Archive for the ‘New York’ Category
Listed alphabetically by state, Joe’s Shanghai (鹿鳴春) was in the New York section of CNN’s ‘50 best Chinese restaurants in the United States‘. In the same block as Momofuku Má Pêche and Momofuku Milk Bar in Midtown, Joe’s Shanghai is a double storey ‘centre of exotic specialties’.
I signalled a table for one and was ushered upstairs. Bronze deer and potted bamboos decorated the bay window. A tiered sparkling gold and crystal chandelier was suspended above the vestibule.
A curious specials menu included New Zealand mussels, T-bone steak and rack of lamb.
A mound of cold egg noodles was drizzled with sesame dressing, topped with julienned cucumber and served in a scallop shell shaped dish. I slurped the cold sesame noodles (芝麻冷麵), a simple but appetizing celebration of Chinese carbs.
The traditional trio of ginger slivers, soy sauce and vinegar were stirred in a bowl for dipping.
Joe’s Shanghai is famous for their soup dumplings. Six crab and pork xiao long bao (蟹粉小籠包) were on a bed of shredded Napa cabbage (黃芽白) in a steaming bamboo basket. The delicate morsels were juicy and meaty, although the skin was a little doughy.
Noodles and dumplings were requisite sustenance for shopping in Manhattan!
New York is a walking city. When I was in the Big Apple during Hurricane Irene, stores, museums and the Subway were closed. Ms H and I traipsed from Times Square to 86th on the Upper East Side in a futile search for an open cinema. We whiled away the afternoon criss-crossing the subdued neighbourhoods, pausing for a glass of vino in an Irish pub.
Located in a historic building, a painted wooden plaque reflected the botanical display in the entryway that greeted patrons.
The tavern has street frontage and the separate dining room is at the back. Only the tavern is open for lunch on weekends. An earthy arrangement of yellow buds, blooms and branches in terracotta pots was adjacent to our table.
Square canvases of modern murals fenced the ceiling.
On a wire stand at the end of the bar was a wild bouquet of corn coloured stems.
A disc of butter and sea salt preceded a basket of bread.
A jewel toned effervescent beverage, the cranberry crush of cranberries, lime and club soda was tart and refreshing.
Served in a shallow bowl, the chunks of smoked pork shoulder and cornbread were atop salsify and in a pool of bacon broth. The meat was luscious, the root vegetable tender and the broth rich, it was a soulful dish.
A crispy skinned chicken portion was paired with yu choy, spring onions and shiitake mushrooms. The yu choy purée had an intense leafy green flavour that accentuated the simplicity of the poultry.
We shared a selection of sorbets for dessert. Quenelles of blackcurrant, roasted pineapple and mango lime sorbets rested on shortbread crumbs. The sorbets were a trifecta of vibrant fruitiness.
Thanks to Adrian for the recommendation!
New York was quiet on a Sunday morning. Four days of volatile spring weather concluded with drizzle as we walked to the Upper East Side for sweet souvenirs. I had scrawled Ladurée‘s address in my notebook for last September‘s trip but avoided the opening weekend. I had mentally prepared myself for a queue out the door and was surprised by an empty footpath. Hello Kitty macaron decals decorated one window.
Macaron towers and Ladurée branded merchandise were displayed in another.
Sea foam walls were calming and accentuated the colourful macarons on the counter. Tiers of ribbons cascaded down wrought iron bars on a mirror.
Different sized boxes were neatly stacked on shelves interspersed by mini monochromatic macaron towers.
I resisted the themed boxes (Hello Kitty!) and purchased two classic boxes of eight, one for us and one as a gift for our French friends.
I was careful with the bag on the flight and there were minimal cracks on the macarons. From bottom: pistachio, vanilla, chocolate, caramel with salted butter, raspberry, coffee, orange blossom and praline.
Despite my lack of appetite due to laryngitis I gleefully halved each of the macarons with Mr S.
I have happy macaron memories and they’re best shared!
Halloween isn’t observed in Australia. It’s considered an American tradition but some neighourhoods do celebrate it. A couple of houses near our home in Sydney decorated their front yards with fake cobwebs and glow in the dark skeletons. Children in costumes were chaperoned by parents to go trick-or-treating.
A visit to Dylan’s Candy Bar is like trick-or-treating for adults. Sweetness perfumes the air and rainbow coloured candy tempt you on every floor.
Decals cover the windows to promote The Smurfs film and there was a section dedicated to themed merchandise.
The centrepiece of the store is rows of clear containers of candy sold by weight, to be scooped into plastic bags or glass jars. Candy of every shape and flavour entices and I purchased half a scoop of sour cola bottles, my childhood favourite.
A chocolate fountain is by the entrance and dipper choices included Graham crackers, marshmallows, pretzels and fruits.
