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High Line Sweets Stand Unveils Mexican-Inspired Delicacies

By Mathew Katz | November 1, 2011 10:43am | Updated on November 1, 2011 12:01pm
Pan de muerto, which will only be available during the Mexican Day of the Dead.
Pan de muerto, which will only be available during the Mexican Day of the Dead.
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DNAinfo/Mathew Katz

CHELSEA — Snow over the weekend delayed the unveiling of a brand new menu at La Newyorkina, but now owner and chef Fany Gerson says the High Line's Mexican sweets stand is ready for the winter — and for the Day of the Dead.

After a successful summer selling Mexican-inspired popsicles and ice cream at the stand just north of the West 14th Street entrance to the park, Gerson has switched to a menu for a more frozen climate.

“I want to show the sweeter side of Mexico,” she said. “This stuff can be as good on a cold day as any French pastry.”

This week, to celebrate the Mexican Day of the Dead, La Newyorkina unveiled round, challah-like pan de muerto, a traditional orange-zest-topped bun made for the spooky celebration.

But the centerpiece — and most fragrant — of Gerson's winter offerings was her Mexican hot chocolate.

By smell alone, it drew dozens of customers on Monday.

“I brought 150 pounds of the chocolate I use back from Mexico — in a suitcase,” said Gerson, a native of the country who has lived in New York for 12 years.

The chocolate itself was toasted over coal, ground by hand and combined with cinnamon and sugar. It was then melted into the milk itself and hand-frothed using a molinillo, an engraved wooden rattle-like device that gives the drink a bubbly topping.

Gerson is banking on the hot chocolate: she's offering regulars a frequent-buyer card: buy 10 hot chocolates, get one free. Big fans of her food can also pick up her award-winning cookbook, "My Sweet Mexico," at the stand.

La Newyorkina is one of the few food stands on the High Line that will stay open through some of the winter. Depending on how cold it gets, Gerson plans on staying open through the end of the year and hopes to add even more new items, like warm, fruit-filled tamales.

She already had jars of Mexican sweets, including cocadas (a lime and coconut macaroon) and  garabatos (a sugar cookie with dark chocolate filling and a pumpkin seed).

“People like their pies, their chocolate chip cookies, that traditional stuff,” she said.

“But my whole goal is that I want to show them something different. I want to show them something from my childhood.”