WHERE 13 St Marks Place (basement level)
New York, NY 10003 WHAT Spot Dessert Bar is the perfect place to enjoy many desserts at once (as it should be). Known for its innovative and decadent creations, Spot features seasonally inspired dessert tapas. The end result of infusing your favorite Asian flavors with the commonly seen desserts like tiramisu or cheesecake? Miniature sweet works of art. Sadly, I haven’t had the chance to taste each one, but I did experience the signature Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake. This warm, dark chocolate lava cake is filled with a indulgent green tea ganache that oozes out of the rich cake with your first scoop in. The cake is dusted with green tea powder and served with a side of green tea ice cream and a thin butter cookie.
GO or NO? Definitely go. Bring two or three friends so you can have an excuse to order multiple things to “share”. The atmosphere is friendly, clean and cozy so you can chill with your friends leisurely as you try out all the fun, unique combinations of dessert tapas offered.
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Chef Enrique Olvera brings together the beloved, traditional elements of Mexican food with innovative flavor and ingredient combinations at New York City’s Cosme restaurant. Setting this super trendy, upscale Flatiron spot a part from the countless other exclusive, majorly-hyped restaurants is the creativity of the menu offerings. In addition, its lively bar is top notch and is stocked with around 30 mezcals and 20 tequila, making for a great variety of fantastic cocktails. With warm lighting, copper tones and wooden tables and shelves lining the walls filled with bottles of wine and mezcal, books and chic kitchen ware, the atmosphere is modern, yet comfortable and cozy. Another nice touch are the vibrant, leafy green plants throughout the restaurant. Start with a tuna tostada which comes with capers, avocado and a slight yuzu citrus on a crispy signature tortilla. Another solid seafood dish is the octopus-scallop cocktail which is served over a black aguachile with charred avocado and slivers of cucumber. The tender lobster with shiso, ginger mojo and brown butter is a unique play on the lobster and butter combo. The freshness of the ginger and shiso flavors keep this dish from feeling too heavy. Any fan of soft shell crab should go for the crunchy soft shell crab that features a well-spiced yellow mole, green papaya salad and lemon verbena.On to the meat dishes! If there’s one thing you absolutely need to get it’s the duck carnitas which comes sizzling in a iron cast skillet with onions, radishes and cilantro. The duck is ridiculously flavorful. Rich, the right amount of fatty (as duck should be) and indulgent, the carnitas falls apart and is literal roasted perfection. Wrap it up in a purple corn tortilla. Boom. There you have the best soft taco ever. The short rib with scallions, cipollini and avocado is a close second must-order. Likewise extremely tender, this hunk of meat has enormous flavor and practically melts in your mouth.
You can’t leave Cosme before wrapping up your dinner with the instagram-famous and drool-inducing husk meringue with corn mousse. Cracked open and filled with a creamy, luscious corn mousse, this dessert is the ultimate balance of sweet and savory. It has a slight salty component to it which pairs excellently with the sweet crunchiness of the meringue and the decadent mousse.
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New York City wastes no time when ramping up for the holiday season. Even though the weather is still relatively warm, and we are barely past Halloween, Bryant Park has officially reopened its much anticipated pop-up market. This year, the Holiday Shops at Bank of America Winter Village feature a dedicated food market called “Feast on 40th” on the park’s south side. In addition, Bryant Park’s seasonal skating rink is in full-swing and already busy with people wanting a jumpstart on winter festivities.
The market, curated by the well-known pop-up organizer Urbanspace, is featuring over 30 different food purveyors, selling everything from classic New York staples to new food-mashups.
Baked Cheese Haus is a must. Picture a glorious raclette service where they melt half wheels of Alpine cheese and scrape the gooey cheese over items like fresh, toasted ciabatta and cured ham, topped with Dijon and baby gherkins. If bubbling cheese isn’t your thing, we definitely recommend grabbing a savory, crispy chicken filled Chick’n Cone — which also makes for awesome Instas — trying out a bowl of borscht from Veselka’s Borscht Bar, or biting into some traditional meatballs from Meatball Obsession.
