Tag Archives: new york

NYC: Clinton Street Baking Company

Clinton Street Baking Company
(Lower East Side)

The Clinton Street Baking Company was on my list of places to visit, and I managed to stumble upon it one morning. It was fate.

In fact, it was fate that I would eat one of the most amazing French toast breakfasts I’ve ever had. The French toast was actually thick pieces of rich, eggy brioche. It was lightly pan-fried, and then doused in bourbon-laced caramelized bananas and pecans. As if that weren’t decadent enough, it was served with real maple butter.

They’re also famous for their buttermilk biscuits. Unfortunately, I was so stuffed full of sinfully good breakfast that I didn’t try a biscuit.

It’s a teeny tiny place. If you have the luxury of going during the week, take it. It will be busy then, but nowhere near the madness that weekends probably bring.

Clinton Street Baking Company
4 Clinton St
New York, NY
646-602-6263
Clinton St. Baking Company on Urbanspoon

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NYC: the legendary Ferrara Cafe

Ferrara Cafe
(Little Italy)

While in New York, I spent many evenings at Ferrara Cafe. There were so many things to try, and just too little time. Tragic.

They make a mean affogato: ice cream doused with searing hot espresso. You have to be careful on busy nights, though – the affogato can sit on the counter too long before it arrives at your table, which just ruins the entire point. Specify that you want the ice cream super cold, and the espresso super hot. I tried it once with vanilla gelato (too sweet) and once with coffee gelato (just right). It would also be pretty tasty with chocolate gelato, methinks.

There are tons of tasty things in the bakery case. Just pick one. You really can’t go wrong. You can do take out, or have a seat in the cafe.

And I dare you not to be tempted by the mountain of torrone that greets you as you walk in the door. Nuts and candied fruit, all wrapped in a sticky sweet honey meringue? How can you possibly resist?

Ferrara Cafe
195 Grand Street
New York, NY
212-226-6150

‘Wichcraft is a lifesaver

The thing with travelling is that sometimes you can’t be picky. Sometimes you’re surrounded by tourist traps and fast food, and you just want something good. Not fancy, not expensive, just good.

Well, if you’re in New York City, you can rely on ‘Wichcraft. I thank my stars that Tom Colicchio started this chain of shops that serves fresh, tasty soups and sandwiches at a great price point.

When I was there, I ordered the tuna sandwich on baguette. They manage to toast the baguette without making it all crunchy and painful to eat. The tuna was nicely accented with thinly sliced fennel and lemon, which made the whole thing fresh and bright. I also had a cauliflower soup with parsley oil. The taste and texture were exactly what they should have been.

They serve bread sticks on the side, which is cute. The walls are covered in giant food photography (can you say food porn?), and there’s a great selection of pop culture, fashion and food magazines to read while you’re munching away.

I wish I had tried the grilled fontina with morels and truffles, but oh well.

Note that the location at 60 E. 8th Street is dangerously close to Broadway Panhandler. Broadway Panhandler (65 E. 8th Street) is a fantastic kitchen store – one that I could easily spend hours in.

‘Wichcraft
various locations
New York, NY (also San Francisco and Las Vegas)
'Wichcraft on Urbanspoon

Best of New York: John’s Pizzeria

John’s Pizzeria
(Greenwich Village)

My second cousin took me to John’s Pizzeria. I had to double-check the address with him, because there are tons of variations on the name in Greenwich Village. He impressed upon me that we weren’t just going for the best pizza in New York; we were going for The Best Pizza in New York.

To be fair, he didn’t give me a chance to try any of the impersonators in the neighbourhood, so I have no idea what the competitors were offering.

But John’s pizza is delicious. The thin crust is simultaneously crispy yet chewy. More amazingly, the crust actually tastes like something: like flour, yeast, and salt. We had a margherita pizza, with brightly fresh tomato sauce and basil. It was perfect. The tomato sauce is rich and full, just salty enough, and complements the crust beautifully.

We also had one with pepperoni and garlic, and another with anchovy and black olives. Both were good, but neither came close to the plain old tomato sauce and basil pizza.

Also, the Murray Cheese Company is just down the street at 254 Bleeker Street. They have a beautiful selection of cheese, meat and other goodies. Like chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

John’s Pizzeria
278 Bleecker Street, between Seventh Avenue and Jones Street
New York, NY
212-243-1680
John's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

New York street food worth waiting for

New Yorkers do not stand in lines. They certainly don’t stand in lines for street food – not usually.

They do stand in line for the halal food cart at the corner of 53rd Street and 6th Avenue. Its proximity to Times Square is a little bit ironic, because tourists stuff their faces full of chain restaurant swill when they could be having freshly prepared tastiness. There’s beef, chicken and lamb with your choice of pita or rice. All of it is smothered in some delicious sauce, and hot sauce if you want it.

I’m not sure what’s better: the people-watching opportunities (people in line, and the people who gawk at the people in line) or the incredible value. You can stuff yourself silly for under $10.

FYI: The cart is only open at night. I’m not sure what time they set up shop, but I’ve been there at 9pm and at midnight. Both times, there were at least 40-50 people in line.

Donut, doughnut: however you spell it, it’s delicious

It seems like all roads lead to New York, because several people have asked me for NYC food recommendations. I’m more than happy to oblige.

Doughnut Plant
(Lower East Side)

This place opens early, and that’s when you need to get there to beat the crowds. There are cake doughnuts and yeast doughnuts.  While I usually prefer cake doughnuts, the yeast doughnuts here kick some serious cake doughnut ass. They’re fluffy, warm pillows of yeasty goodness. And then they’re drenched in sugar glaze.

With his shop’s proximity to Chinatown, Chef Mark Israel goes for a walk each morning to buy the freshest produce to come up with his daily offerings. The tres leche cake doughnut is legendary (if a little bit sweet) but I was more impressed by two unusually flavoured yeast doughnuts: mango and lavender.

The mango doughnut was actually juicy, if you can believe it. Take the best qualities of a perfectly summer-ripe mango, transpose those qualities into a warm, yeasty doughnut, and you might begin to understand how delicious it was. The lavender doughnut was subtle, delicate and refined. A refined doughnut, how about that?

I tried my very best to try all the flavours while I was there, but I didn’t make it. There’s a peanut butter and jelly doughnut that sounds amazing. Someone needs to try it and let me know.

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St
New York, NY
212-505-3700

Jerk this, mon.

One of my favourite memories of New York was when Nrinder, my lovely host, took me to a hole-in-the-wall Caribbean restaurant called Taste of the Islands. I don’t have a hope in hell of finding it again, much less telling you where it is, but I know that it’s within a few blocks of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, there’s no sign outside, and I probably would have walked right by it had Nrinder not gone inside.

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