Thursday, April 22, 2010

I ♥ NY more

I promised - and I will keep my promise (especially since I already had a bunch of this written when I decided to split up my posts) to continue with my New York eatings wanderings in this second blog post. As you know, a certain fantastical bake sale has popped up in between these postings, but I'm back to finish this up!

We could see the Statue of Liberty from our hotel room window

When I visit New York, it seems it's all about revisiting a few key places I truly love while trying to squish in some new places I've never been. This trip was no different. I saw the areas with which I'm most familiar: Midtown and 5th Ave, Theatre District, Upper East Side, East Village, Soho, Greenwich Village and Chinatown...but I also visited some to which I'd never been. Chelsea, Meatpacking District, Hell's Kitchen, Flatiron and of course - Brooklyn.

Left: the High Line from inside The Standard Hotel
Right: The Standard Hotel from outside on the High Line

One of the Top 5 things I did on my trip was to subway my way to Brooklyn for some pizza and ice cream and then walk back to the city over the Brooklyn Bridge. Not only was the day perfect for this (and for some photos) in that it was cool and overcast, but it wasn't very crowded either. I must thank my friend, Maria profusely for this spectacular suggestion!!

As I walked the Brooklyn streets I glanced over my shoulder and saw this.
Magnificent! Empire State Building framed by a tower of the Brooklyn Bridge!

There are a few destinations just over the bridge that are absolute "Must Do's" if you visit Brooklyn.
1) Grimaldi's Pizzeria
2) Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
3) Almondine Bakery (but only if you're a bakery addict/macaron stalker like I)

Almondine Bakery was so charming from the outside

I was IN.CRED.IB.LY lucky that the line for Grimaldi's at 2pm on a Wednesday in March was no more than about 15 minutes. I hear the lines are easily an hour long during the lunch hour on a weekend. But one thing I did have enough time to notice while I waited in line (by myself)?: the sign that said "No Slices". Uh oh.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory in the little "house" on the far left, Beekman Tower in the Financial District across the river (with the red scaffolding), one of the bridge's towers at the top and Grimaldi's (green awning)

Lower Manhattan and a New York Water Taxi

So maybe a half hour later I found myself staring at a 16" pepperoni pizza which (as per their menu) feeds 1-2 people. That's gotta be some BIG person who can eat a 16" pizza. I ate 2 slices. But oh was it worth it to have to carry leftover pizza in my bag the rest of the afternoon! What fantastic pizza! Thin crust, not overly sauced but perfectly simple while still being generous - it's actually hard to explain. You'll just have to go wait in line to find out yourself.

The nice waiter made me let him take a picture of me (little dim in there - hence, the blur)

This is what was placed in front of me *gulp*

And even though I'd just stared at an entire pizza, I couldn't leave Brooklyn without a stop at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. It's not really a "factory" so much as a "cute little house" that sits RIGHT on the dock and looks out over lower Manhattan.

Pizza? Check. Ice Cream? Check. Stop into Almondine Bakery, wait in a silly long line, get 2 macarons, carry them gingerly in my purse all afternoon, lose them somewhere in or around my hotel room before I sampled them? Check... Oops.

What a spot for an ice cream place!

I think I got Butter Pecan

The Almondine macarons! I bought two, couldn't eat them,
gingerly carried them all afternoon and lost them :-|

When my good friend, Ali was living in NYC (the main reason I would visit all those times) one of her very favorite little spots was Cha-An Japanese Tea House. Think British afternoon tea, but... Japanese. So the decor is Asian, the teas are green and the teacakes and cookies are black sesame, mochi and red bean. Well not solely. I got black tea and there was blueberry pound cake and chocolate chip scones and mini bagels with raspberry butter. But it's such a wonderful little twist on something like this. I spent a couple hours here one afternoon with a friend and it was truly enjoyable.

