I had no idea what babka was before I wandered over to Breads Bakery on 16th Street to try one of the lastest must-try bites in NYC to be sweeping the food blogs. Babka is a traditional Israeli dessert, breakfast or coffee cake that is spectacularly loaded with butter and chunks of chocolate. It pulls apart like a croissant and you can't eat it without your hands becoming covered with chocolatey babka flakes (helped by licking your fingers of course).
Breads is owned by an Israeli who owns one of Tel Aviv's most popular bakeries, Lehamim, so I knew there was a good chance I'd like it. I loved eating our way through Israel last year and I LOVE the falafel at Taim, also Israeli-owned.
It's right off Union Square and it has actual seats you can sit down in (very unlike Union Square). Of course, they are usually all full.
But that's not why you come.
You come for the chocolate babka.
And oh man. You'll return for the chocolate babka.
They don't sell it by the slice so you'll have to get a loaf. They pour a syrup over the bread when it comes out of the oven so there's a beautiful, caramelized crust on top.
It freezes REALLY well so slice yourself a s̶m̶a̶l̶l̶ piggish portion and freeze the rest. Or bring it over for a dinner party and you'll be the most popular person there.
The babka line-upP.S. - There's also GREAT serve yourself iced tea!