Sunday, May 9, 2010

New York Odds and Ends

Having already written up my trips to Katz's and Doughnut Plant, I thought I would summarize the other greatest hits of my brief New York trip.

Amy's Bread (three locations, but I went to the one in the Village). I'd been to Amy's West Village location on my last trip to New York. Amy's is on the same block of Bleecker as Faicco's Pork Store and Murray's Cheese Shop, which qualifies it as one of the greatest food blocks in the world. Amy's makes bread, but I've never tried the bread; instead, I indulge in their wonderful sweets. This trip, I had a fantastic red velvet cake. The cake itself, often the fatal flaw of red velvets, was moist and sweet, though with less discernible cocoa than some versions. The frosting was a perfectly light as air butter cream, which I dug as I much prefer butter cream to cream cheese frosting on my red velvets. Good stuff!

Amy's Bread
250 Bleecker Street (@ Leroy)
NY, NY 10014
(212) 675-7802

After hearing about it for a few years now, I had to stop by Momofuku Milk Bar for the famous crack pie. The Milk Bar is home to many fun and creative desserts. The compost cookie is a chocolate chip cookie with pretzels, graham crackers and potato chips. Cereal milk and cereal milk ice cream give you the sweet, malty taste of milk at the end of a bowl of cereal. The celebrated crack pie is a buttery, oat-infused, custard pie. It's a good dessert, creamy and buttery, but I didn't develop the immediate obsession for it that passed over New Yorkers when it opened. I also tried a grasshopper pie, chocolate and mint with marshmallows on top and a bit of salt on the crust; overall, it was a bit too sweet for me. I like the playful spirit of the Milk Bar and the products were good, but the place suffers from an over-the-top hype that can't help but leave one disappointed.

Momofuku Milk Bar
207 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10003
(212) 254-3500

Bluebird Coffee Shop. When I lived in New York in the '90s, coffee was a problem. Starbucks, which invaded the city during that decade, was actually a pretty substantial step up from the vast majority of coffee in Manhattan, excepting a few espressos pulled in little Italian joints in the Village and cafe con leche at Cuban and Puerto Rican diners. The indie coffee shops were mostly terrible. After a few years, I just gave up on the whole scene and had Peet's beans shipped to me from California. Well, times have changed. New Yorkers have fully embraced third wave coffee, and the latte art flows, especially in the Lower East Side. There were far too many to try, but one of the best I had was the Bluebird Coffee Shop on East First Street at the corner of First Avenue. They serve a smooth, creamy cappuccino similar those from Intelligentsia in LA. It was good to see so much potentially good coffee in what was once an espresso wasteland.

Bluebird Coffee Shop
72 East 1st Street (@ First Avenue)
NYC, NY 10003
(212) 260-1879

Num Pang is a Cambodian sandwich shop on 12th Street, east of Fifth Avenue. If the guys from Animal opened a banh mi shop, this is what it would be like (num pang is essentially the Cambodian version of banh mi). The 5 spice glazed pork belly sandwich is among the most indulgent things between bread. It consists of a large hunk of sweet, glazed pork belly, juices pouring onto the toasted bun, the fat cut by pickled pear slices. Also excellent was the regular pulled pork sandwich; the pork was moist, tender and glazed with a spiced honey sauce. On my last day in New York, I was lured back in the direction of Num Pang and even passed by it, but I just couldn't do it. After four days of pastrami, doughnuts and other indulgences, my arteries couldn't take it. Thanks to the great Nina M. for taking me here.

Num Pang
21 East 12th Street
New York City, NY 10003
(212) 255-3271

Hey, that was lots of food for three days! Next stop: Vegas.

1 comment:

Banana Wonder said...

Amy's Bread was on my list, but didn't make it! Maybe it's just as well since I prefer the cream cheese frosting ;)