I skipped the upstairs Candy Café and walked down the ‘stairway to candy heaven’.
A kaleidoscope of Jelly Belly dispensers.
A collection of retro candy.
‘I want candy…’
Shelves of Hershey’s products.
Hello Kitty branded candy.
I was delighted to find purple M&M’S!
The psychedelic Wonka display.
Inedible candy paraphernalia.
Slabs of fudge.
Sprinkled and coated chocolate treats.
Sweet Paws for your pets!
A wall of Pez.
A lollipop stand.
I would like to know how parents stop their children exiting with a sugar high from Dylan’s Candy Bar!
I was exploring the Flatiron District after lunch at Shake Shack and I found myself at the entrance of Eataly. I stood on the sidewalk for several minutes, observing the speed of the foot traffic in and out. I finally walked in, thinking I’ll do a quick lap and exit.
All my senses were on alert. Cutlery clanging on china, diners conversing and shoppers ordering, the decibel of the din would be near noise pollution. The hum of human activity and the kaleidoscope of colours was a sight to behold. The aroma of freshly ground coffee wafted through the air. I breathed in deeply, to ease the anxious feeling of being enveloped in a large crowd, and to absorb caffeine!
I got lost in Eataly. Unlike IKEA, there were no arrows on the floor, no dividers for a path and no map. Directionally challenged, I weaved and wandered until I took a photo of every section and every restaurant.
The Eataly website lists twenty sections in their market and twelve places to eat. Below is a selection of them!
Wood fire ovens and counter seating at La Pizza and La Pasta for Neapolitan pizzas and al dente pasta.
Il Pesce serves fresh seafood including whole fish.
Paninoteca‘s chalkboard menu highlights regional specialties.
A pretty display of single portion cakes and tarts at Dolci.
With such a concentration of eateries, Eataly is ideal for progressive meals. Apéritif at Birreria, appetizer at one restaurant, main course at another, dessert at Dolci or Gelateria, and conclude with an espresso at Caffe Lavazza or Caffe Vergnano.
A stainless steel espresso machine is the centrepiece of Caffe Vergnano, a standing only espresso bar.
Caffe Lavazza is at the Fifth Avenue entrance and you can while away an afternoon people watching.
Cone, cup or to go, the Gelateria has three sizes and many flavours of gelati.
The market is well stocked with dried pasta.
Shelves are laden with sauces.
Marinated, stuffed and in brine, jars of olives aplenty.
A multitude of packaged biscotti.
Preserves and conserves of every fruit.
Chilled local and imported beer.
Sliced and packaged salumi.
Boxes of cheese wedges.
The butcher has some local and organic meats.
The requisite hanging and dangling salumi.
The bakery bakes daily on site.
Bags of flour are stacked high for handmade fresh pasta.
‘The mozzarella you eat at Eataly is never more than two hours old.’
I had a fleeting urge to roll one of these Parmigiano Reggiano wheels around Eataly.
The fishmonger’s seafood is ‘never frozen’.
The fresh produce are piled high in wicker baskets.
The greens and root vegetables are neatly presented.
Beautiful trays of mushrooms.
Some on vine, others wrapped in protective foam, the tomatoes were glossy and vibrant.
A curated bookstore on Italian culinary culture.
Basic dinnerware and glassware.
Melamine glasses and bowls in rainbow hues.
A ten point manifesto and a motto, ‘eat better, cook simpler’.
I left contemplating how local European style delicatessens and providores can compete with a corporate marketplace that is Eataly.
The weather was spectacular in New York the days after Hurricane Irene. Cornflower blue sky and a gentle breeze was perfect condition for a long walk around Central Park.
I love the urban oasis in the middle of Manhattan, at the heart of the city. Locals run, cycle and walk their dogs, and tourists meander along the paths and follow landmark signs.
I strolled through The Mall and hummed Auld Lang Syne with the statue of Sir Walter Scott on my right and Robert Burns on my left, I paused at the expanse of Bethesda Terrace, and I leisurely looped around the tranquil Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
Painted a pastel yellow, there is an espresso machine in the truck serving Intelligentsia Coffee and pastries are also available.
A message from the owners is printed in scrawling script on the side of the truck, espousing their ethos.
Neon Post-it notes flag the sold out flavours. My favourite, hazelnut, was unfortunately one of them. A chalkboard listed some intriguing specials – English tarragon, rosewater cardamom, basil black pepper and nectarine.
I ordered Earl Grey and cinnamon in a cup and found a table in the shade. While others munched on tacos from the adjacent food truck, I relished the cold sweet treat.
With the exception of an ice chip, the ice cream was smooth and rich. The Earl Grey had subtle hints of bergamot, and the cinnamon tasted like a doughnut.
Refreshed and cooled, I continued to explore Central Park.