Brodo, a bone broth vendor we haven’t seen much of, is a popular, warming choice that comes in either chicken, beef or hearth broth with add-ins like bone marrow and roasted garlic puree. Those of you who attended the 2016 Vendy Awards will recognize the award-winning Mr. Bing selling its traditional Chinese street crepes — jianbing — filled with Peking duck, barbecue pork, and eggs.
Taco lovers will be thrilled with a nice selection of Tacos such as Coney Shack’s incredibly crunchy fish tacos or Domo Taco’s Asian-inspired options with meats like lemongrass chicken and braised five spice pork. Perfect for when winter really hits, the Ramen Bar by Chingu is offering hot bowls of noodle soups in flavors such as Bulgogi with beef bone broth or vegetable with fried tofu skins.
Over on the sweet side there’s a whole lot to try. Get hot cider and cider doughnuts at Breezy Hill Orchard. Bite in to a fresh Cretzel (croissant-pretzel hybrid) in flavors like pumpkin or Nutella almond from Breads Bakery. Grab a hot chocolate from Max Brenner’sand pair it with fresh doughnuts from Doughnut Project. Grab one (or two) crunchy, sugar coated, dulce de leche filled churros at Dulcinea. Buy a pretty box of classic macarons at Woops! Or crunch in to some Nutella filled chimney cakes. Trust us, you can’t go wrong.
Lastly, check out Danny Meyer’s new pop-up restaurant, Public Fare which will be an all-day cafe with pastries, coffee, soup, sandwiches, and cocktails for the evening.
Make sure to swing by the Holiday Shops at Bank of America Winter Village before it closes on January 2. For more information, click here.
For more of my articles on the City That Never Sleeps, visit GRID-NY.
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I sit and chat over — what else — bowls of cereal with the ultimate sugar queen, the talented Christina Tosi, at the new cereal café in Times Square.
As the saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So why has it taken so long to create an all-day cereal café with childhood favorites featuring innovative, unique, and unexpected twists on the classic bowl of cereal? After 110 years pioneering “breakfast goodness,” that’s exactly what Kellogg’s did.
Located in the heart of Times Square, Kellogg’s NYC offers seasonal bowls of cereal like you’ve never seen before. Who better to partner with than the chef, owner, and founder of Momofuku Milk Bar, award-winning pastry chef and MasterChef judge Christina Tosi, the genius behind cereal milk ice cream, compost cookies, and “crack pie”? Answer: no one.
The Daily Meal had the opportunity to chat with the bubbly, energetic, and passionate chef over one-of-a-kind cereal sundaes. I opted for the Life in Color sundae, a sweet concoction of soft serve ice cream with Froot Loops, lime zest, marshmallows, and passion fruit jam. Tosi went for the sophisticated Pistachio & Lemon cereal bowl with Special K Original, Frosted Flakes, pistachios, lemon zest, and thyme. If you don’t know what’s on the rest of the crazy delicious menu, you can find out here.
Read on to see what Chef Tosi had to say about growing up as a picky eater, discovering the flavor of cereal milk, and her partnership with Kellogg’s NYC.
How did you get involved with Kellogg’s and what made you jump on the opportunity to create Kellogg’s NYC? Christina Tosi: I was brought on board to help create the menu and cereal combinations. I’ve been working with Kellogg’s on and off because we use its cereal at Milk Bar all the time ― we’re crazy Kellogg’s Corn Flake people.
I adore working with them because I love cereal, and everything they create and are about. And I loved the opportunity of getting to create with the same personality and voice that I implement at Milk Bar, but now be able to do it in a vehicle that’s a more simple form than even a cookie, cake, or pie ― and that’s literally through a bowl of cereal.
When did you start experimenting with cereals, and was there a specific point where you realized you had created a new cult favorite among dessert-lovers?
I was a super picky eater as a kid. My mom and I had an agreement that I could go to the grocery store and pick out any cereals I want, as long as when we got home, she could pour as much milk as she wanted over the cereal I chose. I had to drink all the milk at the bottom of the bowl. So sometimes I would do a combination of a couple cereals, and as a 6, 7, or 8-year-old, you think you’re a mad scientist by putting frosted flakes in the same bowl as a chocolaty cereal or something.
When I got into the professional kitchen, it was in 2007, and that’s when I really started to play with it [this cereal milk idea]. I always had grandmas who would put Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes into their chocolate chip cookies for a little added surprise and added texture, which I always thought was super smart.
