What do you get when you put together 3 girls, 2 days and one Big Apple? A road trip to New York City of course! An eating road trip to be more precise. When Marcella asked me if I would accompany her and Carol to NY for a couple of days, the only possible answer to that question was: yes! And even though this trip was short, we did manage to get a lot of eating done! It was my first time traveling with 2 people who are just as obsessed about food as I am and I absolutely loved it! You can imagine how all our conversations always started with “so, where are we eating next?” And eat we did. We got as much in as we could in 2 days…
Upon arrival to the city, we
rushed walked leisurely (not!) to the nearest Shake Shack and started the trip with a burger and a frozen custard. It was a gorgeous day in NYC, blue clear skies and warmer temperatures so we started walking. Naturally, about 50 blocks later, our legs had led us to Momofuku Milk Bar where we refueled with some pork buns and bought a few cookies and cake truffles to take home. If you’ve never had the Momofuku pork buns and/or some of the Momofuku desserts including the pies, cookies, cake truffles and soft serve, then these must be on your list of absolute must-eats next time you’re in NY. The cookies – including flavours like corn, cornflake-marshmallow-chocolate chip cookie and blueberry-cream – are absolutely delicious. The cake truffles can easily be overlooked but they shouldn’t. I don’t know how pastry chef Christina Tosi does it but the texture of these cake truffles is unbelievable. I bought some birthday cake truffles and some pretzel chocolate malt ones. No matter how many bags of these I buy, I always regret not having bought more!
That night we had reservations at Takashi, a restaurant recommended to me by Anthony Bourdain’s wife. Yes, you heard me right. I had tweeted them both for a restaurant recommendation and Takashi was the one she recommended. Imagine the best Korean barbecue reinterpreted with a Japanese flair in one great, fun and unpretentious restaurant and you get Takashi. The walls are covered with illustrations of the traditions and history of the items that are on the menu and how to eat them best. If you’re not a beef eater, this is not the place for you because at Takashi, it’s all about the beef, the best melt-in-your-mouth, sustainable, delicious cuts of premium beef, eaten raw or cooked by you table side. If you’re more adventurous, you can try some of the “horumon” (innards) like stomachs, intestines, Achilles’s tendon, heart, liver, etc. After our Chris Cosentino dinner at DNA a few weeks ago, the most adventurous we got was beef tongue, which was delicious flash grilled by us table side. A couple of must tries are the beef tartare, which must be one of the best I’ve ever had, and the grilled beef belly, which was on that day’s special and is fatty, tender and absolutely delicious.
Dessert at Takashi did not really appeal to me but as you probably know by now, and I always have to have dessert of course so we hopped on a cab and headed to Spot Dessert Bar on the other side of town. Spot is an Asian fusion dessert bar that offers a seasonal dessert menu, which you can order in tapas form. How great is that? They also have cupcakes, ice creams, cookies and serve brunch on weekends. We ordered 3 seasonal dessert tapas, which are suggested for 2 people but were more than enough for us 3.
Our second day in the city started with a “nutritious” breakfast of granola and oatmeal at Le Pain Quotidien in mid-town, which was followed by a little bit of shopping at Anthropologie. For lunch, we headed all the way down to the lower east side for one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had, a pork sandwich at Porchetta. The place is tiny and you have to be really lucky to get one of the 6 stools available for seating but this sandwich is one of those things one will wake up craving in the middle of the night. The sandwich consists of pork on bread, that’s it, no sauce, mayo, tomato or lettuce. It doesn’t need it. This is perfectly seasoned and moist pork belly laced with crunchy bits of crispy skin. You can find the recipe for this on Porchetta’s website. I think I might try my hand at this one because if it comes out half as good as that sandwich, it will be delicious!
That afternoon, through some connections here in Montreal, I met up with the chef charcutier of all of Daniel Boulud’s restaurants in New York. More on that meeting and the dinner we had at Bar Boulud in the next post
For our last day in New York, we decided to have brunch at Maialino, located in the Gramercy Park Hotel, which has to be the most beautiful place on earth (or at least the city). Remember my absolute love for Eleven Madison Park? Well, this restaurant is from Danny Meyer, the same genius restaurateur as EMP. Maialino is a Roman-style trattoria that serves Roman-style food. Brunch here is delicious and you can then walk through the lobby and bar area of the Gramercy Hotel and dream of some day being able to afford a room there…
Ok enough day dreaming, time to hit the road back to Montreal! And what did we do right when we arrived in Montreal after 6 hours of driving in the rain and snow? We went to eat of course!