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NYC Food Gluttony Tour

So, I was in NYC this past week on business/vacation (from LA). I had to do a few hours of work on Wednesday and Thursday, but besides that I had all the days free. So, I decided to go on a Food Gluttony Extravaganza. Before I got to NYC, I did a lot of research on Chowhound on people’s favorite places (I’ve also been to NYC before numerous times so a lot of the places on this list were things I’ve been to before, like Artichoke Pizza, Jean Georges, and Momofuku Milk Bar)

On Sunday night, I went out with a friend, so that food is shared, and I went with a friend to Jean Georges, but besides that, everything was eaten by myself!!

SUNDAY NIGHT (1/24/10):

UWS Shake Shack--cheeseburger, concrete shake with caramel, chocolate truffle cookie dough, and malt (all damn good)

Ouest--Truffle Omelette Souffle with Mousseline Sauce—this is my friend’s favorite dish in NYC (really, really good--just buttery and mushroom-y and good)

B Cafe--Belgian mussels and frites (I didn’t know which “flavor” to get so I went with the standard Mariniere which, while well prepared, was a little too plain for me—we should have gone with a different flavor--the frites were good)

Fred's--Mac 'n' Cheese loaded with Bacon (actually really, really good, and a nice-sized portion)

MONDAY MORNING (1/25/10):
Jacques Torres (Upper West Side)--Hot Chocolate with Caramel (really, really good)

H&H Bagel--blueberry bagel (really nothing remarkable at all—nothing great—see RANT below…)

MONDAY AFTERNOON:
Jean Georges--two course price fixe lunch with assorted amuse bouches before and complimentary truffles and marshmallows after:
--Fluke (normally it’s Skate) with Chateau Chalon Sauce (very good)
--Parmesan Crusted Organic Chicken with Artichoke, Basil, and Lemon Butter (delicious)

my friend got
-- Foie Gras Brulee with Pineapple-Meyer Lemon Jam (Jean-Georges’ foie gras brulee, no matter the accompaniments, which change by season, is truly the best thing I have ever tasted!)
--Grilled Beef Tenderloin with Crunchy Potatoes and Pear Horseradish Puree (good)

William Greenberg Bakery--small Black and White Cookie (I just got a small one cause I was pretty full, and it was okay, but it seemed slightly undercooked—that being said, it might have been different if I got a full-sized one)

Two Little Red Hens Bakery--slice of New York cheesecake (named best in the city in a blind taste test by Serious Eats—it was straight-ahead but seemed to satisfy being the archetypal NY slice of cheesecake)

Shake Shack (UWS)—free sample of Gianduja ice cream (very good)

MONDAY NIGHT:
Momofuku Milk Bar--Pork Buns (certainly not cheap, but very, very tasty)
Free sample of Nut & Honey Soft Serve Ice Cream

Artichoke Pizza--one Crab slice and one Sicilian slice (their Sicilian is my favorite slice in the city)

TUESDAY MORNING (1/26/10):
Kossar's--Bialy (nothing great—totally unremarkable)

Okay, it’s RANT TIME: Now it’s time for a little rant. Things like bagels and bialies are fine when they are toasted and smothered in cream cheese and lox and such. But just by themselves, they are wholly unremarkable. They really, really need to be toasted to even be approaching anything good. Okay, end of rant.

Doughnut Plant--Tres Leches Donut and Blackout Donut (although these are regular shape donuts, they somehow fill them with stuff--so the tres leches donut was filled with some kind of milk cream, and the blackout is filled with some kind of chocolate and topped with chocolate cake crumbs)—very good, although doughnuts are always much better piping hot out of the fryer which makes fresh Krispy Kremes so great. While these were very good room temperature donuts, by definition I don’t go crazy over room temperature donuts (but that’s just me!)

