[All photos by Conor Rose]
In a city already overloaded with bakeries, it’s hard to stand out from the rest – but the Upper East Side’s Padoca steps up to the challenge. The Brazilian/Israeli bakery-child of Marina Halpern and Rachel Binder, their treats combine the best of both their cultures, bringing a unique take on city’s bakery scene.
The star of the bakery is, by far and beyond, the pao de queijo. Naturally gluten-free (my kind of treat), I’m always seeking out the Brazilian cheese balls when I want a chewy bread fix, and the pao de queijo here (called PDQ in these parts) is crispy on the outside, with the lightest, most fluffy, chewy, cheesy insides. If you were ever looking for an excuse to head up to the UES, do it for the PDQ. As if things couldn’t get any better, PDQ comes in sandwich form, with either ham and bechamel or tomato and cheese.
There’s other treats, too: Romeo + Juliet Babka is the bakery’s take on the traditional Jewish pastry, this time filled with guava and sweet cheese, the combination of which Brazilians have dubbed “the perfect love affair.” The rich red velvet brownie, topped with white chocolate curls, is their spin on the typical red velvet cupcake. They offer a variety of other gluten-free treats, including hefty pieces of their banana bread, studded with chocolate chips, and there are lunch options as well, plus coffee by Nobletree. In true Brazilian fashion, we washed everything down with Guarana soda.
If you’re out and cold up in the UES this winter (or even if you’re not there) – make it a point to pop by Padoca and warm up with their treats, including one (or a couple PDQ).