Recently in New York City category

Ovenly

Ovenly Bakery Brooklyn New York City-7

Sometimes when I’m doing events, such as meet-ups and booksignings, people will kindly bring treats for me to eat. It’s always nice when people think of me, and my sweet tooth, when I’m on the road. However there’s nothing worse than trying to carry on a back-and-forth with someone who is chewing on food when you’re not doing the same. It just doesn’t work. My least favorite moment when I’m dining out is when I just put a forkful of food in my mouth and the waiter comes by at the exact moment when I’ve slid the food into my mouth to ask me what I thought of the meal.

Additionally, no one looks good when they’re shoveling food in their mouth, even Bradley Cooper and Angelina Jolie. (Which I’m just guessing, since I haven’t had the chance to dine with either of them — yet.) So when I’m at a public event, I politely set whatever it is aside, continue chatting with people, and revisit it when I have a moment to myself. Wine, however, I’m pretty good at balancing during a conversation.

Ovenly Bakery Brooklyn New York City-3

However my save-it-for-later technique was tested the last time I was in Brooklyn when doing a signing at The Brooklyn Kitchen. Someone came up to me and handed me a big cardboard bakery box full of individually wrapped treats. Almost immediately I tore off the seal and lifted the lid, happy to see almost a dozen different cookies, bars, and brownies, neatly arranged inside.

Ovenly Bakery Brooklyn New York City-9

In spite of guests holding camera phones at the ready, and people lined up to chat, I couldn’t help myself and dove right in, dialing in on the darkest package of the bunch – ripping off the wrapper and tearing off a corner of the salty dark brownie, not worrying about black crumbs on my teeth. (Apologies if you were there and I kept you waiting, but I’m kind of powerless against chocolate.) And in spite of any worries of photos going viral of me shoving food in my craw that resembled an eating contest at a county fair, I was happy to take a break to savor an excellent brownie. Which I think just about anyone can relate to.

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Eating Around Queens

Dining in Flushing Queens New York City-8

One of the things about discovering new places to eat in an unknown city is that you spend a lot of time getting around, figuring out how to get from Point A to Point B, then to Point C, and so forth. Sometimes people are kind enough to suggest places that sound good. But when you look at the map, they’re an hour or more away. While the New York subway does go everywhere, when you’re used to living in a compact city like Paris, where if you miss a métro, there’s a very good chance that there’ll be another one in the next three minutes, I’ve been slowly getting up to speed understanding the NY subway system, including the complex weekend closure schedule.

I had a list of restaurants that I wanted to go to, many in Queens, a borough which is known for being one of the best places to experience the multicultural cuisines that all come together in the melting pot of America. While other countries and cities do have good, or great, foods from other countries, according to NewYork.com, there are immigrants from over 100 countries and more than 138 languages are spoken within the 109 square miles of this one borough. And they all gotta eat – and so do I.

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Mile End Deli

Mile End Deli Brooklyn-6

One of the few English words that my French other-half has mastered is “pastrami.” Which in his defense, is just fine because most Americans that speak little, if any French, can easily say baguette, croissant, tarte au citron, and macaron before they head to France. Seems like both cultures knows where their priorities lie!

Mile End Deli

So when I hear “Daveed, je veux du pastrami,” I look into those sweet little brown eyes, misting over a bit, I realize that I have to get him some. And some for myself, too — although I am a corned beef guy. But it’s hard to explain “corn” and “beef” (in French, bœuf maïsé doesn’t quite sound as appetizing), so I just go with le flow.

There are few really good delis left in New York. In Manhattan, Pastrami Queen does a good job, I haven’t been to Carnegie Deli since I was a kid but hear it’s still going, Sarge’s just reopened, and Second Avenue Deli reopened elsewhere a few years ago, neither of which I’ve revisited since. (But plan to.) And Brooklyn has Mill Basin Kosher Delicatessen, Jay & Lloyd’s Kosher Deli, and David’s Brisket House, which I think I need to visit, if only because of the name.

