NYC: 24 days, 24(ish) highlights
This is a compilation of honourable food & beverage mentions from a recent trip to NYC to visit Maxie and see the sights of this wonderous place.
Venues, meals, beverages & experiences are listed in no particular order, it's just a general archive of awesomeness.
Pig's head tortellini at The King (Soho) - doing our bit to support the ‘head to tail’ movement (‘farm to table’ is so 2011) we decided to order this special of the day. Being reunited after a year, and in NYC of all places, Maxie & I could probably been eating spiders legs tortellini and been happy. That said, this tortellini came with a lovely apple and mustard jus (they are strips of apple you see) and was really light and flavourful and delicious. The King is a new enterprise of ex-Momofuku Ssam Bar chef Francis Derby, and had opened only days before.
Bar snacks & olive oil at Supper (East Village) – after devouring the bar snacks of white beans in olive oil in nought to 1 minute Maxie & I considered requesting we be hooked up to a drip of the oil for the rest of the night, but settled for just ordering bowl after bowl of oil to accompany our main main and dessert. We left with full bellies and greasy lips.
Delicious sushi, extensive Japanese grocery selection, buy 5 get 1 free cans of Sapporo beer at Sunrise Mart (Soho) – we dined here several times on a range of fresh sushi, salads, vege (kimpira gobo, lotus flowers, oden) and steaming bowls of udon & soba. We stocked up here on goods such as octopus tentacles, aonori powder and bonito flakes for our Takoyaki Banquet
5am turkey sandwich from miscellaneous Park Slope bodega – it may have been the ravenous hunger due to hours of dancing and the number of cans of Tecante consumed, but this turkey sandwich was a definite highlight. It was also our first turkey sandwich, and my introduction to the wonderment of bodegas, their impressive food, 24-hour service, and the freedom of buying cans of beer and single cigarettes at 5am. No wonder they call this the land of opportunity.
Seat service & movies at Nitehawk Cinema (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) – someone comes and takes your order before the movie starts and delivers your food and beverages to you while you sit enjoying a film on the big screen - genious. We ate beef skewers with coconut-green pepper mariande and charred leeks (tender and juicy), quinoa salad w fennel roast peppers & balsamic reduction and cracked bulghar salad w feta mint & pickled vegetables - all really good. There's also a nice bar where you can enjoy a drink before or after the movie (or both), tix are $11, and the building itself is lovely too.. old worldly and cosy with lots of nice dark timber.
Pickles from McClures Pickle Van – juicy, fleshy, spicy, pickley, cheap, yes.
Toasted coconut corn at Miss Lilly’s (Greenwich Village) – as if the cool diner fit out and 20/10 waitstaff, cocktails and solid reggae soundtrack weren’t enough to impress, the food was all also dope. The BBQed corn cob coated in juicy sweet rich toasted coconut washed down with a bottle of Red Stripe is a must.
Artichoke dip & Devils on horseback washed down with a Freemans cocktail (rye, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, orange bitters) at Freemans Restaurant (Lower East Side) – having visited NYC recently my parents dined at Freemans twice, and insisted I check it out. I was also tipped to order the artichoke dip (a creamy dip encased by a cheese crust) and devils on horseback (dates stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in bacon and grilled) as starters. I whole-heartedly pass on this recommendation.
Dumplings & free cake in Chinatown – we ventured to Chinatown to eat some dumplings at legendary vendor of all things white, soft, stuffed, steamed & fried (Vanessa’s), and to check out the Chinese New Year parade. We were pleased to pass a giant dragon-shaped cake being hacked into and administered for free to passers by. Not nearly as pleased as this guy though…
Japanese 75 – finding champagne and sake in our fridge at a Japanese banquet, and being big fans of a French 75 (champagne and gin), we thought we’d give a ‘Japanese 75’ a go. It was a hit and we’ll definitely be trying it again. We used a cloudy (unfiltered) sake, but think it would work just as well with a filtered version.
Brass Monkey – how did we get to our mid/late-20s and not yet experience the wonder of a Brass Monkey?? Probably because Australia doesn’t sell 40-ounce bottles of $2.99 malt beer. Or maybe we haven’t been moving in the right circles. Either way, we are glad to have rectified this situation and plan to enjoy the ‘poor man’s mimosa’ again.
Prosciutto & ricotta tart with marjoram (& lavortory doors that feature boob patterns in the wood) at The Spotted Pig (West Village) – whilst puff pastry, tomato, ricotta & prosciutto may not an out of the ordinary combination, but this one was perfectly balanced and melted in your mouth. We talked several tables around us into ordering it.
