Xiaolongbao and the happiness from cookies at Levain Bakery

This past January has been busy. Rather exhausting too. I was only in Chicago for one weekend and didn’t do very much that weekend. On the other hand, I got to go to a few places in NYC. But mostly, I’ve just wanted to sleep in on weekends and eat a bunch of sweets of fatty foods. Plus, it’s way too cold. Hibernation seems rather appealing.

I did have a craving for xiaolongbao though. And the place to get it is at Shanghai Cafe Deluxe in Chinatown.
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This place is so much better than Joe’s Shanghai. They make their dough fresh, and it doesn’t tear as easily and spill out all of that broth. If you go, get an order of the crab and pork meat dumplings and just the plain pork.

Eating xiaolongbao is a little bit tricky for those unacquainted with the art. You need to bite into the skin and slurp out the hot broth before devouring the rest of the bao. You also need to be careful not to burn your tongue. Ray’s got the hang of it.
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Still can be a bit tricky though.

We also tried this place called Levain bakery. I think it must be quite a staple for New Yorkers living on UWS. It almost always has a line out the door, but the service is fairly fast.
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The cookies are the absolutely magical part.
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I’ve been there twice now, and each time the cookies have been so delicious. They’re thick and almost cakey. They have warm and gooey chocolate chips just spilling out of the cookies. Get a latte with your cookie and it’s this wonderful combination of bitter and sweet.

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