Eating the city: New York City, USA

In a city as big as New York and a stomach that can only physically expand so much, it’s impossible to eat everything. So, in order to save precious gut real estate for the good stuff, let me run you down the goodies you need to save space for when you visit.

 

1. Walnut chocolate chip cookie from Levain Bakery
Multiple locations
https://www.levainbakery.com

Not particularly cheap at USD$4.00 but they’re the size of grapefruit, FULL of melty chocolatey and nutty goodness, and can you really put a price on happiness? If you want to eat in, get there early or prepare to wait around – it’s a tiny space, so it fills up and the line ends up out the door pretty fast!
Read more here

 

2. Patrami & mustard on rye from Katz’s Deli
205 E Houston St
https://www.katzsdelicatessen.com

This is one of the classics of NYC, and there’s a good reason for that. Family run for several generations, they’ve served everyone from Harry & Sally to NYC Mayor de Blasio and Senator Bernie Sanders (I know that because they were sitting at the table next to us a few weeks ago!). And if the USD$22.00 price tag puts you off a little, remember how much you’d pay for that much meat at a BBQ place – just because its between bread doesn’t mean you’re not getting your money’s worth!
Read more here

 

3. Brisket and burnt ends from Mighty Quinn’s BBQ
Multiple locations
http://www.mightyquinnsbbq.com

Tender, juicy meat with soft, melty fat… and those perfect burnt pieces off the ends to finish it all off. Heaven! These guys know how to make meat perfect, and don’t forget some mac & cheese on the side. Prices vary depending on your order, but it’s good value for money for such high quality.
Read more here

 

4. Any and all of the pie from Four & Twenty Blackbirds, Brooklyn
439 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn
http://www.birdsblack.com

Brooklyn’s amazing, but even if it wasn’t, it’d still be worth going to just to get your pie fix from these guys. They have a sweet little pie shop on a street corner, with a chalkboard hanging over the counter announcing the day’s offerings (around USD$6.00 per slice), and REAL tea and coffee to go with it!
Read more here

 

5. A salmon & cream cheese bagel from Russ & Daughters
179 E Houston St
https://www.russanddaughters.com

This is the bagel dreams are made of, in whatever combination you decide on. I can’t go past the scallion cream cheese, and while it’s damn near impossible to narrow down the fish, I’d strongly recommend the cured Scottish salmon and the smoked sable. Prices vary depending on your fish, but they’re kind enough to slice off a bit for you to taste before you commit.
Read more here

 

6. Hot dogs from Papaya King or Nathan’s Famous
Papaya King: 179 E 86th St
http://www.papayaking.com

Nathan’s Famous: Coney Island or at a Bulls game at the United Center
https://nathansfamous.com

Two NYC stalwarts, two great dogs. From Papaya King you’ll be wanting the two hot dogs with sauerkraut & mustard and a papaya drink combo. I wasn’t sold on the papaya juice drink with a hot dog, but its actually a weirdly good combination! And at Nathan’s, you just want a dog with a little ketchup and mustard. Amazing!
Read more here and here

 

7. Tea and scones at Alice’s Tea Cup
Multiple locations
https://alicesteacup.com

I’m a big fan of Alice, so I was stoked to find this wasnt a completely tacky themed cafe. They do breakfast and lunch, too, but I was there for tea and sweets. You can get a large pot (6 cups) of tea with two scones of your choice (they have a rotating selection daily) for USD$20.00, and they’ve cleverly switched to a tip-included-in-the-price system to make things even easier. Selecting you tea is the hard part, with dozens to choose from – I like the Mauritius black tea with a hint of vanilla, and of course their signature Alice’s tea; you can also purchase any tea from their menu to take home!
Read more here

 

8. Deli sandwich near Sunset Park, Brooklyn
5th Avenue between Green-Wood Cemetery and Sunset Park

It doesn’t really matter where you get it from or what’s in it, the whole walk up 5th Avenue to Sunset Park is lined with these little delis. It’s a bit of a climb to the top of the park, so grab some sandwiches on fresh bread piled high with just-sliced deli meats for a picnic in a spot that overlooks the Manhattan skyline.

 

9. Noodles and dim sum in Chinatown

Let’s be honest; where there’s a Chinatown, there’s good food. And New York’s is no different. Get yourself over there and just start walking. It’s just like being in Asia, which means the menus are often difficult to decipher, and there are more options than you’ll know what to do with. And, it’s cheap. Enjoy!

