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Eat and Drink

Desserts in disguise

The S'mores Empanada at La Cenita is filled

The S'mores Empanada at La Cenita is filled with chocolate, instead of the savory meats usually associated with empanadas. Photo Credit: La Cenita

We know New York is the capital of combined creations (donuts and croissants, waffles and ice cream, burgers and ramen buns), but there are also bakeshops and restaurants that are cleverly disguising food favorites -- and just in time for the guilt that comes with avoiding New Year's resolutions.

"Disguising foods gives guests a chance to experience something other than every day eating, and that 'wow factor' is always exciting," said New York City Chef David Burke. "The key to disguising foods lies in craftsmanship and unique presentation. For example, we use the ostrich egg at David Burke Townhouse because people don't see it every day. Playing with a particular food in a new and unique way keeps the element of surprise alive."

Without being completely conniving, these fun dishes are made to look as if they are other drool-worthy delicacies:


A cake made of braised pineapple, coconut cream and candied pistachios with shiso lime syrup is, itself, just that: a cake. The coconut shell that accompanies the soft sugary treat, however, is actually coconut sorbet coated in chocolate, rather than an island fruit. $11.

The General, 199 Bowery, 212-271-7101,


Breaking the pie-mold is a key lime pie that looks like an egg. With a white chocolate shell, this delectable dessert is filled with key lime curd and panna cotta and topped with a nest of kataifi (a pastry that looks like shredded wheat). The most decadent addition are the blueberries covered in edible glitter. $14.

David Burke Townhouse, 133 E. 61st St., 212-813-2121,


Soft cheesecake takes the form of New York's favorite fruit, with a raspberry puree coat and walnut and orange salad. This apple impostor isn't the only disguised item on this menu either! $8.75.

Spot Dessert Bar, 13 St. Marks Place, 212-677-5670,


"The Little Dinner," which just recently opened in September, is serving up more than supper. Equipped with a pizza cutter, the restaurant's version of this hand-held pastry (typically filled with meat and other hearty ingredients), involves chipotle marshmallow, brownie, milk chocolate and dark chocolate, instead. $12.

La Cenita, 409 W. 14th St., 646-289-3930,


Needles and noshing do not usually mix. That is, unless, the syringe is filled with chocolate. This sure shot of sugar is a sweet way to start any day, and is likely just what the doctor ordered. $4.75.

Max Brenner, 841 Broadway, 646-467-8803,


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