You know what I love about a good city break? You can eat like a total pig and still burn it off with a long day of walking (or so I like to believe.) Some days we covered almost ten miles, which rightfully deserved plenty of edible rewards – and what better place to be hungry and looking for something tasty than NYC? Today, we’re talking good eats.
Coconut Cream Square Doughnut from Doughnut Plant
Ever since I first saw their square doughnuts on Food Network (many, many years ago) I made it a life goal of mine to try one. Luckily, after the years of anticipation, they didn’t disappoint. In fact, their coconut cream doughnut was the stuff of dreams – decadently sticky and sweet, and as they promised, full of creamy filling in every bite, thanks to the unique square shape. I also sampled a nibble of their PBJ doughnut and it was a close second. I could quite happily work my way through every flavour they offer… I think I just found my next life goal.
Street Cart Falafel
Don’t let the smell of rancid hot dogs and burnt oil deter you from the humble street cart. I mean, yes, avoid the hot dogs at all cost, but try the falafel instead. I was struck with hunger and succumbed to temptation, which although messy (think falafel/hot sauce grease dripping on my new shoes) was delicious; richly-spiced crumbled falafel, fresh salad, a drizzle of cooling yoghurt and plenty of fiery hot sauce all wrapped up in a floury toasted flatbread. The perfect handheld food to enjoy in the dappled sunshine of Central Park.
Roasted Cauliflower, Brussels Sprout and Farro Salad from The Shop at Andaz
I was certainly not expecting to be putting a salad on this list, but this unsuspecting looking bowl was up there with some of the best salads I’ve had. I love the nutty flavour vegetables like cauliflower and sprouts get when you roast them, and paired with the mustard kick of the vinaigrette and the peppery salad leaves, it packed intense flavour for such simple ingredients. The farro added a nice texture and made it feel more substantial too. The whole menu was really interesting, and also had a lot of vegetarian and vegan options, like this one, which I know from past experience can be a struggle to find when eating out in America.
Pizza from Gelso & Grand
You can pretty much guarantee that anywhere you get pizza in Little Italy is going to be the real deal, but these two pizzas were in a league of their own. I tried a few pizzas while I was in NYC but these two reigned supreme. We had the Inferno pizza; dressed with slices of spicy capicola, drizzled in chilli oil, mellowed out with those enticing pillows of mozzarella, and the Roasted Wild Mushroom pizza; savoury and nutty from the mushrooms, with a creamy white base, plenty of sharp fontina and parmesan, and a mouth-warming finish from the pepperoncinis. Not only were the toppings delicious, the base had incredible flavour on it’s own – a combination of delicious dough and being baked in a real wood fired brick oven, for rustic authenticity. We shared grilled octopus on the side too; chewy yet crisp, with charred edges, and it came with a smear of velvety black olive puree, which made the perfect dip for those pizza crusts.
Burrata & Knots from Trademark Taste
I had seen burrata before, but never actually tried it, dismissing it as some type of mozzarella with a fancy name. What a mistake. Burrata is mozzarella, but with the addition of cream, which is one of the best things to happen in the world of cheese, IMO. This humble looking starter was the beginning of a beautiful love affair with burrata; a skillet of warm and doughy garlic knots, with plenty of sweet roasted garlic because the stinkier the better, served with a ball of creamy and mild burrata, sat in a sweet yet tart tomato jam. If you need a sign to try burrata, this is it.
Cereal Milk Ice Cream from Momofuku Milk Bar
A lot of people discard the milk from the bottom of their cereal bowls, but not Momofuku Milk Bar. Their bizarre, but delicious, ice cream is made from milk and cornflakes, giving it that unmistakable cereal milk taste; a little salty, a little sweet with a refreshing and creamy soft serve texture. A tasty and fun twist on a breakfast classic.
Bacon, Egg & Avocado Bagel from Black Seed Bagels
Thanks to the magic of Instagram, I have been virtually stalking Black Seed Bagels and their delicious creations for a good couple of years. What can I say, some people follow celebrities, I follow bagel stores. With a huge choice of freshly made bagels and fillings to pick from, it’s no easy feat to make a decision. I went for the classic bacon and egg, and added some avocado because I was not going to let my avocado stomach cramps stand in between me and the delicious creation I had dreamed about for years. Although the wait was tedious – don’t visit at 11am on a Saturday – the bagel was worth it; layers of crisp, salty American bacon, lashings of creamy mashed avocado and two fried eggs squashed in between a warm poppy seed bagel. Elegant? No. The best bagel I had ever eaten? Certainly. Also, let’s just take a moment for that smoked salmon and cream cheese… Black Seed Bagels, keep doing your thing.
Got any other good eats from NYC?