 

10. New York Cheesecake from Eileen’s Special Cheesecake
17 Cleveland Place
https://www.eileenscheesecake.com

Because how can you possibly go to New York without trying the namesake cheesecake?! You can get a little personal one for yourself (USD$5.00), or a nice big one to share (or, for yourself, no judgement), and in all sorts of flavours as well as the original.
Read more here

 

11. Crack pie & birthday truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar
Multiple locations
http://milkbarstore.com/main/

We live in a time where sugar’s been proven to be more addictive than crack anyway, so may as well skip the drugs and go right for the sweet stuff! The pie is basically pure butter and sugar, and the truffles are sugar with sprinkles, but they taste so damn good you just can’t help yourself!
Read more here

 

12. Bomboloni from Sullivan Street Bakery
533 W 57th Street
http://www.sullivanstreetbakery.com

Soft, airy, pillowy balls of dough, fried to golden perfection and filed with silky smooth custard. Off you go.
Read more here

 

13. A bit of everything from the Chelsea Market
75 9th Avenue
http://chelseamarket.com

There’s a whole basement full of food here, from vegan sushi to Aussie sausage rolls, herbal teas to artisan pastries, pizza slices to microbrew beer. If you can’t find something here you like, there’s something wrong with you!
Read more here

 

14. Gyro platter from The Halal Guys
Multiple locations
https://thehalalguys.com

They say necessity is the mother of invention, and a gap in the market for halal food in NYC led to one of the city’s greatest creations in the Halal Guys. The meat (served street side from a cart) is probably better than any you’ve had in a restaurant, and starting at around USD$8.00 for a platter, you won’t even need dinner later!
Read more here

 

15. Burgers! Fancy ones from Five Napkins, simple ones from Shake Shack.
Five Napkins: multiple locations
https://5napkinburger.com

Shake Shack: multiple locations
https://www.shakeshack.com

I’m a real burger lover, and my two NYC favourites fall on both ends of the spectrum. For something a bit fancier, try the Original 5 Napkin with gruyere and caramelised onions (around USD$17.00), and for a quick and cheap option, get yourself a ShackBurger for just USD$6.00. Both amazing. Just get both.
Read more here and here

Ladies who eat & blog: SCARF Community dinner @ Green Park

Hands up who’s heard of SCARF?! Not many, I’m guessing? That sucks… hopefully this will help spread the word about an awesome group who do some seriously good work for the community and also make some delicious food in the process!

So, my last attendance to a Scarf dinner was when I was in a past blogging life at Multicultural Melbourne, way back in 2011, and I’m a little ashamed that I haven’t been back since! You can read all about the amazing work Scarf do on their website, but the Readers Digest version is basically they’re an amazingly dedicated organisation taking disadvantaged youth and mentoring/training them up in all facets of the hospitality industry. Once a week, they take over a restaurant kind enough to donate their space for a few hours and run a full service. Told you they’re amazing! They are currently taking up residence at Green Park in Carlton North, where $40 gets you a two course set menu and the opportunity support a pretty great organisation that’s making a big difference. Everyone wins!

I can’t remember what made me think of it, but I simultaneously thought that I really wanted to head back for a long overdue Scarf dinner and organise a little catch up for some fellow lady bloggers. It really frustrates me to see how competitive women can be these days; at a time where we seem to be hearing about more and more women being attacked, bullied, hurt and victimised, when maybe more than ever we need to support each other and have each others backs (isn’t there already enough pressure on us without being mean and bitchy to each other, too?!), more and more women seem to be getting more and more competitive and judgmental towards each other instead. On the flip side, I’ve been lucky enough to have met some really incredible and inspiring women through blogging and would love to get to know some of them a little better! In the spirit of Scarf and doing good deeds, I thought it might be nice to get a group of women who’s work I really admire together for a great night  : )

IMG_8413So, allow me to introduce to you the lovely ladies who joined me for dinner this week:

Cass from Hungrycookie – Cass’s blog is about “all things fashion, food and travel” who brings you the latest in both food and fashion, both very important to Melbournians!

Terri from Little Wanderings – Terri is a bit of a blogging soul sister to me with so much in common – another Melbourne girl who loves her city, her food, and travelling the big wide world 🙂

Monique from Mon’s Adventure – Mon’s a foodie and a beautiful story teller, who always seems to be on and between fabulous adventures!

Sheena from Chasing A Plate – Sheena collaborates with Thomas for a beautifully photographed and written food journal, based on the belief that life is too short for bad food (amen!).