I had read about Beecher’s Handmade Cheese opening in New York and made a mental note to visit the next time I was in the Big Apple. Located in the Flatiron District in a spacious loft, Beecher’s New York is a retail store, café, licenced restaurant and cheese making factory.
The original Beecher’s Seattle is at a busy intersection at Pike Place Market. Noses press against the windows to watch the cheese makers at work, inside the crowds shuffle along the narrow room to the cheese counter, and queues frequently curl out onto the sidewalk for their ‘world’s best’ mac and cheese.
The New York outpost spans three levels. The ground floor has a cheese counter, a produce section, the cheese kitchen and the café. There is seating on the mezzanine level and downstairs is The Cellar, a cheese and wine bar.
A large sign hangs above the café proclaiming the company’s mission of ‘changing the way America eats’ and directs the spotlight to the Flagship Foundation, Beecher’s contribute one percent of all sales to educate children on nutrition, health and food choices.
An L shaped counter entices with artisan cheeses and charcuterie, and shelves are laden with preserves.
The mezzanine level was empty when I visited for a mid afternoon snack. The elevated area has panoramic view of the cheese kitchen, although no cheese was being made on the day.
After many hours of walking, I ordered a small pasta salad to nibble on for sustenance.
A hearty combination of salami, marinated bell pepper, capers, fresh mozzarella and olive oil were tossed with fusilli.
The East Coast version of Beecher’s is glamorous but still with Seattle at its heart.
On our last visit to New York, we had a pizza picnic with friends at Madison Square Park. We sprawled out on the lawn amongst office workers, and nannies and their brood, good pizza and better company under a natural canopy on a humid spring day.
Ms H worked in the area so I asked her about Shake Shack. She said there’s always a queue but you can check the Shack Cam on their website for the length before you go to line up.
After elbowing through crowds at the Empire State Building, I strolled down to Madison Square Park for lunch at Shake Shack. There were about forty people in the queue and it took about forty five minutes from lining up to ordering and picking up my meal.
It was a pleasant day and the queue was in the shade. I perused the menu and exchanged text messages with Ms H for recommendations. I chuckled when I noticed the B-line sign. Why would you only get a drink or dessert?
I was split between the custard of the day and the concrete jungle, a blend of vanilla custard, hot fudge, bananas and peanut butter.
Once I ordered I joined the group pacing back and forth at the pick up window, staring at the staff assembling the dockets, clutching the paging device, willing it to vibrate and beep. There are plenty of tables and chairs for al fresco dining in the glorious post Hurricane Irene weather.
The ShackBurger was positioned upright against the side of the cardboard box, a tray of crinkle cut fries wedged in the middle, next to a melting cup of vanilla almond fudge custard.
Minced Angus beef, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce sandwiched in a bun, the ShackBurger was on par with In-N-Out! It was freshly cooked, juicy but not soggy, tasty but not messy.
I love the uniformity of crinkle cut fries, each baton is equally golden and crunchy. I was on alert for the hovering pigeons, watchful over my fries.
The custard was suffering in the heat. I scooped quickly, each spoonful of vanilla custard was studded with chopped almonds and I finally found the hot fudge swirled on the bottom of the cup!
There was an ominous feeling on the Saturday of Hurricane Irene. Blanket television coverage droning on about this, that and the other, the solemnity Mayor Bloomberg’s news conferences, declarations of state of emergency, mandatory evacuation orders, and the shutdown of the Subway and all New York airports all amplified the forboding.
Although I joined the grocery store queues and stocked up on bottled water, some muesli bars and a large bag of almonds, I felt safe in Midtown Manhattan.
The apocalyptic photos of an empty Grand Central Terminal and deserted Times Square were transmitted across the world. The streets were eerily devoid of people and silent of honking as the city stoically awaits the ferocious hurricane.
Most stores were closed and only a few eateries were open. Ms H did a search and found Marché du Sud on the Upper East Side.
We walked there from opposite directions in the torrential rain, thankful that the hurricane winds were still several hours away. The entrance to Marché du Sud is divided into the dining area and patio on the left, and the bakery and gourmet market on the right.
Cold and dripping wet, I was relieved to be indoors. A long and narrow room with the bar at the front and an open kitchen at the back, the space was homely and comfortable.
The laminated menu had a tabloid magazine as its cover. There were set menus available but curiously these were cash only.
We selected two items to share. The specialty is Alsatian tarte flambée or French pizza. Thin and crispy, the l’authentique had crème fraîche, lardon, caramelised onions and Gruyère. Plain in appearance, it was a delicious combination of flavours.
We should have ordered a second French pizza! The Belgian waffles were unfortunately a little dry but easily remedied with extra cream.
Hunger sated, we strolled a couple of blocks in search of gumboots for Ms H. You’ll smile at this cute photo!