Going to NY to focus on photography was the main goal of my recent trip. But, like always, food from new places captivates my senses and I’m drawn to try new foods and restaurants. I decided the only way to properly document and discuss my favorites from my travels is to break it down into three (food related) categories; Sweet, Savory and Smooth Sipping.
- Doughnut Plant – This place was recommended as one of the best doughnut places “they had ever been to” so naturally I had to try it. Mark Isreal founded the plant in 1994, by taking his grandfather’s doughnut recipe, and created a regular household name here in New York. They have round doughnuts, square doughnuts, cake (no yeast) doughnuts, filled doughnuts and little “doughseeds.” The Doughnut Plant was also the world inventor of the Creme Brulee Doughnut in 2008. With the wonderful doughnut inspired decor this place will not disappoint. I sampled the “cake doughnuts” in both Lavender and Matcha Green Tea flavors. Highly recommend this place but come early because it is a popular place!
- Laduree Soho – Having heard about these acclaimed macaroons from friends in Paris, the SoHo store was one of my first stops. It truly was one of the best looking boutique bakeries I have ever been in. The marble and the mint green paint, the tea cups, the desserts; everything was perfectly placed and set up. If you are within a 25 mile vicinity of any Laduree shop you must stop by!
- Key Lime Tart from The Red Cat – This was not a specific dessert stop but it was the perfect end to our meal at the Red Cat in Chelsea. The tart was accompanied with huckleberries and a mascarpone whipped cream. It was simply to die for. Not overly sweet and very refreshing, this is a must order if you ever find yourself at the Red Cat!
- Eleni’s – Tucked away in the curvy hallway of the Chelsea Market, this bright and upbeat bakery was so much fun to walk around. Custom cookies, candies, cupcakes and a little cafe make this bakery a special stop. Obviously looking and not buying sweets has never been an option for me so I tried two of their little custom NYC cookies, their Salted Caramel (also something I will NEVER pass up) and their Black & White cupcakes. I couldn’t walk home fast enough to sample these delicacies and I was not disappointed in the slightest! Highly recommend if you need a gift for someone!
- Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar – While waiting outside to meet a friend for lunch, I was pleasantly surprised when I turned around to see what shop I was standing in front of. Being a chocolate shop, it was pure instinct for me to go inside. Opening the doors to Max Brenner’s shop was like being immersed in a cup of warm chocolate. The smell was heavenly and the place was packed. Thankfully, I only had about five minutes to look around otherwise the whole store would have come home with me. They have a restaurant, cafe and a gift area where you can purchase his special chocolate confections. Offering customers a sample, the lady behind the counter had me hooked on their “nuts.” These delicious little bites were caramelized pecans rolled in hazelnut cream and fine cocoa powder. They also had a perfect little S’Mores gift set, which included the marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, a little “stove” and even the heat, perfect for a tableside s’mores treat!
- Omen – This “country style” Japanese restaurant in SoHo was a fabulous way to start off the trip. In a dark, long and narrow brick building, every table was crammed from end to end. Sampling a few of their menu items, my favorite was the soft shell crab and the black cod. Being used to the Dungeness Crab from Washington, the soft shell crab was a much different texture and an odd sensation when you knew you were eating the shell. The black cod was marinated in a miso and then grilled. It was delicious!
- Le Grainne Cafe – I had never had a savory crepe before setting foot into this cafe. And let me tell you, they were mind blowing. Ordering a turkey, roasted red pepper and goat cheese crepe was one of the best things I did while in New York. The buckwheat crepe was a perfect consistency that complemented the different fillings. Adding a little authentic dijon mustard on top really topped it all off.
- NY Burger Co. – While trying new things is always great for expanding one’s pallet, I firmly believe in finding terrific comfort go-to foods as well. Everything about comfort go-to foods is encompassed at the NY Burger Co. On a prime corner location, this more modern and foodie friendly diner had so much to offer. Ordering the Bowery burger with a turkey patty and a side of sweet potato fries was the most amazing, mouth watering, taste explosion of the day. The fries were perfect, literally perfect. The burger was juicy and hot off the grill. Absolutely stopping by here again!
- Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company – Literally spread and schmear heaven. We went for breakfast one morning and I can honestly say I have never had such a good bagel. Scallion cream cheese with turkey on an everything bagel. It was heaven in every bite. Going back on my last day, I opted for a whole wheat bagel with scallion cream cheese and lox. Again, fabulous. I would definitely recommend going either very early or later in the morning because there is a line out the door to taste these delicious bagels!
- Teodora – Wandering in, looking for an air conditioned tasty lunch, this was one of my favorite places I ate. This neighborhood gem had a classic white table cloth setting with a beautiful dark cherry bar and silver accents with white roses. We had the carpaccio di manzano, which had a wonderful lemon garlic dressing, thin sheets of parmesan and a celery/mushroom mix on top. For my main course I tried the tagliolini ai crostacei or thin egg noodles with a light shrimp, crab and lobster meat ragu. It was divine and I absolutely want to try to replicate it!
- Estancia – This little, white facade exterior and dim interior restaurant is very nondescript but offers a beautiful selection of Italian and Spanish cuisine. We sampled the burrata with thinly grilled baguette slices drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, prosciutto with dried figs, an ensalada mista and a “bianco” pizza, topped with goat cheese, havarti, mozzarella, gorgonzola and a basil pesto drizzle.The portion sizes were perfect for sharing while catching up with an old friend – absolutely returning!
- Negroni from the Red Cat – I have only recently been turned onto negronis. This gin, sweet vermouth, campari and orange cocktail was done perfectly. Would highly recommend as an appetizer drink and is very easy to make at home as well!
- 2011 Medoc, Chateau Bourbon la Chapelle – I had this lovely glass of French wine at Balthazar. Having a lamb t-bone with roasted tomato, olive farro and a tzatziki sauce required a more robust drier wine. Bigger, bolder and much more tannic it was the perfect pairing.
- Rose Spritzer – I have never really been one to prefer a Rose wine. They are usually too “bland” and somewhat pointless to me. With the incredible heat that New York had while I was there, trying a Rose Spritzer was a welcomed and refreshing drink. Rose, seltzer and lemon were all this drink needed to cool off on a sticky afternoon.
- Chelsea Wine Vault – Right across from Eleni’s Bakery in the Chelsea Market is the Chelsea Wine Vault. This lovely wine shop was nicely laid out with clear direction of region and type of wine. Randomly looking around for a bottle, one of the their nice employees offered a little history information on a few of the bottles; ultimately helping with my decision of the 2012 Renato Fenacchio, Italian Nebbiolo. Fabulous wine and was much better after about an hour of opening up!
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