Croquant Chou Zakuzaku, Shanghai China - This is a Japanese cream chain that specializes in Hokkaido-style cream. The Shanghai location is located in the gigantic IFC mall, and I waited over an hour in line for my chance to sample the creams. To be more specific, Zakuzaku specializes in traditional choux pastry filled with elegant pastry cream. However, there are some modern twists revolving around the choux pastry (there is nothing novel about the cream, which is delicious textbook pastry cream). First, rather than the traditional ball-shaped pastry, Zakuzaku serves its cream in a rod-shaped pastry, more in the shape of an eclair. Further, the pastry is dusted with crunchy delightfuls. What are these crunchy delightfuls? Some sort of batter-streusel-crunchy- hello? Yes, hello. The website sums up the approach nicely: "It’s normal to be particular about the cream within a chou a la crème (cream puff). The crunchy textured pastry of the new Croquant Chou came from the idea of making the outside pastry more delicious." Brilliant!
Cream Double Header - Martina, East Village and Le Coq Rico, Flatiron - Martina may be a pizza parlour, but I'll be creamed if the soft serve is not the best thing on the menu. Partook in a nice fior di latte soft serve with chocolate sauce and candied hazelnuts. The soft serve is truly astounding: rich, flavorful, decadent and embarrassing. But I had not had my way with creams after only a single serving of this soft serve. I headed to Le Coq Rico, where, again, the main attraction may not truly be the star of the show. Le Coq Rico is a French chicken joint, but the desserts are even better than the chicken! I ordered a mille-feuille - the classic French pastry of numerous paper-thin shards of pastry layered with decadent pastry cream. The presentation was incredible, with gorgeous balls of immaculate pastry cream lined in rows across the pastry layers. What a great cream!