We were about to open Momofuku Ko in 2007 and I needed to come up with a quick and easy dessert. So I decided I’ll make a panna cotta. But what flavor did I want this panna cotta to have? I thought what else can you flavor milk with? Coffee… fruit… and when I was walking down the cereal isle of a bodega I thought, well I used to like themilk at the bottom of a bowl of cereal. Maybe it could be that.
I made the dessert and it was a hit. All of the sudden I knew I was onto something. Then about two years ago, Milk Bar partnered with Kellogg’s on something called the Recharge Bar. I created cereal combinations — I started playing around with eating cereal at all times throughout the day and night — playing around with basic ingredients we had in the kitchen, at Milk Bar, and at my home. I wanted to create flavors that were fun and playful, flavors that inspire and pique your curiosity and imagination, but in a way that none of them are out of reach.
Why cereal? Do you ever get tired of it?
It’s forever fun, thrilling, and exciting — for me, it’s like a canvas, like a canvas for creation.
Do you have any trusted taste-testers that help you decide what’s outrageously delicious or just plain outrageous?
The menu here has 10 different cereal combinations that will change seasonally. I wanted to make sure there was something on the menu for everyone. I wanted to be cognizant of having enough variety for different folks. I have an awesome team at Milk Bar, and also amongst family and friends, and usually I’ll just make five or six different flavors. My goal is to have one of those combinations be someone’s favorite.
I don’t want everyone to love just one thing. I want to have different people feeling strongly about different things. And that how I know that I’ve hit all the points I want to hit.
What’s your advice to bakers who don’t necessarily like to follow recipes verbatim? (I like to get experimental with add-ins and toppings…) Do you have any tips and tricks when coming up with unusual, but fantastic baked goods?
I taught myself how to bake by doing something similar, by looking at recipes and understanding out why it had certain ingredients in it. And the rest of it I literally learned through trial and error. I feel more free and enjoy baking more when I don’t have to march to the beat of someone else’s drum.I think baking is certainly scientific, and you have to be aware of fat, moisture content, dry ingredients, and obviously that content ratio, and then baking time and temperature.
The one thing I would say, which we also do at Milk Bar (though of course we do have tried and true recipes,) is even if we make 144 batches of our compost cookies, before we scoop or bake all the cookies, we do one test scoop. Whether a test scoop, a test cupcake, or test brownie mold, we do bake it and taste it. From there you can then learn what too much salt or too little baking soda or powder tastes like.
Not a Bay Area native? Then you probably won’t know who Karl is. You’d be even more confused if I were to tell you that now you can literally taste Karl, in liquor form. Karl, ladies and gentlemen, is San Francisco’s lovely fog.
Bay Area-based Hangar 1 distillery has managed to take vodka in a direction the world hasn’t seen before ― its team has produced a limited-edition batch of vodka that is made of San Francisco fog (Karl).
Each bottle of this unique spirit, called Fog Point, will cost a pricey $125. According to Time, head distiller Caley Shoemaker’s impetus behind this one-of-a-kind libation was to “create something that embodies values the Bay Area worships: sustainability and local production. She also wanted to make something that nods to the drought that has starved the state for several years running.”
Shoemaker says, “We really wanted to come up with some sort of sustainable water.” Once her team found FogQuest, a non-profit that utilizes “innovative fog collectors as well as effective rainfall collectors to make optimum use of natural atmospheric sources of water,” Shoemaker was able to turn their idea into a reality.
Over the course of six months, using fog catchers at four locations in the Bay Area, including San Francisco’s famed Sutro Tower, Hangar 1 managed to collect enough fog water to make 2,400 bottles. For those that have never heard of fog collectors, they are described as sheets of mesh that become water-logged as a result of the passing fog and, eventually, drops of water begin to collect in troughs.
Partnering with a biodynamic vineyard, Bonny Doon, this fog spirit is distilled from the grape wine, 2012 Le Cigar Blanc. Shoemaker says of the final product that it’s “made of California because truly, you’re tasting the Bay;” moreover, “You’re tasting the soil and the grapes and all of that comes together really well in this interesting little project we’ve done here.”
