April 28, 2017: Day 2 in New York!
After sleeping in thoroughly after a delayed flight from coming in from Toronto, we woke up ready to find breakfast and begin our foodie trip. In preparing for our trip, we looked at YouTube videos to find top food lists of New York and consulted friends to find coveted spots to eat in the Big Apple. It was a beautiful spring day and good enough for shorts and sundresses.
We consulted the map (handy wifi and Google Maps) and searched Eataly out as the first spot of the day. My friend Betty had recommended it to me as a spot to visit and since it was around the area and on route to the places we wanted to visit that day, we strolled through the streets of New York to find it.
I was actually quite underwhelmed with Eataly (no offense, Betty!). In my mind, I thought that it was going to be a full restaurant or eatery but it was in fact just a coffee shop with sandwiches-to-go and gelato. We weren’t going to eat gelato for breakfast so we simply lined up to grab an iced coffee and tried one of their sandwiches. We knew that we were going to be eating the full day so there was no sense in ordering too much at one place. Our plan was to order one or two items from each place and keep moving and keep eating. 😀 Pure foodie trip!
I chose the Uovo, a small palm-sized sandwich with hard-boiled eggs, roasted pork loin, housemade mayonnaise, mustard, and salt and pepper on a sesame bun. It really was tiny but it made for a good first bite (literally) of the day. It was a good sandwich!
We headed across the street to Madison Square Park where we realized that there was a Shake Shack (Madison Ave & E.23rd St, New York) right in the middle of it! This was perfect as Shake Shack was definitely on our list of NY eats! We lined up right away. It was interesting to find the Shake Shack in the middle of the small park; its name in the grey design wasn’t obvious at all.
We received an electronic device that alerted us when our order was ready. There were a lot of people lining up and we did wait a while before we got our two burgers, two drinks, and fries combo. (We actually got there at the perfect time because right after us, the line-up to order was so long! It must have been people leaving their offices for lunch.)
We took a table underneath one of the trees where it was shady and had our Shake Shack meal. Mmm, the burgers looked so good! It was beautiful sitting there in the park to eat and the perfect weather. So many people were enjoying their lunches outside in the sunshine too. ^_^
The Shake Shack burger was really good! As per their sign, they stated, “100% all-natural Angus beef. No hormones and no antibiotics ever. Our proprietary Shack blend is freshly ground and served on a non-GMO potato bun.” We had ordered the “ShackBurger”. It was a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and ShackSauce. It was a soft squishy burger and I especially loved the melted cheese on it.
The Crinkle Cut Fries were a classic and after trying them, we realized what the hype was all about. They really were so crispy and tasted so good!
We took our time eating inside Madison Square Park and were people watching. New Yorkers really had a different vibe than Torontonians.
After this, we went inside the neighbouring LEGO Store (we had saw this on the way across the street to Shake Shack but wanted to fill our stomachs first). There were a lot of cool LEGO display sets inside the store.
We took a selfie in front of the Flatiron Building, a tourist attraction, on 5th Ave. According to Wikipedia, the Flatiron Building: “originally the Fuller Building, is a triangular 22-story steel-framed landmarked building located at 175 Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, and is considered to be a groundbreaking skyscraper.”
We continued strolling along the streets to our next foodie spot. Along the way, we spotted many food trucks (that looked really good) and passed by New York University too. It was really hot and sunny!
We had entered the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Lower Manhattan by this point. We entered Washington Square Park and took a rest under the burning sun.
There was a huge fountain here and the Washington Square Arch that resembled the Arc De Tromphie in Paris, France (at least for me). Many other people were relaxing here by the fountain as well. We saw a lonely person dressed up in Spiderman gear was who holding a sign that said “Free hugs” but after a couple of minutes and no one approached him/her, they walked away. It was kind of sad and he/she looked defeated. It was so hot outside that I felt bad for them having to wear that head-to-toe costume. They must have been sweating bullets!
We also saw one of those actors painted from head-to-toe standing motionless in exchange for photos and tips.
There were more food trucks within this park too.
We stopped by a Dunkin’ Donuts before we headed on our way to the restaurant that a vegan friend had recommended to me.
We arrived close to the restaurant and we were actually chanced onto Gay Street.
“Gay Street is a short, crooked street that marks off one block of Greenwich Village in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The street’s name does not refer to the LGBT character of Greenwich Village, or to any other LGBT issues for that matter. The name may have come from a classified ad for one R. Gay, whose name was mentioned in a newspaper[clarification needed] dated May 11, 1775 and who advertised a gelding for sale.” (Quoted from Wikipedia.)
We saw this rainbow cross in which there were two people taking a picture of.
“On Good Friday, April 14, 2017, an anonymous person chained a wooden cross to a street sign on the sidewalk of Gay St. This anonymous person moved the cross to different parts of the street for several days. On April 23rd, residents of the street painted the cross in bright, rainbow colors, and added the word “Love,” to the top of the cross.” (Quoted from Wikipedia.)
Ah, so what a coincidence that we were there after this wooden across was erected and painted!
Walking into Delice & Sarrasin (20 Christopher St, New York), I was in awe of how cute and unique it was! It was decorated like a little Parisian boutique restaurant with French colours and trinkets. It was an incredibly cute cafe! They served vegan food.
I haven’t been to too many vegan restaurants in my lifetime as a food blogger but I really, really adored this restaurant! Everything was French cuisine on the menu but of course everything was vegan which meant that they had really unique ways of preparing the classic French items.
We ordered three things to try: “escargots” in butter sauce, “cheese plate”, and “coq au vin”.