TUESDAY AFTERNOON:
Katz's--1/3 pound pastrami (which I would give an A or maybe even an A+--it was very, very good--but Langer's in Los Angeles, is a little bit better and so gets an A++--Langer's is a little bit smokier and also a little more zesty and spicy but the textures of both are very soft and buttery—I know it is hard to believe, native New Yorkers, but Langer’s is just slightly better)

Motorino Pizza—lunch special for $12—salad + pizza with Brussel Sprouts, Pancetta, Buffalo Mozzarella, Pecorino, and Garlic (very, very good)

Momofuku Milk Bar--three cookies from the day before (1/2 off): Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookie (absolutely outstanding-possibly the best darn cookie I have ever tasted!), Blueberry Cream Cookie with dried blueberries & milk crumbs (Very, very good—I normally wouldn’t think I would go crazy over a blueberry cookie but those milk crumbs or whatever really add a lot), & Chocolate-Chocolate Cookie with Chocolate Crumbs (good, but a little just one-note chocolate-y) as well as a free sample of PB&J Soft Serve Ice Cream

TUESDAY NIGHT:

Corner Bistro--a burger. The place was fun. It was a big straight-ahead burger. The place was neat but there are few flaws with the burger. The first big flaw was that whatever they are cooking it on is not hot enough. As a result, there is no crust or anything and the whole thing is mushy. Two, there is not enough salt, if any, in the burger (which I fixed by adding a lot myself). But I’m still glad I went.

Bleecker Street Pizza--I passed this one place which had a sign saying Food Network declared them the best pizza in NYC. It's not real specific about who awarded it but I stopped in anyways for one slice. I got their speciality which is called a Nonna Maria--which has got fresh mozzarella, basil, garlic, etc. It actually was pretty darn good—the crust is a little too cracker-y crispy but still good.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON (1/27/10):
Bahn Mi So 1 (chinatown)—the #1 vietnamese sandwich which has cold cuts (head cheese, and pork liver, I think) as well as vietnamese ground spiced meat with cilantro, cucumber and carrot all on a fresh baguette. It actually was pretty darn good. The little pork meatballs on this set it apart from other bahn mi’s I’ve had.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine--a pistachio cupcake. It was okay to good.

Momofuku Milk Bar--had to pick up more 1/2 off cookies, but all they had were the Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow ones so i got some of those. Free sample of Salt and Pepper ice cream (unique!).

Union Square Greenmarket--hot, apple cider

WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Then, I went to go for the lottery of WICKED. I didn't get that, but i went to get $27 student tickets (yes, I'm using my expired student ID from like 10 years ago) for this show called FELA, which a friend recommended (which was really good).

After getting the ticket, I headed to Virgil’s, which I’ve been to before and is really good, but it’s so expensive that I decided to try, just for the curiosity, Dallas BBQ, which is a really cheap BBQ place in Times Square ($11.99 for a full rack of baby backs, cornbread, and fries). Of course, it's not actually smoked, it's just baked in the oven and the barbecue sauce reeks of liquid smoke, but it still hit the spot. So, not actually good BBQ, but I still enjoyed it.

THURSDAY MORNING (1/28/10):
Wafles and Dinges food truck: a liege waffle with speculoos spread on it, which is a smooth spread made of ginger cookies. It was tasty.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON:
Shake Shack—free sample of Roasted Peanut Ice Cream

Gotham Bar and Grill: $24.07 Restaurant Week Special--It was all very good
---Warm Wild Mushroom Salad with frisee, crisp bacon, toasted hazelnuts, aged goat cheese, sherry vinaigrette
---Day Boat Chatham Cod with Romanesco Cauliflower, Leeks, and Marcona Almond Vermouth Emulsion
---Fennel Pollen Pavlova with Orange Diplomat Cream and Poached Kumquats

Momofuku Milk Bar (last trip!) for a slice of Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Crumbs, Coffee Buttercream Icing, and Passionfruit Curd (good, probably not great though)

Artichoke Pizza--one last slice of Spinach Artichoke Pizza (this one was a little bready for some reason)

Nut Guy on the Street-some roasted, candied Peanuts (I actually really love the nuts and stuff sold on the street…)

And that pretty much does it for gluttony. I walked around to all these places, and I walked around so much I gave myself shin splints!! But it was worth it. ‘Twas fun. Thanks for all the recs. I know there are a lot of good places that aren’t on the list but lots of times it was ‘cause I’ve been there before on previous trips (e.g. Burger Joint, DiFara). I also unfortunately couldn’t go to a lot of pizza places where you had to get a full pie cause I was by myself so that ruled out things like Grimaldi’s and John’s on Bleeker.