Cookies, scones, poundcake that came as part of the afternoon tea at Cha-An

Chocolate filled mochi and black sesame crème brûlée

Another important foodie stop: Chelsea Market. Not only are the Food Network studios on the upper floors of the Chelsea Market, but the entire downstairs is an "urban food court" filled with bakeries, food shops and restaurants. I think practically everything relates to food. I peeked into Eleni's Cookies - a bakery I've heard about many times. Her cookies are famous for being impeccably decorated. I snuck into the Fat Witch Bakery, which made Oprah's "My Favorite Things" List, but wasn't so impressed with their Caramel Witch.

Ahhh... Chelsea Market

Various shops and restaurants inside Chelsea Market

Eleni's Cookies was SO CUTE!

One shop I was impressed with though? The Lobster Place. Sadly, their lobster rolls were a great disappointment, but their fresh seafood was to die for! It was so good I went back a second time! (Well, I was staying a block away...) You can pick your own oysters and they'll shuck them for you on the spot. Or buy a plate of sashimi as they cut the pieces from the fish. Those lobster rolls were such a disappointment being that I was so close to New England. I grew up eating lobster rolls in New Hampshire and can honestly say that Old Port Lobster Shack in California has a much better product (in flavor) than The Lobster Place!


They were literally cutting the sashimi right off the fish *DROOL*

My final very important NYC food stop was at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Both my friend, Yvonne and I had been told by more than 1 person to not miss Shake Shack. The burgers, the frozen custards, the fries, the line.... But actually - I can't believe I complained about the line taking 10 minutes to order when apparently on a regular ole day it can take upwards of an hour! An HOUR! For a burger and fries! Hhmmm but actually - these burgers and fries really were absolutely legendary. I can't explain it. They were delicious. Yvonne really loved them because they apparently tasted identical to the burgers at her dad's hamburger shop when she was growing up. I wish you could have seen her face when she took her first bite: Bliss!


Shake Shack had just closed its windows as we finished up our burgers

Yes, you stand in line. Yes you sit outside (and in our case - sit under heat lamps on a very cool March night). Yes you can't always find a table. But damn - those were some good burgers.

The very last thing I did in New York City on this trip was lunching at Gramercy Tavern. Oh, how I wish there was a Gramercy Tavern in my little pocket of the San Francisco Bay Area. It's a brilliant little restaurant where one can dress to the nines and dine on the Tasting Menu, yet the next guy can come in jeans, sip a beer and munch on a sandwich. It's so versatile and unpretentious yet sublime and creative. Even the decor is shabby chic/rustic floral. ♥ ♥ ♥

Gramercy Tavern's Smoked Trout with Cippollini Purée
and Pickled Onion Vinaigrette

Loved, loved, loved the "shabby chic-ness" of Gramercy Tavern

Little cookies on our mignardise plate: baby chocolate tarts, pecan
toffee covered truffles and caramel macarons

And believe it or not - the best macaron I actually ate in all of New York City was the little baby mac left for my friend Daphnie and I on our mignardises plate. Gramercy Tavern was just phenomenal!

The photos I took on the Brooklyn Bridge were some of my favorites

Goodbye New York. I ♥ you.

As I wrap up this second New York City post I kind of can't believe how much food I saw over the course of 4 days. Not like you're surprised at my priorities. New York is a beautiful city from the outside looking in and from the inside looking out. And even moreso, it's a wonderful city for foodies and chefs and food lovers and cooks and food bloggers and hungry people and people who breathe oxygen... So if any of you, my friends, has a trip to New York planned, don't even joke around by asking me if I wanna tag along. I probably will.


  1. i miss new york! i went there two summers ago and i fell in love with the city!

  2. Gorgeous pictures and fabulous food! Thanks for sharing!



  3. japanese afternoon tea! love it! don't know how the SF version compares:

  4. Lisa,

    Your two posts make me want to book a trip ASAP! Greg and I can't wait to take Abigail soon.


    P.S. Have you tried Trueburger in Oakland?

  5. You hit some of the best spots and made me homesick for the city with this awesome post. That you limited yourself to only two slices at Grimaldi's is a testament to your incredible self-discipline. I hope you didn't misplace the leftovers like the macaroons or it would have been a double tragedy.

  6. Wow, you've lived. I love the pics and your experience with NYC. Perfect. Thanks for sharing.