By Seth Fera-Schanes
Imagine you find yourself wandering around Manhattan’s Upper West Side. You are about to pass 74th street on Amsterdam Avenue and the smell of freshly baked cookies permeates the air. You are instantly taken back to childhood, eagerly awaiting for your Mom to pull a baking sheet of chocolate chip cookies from the oven. A smile spreads across your face.
You peer right down the street between Amsterdam and Columbus to see a line of people on the sidewalk but then they suddenly disappear down a small flight of stairs into a basement. This is Levain Bakery; hidden from street view and bearing a treasure for those willing to seek it out.
The menu at Levain is simple, a few sticky buns, rustic flat-bread pizza and of course the cookies. Four kinds of cookies to be exact, each the size of a baseball and cooked to perfection (warm, melting chocolate chips and a smell that will make even the most seasoned cookie affection-ado swoon.)
One cookie is more than enough for two people. However, I always get two for good measure. Also, take some advice from a Levain regular – do purchase a beverage or you will be running to your nearest bodega for a tall glass of milk right afterward.
Once you make your purchase, bypass the few seats in the store and head upstairs, take a left and walk about 1/2 way down the block. There are a few brownstones with stairs and they provide a perfect setting to hang out, enjoy some great cookies and watch NYC life pass by in front of you.
A perfect outing for a date or with friends, Levain Bakery is highly recommended.