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Deliciously Organic: The Best Thing I Ever Ate - New York

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Best Thing I Ever Ate - New York


It all started last week. My mom called and asked me if I could meet her in New York City for a weekend blitz through over 20 of the restaurants from the show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". If you haven't seen the show on the Food Network, set your DVR. They will have you salivating in about 2 minutes and wishing you could hop on a plane and go eat whatever they are. Thanks to some creative planning and some very understanding friends, I was able to say "Yes!" and soon flew off to NYC to spend the weekend with mom.

We carefully planned our itinerary, put on some good walking shoes, and hit the town. By the way, yes, I do cheat sometimes when it comes to food. The rule for the weekend? There weren't any rules.




The first stop was the Doughnut Plant. Now, I'm not much of a doughnut girl, but these doughnuts are worth seeking out. They're famous for their peanut butter and jelly concoction. The square doughnut is filled with gooey jam and dunked in peanut crunchy butter. My favorite was the small creme brulee doughnut. It's filled with subtely sweet pastry cream and topped with carmelized sugar.


For lunch we stopped in for the Colatura di Alici pizza at Motorino. The restaurant is a quaint little place, comfortable and homey. The pizza was a puffy and crispy crust topped with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, white anchovies, olives, and parsley. Every bite was completely perfect.


After each restaurant we walked for miles, enjoying the sights and anticipating the flavors in our future.

After several hours of walking, the air began to warm up and we needed a break. We made our way to Chinatown Brasserie, reputedly the location of New York's the best crispy egg roll. We breathlessly plopped onto the red couch and each ordered a peach Bellini martini and one order of crispy egg rolls. The egg rolls lived up to their billing with an extra crispy wrapper enveloping shrimp, mushrooms, cabbage and bamboo shoots.


Next on our list was Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles, a tiny place with about 8 tables. The door to the kitchen was open so we could watch as the noodles were pulled by hand. For $5, I got a bowl of incredibly delicious noodles in broth.



Saturday morning, we woke up early and took a taxi over to Levain bakery. The little bakery sits on a quiet upper west side street and sells the most amazing baked goods. We walked down a narrow stairway into their kitchen/storefront and were overcome by the smells and sights spread out before us. I had a hard time choosing, but settled on the chocolate brioche. Hands-down, this is the best pastry I've ever had. The bread was smooth and pillowy with a sugar-crusted top. The inside of the bread was oozing with bittersweet chocolate. See the chocolate chips stuck to the side of the bread? Those were the best.We bought our pastries and coffee and sat on little stools with a window above looking out on the street.


After Levain, we meandered our way down to Union Square Greenmarket. I felt right at home among the beautiful produce, flowers, shoppers, and chefs. What a fabulous asset to NYC!


As we made our way through the West Village we stopped for some organic palm sugar ice cream from the Van Leeuwen truck.


Down the street from the ice cream truck was The Magnolia Bakery. My Mom wanted to slip in and buy their red velvet cupcake. So there I was, eating ice cream while waiting in line for a cupcake! I secretly hoped I wouldn't run into anyone I know. What kind of an example was I setting?  :) I had a bite of their cupcake and yes, it's the best red velvet I've had in a very long time. The cake wasn't too dense and the frosting was an understated, light and airy vanilla butter cream. I can see why they're such a huge success.


Later we roamed around Chelsea Market. Shaved ice was served up at a little place called Pops with real fruit juice combinations. No additives, no artificial colors, just the real stuff.


We read The Stanton Social serves "must try" onion soup dumplings, so we added them to our list. We met up with Andy and Annie - two friends from Texas who are now New Yorkers - and had an amazing meal. The onion soup dumplings were outstanding. It was like all of the best parts of onion soup rolled into one bite. We also tried their crab cake corn dogs (outstanding!), chicken and waffles, and duck empanadas. The entire dinner, from the ambiance to the food to the company was fabulous. (the picture above is my Mom and me outside the restaurant)


On our last morning we chose EAT for breakfast. Ina Garten recommends their grilled cheese sandwich and although it was 8:30, we ordered it along with coffee. A few minutes after we began our meal, guess who walked in? Ina Garten! What are the odds? We were there because of her recommendation! She was there eating breakfast with her husband and looks just like she does on the show. What a great way to end the whirlwind tour, huh?




