Lisa’s NYC List: November 2016 (and yes I went back for another cronut)
So we went back to New York and we ate. And we ate. And we saw lots of theatre (not enough!) and lots of art (enough!). We ate more pasta than most people could eat in a week. We saw the 46th New York Marathon run past. We were in the midst of it all when Donald Trump won the presidential election. And we ate some more.
Daniel Rose’s new Le Coucou. It’s French, it’s gorgeous and the food was just excellent. Wonderful service. And it’s just a little bit swish. Possibly the best bread in NYC. Loved!
Babbo Ristorante Enoteca: A repeat from years ago, it is probably my favourite NYC restaurant. Classy, classic NYC vibe. This time we opted for the pasta tasting menu. We swapped one thing, added another and we were in pasta heaven. Perfection.
For a really special day, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a unique all-round experience. The food is interesting, the place, the service – impeccable. And something you must do at least once. You need to book online 60 days ahead, and it’s wonderful for Sunday lunch when you can enjoy the 1 hour drive from NYC and the surrounding scenery. And those brussels sprouts!!
We discovered Soho Italian I Sodi which we squeezed in for a dinner #2 post-theatre (more on dinner #1 – Chinese – below). Went there for the best cacio e pepe in NYC and we weren’t disappointed. Also loved the fried artichoke bits for starters.
Really great lunch at the very cool Roberta’s in Brooklyn. I had been there for a quick stop last year but it was Hayden Quinn‘s suggestion that got us there this time. It was really really good – the pizza and pasta were top notch.
Dinner at Soho’s Estela was only a mistake because we did it on the same day as Blue Hills at Stone Barns. So we were full before we started! It’s a very New Yorky local vibey restaurant, tables crammed in so close to each other that you inevitably get to know your neighbour quite well. The food was good – very salty, delicious lamb ribs – but we were honestly stuffed, so we will have to try it again next time.
Santina is another one that everyone at home is talking about. It’s great if you walk the highline and need a light bite, or visit the Whitney (which is fabulous!). We liked the salads and the chickpea pancakes for starters but thought the vibe was weird. For me, a definitely-too-contrived Latin thing happening.
Chop’t. Loved it. If you want a super-quick salad lunch on the way somewhere, don’t be put off the long line at this salad bar/takeaway, it moves faster than you can decide what to put in your salad. Many locations, great concept. We went for the standard chopped salad (it was delicious!) as the choice was overwhelmingly huge.
La Esquina Corner Deli. Cafe only this time. Perfect for a quick sandwich or taco. Better if you like cilantro. (And then an Eileen’s cheesecake for dessert from around the corner)
Chef Pho & Peking Roast Duck Restaurant, 858 8th Ave near the Theatre district. A little reluctant to recommend this, but if you like the sound of ‘Crispy Orange Beef’ it may be the place for you on the way to the theatre (there begins the concept of dinner #1 pre-theatre). I have to say it is quite delicious if you like that sort of thing. My long soup was excellent, but the wontons were not. Husband Danny had discovered this fairly grungy ordinary-looking Chinese restaurant, looking for his old fave ‘Peking Shredded Beef’ from the old days of Imperial Peking in Sydney.
I met my friend Beacs for a quick pre-theatre lunch at an Italian restaurant on W44th (b/w 8th and 9th) called Etcetera Etcetera. Perfect for exactly that. My rocket salad with palm hearts and pine nuts was just great, as was his lasagne.
Everyone raves about Carbone (see my 2015 post). I wasn’t convinced. My mixed salad to start was really ordinary, as was my linguini with clams. Perhaps resting on their laurels, unlike Babbo that keeps on keeping on.
SNACKS AND TREATS
Doughnuts. I love glazed donuts, so that’s all you’ll ever find me ordering. I tried a few and my fave was definitely The Doughnut Project, followed by Doughnut Plant. Both worth eating. I wasn’t crazy about the vanilla glazed from Dough.
I did go back to Dominique Ansel for my pre-ordered November cronut and it was good. Very sweet but very good – maple roasted pecan with spiced sugar. Grab yourself a DKA while you’re there.
Cookies. Didn’t make it to cookie mecca Levain, but I did make a trip to City Cakes (not to be confused with City Bakery of the pretzel croissant fame, see below) thanks to a great recommendation (thanks Dan Churchill) for a really good oatmeal raisin cookie. And there are a few more to try that looked fabulous.
Babke. Go straight to Breads Bakery for the chocolate babke. It is really really worth eating.
Cheesecake. I was recommended to go to Juniors cheesecake, the very touristy Times Square cheesecake chain. I went, and I really didn’t like it. Back to Eileen’s next time for sure. See below for Eileen’s details.
If you’re missing a good piccolo latte like we have at home, with an avocado smash on toast, head straight to one of the many Bluestone Lane cafes.
For a pretty good late night burger, head to the Burger Joint behind the red curtain at the Parker Meridian. It’s been on my list for almost 2 years and we finally made it there. It helped that it was pretty much across the road from our hotel.
Falsettos (revival of a 1992 musical with a fabulous cast), The Humans (a wonderful, thought-provoking play about a averagely dysfunctional family), Heisenberg (an interesting story of an odd relationship) and Not That Jewish (funny, heartwarming story of Monica Piper’s life) were all fabulous. Next on our list is Dear Evan Hansen – we were there one week too early .
Dia: Beacon is a must. We took a car and went there before our lunch at Stone Barns. Incredible art collection in a stunning and huge space. Giant Sol Lewitt works were mesmerising, as were many others.
Kerry James Marshall at the Met Breuer was outstanding (on till 29th jan 2017).
The Whitney‘s exhibition of portraits from its collection was stunning (on till 12th Feb 2017)
A highlight for me was meeting artist Ai Wei Wei at the Hirshhorn Museum Gala at 1 World Trade Centre (see the pic!)
We stayed at the newly built and quite gorgeous Park Hyatt on 57th, near 7th. Loved it!
Ubers are great in NYC but I wish we had mastered the metro. Next time. The traffic really really SUCKS. Walking is faster than driving in most cases so take your most comfortable walking shoes and just walk it.
THINGS I WISH I COULD HAVE EATEN THIS TRIP (BUT WAS TOO FULL) FROM MY 2015 VISIT
Shake Shack – I know it’s fast food, but it is GOOD. Solid chargrilled beef burger, a potato bun (Martin’s potato roll to be precise), lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickles and the super delish shack sauce. It’s worth swinging by and picking up a shackburger and some fries. Just once. And then at least you can tell me if you agree….
Russ and Daughters, 179 E Houston (original shop) – an absolutely essential part of a NYC visit: a takeaway ‘everything’ bagel with Novia Scotia salmon and scallion cream cheese. It will be the best salmon bagel you’ve ever had.
Katz’s Deli, 205 E Houston (cnr Ludlow) – skip the Reuben and head straight for the pastrami on rye, with coleslaw and Russian dressing. Take cash, and don’t lose your entry ticket!
Eileen’s Special Cheesecake , 17 Cleveland Place (near Spring & Lafayette) – work a quick stop into your busy schedule and just pick up a plain original cheesecake. You won’t regret it. If you’re feeling adventurous, the salted caramel is pretty good too.
City Bakery, 3 West 18th – the pretzel croissant (also at other locations). Sounds ordinary enough but it really is not! We found ourselves here when our taxi driver fell asleep on the job and I sensed the need to URGENTLY exit the vehicle. He was conveniently snoozing just outside City Bakery. This pretzel is EXTRAORDINARY. Flaky, buttery, salty, sesame. Yum.
Check out my complete 2015 New York post, lot’s of great things there as well.