by Karen McGrane
A shop combining tea, not-too-sweet baked goods and a love for the serenity of Japanese and French desserts seems like it would be a match for the Cool Hunting palate. Add in the fact that the charming shop got its start from a blog, Lovescool, and you've got a guaranteed hit around CH HQ. Amai Tea and Bake House recently opened its doors for retail service, after a few years providing wholesale goods to retailers across the U.S., including Takashimaya and Ito En here in New York.
Owner and Chief Baker, Kelli Bernard, conquered her dislike of writing by expressing her love of dessert on the blog set up for her by Andrew Lin, a former colleague and now the Creative Director at Amai. By sharing her thoughts on baking, recipes, and travel, Kelli connected with a passionate and supportive community of readers, which gave them the courage to start a new business. Though the selfish among us are sad to lose their collective talents as interaction designers, we're easily mollified by eating a few of their treats.
Rich brownies made with botanical ingredients like lychee and and white peach, as well as crisp tea cookies in flavors like chai almond and green tea (the latter of which won the Golden Scoop Award for Best Bakery Recipe from the French Culinary Institute this year) are available in their shop and online. Those in New York should definitely stop by their serene oasis for fresh treats you can't get online, like a puff pastry with sweet potato filling and a melt-in-your-mouth green tea muffin that's steamed rather than baked. The bakery downstairs turns out seasonal delights with fresh ingredients from the nearby Union Square Greenmarket, so expect a changing array of sweets to appear in their hand-crafted display cases. Don't miss their signature champagne brownies, available only from Thanksgiving until Valentine's Day.
Amai Tea and Bake House
171 3rd Avenue
New York, NY 10003 map
tel. +1 212 863 9630