187 West 4th Street near Barrow Street
My boyfriend had been trying to convince me that Patisserie Claude's pain au chocolat was the best in New York while I, on the other hand, was hard-set on the one from Ceci-Cela. He insisted on a taste-off. "What's the point?" I said, "I already know which one I'll like." On my birthday, though, I somehow gave into the idea of taking a morning stroll to Patisserie Claude, having coffee and sharing a pain au chocolat. "It better have thousands of crisp, buttery layers that shatter when you bite into it," I demanded, as we walked over, "And it better have that 'pull' in the middle." Within the first bite, I knew. And so did he. The layers were so delicate and airy that they floated around and landed on my scarf. I swooned over the generous chunks of chocolate. Perfection. "Okay," I conceded, with a grin, "You're right. It's really, really good."