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Mar 26, 2012 08:20 AM

Official trip report! 3/23-3/25

AKA I bet you didnt know someone could eat that much in a single weekend.

Here's a list of places that were hit, will categorically hit some standouts after:

Del Posto (lunch)
Coliccio and Sons Tap Room
Momofuku Ma Peche
Momofuku Ssam Bar (carryout)
Russ and Daughters
Clinton St Baking Co.
The Breslin (brunch)
Katz's Deli
Shake Shack
Greys Papaya
Xian Famous Foods
Halal Foods Cart (dont remember exact location)
Laboratorio del Gelato
Jacques Torres (in chelsea market and UWS)
Levain Bakery
Bouchon Bakery
Crumbs Bakery
Momofuku Milk Bar (on 13th and 56th)
Junior's Bakery
Max Brenner
Coolhaus Truck
Doughnut Plant NYC

whew. no wonder i am still sitting here full. anyways. let's start with sweets, shall we?

Best Restaurant Dessert:
Chocolate and Ricotta torte with pistachio crust from Del Posto. I also enjoyed the bites i tried of the coffee and chocolate truffle dessert here. Chocolate cake with hazelnut brittle and gelato at C&S was just OK IMO

Best Chocolate Chip Cookie:
Levain Bakery Choc Chip Walnut. amazing. in every way. for some reason, of all the CCCs i tried, this was the only one presented warm... which probably was key to its domination. others tried at max brenner, bouchon, jacques torres.

Best non-chocolate chip cookie:
The Nutter Butter at Bouchon Bakery. So awesome! The dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie at Levain was a standout as well. Compost cookie at Momofuku I was pretty disappointed with.

Best Gelato/Ice Cream Dessert:
Very hard to say between Laboratorio (where I tried Mocha, Cinnamon Dark Chocolate, Hazelnut, and banana) or the Concrete at Shake Shack (chocolate concrete with the seasonal fruit, banana graham caramel compote, and peanut butter sauce). but since these are both places where you choose how to flavor it, hard to say anyways.

Best drink:
Pretzel Milk Shake at Momofuku Milk Bar. I added this category separate from frozen just because it wasnt fair to rave about this and not mention the other two. This one snuck up on my taste buds and totally caught my off guard. amazing.

Most disappointing sweets:
CCCs at Jacques Torres and Max Brenner. like i mentioned above, almost 100% positive this would be totally different if they were served warm. its also relative, and they were only disappointing compared to Levain.... but compared to just about every other CCC ive ever had, they were still very good (how bad can a CCC actually be??) also, everything at Juniors and Crumb (i just think im not a huge fan of cupcakes though)

Misc Sweets:
The Candy bar pie at Milk Bar is absolutely insane. also, the peanut butter doughnut with banana cream filling at Doughnut Plant made me want to order an entire dozen and eat them all right there. which i considered... but i had a meeting to go to that I couldnt be exploding before.


Del Posto Lunch:
We just snuck in for the $29 lunch deal! only a week left, and i'm so glad we made it. We had enough in our party that just about everything was ordered. My favorites from each course: the beef broth from the amuse, the Lobster from the starters, the olive bread from the bread basket, the garganelli from the primi, swordfish from the secondi, ricotta and chocolate torte from the dessert, and zeppole from the dessert amuse. We had to keep asking each other "this is really only 29 dollars right??" because food just kept coming and was all delicious! service wise, i couldnt really figure out who our actual server was, because three people consistently presented food/took orders. of the three, one was so soft spoken we couldnt hear him, and one's accent was so thick that i had to more or less translate the dishes to everyone once he left.

C&S Tap Room:
Had the beef tartare app (kinda disappointing), skate with cauliflower (the cauliflower puree was so surprisingly out of this world!), and chocolate souffle cake. Skate was by far my favorite dish... service was great, atmosphere was very fun

The Breslin (Brunch):
Was here very early (7:15 maybe?) to beat the rush. good idea. Had the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich and the house made sausage. this sandwich is everything i want in a breakfast. warm, gooey, salty, sweet, crunchy.... delicious. was actually so good that I came back the next morning to get it again (strictly AGAINST my travelling rules), but was disappointed to hear it was sold out!

