When we’re travelling, we like to stick to a balanced diet. Gotta stay in shape, keep the energy levels up, that sort of thing. So in New York, we’ve been pretty strict, with a meal plan that roughly consists of donuts for breakfast, burgers for lunch, and pizza for dinner. Milkshakes, cookies and other goodies have also been included at various times if we’ve had a particularly big day.
In all honesty, our time in New York has felt like a marathon of consuming various carbs, saturated fats and sugars. We’ve been walking a lot though, so that makes it okay, right? What follows is a rundown of our favourite foodie experiences.
I’ve never been a big doughnut fan. They’ve always been okay, but the Australian doughnut scene has never done anything much to impress me. But, before we left home, we heard about Dough through INSIDER Food, and we were keen to check it out. We visited their store in Brooklyn, where we looked through a huge glass window into the kitchen where the famous doughnuts were being prepared by hand. We tried their Passionfruit and their Boston Cream flavours. The dough itself was deliciously buttery and airy, but the glaze was the real star; the passionfruit was tangy and fresh, whilst the Boston cream was covered in rich chocolate that made the perfect accompaniment to the cream filling.
We liked Dough’s doughnuts so much that we went back for seconds, this time at their Flatiron location. Here, we tried the bright pink Hibiscus and the almond-covered Dulce De Leche, which we devoured in Madison Square Park, as the guy sitting on the bench next to us ate a salad.
Another memorable doughnut experience was had at The Doughnut Project in Greenwich Village, which we visited on our food tour and again on our own. This place experiments with more unusual flavours – here we had their Lemon Sea-Salt and Beet and Ricotta doughnuts. We only wish we had time to try more (they have a ‘Bone Marrow Chocolate’ doughnut which sounds excellently weird). When we left this shop the sunny, humid day turned suddenly dark as we walked down the street towards the subway, and a loud crack of thunder brought with it a torrent of rain that swirled at us horizontally as the wind picked up. It was almost as if a higher power was angry at our gluttony.
Who knew fast food could taste so good? Born as a food cart in Madison Square Park, it’s little wonder that it’s become such a success. Wandering the streets of New York makes for a big appetite, so we headed here for a late lunch after exploring Brooklyn on foot that morning. We got a Chick’n Shack (crispy chicken breast with lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo on a potato bun) and a SmokeShack (cheeseburger with bacon, chopped cherry pepper and Shacksauce) with crinkle-cut fries drizzled with cheese sauce and two thick, creamy shakes. The food was hot and fresh, the shakes were awesome, and everything was yummy enough to warrant another visit a few days later. The second time, though, we got the fries without cheese, because obviously we didn’t want to go too over the top. By the end of our Shake Shack escapades we’d tried strawberry, peanut butter, salted caramel, and blueberry lemon-curd shakes. Definitely worth the 500+ calories per serve.
Bagels seem typically New York, so of course they were on the list of must-eats. Amidst locals on their way to work, we waited in the long line at Ess A Bagel, oogling at the myriad of spreads on offer and feeling slightly intimidated by the intensity of New Yorkers ordering their breakfast. We chose ‘everything’ bagels (bagels with a variety of seeds and herbs) with smoked salmon, scallion cream cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and capers. The bagel itself was toasty and warm and the toppings were fresh and delicious.
And you know what Sydney? New York is generous with the spreads. None of that dry-bread-with-a-thin-layer-of-cream-cheese garbage here.
You almost can’t walk down the street without passing a pizza place here, but of course the quality varies. We visited the famous ‘Joe’s Pizza’ in Greenwich Village on our food tour, which has served the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey, as well as Motorino Pizza in East Village, which has received rave reviews.I’m not one to normally notice such things, but the dough was AMAZING (charred and a little crispy on the bottom, but also chewy) and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
As we waited on the pavement for our pizzas to be ready, Zac chastised me for ordering their Marinara pizza because it had no cheese on it. However, he was pleasantly surprised to find that their tomato sauce, combined with little slivers of garlic and a sprinkling of oregano, was so flavoursome that you didn’t even notice that there was anything missing. We walked in the fading light, the pizza boxes warm in our hands, to Union Square Park where we sat to eat, overlooking some sort of fundamentalist Christian rally with people holding signs that read ‘Ask Me Why You Deserve To Go To Hell!’ Fun.