Mile End Deli

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New York City and Brooklyn Dining

blueberries yogurt and granola

Just got back from a covert trip to New York. It was so top-secret that even I didn’t know about it. The trip happened in a flash and I barely got to see anyone. It was work, work, work. But a guy has to eat, right? And I think it says somewhere in the constitution of the United States that we all have the right to have abundant access to corn on the cob in the summer. And I dove into as many ears of it as I could, as well as heirloom tomatoes, that I picked up at the resplendent New York City greenmarkets.

sweet corn

After my memory card failure from my last trip, I decided to go camera-less, and go light – and safe(r) – and only brought along my trusty iPhone. I indulged in blueberries by the handful, sweet corn on the cob slathered with butter and salt, cheddar cheese, Korean food, and Concord grapes.

Niabell grapes

Sharp-eyed botanists, or would-be botanists, will see they weren’t quite Concord grapes, but Niabells. I used to work with a French chef in California, and when he saw me making something with Concord grapes, he looked at the bunches in the crate, and said, “I do not like those.”

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A Quick Trip to New York City

La Parisienne

Last week, I had to make an unexpected trip from Paris to New York City. It was kind of a last-minute affair, But I’m always up for a trip to New York, even in the winter, which I remember from my years living on the east coast, how brutal they could be. Fortunately we hit a sweet spot and people were actually wearing t-shirts on the streets – in December!

pastries at Robert

Unlike being able to forget that bitter cold I’d experienced for so many winters in New York, I did forget how civic-minded Americans are and actually saw two people pick up trash on the sidewalk (that wasn’t theirs) and toss it into a nearby garbage can. People are polite, holding doors for one another and excusing themselves when they’re in someone’s way. I also forget how blue the skies are in New York, even when it’s cold, in the middle of December. New York City can be brutally cold, but there’s usually a cheerfulness in the air that’s unmistakably très américain.

blue sky

And I also forget how eager people in stores are to help you, and when I asked at Bergdorf Goodman if they knew where the display of candies from Fouquet in Paris was (the owner asked me to take a picture for him), the person I asked on the ground floor actually took a personal interest helping me, and insisted on taking me up to the top floor and asking everyone up there to find out where they were.

(Interestingly, they said the shipment had arrived a little late and were being put on display the next day, so it’s nice to know that even in America, where Romain marveled a few times, saying “People make sure things work here!” – they still have troubles with deliveries.)

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A Visit to Babycakes NYC (Video)



When I was in New York City, I was delighted to spend some time with my friend Erin McKenna, owner and head baker at BabyCakesNYC, which is one of the sweetest places in Manhattan. And Erin may be the sweetest thing in all five boroughs – and beyond!

We had a nice chat, then headed to the kitchen where she taught me how to make gluten-free doughnuts (recipe included) and create the signature frosting swirl on their fantastic cupcakes, which I was anxious to master. Because those who succeed, have the distinct honor of proudly wearing the BabyCakes uniform.



Related Links

BabyCakesNYC (DavidLebovitz.com)

BabyCakes Covers the Classics (Amazon)

BabyCakesNYC

Start Your Own…Bakery (NY Magazine)

BabyCakes (Gluten-Free Girl)

Quit Your Job! A Q&A with Erin McKenna of BabyCakes (The Awl)

Dining Around New York

central park

The French have their paradoxes and so do Americans. Which was something I discovered over and over again while I was exploring New York with an especially inquisitive Frenchman in tow. There were lots of questions, like when watching television, it’s tricky to explain why there’s a commercial for people stuffing their faces from all-you-can-eat buffet for $6.99 suddenly followed by an ad pushing low-calorie frozen entrées. Or on that note, why in America, a main course is an entrée – since that means “before” in French?

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New York Barbecue

Hill country bbq

I’m pretty sure I can’t eat anymore. But for some reason, I keep testing out that theory in New York. There’s so many places to try, old favorites and new ones, that it’s hard to stop. But when I found out a friend from Australia was in town, as well as my Frenchman in tow, when faced with the task of choosing a place to go. So I suggested Texas bbq, which surprisingly, everyone was up for it. Including me.

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