Ah, summer in NYC: carpools to the Rockaways, picnics in the parks, and the eternal ice cream truck rivalry between Mr. Softee and whatever your neighborhood’s Mr. Softee rip-off is.
With August finally upon us, our opportunities to partake in these summer traditions and others are running out more rapidly than we might like. One may have to make cuts to beloved pastimes to make room for more feasible ones, and roasting marshmallows around a campfire is usually first on the cutting block for cityfolk.
But even if you can’t melt chocolate onto a graham cracker over a crackling flame in your studio apartment, you can still enjoy that most succulent of summer treats right here in western Queens before Labor Day comes.
That’s right, dear readers: it’s time for an end-of-summer s’mores roundup.
Sanford’s: S’more Pancake
30-13 Broadway, Astoria
When it comes to a day of chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers, there’s only one place to start: breakfast. The S’more Pancakes at Sandford’s on Broadway are more than just a chocolatey delight; they’re a damn fine pancake, too. Chocolate glaze and nutella are spread across a traditional pancake, while some torched marshmallows sit atop this mountain of decadent brunchiness, topped off with graham cracker dust.
This sugarbomb might seem imposing, but don’t let that stop you from the coup de grace that brings it all home: authentic Vermont maple syrup. Pancakes — however indulgent — simply aren’t complete without it.
Come to Sanford’s for the S’more Pancake, and come a second time for their other takes on flapjacks, like banana walnut or peanut butter. In the words of owner Christ Karalekas, “Pace yourself.”
Queens Comfort: S’more Blondie Brownie
40-09 30th Ave., Astoria
The mad geniuses at Queens Comfort are certainly no stranger to weird Astoria food, and their s’mores entry is proof. Leave your preconceived notions about brownies at the door — their S’more Blondie Brownie is different right from the jump with Oreos and graham crackers crushed right into the brownie batter itself. Marshmallows melted into what could almost be called a roux are poured over completed brownies, topped with ice-cold vanilla bean ice cream, and drizzled with caramel.
I’d say the resulting experience brought me back to childhood, but Queens Comfort’s decor, a vibrant shrine to toy cars, monsters, action figures and all things fun, did that the moment I walked in the place. If nothing else, the blondie fits right into the nostalgia-bomb.
Queens Comfort’s resident baker, Montana Barbieri — better known as Donut Diva — handmakes each and every blondie herself, so be sure to call ahead to make sure she’s whipping up a batch the day you go.
RaR Bar: Classic S’more with a Twist
30-01 35th Ave., Long Island City
Quiet, unassuming and tucked around the corner a block off of 31st Street, I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t know local wine bar Rèst-âü-Ránt has a delicious s’more hidden on their menu. Luckily, there’s still plenty of summer (or fall, or winter — it’s on the menu year-round!) left to rectify that.
RaR’s s’more is slightly more than meets the eye. Where Sanford’s gets savory and Queens Comfort gets weird, RaR gets sneaky. The chocolate ganache is hiding some infused Guinness stout in its prep, and the graham cracker crust has bits of pretzel mixed in, while the thick, melted marshmallow blanket enveloping the whole thing tucks it all away under its pillowy, torch-fired crust. It isn’t visually striking — but dang if it isn’t a sensory experience to take your breath away.
Chip NYC: S’more Cookie
3006 34th St., Astoria
New to Astoria’s food scene is cookies and cappuccino spot Chip NYC, and it’s already making an impression with cookie offerings like funfetti, oatmeal apple pie, and (of course) s’more. While this late-night treat spot certainly gets creative with offerings like blueberry cheesecake and chocolate chip walnut, it’s the gooey, creamy s’more that we’re here to rave about.
Chip keeps their s’more simple: beyond transmogrifying the classic campfire snack to cookie form, there’s little else changed about the holy union of graham, cocoa and mallow. The price point might sound steep at $3.50, but once you have one of these monsters in your hands and realize they’re more akin to a small cake than a cookie, you’ll call it money well spent. Chip is still cash only and only open Thursday through Sunday, so call ahead to make sure you’re ready for your trip to cookie heaven.