Recently in New York City category

Doughnut Plant, NYC

chocolate doughnut new york

Could the Doughnut Plant be the best place in the world?

I’m sorry, but I don’t remember the name of each and every doughnut we had at Doughnut Plant in New York City. Frankly, I was so caught up in ordering doughnuts, passing them around, trying to take a few snaps, while going berserk over each and every flavor of doughnut we tried, my sanity took a temporary leave and I just let the overwhelming experience of being surrounded by fluffy, just-made, extraordinarily wonderful doughnuts pass over (and into) me.

chocolate doughnut plant doughnut plant menu

It was standing in the middle of a storm of doughnuts, literally playing referee between the hungry mob I arrived with.

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Momofuku Milk Bar

Momofuku soft serve ice creams

I sometimes think about stepping back into the restaurant world. I miss being around all that energy and cooking alongside others instead of toiling in the kitchen all by my lonesome (…and with you, of course). But it’s nice to bounce ideas off of others and do more involved presentations, plus I’ll admit, I miss having a team of dishwashers on staff just as much—or even more.

I love what the new generation of pastry chefs have been doing. There’s lot of fresh talent out there, and I guess I should just continue to leave things (and the pots and pans) in their hands and be happy to remain a stay-at-home baker.

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Porchetta

crisp porchetta

It felt a little funny heading over to Porchetta for lunch. I mean, I live right next to Italy and had amazing porchetta there just recently. So why am I taking a lengthy subway trip down to the East Village for lunch?

And I was tempted even further when I was on the way to meet my friend Shira (who I met on a boat trip on the Côte d’Azur last year) for lunch, and I passed a ‘San Francisco-style’ burrito place that tugged in the pit of my slightly bulging stomach at my sense of nostalgia for the famed tummy-torpedos I remembered so well.

potatoes and lemon seltzer porchetta

But like the people who told me that that Mexican food and BBQ in New York aren’t going to be as good as where they originated (which I find partially true, but I’ve had great French food in New York and wonderful Italian fare in San Francisco, so perhaps I’m becoming a little too globalized for my own good) I’m going to agree that it’s pretty hard to replicate a San Francisco burrito. So in my twisted logic that says you can’t get a good San Francisco-style burrito in New York City, but good Tuscan roast pork is a possibility, porchetta it was. And boy, am I glad when my convoluted reasoning works out.

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Flat Bagels

flat bagels blog

Tradition schmadition. Something I’ve noticed every time I come to New York is that the bagels keep getting puffier and puffier. (Which happened before everything started going 3D.) When I eat a bagel, I want a chewy exterior with lot of seeds on it and enough dough inside to support a swipe of cream cheese. I don’t want a whole loaf of bread in there. Is that too much to ask?

Roaming around the streets of New York, I’ve seen bagels practically as round as a baseball and others as fluffed up as a burger bun. And I know you’re not going to believe this, but I even saw bagels with dried fruit in them. Oy. What is this city coming to?

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…and that was the RUB

baby back ribs

We came for the burnt ends. But to be fair, when we called the day before to see if RUB Barbeque took reservations, we were told that they sometimes run out of certain items because they take days to smoke. So, of course—with my luck, we arrived at RUB, aka, Righteous Urban Barbeque, to…

burnt ends

I think that sign is the VA (version Américain) of the infamous Fermeture exceptionnelle I’ve come to know all too well. I asked at the counter, “Are they really as good as they say they are?” and the woman replied, “Yes, they are.” When I started to cry, the staff sat me down at the bar and gave me a Country Cocktail of housemade lemonade and a double shot of bourbon.

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The City Bakery

City Bakery

Here’s what I like best about The City Bakery: anything you order is going to be first-rate. There’s a thin, flaky apple tart with a hint of tangy lemon and lots of crackly sugar. The chocolate cookie is soft and bursting with deep, dark chocolate flavor. And the dreamy chocolate tartlet is simple and direct: a bittersweet chocolate shell encircling a dense, chocolate pudding-like filling. No unnecessary garnishes like cream or frosting. Just chocolate, and lots of it.

(And don’t even get me started about those Pretzel Croissants. If I could find a way—or space, to haul a few back to Paris, I would.)

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Papabubble

candy jar

If there’s anyone out there who likes homemade candy more than I do, I would like to meet that person. I used to have a dream about opening a shop that sold nothing but confections made by my own two hands: chocolate-covered marshmallows, twisty peppermint sticks, naturally-flavored lollypops, sugary orange slices (god, I love those…), and chewy red licorice whips.

I even went so far as to go to take courses in candymaking, which was a lot of fun. But ultimately I decided that candy was too finicky, and that not only would few people buy it, but with my luck, I’d probably get picketed by the local dentists for making all that chewy stuff.

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New York Noshing, Part 2

I think I need to move to New York City for a whole year to eat at all the places that were on my list to try. Although, honestly…I could certainly just go to Zabar’s everyday and die a happy man. And for all the scoffing that Whole Foods gets, I’d be thrilled to have a store with the range of fine products that they do. Sure it’s not all local, or organic. But it’s nice to find a major supermarket chain carrying healthy foods, unscented products (which I stocked up on), a huge selection of local cheeses, plus chocolates from all over the place, near and far.

And for anyone that wants to complain about ‘Whole Paycheck’, go out and pick a basket of raspberries in the blazing-hot sun…then figure out how much it’s worth if you were to sell it?

So I came back cranky, probably because I had to suffer the indignity of the flight attendants physically unhooking my fingers from the outside of the airplane door at JFK Airport so we could leave. Luckily I brought an extra empty suitcase and stocked it up with maple syrup, dried California apricots and sour cherries, and a few other odds and ends as souvenirs. But while in New York, I had plenty of delicious moments…

If I had to name one of my Top Ten foods of all-time, it would be the Black & White Cookie. Although it’s getting harder to find freshly-made ones that aren’t shrink-wrapped, in New York. But good things come to those who search…

Black and White Cookie

I once made them (from a recipe in here), and realized it was a dangerous proposition. The good thing about making them yourself is that you can make them slightly smaller than the jumbo 7-inch disks you normally find.

And speaking of abnormally-sized Black & Whitesholy mother-of-Black & Whites!

Black & White...Cake!

It’s a Black & White Cake!

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