Getting Sweet in Hell's Kitchen

Getting Sweet in Hell's Kitchen

Sarah Rolleston of Sugartooth Tours waltzes through Hell's Kitchen like the Queen of Candyland. It's as if she's the beloved daughter-in-law of anyone making everything delicious in the neighborhood, and as the dessert  tour winds in and out of sleek shops and quaint little stores, everyone from the plump, heavily-accented woman to the young, fast-talking entrepreneur welcomes her, and in turn, you've been let into her sweet, sweet world. My trusted colleague and I embarked on a Sugartooth (dessert) Tour with Sarah, and while we learned interesting facts about the neighborhood, the upcoming Valentine's Day holiday (for which there is a special Sugartooth itinerary,) and even tidbits on cultural practices in Japan, the focus stayed with the food we were tasting, and how to best enjoy it—like fine wines, as it turns out. And I am inclined to recount the tour with the same food-focus, since it was the true star. 

We began at Kee's Chocolates, (315 W. 39th St., btw Eighth & Ninth aves., 212.967.8088) where we chose from an array of delicate bonbons, as varied as the Cognac White Chocolate Truffle, to the Black Rose, which blends chocolate with black tea infused with rose petals. I settled easily on the "Crème Brûlée", which was well-advised to be eaten in a single bite, at which moment the rich middle oozed over and overtook my senses with its incredible flavor.

Next stop was Poseidon Greek Bakery, (Ninth Ave., at W. 44th St., 212.757.6173) where an overwhelmingly decadent rolled baklava was served up, dripping in honey-syrup. We enjoyed the vibe while we munched away on our treats—a true mom and pop shop with a laid-back grandma's kitchen feel. The kind of place you'd never leave not full. And even though this was only our second stop on the tour, it would be difficult to outdo.

Then at Schmackary's (362 W. 45th St., at Ninth Ave., 646.801.9866) the cookie selection was exciting and fresh. Not just chocolate chips here, but maple bacon and peanut butter banana crisp. Served with a shot of milk and friendly service, it was like bringing back a childhood snack.

The last stop was Kyotofu (705 Ninth Ave., btw W. 48th & W. 49th sts., 212.974.6012), a Japanese-inspired dessert bar, that even went to far as to design its space after a typical Kyoto home. The specialty here is desserts made with tofu, a healthy yet still delicious substitution for cream and butter products. We had a miso brownie, artfully presented in keeping with the meticulous Japanese tradition. Overall, a very sweet afternoon tour.