Oysters & champagne at Maison Premiere (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) – after a shared 3 courses at Spotted Pig we met friends for some nightcap oysters and bubbly at legendary oyster bar Maison Premiere. Having only 1 month ago (Christmas) coming around to oysters, I capitalised on this newly found love and indulged in a few slippery numbers.
Saratoga Club sandwich at Parm (Soho) – being slighty seedy after the previous night's oysters and champagne (and boxed wine) I thought all my Christmases had come at once when I discovered the Saratoga Club. Parm is a hip little Italian diner that is essentially an expanded rendition of the lunch operation of Torrisi Italian Specialities (next door). Between the 3 layers of bread of the Saratoga Club lies roast chicken salad ("dressed with a zesty mayo that has all the classic dried ingredients of the Italian-American kitchen: dried oregano, black pepper, chile flakes, a little bit of celery seed, raw celery, a little bit of onion”), bacon ("which gets a rosemary-tinged brown sugar glaze") and POTATO CHIPS.
Hazelnut hot cocoa at Balthazar Bakery (Soho) – this hot cocoa with a dash of hazelnut syrup had us mmmm-ing before and after every sip, and napping once we finished it.
Prince St Pizza (Soho) - slices boast the freshest ingredients, inhouse made whole milk mozzarella, chunky tomato sauce, superior grade pepperoni and a deep golden brown crust that us die hard pizza lovers dream about.
Stewed beaver at Strange Meats Talk (Brooklyn) - yes, we ate beaver [cue laughter, some of it awkward]. It was suprisingly good.
Sweet tunes and cheeeap Georgie's vodka+juice at Southside Social Club's Block Party (Prospect Heights, Brooklyn) - shout out to Obey City for the beats.
Spaghetti alla vongole at Al di la (Park Slope, Brooklyn)
Breakfast banquet at Joesph Leonard’s (West Village) - the great thing about dining out with a sister or friend is you get to share meals. This means you get to either eat more often (having only half a meal at each meal), or try more things (having ½ of 2 different meals). At Joesph Leonards as 2 sets of ladies we ordered a breakfast each ‘to share’. We ended up with 8 plates of breakfast. Note that even burgers were not just 1 large burger cut in half, but instead 2 entire smaller burgers. WOW
Creative array of smoothies & juices at Veggies Natural Juice Bar (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) - I had the 'Brownie Smoothie' (invovled blueberries, kale & other goodies) and the jerk tofu pocket (really flavourful spicy tofu, meltinyourmouth pastry - YUM).
Mint tea at Jack’s Wife Freda (Soho) – fresh mint in black tea... what a nice touch. This tea is very refreshing and unlike its Moroccan referent, is unsweetened. Also a bonus is that whatever food you order to have with it is bound to be good.
Tasty hand-pulled noodles at the aptly named Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodle Inc (Chinatown) - we had the duck hand-pulled noodles, tofu hand-pulled noodles and some vegetarian dumplings. ALL MMM.
Eclectic decor, free treats if you have to line up, and extensive menu options at Tom's Diner/ Restaurant (Prospect Heights, Brooklyn) - apparently the jury is still out as to whether this is THE Tom's Diner of Suzanne Vega fame. If I could sing though I probably would have sung a nice ditty after having breakfast here. Also, we didn't get the Cherry-Lime Rickey to drink but this is said to be the hot beverage tip.
Soft pear cider at Union Square Greenmarket (Flatiron District) – cold day, hot sweet spicy cider - a no brainer. Didn’t even mind the soft not hardness.
EVERYTHING at 1or8 (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) - each bite of whatever we ordered was consumed looking deep into each other’s eyes to see if they were having the same other-worldy flavour experience.
Doughnut Plant (Lower East Side) - we opted for the yeast-based variety of doughnut with vanilla-bean icing.. fresh, fluffy and sweet (but not sickly).
Cereal Milk White Russian at Milk Bar (Williamsburg, Brooklyn) - we couldn't resist David Chang's souped-up take on The Dude's favourite beverage.
Polish fare at Karczama (Greenpoint, Brooklyn) - Hunter's stew with red wine, Plate of Polish specialities (pierogis, Potato Pancakes, Polish Kielbasa, Hunter’s Stew and Stuffed Cabbage) and spiced wine (not the hot spiced beer, it's a little weird).
Extensive selection of books, magazines, tea & snacks at McNally Jackson (Soho) - the cafe here is great to sit and chill for hours. If you time your visit well you may also catch an event with a reputed author.
Late night martinis at The Dutch (Soho) - this place was dangerously located on our route home.
Eye openers (lemon, orange, carrot) at Thompson Finest Deli – living the NYC lifestyle and not wanted to miss any bar, party, club, we found a saviour in the Thompson deli just a stumble away across the road – the ‘Eye Opener’ – a fresh juice of lemon, carrot and orange.