 

With the introductions over with, allow me to introduce the food and the host restaurant…

Green Park
815 Nicholson St, Carlton North, Melbourne
http://greenparkdining.com.au/

The Scarf menu, designed by Green Park’s chefs and executed by Scarf’s trainees, offered two entree and two main options (thank you very very much to Cass sitting next to me who coincidentally ordered the dishes I didn’t and let me try hers!)…

 

ENTREES:
Roast beetroot, feta, walnut and rocket salad (which I ordered, and was a really nice and light starter)…

IMG_8402… and the chicken liver parfait with onion jam and bread (so rich, so good!)

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MAINS:
Braised beef shin with cauliflower, bacon and hazelnuts (I was stoked with my choice – the beef was delicious and sooo tender, the perfectly little pile fell apart at the first poke with my fork! Also, the hazelnuts were the perfect addition!)…

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and the gnocchi with pumpkin, burnt butter and sage (it’s a classic for a reason, and it was done very well!):

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DESSERT:
Just the one option, and being lactose intolerant and quite unwell for the last week or so, I decided to forgo the deconstructed yoghurt cheesecake, but it looked very pretty and the ladies who did order it seemed pretty happy with it!

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The food was amazing, especially considering the fact that these were restaurant quality dishes made by trainees! They did a fantastic job and both the trainees and mentors should be incredibly proud  : )

Green Park on Urbanspoon

 

Everyone did a fantastic job, from the slightly nervous waitress who must have been at least a little daunted by the five loud women talking about everything from Hodor to potatoes, the waiter who wasn’t looking after our table but still more than happily took our photo at the end of the night, the mentors floating around making sure everything was running smoothly. Yeah, the food is great, but it’s about so much more than that.

If you’d like to do more than dine and support Scarf, you can book dinner right here, and someone will get back to you with a confirmation very quickly! And I must make sure I don’t leave it another four years before dining with Scarf again! Thank you for a great night, and we’re all wishing the trainees all the very best for the bright futures they’ll no doubt have in the hospitality industry!

Batman Market, Melbourne

Batman Market
http://batmanmarket.com.au/

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I’ve been looking forward to this market – it’s had plenty of advertising and word of mouth leading up to opening weekend (October 11th & 12th), so I was pretty excited to find out I had nothing on and was free to eat and shop my way around. The fact that it was opening weekend and a sunny 24 degrees was just the cherry on the cake!

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You can read a bit more about the market on their website, but the basic premise is that the team behind the Batman Market are working to build a new iconic multicultural market for Melbourne to enjoy, representative of the “Australian weekend lifestyle.” They’re hoping in the future that it’ll be a site that can be used to host events for the community, as well as celebrating multiculturalism through food and creative locals selling their wares. Stalls will cover the spectrum from street food style sellers to health food and groceries, as well as homewares, jewellery and second hand pieces.

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I visited on opening day, last Saturday, and the atmosphere was fantastic; there were people of all nationalities, all ages, all walks of life. Hipsters, nannas and babies in prams co-existed in happy harmony, absolutely packing the sunny market place. There were seriously good vibes coming out of the place! The stalls I looked at were well set up, with heaps of gorgeous little trinkets for sale – the jewellery stalls in particular caught my eye, there were beautiful handmade pieces, and I’m looking forward to another visit after pay day so I can make some purchases!

The food was the big draw card for me, so with husband’s help, I ate my way through as much as I could. Here’s what we devoured..

 

Nuoc Mama’s
https://www.facebook.com/NuocMamasFoodTruck

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It reallllly upsets me to have to give this place such a bad review, because I so wanted to like it… I realise that opening weekend for an event this big presents teething problems, and you have to anticipate there are going to be some waits while the teams in the trucks find their feet. But this is not a new food truck. They’ve been around for long enough to be able to pull it together, and they didn’t on Saturday.

We ordered a crispy pork belly pancake and proceeded to wait for 45 minutes for a dish that I can cook at home in 10, having learnt in Hoi An. After watching the lady in front of me ask for her money back and walk off pretty frustrated (understandable), I was getting ready to do the same, but was told my pancake was next up. The pancake we finally received was raw in the middle (I’m not a big fan of raw batter) and I found the pork to be pretty bland. Not only that, but when I went back to tell the guys in the truck that my pancake was raw, all I got was a shrug of the shoulders and “oh… sorry…”

Unacceptable; you CANNOT serve RAW food to your customers. You also CANNOT tell them to expect a quick 10 minute wait and keep them waiting for three quarters of an hour. We were disappointed and frustrated beyond belief; if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’d know that I rarely have a bad word to say about people working hard in the food industry because I know what a tough gig it is, but this was ridiculous. Hopefully they can take it and learn and up their game next time!

