Sugar Sweet Sunshine
Meet the Chocolate Chip Pudding at Sugar Sweet Sunshine. Whipped cream, butterscotch pudding, and soft crumbled chocolate chip cookies, all mixed together in a crazy messy mass spooned into a big cup. Too sweet, too fatty, too delicious—it's for the glutton in me. The puddings here only get better with each visit. Their banana pudding will always be my favorite, but there's nothing like breaking the mold every now and then.
At Spice Market, keep your eye out for the Warm Rice Pudding, a new addition to the dessert menu. Here rice pudding meets creme brulée with a crackly caramelized surface and a spoonful of sweet basil seeds. Crack through the top, then make your way deep into the pudding bowl, luxurious and comforting. The creamy pudding is studded with golden and black raisins, and to complete, an accompaniment of puckery-sweet passionfruit sorbet neatly tucked into the fresh fruit shell.
There's not much I'm fond of at Tao, but the Banana Pudding is an exception. Softened wafers at the base, and layers of thinly sliced bananas. The vanilla pudding, running two inches deep into the bowl, is a good deal silkier, richer, and less fluffy than the bakery versions. Crushed almond fortune cookies cover the surface, but it's the crowning touch—one fat fried banana—that elevates this from a simple dessert to pure gluttony.
Russ & Daughters
There is bread pudding, and then there is bagel pudding. For the latter, head to Russ & Daughters, where the cut-to-order dessert goes for $4.99 a pound. Two choices—a chocolate chip pudding, or a raisin and prune one. The raisin is superior, always a few notches more moist than the chocolate, with plump bites of raisins and creamy, larger prunes. Reminiscent of Far Breton, a classic custard cake from Brittany, the pudding is composed of old bagels, chopped and baked in a sweet custard base—undeniably dense and filling, but in all the right ways.
Russ & Daughters
Dessert isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Russ & Daughters, but don't pass them up on your next smoked fish run. We've already noted the Bagel Pudding, but I'm particularly fond of their housemade Rice Pudding. Thick, lightly sweetened, cinnamon-speckled with a high rice-to-pudding ratio. The short grain rice is cooked just al dente, perhaps more toothsome than most are used to, but delicious nonetheless.