As Mark is originally from
*Presti's Bakery, Little Italy
Presti's is a fantastic little cafe/bakery in Little Italy that makes you walk up to the counter and want to press your hands and face up against the counter like you are five years old. It smells like a cloud of sugar and butter and flour and coffee. I'm not kidding. We usually try and bring a cooler to stock up on a few treats, but this time we ate in, as we were with Amber & Anthony (and Spiderman).
Amber had a regular cannoli. I believe Presti’s makes their shells as well as the cream. Anthony had a custard puff, which he said was “filled with delicious custards” (with a big smile on his face). They split some berry gelato as well. (There is some debate as to whether or not it was raspberry gelato or simply a generic berry gelato. We will stick with berry gelato, as either way, it’s a berry.)
After a great deal of deliberation, Mark and I chose two desserts to split. I was lusting after the strawberry cassata cake. It was incredible. Apparently cassata cake is traditionally made with sponge cake, ricotta cheese mixture, and candied fruit. I prefer Presti's version with light white cake, strawberries, and cream.
We also tried a chocolate mousse enveloped in another layer of chocolate. That was pretty much amazing.
If you ever take a vacation to the Cleve ala Liz Lemon, stop at Presti's and you won't be disappointed. You'll just wish you brought a bigger cooler.
The West Side Market is a foodie's dream come true. Mark and I could have stayed all day. We bought Madagascar vanilla beans for $1.95 a piece, some pomegranates for $1, and got 3 beautiful red peppers (turned into roasted red pepper pasta sauce that week) for $1. Make a pilgrimage and go there.
We tested three cupcakes from one of the vendors (can't remember the name! ack!).
This one was chocolate raspberry and was quite good. The cake part had some jam mixed in and was moist. The icing didn't taste much like raspberry, but that could have been because it was in a box bumping around all day with the other ones.
We tried an espresso cupcake with a chocolate covered espresso bean on top. Again, pretty good.
The best of the bunch was the buckeye cupcake with peanut butter. I liked the peanut butter frosting a lot, and it made me want to find a recipe for good peanut butter buttercream.
We also visited a vendor called Cake Royale that makes all of its desserts from scratch. A husband and wife team own the business and we got to talk to the wife for awhile. Made us want to open a bakery.
They had the most incredible cakes. The photos I took were so bad I don't even want to post them because they don't do justice to the desserts. We had one piece called "France," made up of white and dark chocolate mousse in layers. Another, called "Nescafe" was espresso and caramel and cream. Their specialty was a chocolate "Monk," which was chocolate and raspberry mousse enveloped in a shroud of chocolate that looked like a monk's robe, and dusted with chocolate powder. Heavenly. And knowing they were made lovingly by hand by someone self-taught made it even better.