I recently went to Padoca Bakery for the first time–it is on the NW corner of 68th and First on the Upper East Side in the spot where Wok ‘N Roll was for many years. Not only does it have a super convenient location, but they have unique Brazilian pastries and sandwiches that you cannot get elsewhere and counter service is ultra-quick. After you pick up your food, you can sit down at an intimate old-school style table and if you are lucky, you can get the one with the porch swing to sit on! I adore the giant lamp made of out of real teapots in the center of the dining area. The space has both a kitschy and clean loft look at the same time, which I adore–and tables are spaced quite a good distance from each other, so there is no crowding.
The coffee is great here and they use a brand of bean called Nobletree which is strong and fragrant; be sure to have one of their big cappucinos (they even make a swirly artistic design on top of each cup)! They have homemade juices in bottles in the refrigerator case–be sure to ry the Green Juice and Mint Lemonade for super refreshment (there are big fresh peppermint leaves inside the mint lemonade, which is a beautiful touch).
They have the classic Brazilian cheese bread which you can simply refer to as “PDQ” and be sure to ask for it to be heated. It is rich and fluffy and used for Padoca’s exquisite ham sandwich, which features about four ounces of freshly, thick-sliced city ham. I like this ham sandwich even better than those at legendary NYC delis and it is very filling without being outsized. I also went nuts for the mushroom empanadas which featured classic button mushrooms sliced and sauteed in a tiny bit of olive oil and herbs and then stuffed into homemade flaky dough and baked. The crust is simply to die for! You can justify eating three or four of these by saying that the “filling is healthy”–LOL!
For the health-concious, the homemade Acai bowl which is Acai blended with fresh bananas into a paste and then topped with Padoca’s homemade granola. This is very filling and loaded with vitamins, and the portion is over a cup in size.
Babkas are another specialty there, and you can buy whole loaves to take home for $16. I like the little individual portions that look like tall cinnamon rolls. I tried both the Chocolate Dulche De Leche and the Romeo & Juliet (which has a filling guava with fresh sweet soft cheese) and both were very flavorful. The fillings are so thick and fresh. The Chocolate Dulche De Leche tastes a little more like dark chocolate than caramel and the sweet soft cheese used in the Romeo & Juliet puts our American cream cheese to shame!
Podoca Bakery, only open for about a year but already turning into an UES legend, is located at 359 East 68th Street and you can place orders for delivery/catering. The address is http://www.padocabakery.com. Phone 212-300-4543. No reservations necessary. Padoca Bakery is child friendly and dress is very casual. I suggest buying some of their PDQ bread to take home and eat for breakfast or a snack…or even to make your own sandwiches on at home. It is truly a special bread!