Momofuku Ma Peche and Ssam Bar:
overall, my favorite multi-dish meal of the trip. Favorites: raw: sea bass ceviche style (the sea beans and crispy skin were a good touch), small plates: pork summer rolls, large plates: duck (duck sausage.... awesome), and veg: kale (salty and slightly sweet... my dining companions actually thought this was the best dish of the meal!). our service was awesome, even bringing us sweets from Milk bar over the restos desserts when we mentioned wanting them. also had the crispy pigs head and lamb... which were both good as well. I just happened to be walking past Ssam Bar right as it opened at 11:30 and couldnt resist walking in and ordering some Pork Steamed buns to carry out. Such a good decision. Possibly my single favorite dish i had on the entire trip.

Russ and Daughters and Katz's:
Mention them together because I knocked them out in one meal, and because they fit the same catergory: classics that I have decided are absolutely deserving of their classics status and hype. went with 100% classic at both of these: gravlax, capers and plain cream cheese on a plain bagel at R&D (which surprised me with how delicious it was), and pastrami with mustard at Katz's (wasnt expecting this to be served warm... but so glad it was. really awesome).

Clinton St. Baking Co and Shopsins:
Again, knocked these out together. Had the Buttermilk biscuit with egg, cheese, and tomato jam at CSBC. the biscuit was very good. as a whole though, the sandwich was screaming for some spice that i wish it would have gotten from the jam, and i only had one bite of potatoes because they were just heavy starch lacking much seasoning. probably should have gotten the pancakes to give a fair evaluation, but knew i wa heading to Shopsins next, and there was only one option for me there: the slutty cakes. went with the originals, and so glad i did. they were awesome! shopsins was different than i was expecting, smaller.... but the atmosphere was so fun and Shopsin himself is a riot.

Shake Shack, Halal Cart, and Papaya:
Might get in trouble for this one, but the best of the three was the halal cart chicken gyro. The shack burger was IMO just a burger. wouldnt consider it any better than something like steak and shake. the concrete was awesome though. Greys Papaya, well it was just a hot dog. a good hot dog... but still just a hot dog.

so thats that. i am gonna go lay down to finish digesting, put my feet up to try to eliminate some of the carb-induced swelling, go for a long run, and try to avoid getting diabetes from a single weekend of eating (i wonder if thats possible...?)

if ya have any questions about the places i stopped or my trip, let me know! also, thank you to everyone on this board for your posting. I feel like this whole review was glowing and i had almost nothing bad to say... but thats only because i had so much guidance in picking my stops!

only regrets:
next time i really want to make it to eleven madison park, torrisi and per se. also was very lacking in the pizza department on this trip, and would like to experience a little more ethnic cooking next time... possibly something like Devi or a place in chinatown. oh well... guess i'll just have to come back soon!

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  1. Thanks for reporting back!

    > Compost cookie at Momofuku I was pretty disappointed with.

    Try the corn or the peanut butter next time.

    Juniors, Crumbs, and Max Brenner don't have the best desserts in town, so it is no wonder you were disappointed with them.

    Try La Maison du Chocolate for chocolate, Butter Lane for cupcakes, Two Little Red Hens for cheesecake/cupcakes/etc, instead.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      the corn cookie was definitely next on my list... but at that point i was ALMOST cookied out for the weekend. haha

      as for crumbs, i mostly stopped there because one of my friends was raving about it, but i wanted to be able to tell him from experience that i have tried it and what i heard was true... that it was definitely not to best in NYC haha. i figured, when youre already WAY over any type of caloric restriction for the day, whats another cupcake or two?

      1. re: mattstolz

        Junior's is great for Cheesecake and black and white cookies, but not other desserts.

        Looks like you hit lots of excellent spots... this is the kind of vacation I like to have in other cities, just walk around and nosh at places that look or sound good.
        Glad you had a great time!

