1. Torta de rajas con queso at Hecho en Dumbo (354 Bowery St.):
Stopped by on first day of lunch service for a great rendering of Mexico’s second best sandwich (Nothing beats a good cemita). Yeasty bread, great beany smear to hold down the strips of chile and chunks of fresh mozzarella-like queso de Chihuahua. N.B. Dot the peppers with the mole-dark chipotle side salsa for extra bite.
2. Pain d’Avignon’s Pain au Chocolat (Essex Street Market):
All the chocolate buttery flavor of the classic continental breakfast treat but none of the oiliness of a typical New York rendering. I felt like I was walking into EMP’s bread basket when I stepped into their stall, especially when an eager young breadmonger offered tastes of just about everything.
3. Zabar’s Chocolate Babke (80th and Broadway): Good from the bakery at room temp but a little on the sweet side. Even better a day later out of the fridge. A thick slice with cold milk chaser is a perfect way to start a late morning.
4. Donut Holes from DessertTruck Works (6 Clinton St.): Brioche based donuts are coated with a sweater thick layer of granulated sugar and stuffed with warm liquid Nutella. As unbalanced and oversweet a six-dollar dessert as I’ve had in quite a while. Put some bitter chocolate in the middle and you might be on to something. Compares poorly to Doughnut Plant’s broulée masterpiece.
5. Queso Flameado with Soft Wheat Tortilla at MXCO (78th and 2nd): Plenty of sausage in the mix and no strange stunt meat–sweetbreads, pig’s feet, etc.–to distract your attention. They could stand to add a couple more warm tortillas, but that’s about the only flaw.