Home » HOTR Eats » Desserts, HOTR Eats, LifeontheRun » Weekend on the Run: Part 1

Weekend on the Run: Part 1

(The Part In Which We Eat Our Weight in Baked Goods)

Today I ran my first 5K since college, and my first road race 5K since high school (in case you were wondering, that was a long time ago ;)). You might think that a little 5K would seem like nothing after running marathons. But the truth is, I was extremely nervous to sign up for this race. More nervous than I was for the marathon I signed up for the same day (more details on that to come). After all, 5Ks are fast! And my running since the Cape Cod Marathon has been pretty minimal. But when my fellow ontherun sister told me she had signed up for the Providence Downtown Jingle Bell 5K, I had to jump on board.

So what’s the best thing to do the day before a race to make sure you’re nice and ready? Rest, hydrate, and eat plenty of healthy carbs. Naturally, I did the opposite.

A little while ago, Becky had also invited me on an impromptu, one day trip to NYC. Since I had never been at Christmas-time to see all the decorations, I jumped at the chance. Armed with nothing more than Google Maps on my iPhone and a few recommendations from Susan, we set out in the early hours of the morning with one simple plan: to eat.


And we didn’t want to eat just anything. We both knew nothing could fuel our 5K dreams better than cupcakes. More specifically, cupcakes from 3 well-known NYC bakeries: Magnolia, Crumbs, and Buttercup Bake Shop. Now I was no stranger to these amazing cupcakeries, having tried them all on previous trips to the city. But it had been awhile, and we felt that an official taste-test was in order.


Fueled by a late morning Peppermint Mocha, we trekked through the city by foot, following a less-than carefully planned route to these sugar havens. 3 cupcakes, 2 kinds of pizza, and several cute Christmas markets later, we dubbed the day a huge success. Our route, along with a quick review of all the restaurants we tried is all below.

View Larger Map

In order of destination

Crumbs Bake Shop



I’ll admit I was already partial to Crumbs before this trip. I knew their huge, rich cupcakes were to die for. I’m happy to say this trip did not disappoint. There was a sea of cupcakes to choose from – each one looking more decadent than the next. We finally settled on a mammoth-sized peanut-butter cup cupcake to sample. This chocolate cupcake had a light, fluffy peanut butter frosting with mini peanut butter and chocolate chips on top.

DSCN1396 Photographed atop the now infamous pizza box

And on the inside, peanut butter filling. Heaven.

While this cupcake was more expensive than the other two (by about a dollar), it was definitely much larger in size. And totally worth it.

DSCN1397 Did you know restaurants don’t like it when you bring in outside food? 😉 This photo was quickly snapped before we got scolded by the waitress

Bella Vita Pizzeria

Seeing as our big plans for the day included consuming mass quantities of sugar, we figured it would be a good idea to get some solid food in our bodies. When it came to choosing what to eat for lunch, we went with the obvious choice: pizza!

We happened to be near Bella Vita, so decided to give it a try. We figured we couldn’t go wrong with Neapolitan Old World style brick oven pizza. The long wait outside told us it must be good.


Our wait ended up being completely worth it. We ordered a pesto & mushroom pizza that was so good, it had non-mushroom eating Becky convinced. 😉 So good, that we decided that we had no choice but to cart a box of leftover pizza around the city for 6 hours.


The pizza had flat crust that was still soft, sauce that was slightly sweet, and fresh-tasting pesto that had just the right amount of basil. I loved how the pesto was actually on top of everything else. And while I do love cheesy pizza, I appreciated the balance of cheese and sauce on this one.

Max Brenner’s

Our next stop on the dessert tour of the city was a chocolate lover’s dream: Max Brenner Chocolate. Becky had seen their chocolate pizza featured on The Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate. With a proclamation like that, we knew we had to give it a try. Would it stand up to the cupcakes in a taste test?

DSCN1400 Clearly ecstatic at the thought of chocolate overload

The chocolate pizza had a buttery bread crust, with melted milk chocolate “sauce,” white chocolate “cheese,” and was topped with toasted marshmallows. It was quickly determined that we would probably need a cup of coffee to wash all this sugar down.