Nuoc Mama's on Urbanspoon

 

Now that that’s over and done with, let’s get to the good food, of which there was heaps!!

Not sure what this place was, but they did BBQ pork belly on a stick. With some really delicious cumin salt sprinkled on top. It only cost $3.00 per stick, the fat was so nicely rendered and it was just a meat lollypop of loveliness. They had some other great looking stuff, like the soft shell crab and calamari, that was flying out of the place.

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Ayomo Frozen Yogurt – but I was there for the waffles
http://www.ayomo.net/

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This was possibly the best waffle I’ve ever had, no exaggeration. You pick a base, 3 toppings and a drizzle on top – I went with peanut butter base, oat crumble, chocolate pearls, peanuts and hazelnut chocolate drizzle. Best $8.00 I’ve spent in a while. Massive points for the lady and gentleman working, who were still smiling and genuine with each customer despite the hot sun and the long day they’d already had. Oh, and to offset the crap food and service at Nuoc Mama’s, when the lovely lady who took my order here realised she’d lost it, she apologised quickly and pushed my order to the front. From first order to receiving our waffle, we clocked no more than 6 minutes.  Won’t be my last visit to these guys. Make it a priority when you visit.

Ayomo Frozen Yogurt & Juice Bar on Urbanspoon

 

Strawberry iced tea. No idea where this came from because husband went to buy this while I was waiting in line at Nuoc Mama’s; it was soooo good! Ice cold, neither the tea nor the strawberry flavours were overpowering – it somehow magically tasted equally of both. $5.00, do yourself a favour and track this down! Delicious!

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Señor BBQ
http://www.argentineanbbq.com/

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Chorizo choripan. Chorizo sausage in a crunchy roll, smothered in chimichurri. This was pretty delicious. Nothing special, nothing I’d rush back for, but it was very good.

 

Aaaand a little bit more dessert…

Queqedjoe
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Queqedjoe/577441329049302?sk=info

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Indonesian handcrafted mini no-bake cheesecake pots. Yeah. This little cup of love is the mango and salted caramel cheesecake, and it was really, really good. Silky smooth, the caramel was salty but still sweet, and the biscuit crumb base was perfect. Amazing dessert, so unexpected, but I’d definitely be keen to try some more flavours!!

And one I didn’t get a photo of.. or catch the name… which I’m cursing myself for. There’s a bakery, they had chocolate croissants, probably the best chocolate croissant I’ve had, including the one I had in Paris. Whoever you guys are, you are FANTASTIC!!

 

So, worth a visit this weekend? ABSOLUTELY!! Get around the Batman Market; the team behind it are doing really great things and they need the support to make this market as big as it potentially could be! They’re open Saturdays and Sundays, 9am – 3pm, so head down this weekend and enjoy it!

Eat here: All Day Donuts, Melbourne

All Day Donuts, Brunswick, Melbourne
http://instagram.com/alldaydonuts

I’m a HUGE fan of the work of Raph Rashid, the genius behind such favourites of mine as Beatbox Kitchens and the Taco Truck. Naturally when I heard he was turning his brilliance towards donuts as his next venture, I was ridiculously excited. I love carbs, I love sugar, it’s a party.

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A nondescript little brick front marked with a printed sign with directions for Beatbox and Taco Truck deliveries indicated we were in the right place. It was set up like a small, unadorned school cafeteria, with your 6 options presented upon entry.

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It was tough, but we narrowed it down to the original, the raspberry glaze and the strawberry cheesecake.

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The donut itself was delicious – it was light and fluffy, not too thick, cakey or doughy. Also, didn’t taste like a deep fryer, as some donuts often do. And they were FRESH. Like, still a little warm. Apparently, the average kitchen to mouth time is around 30 minutes – I believe that. So dough, massive tick.

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The original glaze was really nice, but I loved the raspberry glaze! And the milk berry rubble was UNREAL! It was like little chunks of love perched up on the donut – a really superb donut that I look forward to eating again, and husband agreed!

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Lastly was the strawberry cheesecake donut, which was purely for my benefit (husband doesn’t do cheesecake, fool). It. Was. AMAZING! Same gorgeous, light dough filled with a ton of soft gooey cheesecake business. It was silky smooth, very flavourful without being overpowering, and crazy delicious. Want another one. Now.

They weren’t particularly cheap ($13.00 for the lot), but I’m a believer of paying decent money for a decent product. I was more than happy to part with $13.00 for these, because I honestly thought they were that good. Believe the hype, go and grab some.

All Day Donuts on Urbanspoon