        1. re: iluvcookies

          i love vacations like this. i am sure in my 2.5 days in manhattan i walked at least 30 miles. had a blast and ate some great food!!

    2. Wow...

      And then I saw the description of slutty cakes

      more wow

      1 Reply
      1. re: Rodzilla

        did ya see the pics of them?? they went up on facebook via foodspotting

      2. ...29 spots in 5.5 days - and that included 6 hours of Per Se, 4 hours of Eleven Madison Park, and 2.5 hours of Torrisi. ;-)

        And, as someone who knows a 'lil bit about it, no, you can't get diabetes in a single weekend.

        Nice report and totally agree on Levain and Breslin. You missed out on the pancakes at Clinton Street though.

        8 Replies
        1. re: uhockey

          very jealous about per se, EMP, and torrisi (especially torrisi and per se... those will definitely happen next time).

          if you have had the slutty cakes at shopsins, do you prefer those or the pancakes at CSBC? i am ok with my decision to pass on them, since before noon on saturday i did russ and daughters, katz, csbc, shopsins, milk bar, xian, ssam bar and laboratorio. i dont think i could have fit another grain of starch in my stomach. haha

          1. re: mattstolz

            I did the bread pudding french toast and mac n' cheese pancakes.

            I'm not one of those people who pretend Clinton Street makes the best pancakes in the world - they are quite good though and very fluffy.

            My total hitlist for this trip was:
            Dominque Ansel
            Bosie Tea Parlor
            Bouchon Rockefeller Center
            La Colombe
            Think Coffee
            Donut Pub
            The Dutch (twice in same day)
            Red Rooster
            Pies n’ Thighs
            John’s of Bleecker Street
            Per Se
            Torrisi Italian Specialties
            Eleven Madison Park
            Minetta Tavern


            1. re: uhockey

              now that is one impressive list. i tried to avoid Boloud joints and Camellini joints as we have both here in miami (ok... we have a shake shack too... but i was really in the mood for a concrete), but def some places on your list i still need to hit. some of them woulda been improssible since i didnt even find out i was going (was for a conference) until 2.5 weeks out. was super lucky to get the del posto reservation even!

              1. re: uhockey

                UHockey - are you planning to write up your Annisa experience? You've intrigued me with a few of your stray positive comments on it and I'm curious for more details as most other comments on here about Annisa have been quite mixed.

                1. re: jaba

                  FWIW - I had a fantastic dinner at Annisa, and highly recommend it.

                  1. re: linguafood

                    Great to hear. Any specific details you remember? We're considering it for a special occasion coming up.

                    1. re: jaba

                      This was also a special occasion dinner - our 10th anniversary :-)

                      I got the 5-course tasting menu while my man just picked a few dishes.... ordering the *chicken*. The CHICKEN! Well, guess what -- it was the most incredible chicken dish I've ever eaten at a resto.

                      Everything else was delicious as well, the eggplant in yogurt water with Turkish chiles for example, and the dessert. Service is really friendly and understated, and they make some killer cocktails.

                      I would go back in a shot if there weren't a million & one restos in NYC to try.

                  2. re: jaba

                    I have something like 25 pending reviews - but yes. I went with four others (including RGR and Jose from Mouthfuls) and we all agreed it was stellar. Lots of Chefs take their French technique "east" - few take "east" and bring it "west" with such delicacy.


            2. i do have to share one funny story from the trip:

              when i was inviting the friends who ended up joining me for lunch at Del Posto, when they asked what kind of food it was and i responded with "Italian... it has two Michelin stars" and got blank stares, followed it up with "the chef/owner has won a James Beard award" and still got blank stares... i got a little worried. But when I said "its owned by Mario Batali" and STILL got blank stares.... I started wondering if maybe i had invited the wrong people.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mattstolz

                They were confused because it only has 1 star. ;-)


                1. re: uhockey

                  so it does. i should call them and apologize. for causing their obvious confusion.