Wednesday, May 7, 2014

New York City 2014: Where I Ate

This is primarily a blog about beauty products but every now and then I go off-topic. This is one of those posts. A couple of weekends ago I was in New York City, visiting my sister and brother-in-law who live there. This wasn’t my busiest trip as I was there without my partner-in-crime, my Husband. My hosts were pretty occupied with such things as studying for an exam and preparing for their new baby. But despite all of that, I was able to check out a few new places, including the following eateries.

The Clearwater
Sips & Bits
On my first full day in New York, my sister and I headed over to Williamsburg for a spa visit. Afterwards we were starving but weren’t completely sure where we should grab a bit to eat so we consulted Yelp for recommendations on where we could grab a quick but yummy sandwich. It recommended Sips & Bites and rightfully so.

While it’s a tiny spot that’s off the beaten path, its sandwiches are delicious. My sister got the Excelsior, which included grilled flank steak, onions and garlic chili lime aioli, that was named best sandwich in New York by one of the reviews on the wall. She completely agrees with the review but I don’t know, my Clearwater sandwich, which was a creamy, onion-free tuna mix smoothed in potato chips and melted cheese, was also down right spectacular. It was also huge and appropriately priced at $9. My sister also got some kind of toffee cookie that was sweet, sticky and also delicious.

The Fat Radish
We stopped by one of my sister’s favourite restaurants on a whim one Saturday afternoon. She wasn’t sure if it would be open but it was and was actually still serving brunch. While the menu wasn’t extensive, it offered your standard brunch fare but with a fresh, local twist on them.

Fat_Radish_brunch_spicy_eggs_toastI ordered the lemon ricotta pancakes with Beth’s Farm blueberry jam on them and absolutely loved them. They were super fluffy and delicious and highly, highly recommended. My sister got the avocado and 7-grain toast with spicy eggs, which turned out to be a pair of soft-boiled eggs with a hot sauce drizzled over them. While it wasn't the prettiest looking meal, it tasted great.

I’m told that the Fat Radish can get quite busy but when we were there at around 3 pm, it was only about half full. Service was friendly, the food came out super-quickly and while my fresh squeezed orange juice was pricey at $7, my pancakes were an appropriately priced $14.

Bad Horse Pizza
One night, my hosts and I grabbed a cab up to Harlem to check out their favourite pizza place. I’d check out the menu before we left home and was thrilled to see that this place offered a salmon pizza, which is one of my favourite food items. As a result, I had very high hopes for this place. Unfortunately they weren’t met. My pizza was okay but nothing amazing. The crust was a bit different; thin and kind of crispy but not like traditional thin crust pizza. And while there was a fair amount of salmon on my pizza, the quality of the fish was only so-so. All together my pizza was fine but I wouldn’t say it’s worth a trip to Harlem for.

Apparently, it can sometimes take 45 minutes for a pizza to bake but ours were ready much quicker than that. Service was also prompt while the overall vibe of the place was casual (for most of our meal, late ‘90s hip-hop played before suddenly switching to some kind of best-of David Bowie playlist). There was also plenty of seating and while it was Saturday night, we had no problems getting a table.

Levain Bakery
After the pizza experience, I was skeptical about my sister’s claim that this place makes some of the best cookies ever. And when I saw the price, $4 for one cookie, I said that better be true. Turns out that yep, it is; Levain makes absolutely amazing cookies.

Firstly, they are huge; probably about two inches thick in the middle. They are also super-moist, to the point that they almost taste raw at the centre. As someone who loves raw cookie dough, this pleased me greatly. I grabbed two flavours, a chocolate chip walnut and a dark chocolate peanut butter. While I loved both, my favourite was the chocolate chip one, which had just the right amount of walnuts in it.

Levain has several locations across New York. I bought my cookies from the Upper West Side location, which is really a bakery with a counter at the front for sales. It’s the kind of place that you’re in and out of in minutes, which is fine by me because that means you get to eat your cookie sooner.


The City Bakery
Sunday was my shopping day in New York and in between a trip to Fish Eddy and Uniqlo, I stopped in at this bakery, which my sister highly praised. It also is supposed to have some amazing cookies but they looked a little thin and dry to me so I skipped them and instead had a grilled cheese sandwich and a shot of hot chocolate.

Yes, you read that right, a shot because this hot chocolate is so thick that a whole cup that supposedly too much (though you can buy one, if you want). As someone who loves heavy, rich, chocolaty beverages, I think I could have handled a whole cup, just maybe not on a day that was all about trying on clothes. The amount I did have was delicious and highly recommended. My grilled cheese wasn’t quite as impressive though it was still pretty good. I quite liked the bread, which was appropriately buttered and crispy. However, it could have down with a bit more cheese, especially for $7. Still, it was filling and if I was back in the neighbourhood, I’d probably get another one.

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