Food Tour in Greenwich Village
Thursday July 7 was a day that resulted in a food coma to end all food comas. A significant error in judgement meant that the aforementioned bagels were consumed on the morning of our food tour, so we arrived at the meeting point already full of carby goodness. For three hours, we continued to stuff ourselves at no less than 8 food tastings until our stomachs were about to burst. To add to our pain, the temperature was steadily creeping towards 30 degrees. Nonetheless, such delicious foods as pizza, risotto, doughnuts, cheese, cookies and cannoli were consumed (there was no way we were going to turn any of it down).
We happened to stumble across this gem as we were walking around on our first day in NYC. A series of pop-up food stalls in Greeley Square, Broadway Bites offers a vast array of different cuisines that can be enjoyed at the little green tables and chairs clustered in the shade of the surrounding trees. We made the mistake of walking through before lunch time, so it all we could think about for the next couple of hours as we walked to Time’s Square and back. By the time we returned I was almost drooling. We opted for a Korean spicy pork burger, shrimp-mango and grilled chicken-corn tostadas with sangria (a poor choice for the jet-lagged) and a cinnamon ice-cream sandwich for dessert.
TOO. MUCH. DELICIOUSNESS. After nine days in New York we should’ve known that this would be a bad idea. Located in an old biscuit factory, where Oreos were first made, the market has a really cool interior that Zac probably appreciated more than I did, but which I enjoyed nonetheless.
From colourful baked goods and handmade chocolate to seafood to espresso bars to halva to Japanese inspired Mexican, Chelsea Market was enough to give even the most hardened food lovers heart palpitations.
We chowed down on a Cambodian pulled-pork roll with pickled carrot, chilli mayo and cilantro (coriander, the king of all herbs), and a roast beef sandwich with horseradish cream and pickled onion, from a butcher that sold nose-to-tail cuts of meat sourced only from New York. We washed these down with PROPER iced lattes (not the American-style cold-brew stuff that is a bit ick) before retreating to nearby Washington Park, lest we consume more delectable food and make our stomachs hurt (as has happened on numerous occasions).
Vegan Food at ‘By Chloe’
On our way to get more doughnuts one day, we stumbled across a cafe that was full to the brim, with a line to order that was almost stretching out the door. Thinking it must be good, we joined the queue, deciding to order healthy salads in an effort to rectify the great-for-the-tastebuds, bad-for-the-body choices made over the course of the previous week. I went for the Spicy Thai salad, with apricot-sriracha glazed tempeh, almonds, quinoa, edamame, scallion, crispy wontons and peanut dressing, whilst Zac got the Quinoa Taco with spicy seitan chorizo, black beans, sweet corn, avocado, tomato, tortilla strips and agave-lime vinaigrette. As it turns out, the food was AMAZING, and despite having to wait over half an hour for a salad, it was definitely the best salad I have had in my life. Not too much greenery filling the huge bowl, with heaps of dressing and non-foliage-like ingredients. Accompanied by a ‘Purple Rain’ smoothie, with blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, banana, almond milk, almond butter, and chia seeds, it was the perfect way to begin making up for all the fat and sugar we’d been eating.
Don’t worry though, afterwards we went and enjoyed ice cream, followed by some doughnuts.
All I can say is it’s lucky we don’t live here.
DISCLAIMER: We did actually see apples whilst in The Big Apple. They were on the fruit carts that occupy street corners, in grocers, in juice bars, etc. We just chose not to eat them, because who would eat an apple when there’s so much other yummy stuff on offer?