Hangar 1 is donating 100 percent of profits from this fog transformation back to water conservation. With only 2,400 bottles in existence, vodka connoisseurs will not want to miss out on this limited-edition offering from the City by the Bay.
This inviting and caring neighborhood bakery turns out heavenly pies like none otherYou’d be hard pressed to find an establishment that stays truer to its core values than Mission Pie, the pie heaven located in the sunny Mission District of San Francisco. Since 2007, this charming spot has been baking up a glorious selection of pies, muffins, galettes, quiches, 7-grain cereals, pot pies, and soup and salads, for those trying to eat a bit healthier. They also offer coffees and teas to accompany your baked goods. In addition, they sell local artisanal products like jam and honey to take home.
Each freshly baked pie consists of a flakey and handmade pastry and ripe, naturally sweet fruits, all chosen based off of what’s in season. The crust — which is more akin to a croissant, than a traditional crust — is made of pure butter, 1/3 white and 2/3 wheat pastry flour, and rolled by hand. Flavors include apple raspberry, shaker lemon, rhubarb chess, pear blueberry, and banana cream, and these are just a few flavors currently in season. These slices are insanely delicious with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream (or if you’re me, with both).
Mission Pie’s goodies are made with the best ingredients out there and are locally sourced from farms and produce distributors in the area. It’s a green-certified bakery and it even has an adorable communal sidewalk garden its staff and the surrounding neighbors tend to. Another thing that’s awesome about this welcoming eatery is that the decoration featured is actually created by community artists.
With its cozy and inviting atmosphere, vibrant flower vases, ornate yellow wallpaper, an incredible just- baked pie aroma, and genuinely friendly staff, this is dessert spot is one of my favorites in San Francisco.
With locations in both Los Angeles and Park City, this upscale gastrobar and restaurant has now opened up shop on the east coastJust in time for sunshine, warm nights, and summer Fridays arrives New York City’s latest rooftop destination, Rock & Reilly’s Irish Pub. Located in the Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel, this beautiful bar and restaurant is massive. As in it’s a 10,000-square-foot venue with an 8,000-square-foot terrace. If you don’t feel like getting hot and sweaty in a club — but still want to be out with your crew, drinking mighty fine cocktails, while chilling on a rooftop taking in views of the Empire State Building — this is your new spot. Oh, and if New York weather takes a turn and decides to almost literally rain on your parade, this spot has a retractable patio roof.
With swanky locations in Los Angeles and Park City, Rock & Reilly’s isn’t your average watering hole. While it prides itself on being an upscale bar and restaurant, this establishment goes beyond that by combining LA style and flair with splash of NYC exclusivity to create a classy gastrobar that is modern, chic, and celebrity-status cool. With industrial, rich design elements that include exposed brick, distressed metal, three handcrafted mahogany bars, and leafy, climbing-vine trellises separating jewel toned booths, this pub gives off a Prohibition-era speakeasy vibe.
Something I particularly found humorous is the selection of Reilly’s quotes that can be found through the bar. Examples include: “You look like I need a drink,” “Recent study showed that the leading cause of drinking was sobriety,” and my personal favorite, ““Blackouts are God’s way of saying ‘don’t worry ‘bout it.’”
Aside from the aesthetics and atmosphere, Rock & Reilly’s friendly — and surprisingly attentive — bartenders make absolutely delicious cocktails. The kind that are dangerously tasty and begging you to order another, even though you’ve already had one too many.
My favorite drink of the pre-opening event was the Rock & Rye Smash, served in a Moscow mule copper mug. This cocktail included Mr. Katz’s Rock & Rye, Domaine de Canton Ginger, shiso, and yuzu. It was super refreshing thanks to the combination of the ginger liqueur and citrusy notes from the yuzu, a popular Japanese fruit, and the hint of shiso, which was a pleasant, herbal surprise. Normally I don’t drink rye, but clearly that wasn’t the case here!
Though I couldn’t try every single one of the signature cocktails — mainly due to my desire to stay at an acceptable level of sobriety — I did enjoy the Ancho Mango, which had Tito’s vodka mixed with a chile liqueur, mango, and a hint of basil, as well as When Doves Cry, a sparkling tequila and grapefruit cocktail that came with a pink peppercorn and Himalayan sea salt rim (much better than my usual, less complicated go-to: tequila and pineapple).