Next trip, I’ll hit a few more burger places (e.g., The Stand) and make repeat trips to my favorite places (Momofuku Milk Bar).

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  1. Who gets a blueberry bagel? Next time go into H&H and ask for a FRESH HOT GARLIC BAGEL and enjoy. And yes, bialys must be heated and shmeared with shmaltz (chicken fat) to appreciate their gloriousness.

    Great post!

    1 Reply
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      My thoughts exactly! Seriously. H&H Bagel or anywhere. A blueberry bagel?

    2. Thanks for taking the time to make such a detailed trip report. Very glad you enjoyed.

      I too love MMB's cookies, but when you were at JT's on the UWS you were only a block away from Levain, which is also a contender for best cookie ever.

      2 Replies
      1. re: seal

        I have had the Levain chocolate chip walnut cookie on a previous trip. My parents declared it the best chocolate chip cookie they ever had. It was very, very good, but although I like walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies, it had a few too many for me...

        1. re: film_score

          Something for your list for next time: Nut brownie from Glaser's Bakery on the UES. Bakery over 100 years old, same family.

      2. Research indicates that the quality of bagels in NYC seems to have fallen off over the last few decades and that the limiting factor in how delicious a bagel is is how FRESH and WARM it is.
        http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/1...

        1. Funny, I was so intrigued by your title line. I thought there was a real tour being offered called a gluttony tour.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Lady Grey

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/401925

          2. Very enjoyable read and thanks for the report. I didn;t realize JG was having meyer lemon jam with his foie gras (might tempt me into eating foie gras - am a sucker for meyer lemon anything.)

            I agree that Artichoke's Sicilian is probably the best slice in NYC and the crazy thing is it gets even better when you pop it in the oven the next day. I'm glad you got to experience Waffles & Dinges - it's such a joy especially on cold days.

            1. Wow -- thanks for the tip on marked-down day-old cookies at Momofuku. I'll have to add it to my tour of Veneiro's, DiRoberti's and Something Sweet. Any more notable bakeries (especially for cookies) in that neighborhood?

              5 Replies
              1. re: khoffdenver

                Chikalicious (cupcakes, soft serve, cookies)
                Butter Lane (cupcakes)
                Bespoke Chocolates (chocolate truffles, pretzel bark)
                Led Zeppole (zeppole)
                Pinisi (cakes, cupcakes)
                Birdbath (cookies, scones, muffins)
                Northern Spy Food Co. (flourless chocolate cake cookies)
                Carteles (cumin sugar cookies)
                Luke's Lobster (blueberry cookies)
                Abraco (olive shortbread cookie -- note they close early though)
                Redhead (sitdown restaurant who give you a prepackaged housemade cookie with the check -- not sure if you can get it to go).

                See also:
                http://bit.ly/cvZaKQ

                1. re: kathryn

                  Wow -- I think I just gained five pounds reading the list linked to at Serious Eats. Great list of suggestions -- I'll start googling them. Thank you!

                  1. re: khoffdenver

                    wow! kathyrn's awesome. Led Zeppole also has a deep fried oreo since it seems like you're after cookies.

                  2. re: kathryn

                    Pinisi's cupcakes are terrific. Especially pistachio and red velvet.

                    How about Blackhound Bakery also? Very good experience there too.

                    1. re: steakrules85

                      I hated Pinisi's cupcakes -- dry and too muffin-like. I much prefer Chikalicious' and Butter Lane's cupcakes.

                2. WOW! Thanks for sharing!!!