The verdict: messy, sweet, and delicious! I loved the combination of melted chocolate with roasted marshmallows on top of a delicious crust. But to say this slice was sweet is probably an understatement. Even with our coffee to chase it down, the two of us could not get through one slice.

DSCN1409I think she likes it 😉

DSCN1411 See the glassy eyes? Sugar coma is setting in.


Despite the fact that we couldn’t actually finish the pizza, I’m glad we tried it. And I’d definitely go back. Max Brenner’s had so much more to offer: brownies, cookies, spiced hot chocolate, and the most amazing fondue spread I’ve ever seen. Thank goodness there is one opening in Boston soon!

Magnolia Bakery

Of all the cupcakes that we tried yesterday, I think those from Magnolia are probably the most famous. There are 4 different locations throughout the city. We chose to go to the smallest location because it fit in best with our plan – the one in Grand Central station.


Despite the small size of the shop, there was still a decent selection to choose from. This time, we decided to go with something a little more classic: a yellow cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting.



These cupcakes are quite a bit smaller than the ones from Crumbs. The buttercream frosting was delicious. Fluffy, buttery, and chocolatey, without overloading on the sugar. The cake was not overly sweet either, which provided a nice balance to the buttercream. However, it lacked the filling and overall moistness that made the Crumbs cupcake so wonderful.

Buttercup Bake Shop

The last stop on our Cupcake Tour of NYC was cute little Buttercup Bake Shop.


Inside we were greeted with row upon row of cupcakes and delicious looking cakes. I found myself wishing I could sample one of everything.



For our last cupcake, we decided to go with the German chocolate cake. The piles of coconut in the frosting alone sold us.


This cupcake was very similar in taste and texture to the one from Magnolia, which didn’t come as a surprise once we found out that they’re actually founded by the same person.


Although I could probably have eaten an entire tub of the amazing frosting, I found the actual cupcake to be a bit dry and disappointing. The dryness of the cupcake mixed with the rich frosting did balance each other out, but I like my cake dense and rich…and this just wasn’t.

The Verdict

After a long day of walking, eating, and an awkward photo shoot with our frosting-stained pizza box, the results were in.


The winning cupcake?! Crumbs, by a landslide! Not only did this win for best cupcake, but we declared it to be the best thing we ate all day. Rich, moist, and not overly sweet, this humungous cupcake was a clear winner. Our only regret was that we didn’t bring home extra (yet managed to take back a few slices of smashed pizza and a dirty box. Go figure…)

After being on our feet for hours, walking over 6 miles, and eating 3 different types of cupcakes (plus drinking 3 cups of coffee and little water throughout the whole day – oops), we both were ready to crash. After all, we had a race to run!

If you’re ever in New York City, I highly recommend trying out Crumbs bakery. Or, if cupcakes aren’t your thing, check out Max Brenner’s. The cool atmosphere and wealth of options means there’s got to be something there for everyone!

*Race recap to follow soon!

22 Responses to Weekend on the Run: Part 1

  1. I am laughing out loud. Reading the actual recap of our day makes it even funnier. I will never forget our special pizza box.

    I keep saying “Next time we go to New York…” so just know, there will be a next time! Meanwhile, I will count the days until Max Brenner opens in Boston. I need to roast marshmallows and dip them in chocolate.
    Becky´s last post ..Bright Lights- Big City

  2. Glad you had a good time in our fair city! We had to give up on the huge Crumbs cupcakes shortly after moving here. There is one a half block from our building. SO dangerous!

    There is also a cupcake shop in the East Village (Butterlane) that serves “frosting shots” on the side with their cupcakes. :) Maybe next time!

    • I’m always so in awe of how many amazing places there are to eat in NYC! I think I’d have a hard time not eating out everyday if I lived there. …and living 1/2 a block from a Crumbs sounds pretty dangerous.