I look forward to conquering the rest of its innovative concoctions such as the Tea Thyme which incorporates vodka, rooibos and chamomile tea, and thyme; the Wake Up Call, a vodka-espresso drink with vanilla and chipotle flavors; the Red Head Redemption, a rum, orange, raspberry, and jalapeño blend; the Rebel Rebel, a tequila-red bull, pineapple cocktail; and the Make It There, a whiskey, vermouth, and bitters drink. If cocktails aren’t your thing, don’t worry. In addition to a large variety of beers and wine, Rock & Reilly’s features an enormous whiskey selection, including Scotch and bourbon lists, and whiskey flights for those who want to try them all.
I haven’t tried the food — yet— but I did manage to catch a bite of one of the biggest desserts I’ve seen in awhile from a sly young lady, Lauren, who managed to have this behemoth vanilla bean-peanut butter ice cream burger delivered to her table. If you’re having trouble envisioning what that is, let me help you. It’s an ice cream sandwich that’s fit for a giant, or more realistically, 3-4 of your friends. Enclosed in a huge, fresh, glazed doughnut is a treasure trove of vanilla bean ice cream, crunchy peanut butter, peanut brittle, and peanut butter cups, luring you to dig in fast, before it melts!
Lady M Confections
(Bryant Park Boutique)
36 West 40th Street New York, NY 10018
What Lady M Confections is famous for its decadent, handmade cakes, and most notably its glorious Signature Mille Crêpes. This golden beauty is made of 20 paper-thin, handmade crêpes, alternately layered with a light, sweet, and custardy pastry cream, which is then delicately caramelized on top. This signature cake also comes in a variety of flavors, all of which are outstanding. It is perfection.
Lady M offers a green tea infused flavor, topped off with a glowing layer of green tea powder; a strawberry version, incorporating fresh strawberries into the cream between each impossibly thin crêpe; a refreshing, citrusy lemon option, finished off with a nice coat of powdered sugar; the Plaza Food Hall-exclusive chocolate and banana mille crepes; a rich, cocoa powdered chocolate crepes-on-chocolate cream offering; and finally a dreamy coconut mille crêpes, with coconut flakes incorporated into the cream which is also infused with almond flavor and a hint of coconut rum.
Lady M also features a selection of chocolate cakes, such as the Gateau au Chocolate topped with dark chocolate ganache and a gold shimmer; a variety of pastries and eclairs; and other seasonal masterpieces, such as the banana mille feuille which features a flakey, puff pastry, whipped cream, and layers of vanilla sponge cake.
GO or NO
Definitely go, but try to during non-peak hours, as this place fills up fast. It’s worth the wait though. Once you step into this all-white interior, you’ll feel like royalty while sipping on tea and indulging on cakes in the modern and impeccably tasteful sweet shop. You can tell how much work is put into each of these creations from the very first bite. As you taste the multiple, soft layers of crepes in between the fluffy cream layers, you just know it took a good deal of time and effort to create such a delicate, quality cake. It’s not too heavy and doesn’t make you feel guilty after indulging in a piece (whether or not it should!) I absolutely loved my piece of heaven and chose to pair it with an aromatic rose petal latte.
As one of the most-hyped restaurant openings this year, La Sirena certainly delivers on the expectation of being New York City’s new favorite hotspot. This opening, in the trendy, porthole-windowed Maritime Hotel, marks the first in a decade for B&B Hospitality Group’s Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich in New York. Perfect for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or starting your night out with drinks, La Sirena is a very spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant that seats around 250 patrons.
Described as a more modern version of a traditional Italian trattoria, this restaurant exudes chicness the moment you step in. The two large dining rooms are separated by an impressive 38-foot long white Caesarstone bar — along with its countless bottles of liquor and wine — and with this as the first thing that welcomes you, how could you not have a good time? With grey and white furniture and a matching mosaic floor of Portuguese tiles, La Sirena’s dining rooms are stylish, and thanks to the high ceilings and looming windows that house the restaurant, there’s plenty of natural lighting.
Executive chef Josh Laurano’s Italian menu consists of antipasti, contorni, insalate, primi, and secondi, as well as dessert. The antipasti menu includes a variety of small dishes that include a daily seafood crudo, grilled calamari, and a short rib carpaccio with a savory black truffle vinaigrette.
