My daughter is a registered dietician. Foremost, she loves food and people, and when she can put the two together to nurture and heal, she is happiest. A food doctor of sorts.
She's had a well developed palate since birth and even had the boldness to quadruple an orange roll recipe when she was only ten years old. She has more cookbooks than a culinary library, and it's always fun to peek in her pantry.
She has been the ultimate travel food guide. From her armchair at home, she has directed us to gourmet restaurants and bakeries from Paris to New York to ______(who knows where else we shall discover from the recommendations from her inner circle?) So...when she asks me to bring home cookies from Levain (the yeast) Bakery, I ask "Where is it?" then planned accordingly.
167 West 74th. I'm only 21 blocks away and it will make a lovely morning walk--most of it through Central Park. I emerge at 81st and backtrack through the quintessential NY old city streets lined with trees and cars. It's the stage of romantic comedies, and I've discovered yet another corner of NY city heretofore unexplored.
As usual, the yummmy foods of New York City are found in an unpretentious basement shop.
No fancy marble floors, no seating except for a few stools, only a descent into a warm, sweet-smell-filled shop. And the kindest, polite people who are waiting to purchase a morning chocolate brioche, a blueberry muffin, or gasp, a decadent peanut butter chocolate cookie, or double chocolate chip as thick as a block of wood.
From the first peak through the cookie case window, I can see the cookies are dense, and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, filled with nuts and chews. There's a 99% chance they will be delicious.
I walk out of the warm basement with a box that must weigh 15 pounds.
As I walk, it starts to sprinkle. I cover the box with the bag; I can't risk my coming-home surprise getting damp.
I send her photos of the bakery: Mission accomplished. Let's have a cookie party! Invite everyone over.
She responds, I'll pick up extra milk.
Waiting for my flight, ignoring my normal anxiousness to get home, instead I will stop at my daughter's; hopefully Tony will have come, another daughter, a son-in-law, two grandchildren will be allowed to wait up for cookies fresh from New York!
Ah, this brings back memories. Four years earlier, Tony and I bike to a bakery in one of the outer arrondisements of Paris. Again, this daughter's recommendation. The loaf of bread we purchase is beautiful, dense, artisan--it has piece of art ( bundled staffs of wheat sculpted from dough) on the top--no wait...that was the loaf that cost $34. Instead we chose thick bread without the art. After our trans-Atlantic flight our first stop is our daughter's house, where she has cooked for the return-home party--and we have brought the bread, from Paris.
Mais, quoi d'autre?
Viva le bonheur!