For Sale: Eating Pleasure. Price: $2

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Bouchon Bakery's bouchon, Shake Shack's cone, and Burgers and Cupcakes' mini-cupcake

So what can you buy for $2.00 or less that is good enough to tell your friends about, (not including pizza slices, which I'll deal with separately)?

My top 11 list (is that a baker's ten?) list, not in any particular order. Please pardon the lack of visuals and links. I'm totally crazed this morning.

1. I teased you yesterday with one of my picks, the intensely chocolaty bouchon at Bouchon Bakery. I believe the bouchon is the only thing you can get at Bouchon Bakery for under two dollars.

2. Another great cheap chocolate thrill is the chocolate fondant ($1.85), the little flourless chocolate cakes, at Beard Papa. I've bought six of them as dessert for a dinner party. Nuked in a microwave for 20 seconds each and topped with Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream, these puppies will have have your host thanking you profusely. Of course the Beard Papa cream puffs also qualify ($1.25) (stick to the classic flavor). Also delicious and cheap here are the cheesecake sticks, a light soufflé-like confection that gives Japanese cheesecake a good name.

3. Mitchel London cupcakes at Burgers and Cupcakes: Yes, Mitchel is shall we say eccentric in the extreme, but the man knows what tastes good. The mini-cupcakes ($2) here are moist flavorful and, gasp!, taste as if they weren't made with a mix. And if you've overdosed on cupcakes, Mitchel's very good rustic apple tarts are a very reasonable $1.75 here.

4. Bings at Roll and Dough (NOW CLOSED): These little savory pastries ($1.50-1.95) have a divine flaky crust and fine fillings. I like the regular and spicy pork varieties, but then again I go for the pork time and time again.

5. Hot Dog at Papaya King: Though I heard at dinner last night that Gray's Papaya was about to raise the prices of its hot dogs to over a dollar, Papaya King has been at a $1.70 for awhile now. Same great natural casing dog, perhaps a touch bigger, with an unidentified secret ingredient I can't identify, and better mustard.

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Roll and Dough's bings and Sullivan Street Bakery's pizza bianca

6. A Bag of Organic Popcorn at Fairway: wouldn't mind spending $5 for a tub of popcorn at Sony Lincoln Square popped the week before it's purchased if the popcorn didn't suck. But it does, big time, so when I have the time I walk upstairs at Fairway and pick up a $1.29 bag of organic popcorn easily big enough for two. It's worth the trip up those stairs and the hand to hand combat you have to engage the crazies in on every visit to Fairway.

7. Four Prosciutto Balls at Joe's Superette: A shout-out to fellow Times contributor Dana Bowen for turning me on to these crunchy, creamy, savory delights at a shop on Smith Street that has most assuredly not been gentrified. Maybe that's why Joe Coladonato can sell these outstanding little treats for 50 cents apiece.

8. Kiddie Cones at Shake Shack: I know you all think I'm on Danny Meyer's payroll for mentioning the Shake Shack in every list, but the kiddie cone ($1.15) here is a beautiful thing. You get enough frozen custard to fully experience its greatness, and you get your cone within five minutes of being in line because you get to wait in the ice cream only express queue.

9. A slice of Pizza Bianca or Bianca con Pecorino at Sullivan Street Bakery: I know it's not the cheesy slice of pizza New Yorkers know and love, but Jim Lahey's pizzas are Roman-inspired rafts of deliciousness. The Pizza Bianco, made with fresh rosemary, extra virgin olive oil, and salt, and the Bianco Pecorino, made with Pecorino chese, salt, bread crumbs, and extra-virgin olive oil, both make it under the $2 limit.

10. City Bakery Hot Chocolate Shot: Let's face it. An entire cup of Maury Rubin's insanely rich hot chocolate is just too much. But City Bakery regulars know to order the hot chocolate by the shot, which is just the right amount and costs $2.

11. I almost forgot about Madeline Lanciani's insanely buttery and good fruit turnovers ($1.50) at Duane Park Patisserie, which are just about as good as a turnover can get.

Again, I know I'm light on Chinese and Mexican snacks, so please come to my rescue.

Today's Times reviews:

  • Bruni takes on Japonais and declares it woefully inconsistent and obviously trendy.
  • Peter Meehan goes to Province. I went with him a couple of weeks ago, and the pork and and short rib sandwiches are very fine, indeed.
Bouchon Bakery

Address: 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019 (map)
Phone: 212-823-9364
Website: bouchonbakery.com

Beard Papa

Address: 2167 Broadway, New York, NY 10024 (b/n 76th and 77th; map)
740 Broadway, New York, NY 10003 (neat Astor Place; map)
5 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014 (b/n 6th Ave and Bleeker; map)
Phone: 212-799-3770, 212-353-8888, 212-255-4675
Website: muginohousa.com

Burgers and Cupcakes

Address: 265 W 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011 (b/n 7th and 8th; map)
Phone: 212-242-0600
Website: burgersandcupcakes.us

Papaya King

Address: 200 W 14th Street, New York, NY 10011 (near 7th; map)
179 E 86th Street, New York, NY 10028 (b/n 3rd and Lex; map)
121 W 125th Street, New York, NY 10027 (near Lenox Ave; map)
Phone: 212-367-8090, 212-369-0648, 212-665-5732
Website: papayaking.com

Fairway

Address: 2127 Broadway, New York, NY 10023 (b/n 74th and 75th; map)
Phone: 212-595-1888
Website: fairwaymarket.com

Joe's Superette

Address: 349 Smith Street; Brooklyn, NY 11231 (map)
Phone: 718-855-6463

Shake Shack

Address: 10 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010 (inside Madison Square Park; map)
Phone: 212-889-6600
Website: shakeshacknyc.com

Sullivan Street Bakery

Address: 533 W 47th Street, New York, NY 10036 (map)
Phone: 212-582-1237
Website: sullivanstreetbakery.com

City Bakery

Address: 3 W 18th Street, New York, NY 10011 (near 5th; map)
Phone: 212-366-1414
Website: thecitybakery.com

Duane Park Patisserie

Address: 179 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013 (map)
Phone: 212-274-8447
Website: madelines.net

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