Other than a week in Portugal for Thanksgiving, I don’t have a lot of trips planned this year. At least not fun trips… So I’m determined to make the most out every single work trip I have, starting with the one I just took last week to New York City. And that, of course, includes enjoying some good eats around town. There’s no shortage of restaurants in Manhattan. If anything the options are limitless and a bit overwhelming when you don’t have a lot of free time. Since I stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel in Midtown many of the spots I ended up at are concentrated in that part of town. Here are some of my favourite eats from my last “work-cation” in New York City:
ALL THE PINK PASTRIES AT DOMINIQUE ANSEL
I’ve been a fan of Dominique Ansel since before the whole cronut craze. I actually arrived in New York on Valentine’s Day so my first stops were Ladurée and Dominique Ansel, conveniently located right around the corner from each other in SoHo. Every year on February 14, the French pâtissier turns his entire pastry case pink. I grabbed two of the chestnut-cassis-rose Mont Blanc, two Paris-New York (a twist on the classic Paris-Brest) and the most amazing caramel eclairs with pink Himalayan salt. All were pink, of course, and all were amazing!
Dominique Ansel Bakery is located at 189 Spring St.
HIBISCUS DONUTS FROM DOUGH DOUGHNUTS
In keeping with the pink theme, I loved this ginormous hibiscus donut from Dough Doughnuts. Luckily for me, Urban Space Vanderbilt just opened a stone’s throw away from the Roosevelt Hotel and Grand Central Station. The new food hall boasts fare from 21 different food purveyors like Red Hook Lobster Pound, Roberta’s or Kuro-Obi (from the team behind Ippudo ramen, a fabulous ramen spot in Manhattan). Between Toby’s Estate, Ovenly and Dough Doughnuts my mornings pretty much always started right (and early… good thing UrbanSpace opens its doors at 6:30AM!) After trying the pistachio cardamom bread from Ovenly, I’m a new fan of the Brooklyn bakery and I’m definitely planning to visit their cafe on Greenpoint avenue during another trip, when I have a little more free time.
UrbanSpace Vanderbilt is at 45th St. & Vanderbilt Ave, in The Helmsley Building
MISO RAMEN AT TOTTO’S RAMEN
The first time I made my parents wait over an hour outside of the tiny Hell’s Kitchen ramen restaurant for a bowl of soup, they weren’t too impressed (by the wait at least). But we’ve been going back to Totto Ramen ever since. I caught a later train back to Washington, DC so that I could attend a taping of the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. You can read more about that here… when I had a quick hour and a half to kill between lines at the Ed Sullivan theater, I headed straight to Totto. This is one of the best spot for ramen in Manhattan and the Miso Paiten soup with ground pork, half boiled egg, scallions and char siu was just what I needed to warm up!
Totto Ramen is located at 366 W 52nd St.
EVERYTHING AT IZAKAYA MEW
A basement in the middle of k-town is probably not where you’d expect an authentic Japanese izakaya but there it is! Izakaya Mew is actually a really popular late night spot and there’s usually a consequential wait to get a table, but I was able to snag a spot at the (tiny) bar since I was dining solo. It’s probably not the best spot actually if you’re eating alone since there’s only 6 seats at the bar and no television or bar tenders to distract you but the food is amazing and varied ranging from raw fish starters (called toriaezu or while you wait…) to hot pots, grilled skewers or gyoza, grilled seafood, noodles, ramen and sushi rolls. I tried the pumpkin roll since I had never seen something like that on a menu before, the grilled hokke fish (I *love* mackerel) and shishito pepper and the shime saba (told you I love mackerel). I washed everything down with a 300 ml bottle of Itami Onigoroshi, which kinda confused my waiter… Apparently, he thought I should have ordered a bigger bottle but I thought that was pretty good all by myself 😉
Izakaya Mew is located in the basement of 53 W 35th Street.
THE NOVA SCOTIA BAGEL FROM MIKE’S BAGELS
For the record, I am and will always be team Montreal when it comes to bagels… but, you know, when in New York…. I happened to be in West Harlem/Washington Heights checking out some of the Audubon Mural Project street art and ordered Mike’s Nova Scotia (still gotta give Canada some love!) bagel, an everything bagel, toasted, with lox, red onions, capers, tomato & scallion cream cheese. It was almost enough to convert me. Almost… #TeamMontrealBagel
Mike’s Bagel is located at 4003 Broadway (at the 168th street metro)
BONUS: ALL THE WINE AT LA COMPAGNIE DES VINS SUPERNATURELS
I really wanted to check out this wine bar in SoHo, especially since I never got a chance to go to the Experimental Cocktail Club before it closed. Here’s a little background. Paris, and France in general, isn’t known for its cocktail culture (unless you count a kir royal as a cocktail…) but Frenchmen Romée de Goriainoff, Olivier Bon, and Pierre-Charles Cros sparked the new wave of the craft cocktail trend when they opened the insanely hard to get into speakeasy l’Experimental Cocktail Club in the Sentier neighbourhood in Paris. That spot was followed by a few others, including Beef Club which makes a mean steak tartare. They gave it a shot in New York City, but their location is currently closed for relocation. But they also opened a wine bar last year (there’s one in Paris as well, rue Lobineau in the 6eme, and in Neal’s Yard in London).
There’s a selection of 600 wines, with a strong emphasis on French ones, and most of the by-the-glass options are poured using an Enomatic wine dispenser. If you know your wines, try the mystery wine, a $15-ish unidentified glass of wine that you can correctly guess to win the whole bottle (typically in the $100 price point). Try it!!!
La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels is located at 249 Centre St. in SoHo.
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I’m going back to New York for another (even shorter and busier) workation in April… any recommendations??? Those in midtown are always particularly appreciated 😉