At 10:30 on a Friday night, there’s a line out the door at Magnolia Bakery in the West Village. This may be because their cupcakes were anointed by “Sex & the City” – or just because they’re so damn good.
Magnolia has been cranking them out for years, despite the fact that the whole operation looks like it’s run by unruly, overgrown kids. There’s no standard cupcake decoration here – one staffer might favor colored sprinkles, while another goes for a single, minimalist sugar daisy. There will always be more swirling oceans of icing than your mother would have ever allowed. You can be guaranteed that its lavish buttercream goodness will end up on your face, hands – and probably clothes.
Since I lived in Magnolia’s West Village neighborhood ten years ago, the price has jumped from $1.50 to $2.75 per cupcake. But it’s still one of the best dessert bargains around. And you still serve yourself from a tray in the window, so you can grab the one (or three, if you’re the Bottomless Pit) cupcake that calls out to you and nestle it into a cardboard box. Assuming you don’t devour it on the spot, like the clusters of cupcake-scarfing hipsters grinning like gleeful 3-year olds.
401 Bleaker St. (corner of 11th St.)
There are 2 other locations but, really, visit the original!
Open til 11:30 pm; 12:30 am Friday/Saturday
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Lowell Thomas Award-winner Gayle Keck has sipped fermented mare’s milk in Kyrgyzstan, dug for truffles in Italy, crafted wine at Napa Valley’s “Crush Camp” and munched her way through every continent except Antarctica, which seems far too focused on frozen food.
She has written for Gourmet, National Geographic Traveler, Zagat San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants 2010, and is a frequent contributor to the Washington Post and other major newspapers.
Gayle has visited 49 US states (sorry, North Dakota) and more than 40 countries – though her favorite trip was a flight from Chicago to San Francisco, when she met her future husband on the airplane. She also blogs at Been There Ate That