As this summer refuses to fade, so my vigil for decent iced tea in the city must remain constant.
Yesterday I found myself at the Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle, on the wise advice of some visiting German friends (and my wise advice to you, always listen to Germans when it comes to carbs- they know what they're talking about).
The bagged teas held no interest, so I selected an Arnold Palmer ($2.75) and a raspberry-filled almond croissant ($2.95). It was hard to turn down the jewel-like cases filled with cashew-butter and jam brioche sandwiches, coffee eclairs and linzer tart cookies, but I did need to save some room for lunch.
While the croissant was far closer to a danish than anything recognizable as French, it was still outstanding: The raspberry and almond-paste fillings complemented each other seamlessly, and an ample dusting of golden toasted almonds on top provided satisfying crunch and sweetness from the very first bite.
The drink, however, was less than impressive. It looked like black tea, but the flavor was so insipid that even Lipton could have beaten this one up at recess. The lemonade was from a bottle, and even though I'm sure it was an expensive brand, it still ended up contributing a tinny, vaguely bitter aftertaste. It wasn't the worst iced tea I've had, but it just didn't measure up to the rest of the bakery offerings.
And you can dust as much powdered sugar on it as you like, but you're paying a premium to eat in a glorified mall. Next time, I'll bring my own tea and take a pastry across the street to Central Park.
Finally, please try to ignore the foie gras dog biscuits at the cash register. Sometimes it's just not surprising that terrorists despise us.