Our last stop before heading home was Babycakes. Babycakes is a gluten-free, dairy free, and vegan bakery. We sampled several of their baked goods, which were fabulous, but the best part of our visit came unexpectedly. My Mom and I sat outside, resting our feet when a young lady sat down at the same table and began eating a carrot cake cupcake. I couldn't help but overhear her excitement that she was "actually able to eat cake." I assumed she has allergies to many foods and it brought tears to my eyes because I know what that's like when food makes you sick. I leaned over and told her I couldn't help but overhear. With a huge grin, she told me it was her birthday and she was so excited because she loves cake and hasn't been able to partake of it for years. What a gift it is to be able to enjoy food again without the threat of it doing harm.



Here is a list of the other restaurants we ate at. They were all exceptional:

Artisinal - Creamiest and most rich cheese fondue I've ever eaten.
Scarpetta - The best spaghetti ever. Really.
Blue Ribbon - The beef marrow with oxtail marmalade was exquisite.
Stand 4 - Toasted marshmallow shake
Bouchon Bakery - Best croissant in town.
The City Bakery - The caramel french toast is to-die-for. It's a 10.

15 Comments:

Blogger VeggieGirl said...

I'm in the middle of recapping my recent NYC trip as well, but WOWZA are your photos much better, haha. Love your blog! :)

September 1, 2010 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Shannalee said...

LOVE. I swear, every vacation I take revolves around the food. You ladies know how to do it!

September 1, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

I am TOTALLY jealous. But also extremely thankful for the roundup. I feel like I got to eat at all those gorgeous locations through your beautiful photos. And now I have a to do list when I finally make it back east!

September 1, 2010 at 10:29 AM  
Blogger Relatively Gourmand said...

That looks like and amazing trip! Thanks for posting the great pics.

September 1, 2010 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger af said...

i am absolutely so jealous...that is my DREAM trip!!!!

September 1, 2010 at 11:16 AM  
Anonymous Kristen said...

First of all, I love that you did this with your mom. What a great weekend and an amazing eating experience!! I'm envious!

September 1, 2010 at 12:40 PM  
Anonymous allison [a for aubergine] said...

lovely lovely post. this is one of my favorites, carrie! xoxo

September 1, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Maria said...

How fun! I need to go to NYC! I am hungry now:)

September 1, 2010 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Healthy. Happy. Well. said...

You of course have to cheat sometimes! If only to stay sane, and appreciate real, good food. I love the name of that bakery-- Babycakes, too cute. Looks like a really great trip.

September 1, 2010 at 9:37 PM  
Anonymous marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Carrie, I have been waiting to find a few quiet minutes to read your NYC food re-cap. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us. I would love to have the opportunity to "let go" for a few days like this. These are special memories that you and your mom will share forever.
Everything you gals indulged in look AMAZING! The photo of you with that blueberry donut is gorgeous. So fun to see you and your mom together. She is adorable!

September 2, 2010 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

that sounds wonderful!!

every time i'm in NYC, i want to hit up Levain but just never have the time!! *SIGH*

thanks for sharing!

September 2, 2010 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Auntie Lollie said...

What a fabulous weekend! I'm going to forward this to my nephew who's a foodie living in NY this year.

September 2, 2010 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger El said...

Wow! It looks like you really fund the best of NY. Glad you had fun!

September 2, 2010 at 5:11 PM  
Blogger Cheech said...

Hi Carrie,
I love your blog and recipes. I am a little new to organic but am slowly converting our home over. You have given me some great ideas. Including your delicious chicken tenders recipe. [ a favorite in our house, now!] I wanted to let you know that I put my own little twist on it and put it on my blog. I wanted to make sure that everyone knows that the recipe originated from you. So, I linked back to you.
Thanks for making organic not so scary!!

September 2, 2010 at 10:37 PM  
Anonymous Amanda said...

I dont know if you could have held me back id Ina walked in... she is just about my hero!!!

Great roundup!

Amanda

September 21, 2010 at 5:54 PM  

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