When Florence Fabricant, longtime food critic for the New York Times, mentioned a newly opened Brazilian bakery in NYC that creates guava and cheese babke swirls I was all lit up. I guessed that the roots of Padoca’s treats, including challah french toast and black and white brownies, extended beyond Sao Paolo.
Indeed, owner Marina Halpern, grew up in a tight knit and vibrant Jewish community in Sao Paolo. When she was 11, she converted to Judaism in order to study for her Bat Mitzvah with her classmates at Hebrew day school. After arriving in NYC, she trained at the French Culinary Institute (now ICC) and cooked at the Dutch and the Mark before heading to London for a stint at a cafe known equally for creative dishes and customer service.
Marina Halpern and chef/baker Rachel Binder (who baked at Maialino, Tabla and Savoy) are a dynamic duo, pooling their talents and cultures in this bright spot on the corner of 68th St. and First Ave. Continue reading