New York Eats
A few years ago, Simon had an epiphany of sorts. He told me that he had come to the conclusion that food made him just really, really happy. Not just any old food. Not like McDonald’s. REAL food. REALLY GOOD food. So, that’s what we search out when we go places. We end up shopping, eating, and exploring because that’s what we like to do. I like music, books, theater, and that sort of thing, but this trip wasn’t about me. It was about Simon and his 30th birthday and livin’ the dream.
So, I give you a high-caloric rundown of where we ate and what we ate and how we felt about it after the fact.
Ahhh, Shake Shack. We have heard about you in blogland lore. Of your delicious hamburgers and custard shakes and crinkle fries. So, of course, we had to visit the first night we arrived, hoofing it down to the Theater District location. And it did not disappoint.
Friends, especially my California friends, what I have to say next is going to sound shocking. Blasphemous, even, to those of you who are in-the-know. These burgers were actually better than In-N-Out. Like, potentially ten times better than In N Out. It might have been (dare I say it) the best burger I’ve ever had anywhere.
These photos are from our (gulp) second visit. It was that good. And I think I preferred the vibe of the original locale there in the park at 23rd street. It was so charming that evening, slightly chilly, as we sat in the park staring up at the Empire State Building under the glow of those lights. I loved it. It was quintessentially New York.
Our feet were THROBBING.
Yay for crinkle fries!
I am ashamed to say that *after* we went to Shake Shack, Simon then drug me out to the East Village, which we quickly ascertained was not probably our typical scene. I was feeling suspicious, and clutching my purse to me furtively as I noticed that cops were hanging out on every street corner. I didn’t know if I found that comforting or frightening! Ha! Simon had read about Pommes Frites, a belgian-style walkup that serves only French fries and a dizzying amount of accompanying sauces. As I have never been one to turn down a french fry (it is, after all, probably my most favorite food on the planet – I should so weigh 300 pounds), I was game. EVEN THOUGH WE’D JUST EATEN CRINKLE FRIES. UGH. NO WILLPOWER.
We found it quickly. It was literally the size of a wide hallway. It was crammed, packed full of people.
The guys running the place were super friendly, and offered up samples of any of the sauces. Go for the curry ketchup – you won’t regret it!
Yeah, I get REALLY excited about French fries.
Just in the back, in this silly alley of a restaurant, there was a guy cutting up potatoes. See those blue bins below? Each one of those were STUFFED with freshly cut French fries waiting to be fried. It was stunning, the sheer amount of potatoes they were going through.
From their Facebook page: Eataly, the largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace in the world, opened its flagship New York City location on August 31, 2010. A collaboration between Joe Bastianich, Mario Batali and Lidia Bastianich of Batali-Bastianich (B&B) Hospitality Group and Oscar Farinetti, founder of Eataly which first opened in Turin, Italy in 2007, the New York City outpost will have plenty for visitors to shop, taste and savor including seven full-service eateries, a café, wine shop, bakery and patisserie, and a culinary educational center. The marketplace will also offer a variety of cured meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, fresh meats and fish, handmade pastas, desserts, baked goods, coffees and teas, as well as a selection of housewares and books, Italian dried pastas, canned goods, sauces, olive oils and more. Located in the Flatiron District at 200 Fifth Avenue (formerly the iconic Toy Building), Eataly encompasses 42,500 square feet along with a 4,500 square-foot open-air rooftop beer garden, and will become the ultimate culinary mecca for New Yorkers, visitors, gourmands and Italophiles alike.
All that to say, it’s a curious mix of restaurant and grocery store, almost difficult to describe. I noticed multiple people (including us) walking about in a stupor, asking each other, “What exactly is this place?” But I must say, it might be better than Dean & Deluca (gasp!)
The smells were incredible. The rounds of cheese (below) were incredibly fragrant. Everybody was walking around with glasses of vino and perusing the selections. It was such an interesting atmosphere.
AHHHH the breads! And I wish I had gotten a photo of the fresh pasta section. It was incredible.
Momofuku Milk Bar
Our friend Chris told us to go to Momofuku Milk Bar and we are so glad we did. Offering a wide selection of dessert items, we settled on the salted pistachio ice cream (Simon) and candy bar pie (me). Chased down by Strawberry Milk. They also offered Cereal Milk(!) and Coffee Milk.
Half-eaten Candy Bar Pie. There was nowhere to sit – it’s a walkup kind of place tucked into the Chambers Hotel. They told us at the counter to take our food upstairs to their mezzanine. It was the perfect getaway from the craziness of the city. We sat up there for a long time, enjoying the view, and eating our random sweets.
Dylan’s Candy Bar
We didn’t exactly eat here, but we did pick up a few things for gifts.
Check out this packaging. LOVE.
DBGB Daniel Boulud
Ahhh, Daniel Boulud. French chef extraordinaire. Simon is kind of obsessed with DB, so we of course had to visit his new outpost in the Bowery, DBGB. Check out their website – it’s so cool and there are some excellent photos of the interiors. It was so dark, I couldn’t get any good photos, but the place is so well designed. I noticed that night a very strong male presence in ther estaurant. Like there was a lot of bromance in the air – metrosexual males hanging out in groups together, like it was one big boys’ night out. I told my friend Sarah (my bestie from childhood who now lives in NYC) that she needed to get herself over there to meet some hot young guys because it is definitely a man’s kinda place.
As I type this, though, I notice there are only women in the photos. Hmm. Figures. Anyway, lots of sausage,meat, potatoes, red wine, that sort of thing on the menu. It was delicious; probably Simon’s favorite meal of the entire trip.
Mast Brothers Chocolate at Dean & Deluca. This video about them cracks me and Simon up every time. They’re just so . . . hipster-serious about it all. And the beards!?!? Yish.
No photos of Lombardi’s pizza, but that’s because we were starving, and roaming the streets like famished zombies. The second they dropped the pizza on the table, we attacked it viciously. There are no photos of the surviving crumbs.
However, as we came out of there in a full-stomached stupor, we stumbled down the street past Rice to Riches, an odd little place that sold rice pudding. As neither of us are rice pudding fans, we did not indulge. But I was intrigued by the colorful packaging. I almost bought some just for the bowl!
Osteria Morini got excellent reviews on Yelp, and I was excited to try it out. Just east of Soho, it was a quick walk from where we were shopping, and it was excellent. Delicious homemade pastas, hearty rich sauces, and a casual atmosphere.
Vosges Haute Chocolat
We stumbled on Vosges and then Simon drug me into the door. He had read about their legendary hot chocolate, so we had to try some. The interiors were beautiful, an eclectic French-inspired decor in vivid purple with red accents.
That hot chocolate was amazing, and so delightfully presented in a tall glass. YUM. And that cookie?! OH YEAH. Pumpkin chocolate chip w/ curry and coconut.
Whew. Did you make it through that? I feel fat just reliving it here right now. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) this is only the tip of the iceberg. There was Bouchon one morning for Breakfast, as well as some bagels, a trip out to Pop-Bar (that was CLOSED EARLY. I’m bitter.) and then there was that time we met up at Magnolia Bakery . . . oh dear. It all adds up to a lot of calories, but a whole lot of fun!
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