MY favorite thing is a bakery, and my favorite thing about where I live is how many bakeries are a dog's walk away. Dogs aren't allowed in bakeries, but many Manhattan bakeries have little benches in front so you can tie your dog's leash to a bench leg and keep watch out the window to make sure your dog isn't dognapped while you are buying a croissant.
If I head to the West Village, I stop at the O Café for a pão de queijo, a Brazilian cheese puff that really tastes best if you happen to arrive when it is just out of the oven. (I'm pro anything bakery-wise that fools you into thinking it's healthy. I consider a peanut butter cookie a source of protein.) From there I visit Amy's Bread on Bleecker Street for a ham, pickle and butter sandwich on a baguette and -- or -- a slice of layer cake. American layer cake is a great invention and, if you consider the variations, as remarkable as jazz. From there I'm off to the Blue Ribbon Bakery, where they make my favorite open-face sandwich: roasted tomatoes, arugula and a special lemony olive oil on their toasted white Pullman.