beginning of the excitement for me when I first visited Eclair Bakery. Getting to observe and speak with owner Stephane Pourrez, as he was preparing pastries, macarons, croissants and, of course, a variety of eclairs made the experience very special. An alumnus of Ferrandi, the French School of Culinary Arts in Paris, Pourrez worked in New York for a year as a pastry chef before he fulfilled his "childhood dream" of opening his own bakery. No matter what time I chose to pop in, I always found others sipping on their cafe au lait, and mingling with fellow French natives.
Lyn Trotman describes Quest as “a peaceful sanctuary in the heart of midtown.” President of the New York Theosophical Society, which studies the wisdom behind various world religions, Lyn also operates the Society’s book shop, Quest. The store is a pleasantly-scented oasis, with a section devoted to incense, candles, and gemstones. People interested in esoteric studies and rituals can browse through books on every conceivable spiritual tradition, from Kabbalah, to Sufism, to Buddhism, and all things in between. “A lot of other metaphysical bookstores are gone. We are the oldest one left.”