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Being a fan of what I have seen of famed chef Thomas Keller, and myself a world famous baker, I decided to visit his Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle. His 3-star Michelin restaurant, Per Se, is in the same location.
I carefully studied all of the products in the display counter and spotted something that caught my eye. It looked like a gourmet version of a Hostess Ho Ho. I thought to myself, “No. This cannot be.”.
You see, for years, I have had the idea of making copycat versions of Hostess products, except I would use real ganache chocolate, no artificial flavorings, etc. Son of a gun, Bouchon is doing just that.
I ordered an “Oh Oh” (they reverse the letters), along with a quiche. It was perfect. They know the importance of chilling them too, because the chocolate coating is firm and tastes better. Unlike real Hostess Ho Ho’s, this pastry does not taste like wax and margarine.
The litmus test for me, however, is the chocolate chip cookie. Although better than most, Bouchon’s was too large in diameter and too “French”.
The quiche was too soft for my liking. It was almost like an egg pudding. It lacked any savoriness. With some sugar, it could have been a dessert mouse.
The biggest problem with Bouchon Bakery is beyond their control. It is located in a failing commercial project. The actual Time Warner company, which is the name of the complex, is leaving the building (because no one watches CNN, TNT, TBS or buys Time Magazine anymore). They never landed top end retailers to come in, so an H&M is next door to Bouchon, for example. Therefore, the crowd ruins the experience.
The tables set aside for eating the retail bakery products (not the cafe a bit down) are messy with trash, almost like a Penn Station food court, and no staff is cleaning it up. The employees of Bouchon are clearly lacking proper management, which I suppose is the fault of the Keller executives.
Bouchon Bakery would be much better if it relocated Downtown to the Brookfield Place. It would put Financier to shame and have a better revenue stream.
After my feast, I walked the 5-miles home in the nice sunlight, getting some Vitamin-D and exercise.