      Thanks for the cupcake recommendation. That sounds heavenly!! Next time, for sure. :)

  3. That is one epic eating adventure

  4. Haha, it looks like you two had a blast! So much fun :) I’m now tempted to do my own NYC cupcaking adventure. But I know my taste-testing will have the same results as yours. Crumbs is just so amazing. They definitely have the best cupcakes anywhere!

    PS- I’m surprised you got a picture of the cupcake display at Crumbs. I tried to get one w/ my phone and the people working there screamed at me! :(
    Jen´s last post ..Does it count as a long run

    • Yikes! Seriously?! That’s a little crazy. Both Becky and I were snapping pictures with both our phones and our cameras. Maybe this Crumbs had nicer staff…

  5. My stomach aches just from reading this! So glad you had a blast.

    My favorite cupcakes are from Butter Lane (the place Shawn recommended) and Two Little Red Hens (way on the Upper East Side). Gosh, it’s been a while since I’ve had one! I should rectify that :)

    Can’t wait to read Part 2!
    Kate (Embarrassment of Riches)´s last post ..Expedition- Red Hook

    • I wish I had talked to you guys before we went to the city! I guess that means I’ll have to plan a trip back ASAP :)

    • They Look beautiful!! And i’m so linovg your blog and photos!!! since signing up with Betty I realize I need to sit down and really figure out this blog thing before our Sept assignment! :) Congrats on some beautiful looking cupcakes though!

  6. you must have some kind of mystical powers…because mr. dawn and i are planning a trip to nyc on our way to boston. he wants to see all of the sites, since its his first trip to the big apple. i, on the other hand, just want to find and eat the best cupcake in the city. i’ve actually looked up all those bakeries online :) and now i know which one to put on top of my priority list! yay!

    not sure that its the best way to carbo load for my marathon, but i’m sure its totally worth it :)
    the dawn´s last post ..the week’s end- 19 weeks to go

    • Personally, I think that you’ve got the better plan! If it helps, Becky and I both did really well at the 5K the day after eating all this…so I think there’s something to carbo-loading via cupcakes! 😉

  7. I think I went into a diabetic coma just reading this. Well I will say, y’all did it right! That’s awesome. I have had Crumbs but I am going to need to add the Max Brenner to the bucket list. Me and chocolate, mmmmm.

    Super cute pics. You are perfect travel companions…how about you run on down to GA?!
    Nichole´s last post ..What If Birthday Wishes

  8. OMG look at all that food you guys ate!! I’m insanely jealous and totally craving that dessert pizza. That looks sooo delicious!! Looks like a fun day in NYC!
    lizzy´s last post ..Happy Chrismakkah New Running Club

  9. I’m having a really hard time decided which looks better: the chocolate peanut butter cupcake… or mushroom pesto pizza. Looks like you really got the best of NYC!

  10. Um. I’m jealous. And think I need to set up a bakery crawl with my friends asap! Oh my goodness…

    Cupcakes are something I was really into baking last year, but have since chilled out on. I really think I want to try my hand at a peanut butter cup one… could get exciting.
    Amy B @ Second City Randomness´s last post ..Static

  11. I’m drooling all over my computer.

  12. Thanks for the recommendation about Crumbs. One is opening soon in Chicago in the same block as my office. So I’m glad somebody gave me fair warning about the cupcakes.

  13. Ah I’m glad you had such a good day and got to eat some good cupcakes! :) I’ve never actually eaten at Max Brenner, so I need to get my butt down there.

    Next time we better meet up!
    Susan – Nurse on the Run´s last post ..weekendish wrap-up

  14. Holy crap, look at those cupcake! Oh yeah, you already did…but dude, I may have to do it again myself! The PB cup one looks absolutely to die for…I’d love to go back to NYC and eat my way through the city!

  15. omg i need that first cupcake RIGHT NOW!! pretty please 😉 looks like an amazing weekend of yumminess!
    aron´s last post ..race report- 2010 california international marathon CIM

  16. How cute are you guys! That was a serious “sweet” time you had 😉
    Bekah @ runtrackmind´s last post ..Adversity To Celebration

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge