Monday, August 9, 2010

A whole lotta eating after all

I love NYC. The husband doesn't love my driving into and around NYC, but that's another story. At least we accomplished the two things we set out to do - we purchased an eco-friendly queen-sized mattress that fit in the backseat of our car (compressed under 1200lbs of pressure!) and we ate what looks like a stupid amount of food, interspersed with a lot of walking. All in all, a very successful trip and I can't wait to go back...


  1. Go Burger: the husband's been following this food truck for a while now, and finally dragged me to their new location at the Seaport. These burgers are based on the BLT burgers ( from chef Laurent Tourondel's former restaurants). It was decent, and the Kobe hot dog was tasty but I had structural integrity issues (who serves a hot dog on a ciabatta roll that's been completely sliced through and topped it with coleslaw?). The Seaport was also an unpleasant area to be in, with hoardes of tourists hopping on and off of tour buses, so we high-tailed it out of there as fast as we could.
  2. Wafels & Dinges: We stuck around the Seaport district long enough to eat a liege wafel topped with spekuloos spread and whipped cream. This is the "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" waffle, as the kid serving us pointed out. It was as good as it was the first time I tried it last May, but I didn't enjoy it quite as much since waffles don't go down as well in the blazing sun as it did on a cool spring evening.
  3. Van Leeuwen Artisanal Ice Cream Truck: Conveniently located in SoHo, the husband steered me to the truck so we could try a scoop of ginger ice cream. It was good - it tasted like it was made from hormone-free milk and cream from cows that spend most of the year grazing in pastures in the foot hills of the Adirondack Mountains as advertised, but it wasn't particularly remarkable.
  4. Stumptown coffee: I think it's a toss-up between Stumptown and Intelligentsia in having the biggest coffee cult following. We've enjoyed Intelligentsia in Chicago and can buy the beans at Bloc 11 in Union Square (Somerville) without paying a fortune for shipping, but we wanted to see what all the fuss was behind Stumptown. The cold brew we tried wasn't our thing, but the Americano we tried the next morning was excellent and a bag of Indonesian beans came home for us to experiment. At least if we become addicted we've got a source for our fix - Formaggio carries Stumptown coffee.
  5. Maialino: This is chef Danny Meyer's newest restaurant and ode to all things pig. It's still a hot spot in NYC so we weren't sure we could get in but we got seats at the bar (the restaurant was relatively calm for 7pm). The only thing we missed out on was the roast suckling pig for two for $70 that is only served in the main dining room. We were ok without the pig since we were planning to eat again later at Momofuku, but we did try the crispy fried pig's foot with beans and celery that was a revelation to me - I hadn't realized pig's feet could be so tasty, but this one was. Fried squash blossoms and arancini were also delicious. We shared an appetizer portion of spaghetti carbonara that featured guanciale and helped me realize the error of my ways - the guanciale in this professional version was very thinly sliced and it was just an accent in the dish. I'll try to remember to scale back the next time I make carbonara at home.
  6. Momofuku Ssam Bar: This is an old staple and a solid fave, but now that the sake lemonade is off the menu, we've discussed taking a break from the pork buns the next time we're in town. We did have an amazing play on pho, with thin slices of dry-aged sirloin cooked oh so slightly in a fragrant broth.
  7. Momofuku Milk Bar: Didn't have a compost cookie, but sampled the cereal milk soft serve (ick), avoided the BBQ sauce soft serve (another ick), and ate the candybar pie (a fancy reese pieces with some caramel thrown in) plus the oddly addictive corn cookie that David Lebovitz tweeted about and convinced the husband to try. Imagine a really rich butter cookie with a little more grit than your typical shortbread, with the occasional corn kernel thrown in. It was much tastier than it sounds.
  1. Locanda Verde: Following a very positive Serious Eats review of their brunch, we tried Locanda Verde in Tribeca on our last visit and was so happy with what we had that we came back this trip. In fact, I think it will be added into our standard rotation of NYC spots. The reason to come here for brunch is their sheep's milk ricotta - light and delicate, with truffle, thyme and honey and served with burnt orange toast. It's breakfast crack. The rest of the brunch menu is just as good - hazelnut french toast and blueberry ricotta pancakes are delicious (even I eat the pancakes, and I hate pancakes), and their egg dishes are super tasty too.
  2. il laboratorio del gelato: we've been frequenting this Lower East Side venue for so many years (well, maybe 5) that I can't remember how we discovered this little slice of gelato heaven. Chocolate thai chili was the first flavour we ever tried and remains my favourite, tho it's not often available as a single scoop.
  3. Taim: A falafel and smoothie bar in West Village. We've been here a number of times - we first learned about it through a Throwdown with Bobby Flay episode. Falafels are something that we'd never undertake on our own, so we're quite happy to pop in for our vegetarian fix. We brought the falafel platter home with us to Boston - travelled well, but we were annoyed for not picking up more hummus since the the hummus from Taim is the best we've ever had.
  4. Shake Shack - UES: this was my unexpected favourite. I've heard plenty about the Shake Shack's cult following, and I've seen the 1 hour lineups, but it took the husband's interest in all things burger to get me in to one. We went to the new Upper East Side location at 3:30pm on a Sunday afternoon, where the lineup was only ~20 min, though I think it was longer because I had time to try on a few things and buy a sweater at the Gap nearby while the husband stood in line. I'd spent the day sweating profusely (was much hotter than the weather people had forecast) so I didn't think I was hungry, but decided at the last minute that I wanted a cheeseburger since they didn't have the concrete flavour that I wanted. (Concrete is a dense frozen custard - the flavour I wanted is only available in the Madison Park location and called the Hopscotch, consisting of vanilla frozen custard, hot caramel sauce, chocolate toffee and Valhrona chocolate chunks). I'm glad I ordered a cheeseburger and I could have easily eaten a second one - it was far better than the Go Burger with the freshness and quality of ingredients. I guess with Danny Meyer behind the Shake Shack, I wasn't going to get a sub-par burger.  Shake Shack is now on the rotation list for the next visit and I'll dream about burgers until then...


Open to Grace said...

you've learned the lesson that all of us had to learn at some point - never doubt shake shack! it always lives up to the hype. also, next time, try your favorite concrete with the ghiradelli chocolate crunchies. it's awesome.

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