We recently completed Phases 8A, 8B, and 8C of our Cheesecake tasting safari.
Five Venues were sampled in this Phase 8A. All slices were predominantly non-ricotta "New York Style" cheesecake.
The cakes were tasted over a series of subsequent days, both "plain" and with coffee. The first days' tasting was the usual "dessert presentation".
On the 2nd and subsequent days the tastings are "half-eaten out of the box in the fridge". Our experience has been that the truly great cakes seem to have a "ripening" cycle where they will continue to evolve with greater flavor development for as much as 4, 5, or 6 days after purchase.
Tasting impressions and ratings follow in the order of tasting, not preference:
1) MARTHA FRANCES (2nd Ave. near 87th). This was actually a "re-taste" of a winner from Phase One...Day 1: Good with coffee. Fluffy, non-slimy texture. A lingering, pleasant complex taste. A bit sweetish but not as cloyingly, sickeningly sweet as in the Phase One tasting where they were nearly booted for that reason. One of the few "layered" cakes that works. Still too much crust on these cakes. GF comments: "Great with coffee... a bit too sweet but with a great aftertaste..." Our combined favorite of Day One. Day 2: Nice delicate texture. Pleasant lingering taste. Nice with coffee. Our favorite of Day 2 also, and the overall "winner" of this Phase. Will move on in the tasteoffs.
2) LE GOURMET. Day 1: Kind of a "powdery" or "sawdusty" quality to the texture and flavor. GF comments: "Powdery". Day 2: Some annoying "dusty" backnotes. Not rated.
3) LAZZARA. Day 1: Very pleasant "silky" texture... a bit of powderiness to the backnotes... aftertaste not quite as interesting. Good with coffee. GF comments: "Good but a bit too 'gluey' in texture. Her #2 fave of Day 1. Day 2: Nice thicker texture. Very muted, bland flavor however. Overall close but no cigar.
4) BUTTERCUP. Day 1: A strange very thick structure to this. Taste not too interesting. GF comments: "don't care for it". Day 2: Very "chewy" gombly texture with not much for flavor. Not rated.
5) BRUCE'S BAKERY. Note they were out of "plain" cheesecake slices so we went with "the closest to plain" which was a chocolate hinted variety. Day 1: Fair texture if a bit too hardened. Nice with coffee. 2nd overall favorite of Day 1. Day 2: Extra extreme thick texture is noted. Pleasant lingering flavor. Nice with coffee. The #2 fave overall of Day 2.
SO... in the end, Martha Frances and Bruce's Bakery will move on in the tasteoffs and we will move on to the gym to try and re-gain that belt notch we lost !
The link below is for Phase 6, can't find Phase 7.