Don’t be fooled by the sunny skies in the above photo. The sun may have been shining but it was super cold in New York when I visited a few weeks ago for work. I have a couple sets of thermal clothes that only see the light of day when I go to the Big Apple this time of year and those garments coupled with the good food I seek out helps me feel better about the weather. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a California wimp, okay? Here are some of the places where I found some good eats in New York.
After my flight, I went to Num Pang for a Cambodian inspired sandwich. They have 8 locations around Manhattan and a lot of rave reviews. In addition to sandwiches like coconut tiger shrimp, hoisin meatballs, and roasted cauliflower they also have soups & salads. I had the pulled pork sandwich with cucumber, cilantro, pickled carrots, and chili mayo. When I’ve had similar sandwiches, the baguette can be tough but Num Pang’s baguette was perfect – crispy and buttery.
The sandwich is huge and I could’ve just ordered that but I also had a side of their raw kale and apple salad with carrots and sesame seeds and vinaigrette. I always gotta make sure I get my greens when I travel. I would gladly go back to Num Pang next time I’m in New York. It’s quality fast food at the right price.
Ok, this isn’t food related but right next door to Num Pang is the new location for Rizzoli Bookstore. I never got to see the old location before it closed down but this new spot is beautiful. Stop by if you’re a book lover like myself. I also went to McNally Jackson Books in Nolita and bought copies of Heartburn by Nora Ephron and Brooklyn by Colm Toibin. Ok, back to the food.
I think Birch Coffee is now my go-to coffee place in New York. I went there for the first time last summer and on this visit it was conveniently located just a couple blocks from my hotel in Midtown so I went and had coffee there twice. And it’s good coffee which explains why it’s always busy with patrons. Sitting at their rustic tables and benches with my cappuccino and blueberry muffin was a warm comfort from the cold.
I had seen so many beautiful Instagram photos of the food from Jack’s Wife Freda before I finally got around to eating there for lunch one day and it did not disappoint. The place is a lot smaller than I thought but I liked the bustling atmosphere. I sat at the long communal table in the middle of the restaurant and ordered their breakfast bowl with poached eggs, red quinoa, spaghetti squash, and grilled tomato and avocado with a glass of their Nana tea which is essentially black tea with mint leaves. There were so many other items I was eyeing on the Mediterranean-inspired menu that I want to go back. This restaurant was definitely a highlight of my trip.
Lest you think I was only eating healthy foods, I’ll have you know that I ate a lot of chocolate chip cookies on this trip. Warm, gooey, chewy chocolate chip cookies are my weakness I’ve realized. Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho was the place to indulge my cookie obsession. Chef Dominique Ansel is famous for inventing the cronut which if you don’t know already is a croissant and donut in one pastry. If you want a cronut though I think you have to be there early in the morning when the bakery first opens and stand in line with everyone else to buy one. Or if you’re famous like Tina Fey and Jerry Seinfeld then it’s probably much easier to get a cronut.
I ordered a chocolate chip cookie shot – a cookie in the shape of a shot glass with tahitian vanilla milk inside. It was glorious and I’ve been showing the photo of my cookie shot to everyone who asks how my trip to New York went so it seems like ordering the cookie shot was the most important thing I did.
There were so many more tempting pastries and desserts on display that this bakery deserves multiple visits.
The bakery is also famous for their regular chocolate chip cookies so of course I ordered one of those too. I restrained myself and waited until I got back to my hotel like an hour later before devouring the cookie. See how disciplined I am? I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate chip cookies in my life and I have to say Dominique Ansel’s cookie has set the bar high. It was fresh out of the oven and so sweet and I could still taste some of the dough and cookie dough is the best, isn’t it? I will compare all other cookies to this cookie from now on.
To balance out the high level of cookie consumption, the next morning I had a healthy breakfast at Blank Slate. They serve fresh sandwiches, salads, small plates, desserts, coffee, and tea all day long. They also have a marketplace in the restaurant selling specialty goods. I had one of their breakfast sandwiches – avocado, spinach, and egg whites on toast – which was delicious and filling.
And on my last night in New York when I was too chicken to go out to dinner because the temperatures were dropping to record single-digits I placed an order with Blank Slate for delivery. I love them even more now! I had the Mediterranean salad with roasted chicken and they give you a big portion for your money.
And then I saw milk + cookies on Blank Slate’s menu. I wondered if they really do give you milk with the cookies even if they are delivering? I ordered them partly out of curiosity, partly because I needed to reach an order minimum for delivery, and partly because I ordered a salad hence I felt no guilt for ordering dessert. Lo and behold, Blank Slate packed a perfectly chilled cup of milk with two chocolate chip cookies. It was the highlight of my day – it was a really slow day and it’s the little things that make me happy.
If you’re going to New York soon, try these places out and let me know what you think!
Do you have any recommendations for places to eat in New York?