Eat Like an Insider: Bouchon Bakery’s Alessandra Altieri Lopez – Metro US

Eat Like an Insider: Bouchon Bakery’s Alessandra Altieri Lopez

We’re calling it now:Bouchon Bakery’s Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookie Sandwich is going to be the hit of fall.

If you thought gourmet chefs are beyond things like childhood favorites, the cookie is the result of a late-night phone call with an idea (or maybe more accurately, a craving?) from chef-owner Thomas Keller (Per Se) to Bouchon’s director, Alessandra Altieri Lopez.

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With both of them being “huge fans” of the flavors, “we were really on the same page right off the bat,” says Altieri Lopez. “I never even tested a non-sandwich cookie. Just went right for the sandwich — knew it would give that super indulgent ‘wow’ factor we both were looking for.”

After several experiments to add more crunch and get ganache in every bite, the final product is a peanut butter cookie with roasted salted peanuts and chunks of 72 percent cocoa; the filling is a ring of dark chocolate ganache and peanut butter cream. A sprinkle of fleur de sel amps up all the flavors, then the second cookie is placed on top.

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Altieri Lopez oversees all Bouchon locations, including the bakeries at Rockefeller Center and the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle, which bracket a part of Midtown that most New Yorkers have ceded to office workers and tourists. But she knows better, having lived in the neighborhood for six years after getting tired of her commute from New Jersey while working at Per Se.

In that time, she found there’s more to Midtown than overpriced sandwiches and chain restaurants.

Weekday lunch:“I love a good sandwich andSfilatino Italian Gourmet(342 W. 57th St.) has one I really enjoy. It’s a tiny place with only about six tables, so it’s typically quiet. I always get the same thing, the potenza sandwich. It’s actually the only thing I’ve ever had from there, but it’s so good I don’t see a reason to try anything else. If I’m really treating myself, I stop atGrom Gelato(1796 Broadway) for tiramisu gelato.”

After-work drinks:“My favorite place to go isThe Skylark. It’s a beautiful lounge with great small bites and amazing cocktails. It’s never obnoxiously crowded, has good music and just overall has a great atmosphere that I really enjoy — especially now that I’m in my 30s.”

Worth a special trip:“I have two Midtown favorites: 1.Benoit. I don’t have a favorite thing in particular that I like to order; everything is always good. I’m a huge fan of chef Philippe’s cooking, so I always know that whatever I order won’t be a miss. 2.Yakitori Totto. I love how authentic is feels and the skewers are amazing. Oddly enough, the grilled asparagus (as insanely simple as it is) is one of my favorites — charred on the outside with a healthy sprinkle of salt.”

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