04 Jun New York – Daytime eating
I thought I’d collate some new favourites from my Springtime New York trip. Today I’ll talk about various lunch spots, markets and cafés which are handily near popular venues and tourist sights. The second part will feature unique bars where you can enjoy the city’s art deco architecture and iconic skyline as well as resident cats!
Butcher’s Daughter – This trendy plant-based restaurant is Instagram goals from the decor to their Victoria’s Secret model fanbase. They take pride in their 100% vegetarian menu which changes seasonally. I enjoyed their weekend waffles, happily gluten free due to a rice flour base. Topped with fresh berries, mint and large shot of maple syrup it was perfect brunch material! I happened to sit next to two ladies who spent the whole time taking selfies and comparing poses, however when my waffles arrived even they paused their social media activities to gawp and drool over the golden waffles. Super quick service helps to keep them fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. Afternoon and dinner menus include dishes like mac and cheese, Butcher’s grilled cheese sandwich, nachos libre and pesto quesadilla. As well as locations in Nolita and West Village, you can find Butcher’s Daughter in Williamsburg and across the country in Los Angeles.
Shake Shack – Even though the infamous burger chain has made its way to the UK I was keen to try it in its home country. Both Mr Munch and I had the Smoke Shack, described as a ‘cheeseburger with all-natural smoked Niman Ranch bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce’. According to Youtuber Mark Wiens their burger buns are made so as to avoid the patty and other fillings oozing out the back of the bun. It certainly is tasty and if you happen on one near Central Park like we did you can enjoy your burger with a lakeside view!
Nha Trang One – We happened across this Vietnamese restaurant walking from Brooklyn Bridge up through Chinatown. There is a large range of dishes here, all reasonably priced (especially for New York, this can be a pricey city!). I recommend the homemade lemonade, wonderfully refreshing and not too sweet. We were craving pho, Vietnam’s classic rice noodle soup. We had both prawn and beef versions – both delicious with flavourful broths. Stir fried broccoli with sesame oil was an excellent side.
Chelsea Market – Conveniently located at the southern end of the High Line, this is a handy stop off for lunch after taking in the city’s views from above. Here you’ll find a mixture of shops like Anthropologie alongside food stalls such as Amy’s Bread, Takumi and Los Mariscos. Specialist shops are dotted around too. At Heatonist you can find all manner of spicy sauces – the one which came home with us was an Assam pepper sauce by Clark and Hopkins. Tamarind and apple cider vinegar give this sauce its sour appeal. We’ve used it mixd with coconut milk for a quick curry sauce for chicken but it holds it own as a dipping sauce for anything! That old saying ‘this would make a flip flop taste good’ applies here 😀 Next to Heatonist is a cheesemonger who also sells all the dairy accoutrements. I bought Quince & Apple’s fig and black tea preserve to eat with soft goats cheese. The fig flavour is really concentrated down so a little goes a long way. I like that this company is a ‘maker of small batch preserves’, a case of quality over quantity.
Canal Street Market – A must visit when you’re in Chinatown. Half of this set up is for small arty local businesses (cool ceramics, sustainable clothing and jewellery, bonsai) while the other half is a food market. I had a hard time choosing where to spend my lunch money! In the end Joe’s Steamed Rice Rolls won, despite the popular demand meaning a wait of 25 minutes. You can choose your filling – I went for shrimp, pork, sweetcorn and spring onions. These get doused in a soy dressing with chilli oil, delicious! It’s fun watching them make the steamed rice rolls fresh to order. A layer of batter gets smoother onto a tray before going into the steamer, this gets topped with filling, rolled and chopped into bite sized pieces. I’m not surprised there’s a queue! If you’re here in the evening you can catch events such as Elepop which is going on this week.
North 3rd Street Market – Williamsburg is an incredibly vibrant part of Brooklyn and there are many cool places to check out here. North 3rd Street Market has a fantastic bunch of vendors including the renowned Di Fara Pizza, Lobster Joint and Go Fish sushi. We went mid-afternoon so it was nice and quiet but I can imagine it being packed at peak times. They’ve got pop up retail shops and an arcade with various old school games, great with a drink in hand!
By The Way Bakery – This bakery has every kind of cake you could wish for as well as being gluten free, dairy free and kosher. Not that you would notice, you’d be too busy enjoying them to even think about the ingredients! The chocolate brownie is gooey and rich, a total indulgence. When in the US you’ve got to try a whoopie pie! Essentially this is like a cake sandwich with frosting being the filling. BTW Bakery’s chocolate vanilla version is light and airy, no stodgy stomachs here. There are a few locations – one on the Upper West Side, the other only a few minutes away from the Metropolitan Museum. Perfect for a tea break after gazing at the Met’s inspiring collection.
Levain’s Bakery – Levain’s cookies are the stuff of legend. Somehow they stay incredibly oozy and gooey on the inside no matter what! I was first introduced to these magical baked goods eight years ago and whenever family members go to NYC, they bring boxes back! Handy tip – they freeze well once you’re home so you can save them for times of need! The original location is in a tiny basement but since my previous visit they’ve added a larger store a block further down Amsterdam Avenue. Not only is the bakery larger but there is space for you to sit in with a coffee of glass of milk.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory – For me, this was a true blast from the past. I came here with my parents on my first ever NYC trip. I can still remember the experience, trying my first ever lychee ice cream and sorbet. Seeing it again after 15 or so years was extremely exciting! That is proof that this place is no joke. In fact, CICF has been in business for almost 40 years! This family run place of happiness has a menu of regular exotic flavours including my favourite lychee, black sesame (I must try this next time!), durian and red bean. Of course they have the crowd pleasing chocolate, strawberry, vanilla etc etc etc. Then are the ‘special appearances’ which you might be lucky enough to catch. Green tea oreo, banana durian, buko pandan and chocolate marshmallow dream are just some of the possible flavours they might tempt you with. Even if it’s Winter, make time to try something different at this ice cream institution!
I hope this has been useful and that you’ve got some new places to try out next time you’re in the Big Apple. Please give this post a thumbs up if you enjoyed it and check out my Instagram for more munchtime adventures!