There's nothing better after a long day than heading to Balthazar Bakery for a sumptuous wedge of Coconut Cake ($6.25)—one of the best in town. (My other favorite is from Amy's Bread). They usually sell out by late afternoon, so call ahead for availability if you can't make it before then. The moist cake has a tender and loose crumb, its three layers bound with a classic pastry cream. It's a dense and elegant cake with a smooth finish of buttercream and coconut. The coconut flakes that cover the exterior are not tiny, sweetened pre-packaged flakes, but large shards, wonderfully meaty, and toasted the lightest shade of brown.
Pair with a cup of Hazelnut Cocoa ($4), gentle with mild flavors, the hazelnut just a lingering undertone. Unlike so many hot chocolates around the city, this one is light and easy to drink. Who needs dinner after this combination?