We decided to order the creamy buricotta, which was a ball of house-made cheese paired with crushed peas and mint, and a special antipasti for the night: fettunta (charred filane bread) with a lamb prosciutto and charred ramps. I had never had lamb prosciutto before, but it was sliced super thinly and had an excellent, distinctly lamb flavor. When we found out that Principal Salumist of Salumi Artisan Cured Meats, Armandino Batali, was the man behind the prosciutto it made sense it was so good; he’s chef Batali’s father!
Insalate selections include a vegetable cruda with an avocado vinaigrette and a warm frisée salad with a poached egg. Contorni (sides) include a cauliflower carbonara, a sweet pea farrotto, and rapini with toasted garlic.
Since pasta is La Sirena’s forte, I decided to order the bucatini. The bucatini — which I found out is essentially pasta straws — was cooked al dente and went perfectly with spicy the tomato sauce and chunks of tender octopus meat. I also tasted the cavatelli with spare ribs, which came in a rich, flavorful tomato sauce.
Other primi pasta dishes include a leek and mascarpone stuffed pasta, ravioli with pancetta and spring onion butter, and a pesto lasagne. For those looking for more hearty fare, La Sirena offers secondi dishes such as branzino for two, a lardo-crusted NY Strip for two, beef braciole with broccoli rabe, fried rabbit, duck with Moorish spices, and swordfish Sicilian style.
Obviously no meal is complete without dessert, and with 10 different indulgent choices — including formaggio for two — this Italian trattoria agrees. Being the doughnut-lover I am, I order the bomboloni, which came with three, warm, sugar-coated Italian-style doughnuts, with a dollop of vanilla gelato scoop atop a roasted pineapple.
Also delectable was the pizzelle e cioccolate, which came with crisp, ornate cookies, a dollop of chocolate gelato, a caramel sauce, and roasted bananas. Other options include a Campari-soaked Neapolitan cake, a classic pine nut tart with olive oil gelato, and a honey-walnut semifreddo.
What do you get when you combine a childhood favorite cereal and one of the most delectable cookies around with a batch of classic sugar cookie dough? A rainbow explosion of indulgent, buttery, and fruity flavors. I’m thrilled to introduce Cookie DŌ NYC’s limited-edition, flavor of the month: the Fruity Mac Attack cookie dough.
This colorfully indulgent concoction is created with Fruity Pebbles, sprinkles, and Fruity Cereal Macarons from the innovative specialty shop, Dana’s Bakery. With crunchy, sugar-coated, and neon-hued Fruity Pebbles, chewy macaron pieces, and the always welcome hefty dose of sprinkles, this sugar-cookie creation has all the texture and taste of any baked dessert out there. Not to mention it brings back the nostalgia of being a kid again.
Take it from a dessert connoisseur and take advantage of the fact that Cookie DŌ NYC has yet to establish a storefront. As soon as it does, this sweet destination is going to be the next New York City food trend. In other words, this will be the home of the next Instagramable “it” dessert that demands hours of waiting in line to get your dough fix.
Currently, DŌ’s headquarters doubles as its store location; however, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it’s easy to miss it. Once you arrive at the Second Ave. location, you walk up a few flights of stairs, wondering if this place is even real… and then you’re greeted by a friendly group of bakers — or cookie dough-makers — offering you spoons of samples in an adorable polka dot kitchen/ factory/ storefront.
Dough comes in 20 handcrafted flavors, which include Heavenly, a glorious mix of sugar, Nutella, chocolate chips, and salted caramel bits; Everything, which has, well, everything: oatmeal, peanut butter, butterscotch, and chocolate chips; and the Chocolate Dream, which has a chocolate dough, Oreos, and more chocolate.
Each new month comes new seasonal flavors such as my personal favorite, Spring Cake Batter, featuring cake batter dough, sprinkles, and white and milk chocolate chips; and Cadbury Chip, featuring my Easter candy go-to — Cadbury eggs — and semi-sweet chocolate chips.
With the option to be gluten-, dairy-, grain-, and nut-free, and vegan, Cookie DŌ NYC has something for everyone. Except sugar-free options. Because, why would they?