When I Begin To Try Everything At Sugar Club

I might live too close to the Sugar Club.

Anything called Sugar Club might be a tough thing for yours truly to avoid. This is the name of a Thai-dessert-spot-slash-small-Thai-grocery located in Elmhurst, Queens. Although half of the space is dedicated to sit-down treats, I have yet to stay and eat their recommended Romeo Toast or a classic mango with sticky rice. What has made me happy so far is the craziness that is their to-go section. So. Many. Options. If you’re looking to try new Thai snacks, they have a massive array of homemade choices ranging from savory to sweet, from the familiar to the new (that is, if you’re not a Thai native or super-well-versed in Thai cuisine).

The first time I went into Sugar Club, I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory reworked for tropical flavors. The grocery area was filled to the brim with take-home containers full of food. The flavors of taro, pandan, coconut, and tapioca were everywhere. I almost jumped for joy, ready to carry a tower of plastic boxes home for taste testing, but decided to practice some restraint. “I’ll come back soon,” I promised to myself, choosing a single container of black sticky rice for the road. “I will try to return every other week and pick up 3 new options to try.”

Of course it ended up that my take-home options for trip #2 were more limited in scope.  It seemed like they were awaiting a new batch of food on that day. I decided to bring home a container of Woon jelly- basically a Thai Jello- if only because it looked so pretty, as well as a Taro pudding and a coconut cake called Kanom Ba Bin.

The bite-sized jellies were basically what I expected: not too exciting flavor-wise, but pretty to look at. The Kanom Ba Bin were pretty tasty, but my favorite was the taro pudding which was soft and starchy, flavored with coconut, and felt like a very eggy bread custard. The black sticky rice dessert from my first trip, by the way, was also excellent.

I’ll be sure to post another round in a couple of weeks. (remember, practicing restraint…)

Sugar Club is located at 8118 Broadway in Elmhurst, Queens.

 

 

When Classic French Bakeries Are Tucked Into Strip Malls.

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Queens bakery Canelle Patisserie has been in East Elmhurst for what seems like forever. They have added a second location in LIC that is more centralized to trains and Midtown Manhattan, but I hope the original location never goes away. I always love the surprise of good food in the most random of strip malls. This seems to be the sort of place you’d normally find in LA, where most restaurants pretty much have to be located in a strip mall. This is a west-coast-centric-quirk: here in NYC, a strip mall usually means blah chain stores. Which makes Canelle, tucked between a (also good) Greek restaurant and small grocer amidst rows and rows of parking, have a sort of strange magical quality to it. The continuous roar of low-lying airplanes about to land at nearby Laguardia airport adds to the strangeness. The planes are only around if a specific runway is being used that day. If so, they pass just over this strip mall where it feels like you can touch them overhead. On the morning I stopped by that particular runway seemed to not be in use, but trust me, you will know either way.

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I hear the cakes are good but I have yet to have a reason to pick one up. The pastries are always more reasonable to leave with when you don’t have a special occasion to attend that afternoon. Here we have a Chocolate Croissant, Guava Danish, and Pain Viennois. The croissant and danish are flaky perfection. The Pain Viennois was interesting to taste, like a baguette that’s softer and sweeter. It would pair well with jam and coffee.