We were parched on this sunny day so I’m glad that the only server in the restaurant refilled our water glasses many times. Their washroom was very cute too. Since their restaurant is so small and compact, they fit in everything so well. Thus, the washroom was small and cute too.
Again, everything was 100% vegan or organic. The cheese plate came first. The Plateau du Fromage was a vegan cheese plate with a combination of vegan cultured cheeses. This was served with some toasted bread.
There were four types of vegan cultured cheeses and I really liked them. One tasted like blue cheese while another one tasted like tofu. It was really unique and we both enjoyed this vegan cheese platter.
The server even gave us extra bread too.
The Escargot Beurre Maître d’Hôtel were vegan snails (oyster mushrooms) in garlic butter (coconut based). I love regular escargots in French restaurants and that was why I was super curious about these vegan ones. They were served in the same manner as escargots usually are in that six-holed hot plate (which the server warned us about being hot) and with garlic butter too. It looked so good! This was also served with toasted bread.
I really liked these! Considering that these were oyster mushrooms, they were actually made and perfected to look like actual escargots. It was impressive! 😀
Lastly, our entrée was the Coq au Vin. This was a large dish of chicken leg (vegetable fibers) braised with red wine, vegan bacon (soy and konjac), mushrooms, and onions. This dish smelled deeply of red wine and tasted like it too! First of all, the chicken legs were very impressive. They actually looked like chicken and tasted in texture similar to chicken too. Of course, it wasn’t chicken though. The “drumstick” part of it was a wooden stick holding the vegetable fibers together. Still, I was impressed. 😀
The sauce was rich in red wine so much so that after a bit, we felt the alcohol and were quite tipsy from it. Ken didn’t have any more after a while. I continued eating it for a while because I didn’t want the food to waste but in the end, I had to leave it behind because it really was like eating red wine. What a great deal it was though to get tipsy off of that tasty dish. XD
We enjoyed our French vegan meal inside Delice & Sarrasin for an hour and a half before we headed on our way again. We discovered that there were many other great restaurants all around the area but we were too full at this point to try everything else. There were a lot of patios and so many people enjoying delicious-looking meals at every corner. New York <3.
Our next pit stop was The Doughnut Project but before that, we actually strolled along a street full of restaurants that seemed very popular with lots of people inside them. One of them was a Michelin star one too. But we weren’t hungry enough to go inside. We ended up going into a marketplace with lots of cheese and cured meats called Murray’s Cheese (254 Bleecker St, New York).
Right upon walking in, there was a taste station for salami and pâté. The pâté here was some of the best I’ve ever tried. It was so good! I was especially happy and impressed that they used the best environmentally spoons for tasting I’ve ever seen. Why can’t more restaurants/vendors use these? It’s so smart! They were literally pieces of laminated paper folded into a spoon. I was able to easily taste the pâté with no problem and because it was just paper, it’s so easy to recycle! No need for plastic tasting spoons at all! I really wish to see these more at food events.
We took a seat near the cheese and deli counter and spent the next hour or so watching various customers pick and buy cuts of cheese and meats. It was so entertaining for us. We like people watching. 😀 There was also an advertisement for cheese emojis on the wall that was so adorable but unfortunately they came in only picture format and weren’t real emojis to use in chats.
When we tried to go to The Doughnut Project afterwards, it was already closed. Boo. We decided to keep walking and by chance happened to go into Sweetgreen (413 Greenwich St, New York) where we ordered a salad to share. We were getting our greens in for the day. The salad came with bread and there were falalels inside too. It was pretty good. (I don’t remember the salad that we got;
it might have been the Hummus Tahina — Actually, I think it is that one after reading the description lol. It had shredded kale, chopped romaine, tomatoes, red onions, cucumbers, local feta, housemade hummus, herb falafel, za’atar breadcrumbs, and cucumber tahini yogurt dressing.)
Again, we were able to enjoy our food on the benches inside a public park. This was the Father Demo Square with another small fountain that was right across from Sweetgreen. It was so nice. The sun was starting to set and thus the weather was so much more enjoyable than the earlier blistering sun. ^_^
Last on the list that day (because we weren’t hungry for a big meal) was Rice to Riches. Daphne stressed the deliciousness of this dessert rice pudding place so we decided to head there since it was relatively close. As we walked there, we stumbled upon Joe & The Juice (67 Spring St, New York), a Danish juice chain known for only hiring hunky guys. I’d never been here before and thought this juicery was the definition of “hipster”.
It was styled casually smart inside with “fake” bookshelves (that were stickers or painted on), with lots of comfy couches, dark furniture, exposed lightbulbs, and a long counter displaying juice and coffee options. With the music, it actually felt a bit like a nightclub.
If I remember correctly, I got the Beetroot Smoothie which had avocado, banana, pineapple, and apple while Ken got a latte of some sort. It was a good smoothie. We hung out there for a while. It was so comfortable and nice!
Rice to Riches (37 Spring St, New York) was right down the street on Spring Street. I was really excited to try it thanks to Daphne’s enthusiasm of this rice pudding place. Rice to Riches was a really modern and funny fast casual restaurant that served different flavours of rice pudding in various sizes. All along their walls of the store, they have hilarious captions and commentary of the customers that come to them to order rice pudding. I liked the vibe of the restaurant. They only had a few dine-in booths and two large standing tables for dine-in customers. You could sample the rice pudding choices too before you bought them!
I sampled a few but I still stuck to my favourite chocolate flavour and then the ‘Raspberry Statement’ one too. We got the two-flavour bowl, “Epic”. I couldn’t believe how much rice pudding they loaded into the small bowl! LOL. Even while I was taking the photos of it, the chocolate rice pudding was dripping onto the sides. The staff were so generous to scoop so much into the bowl. They didn’t cheap out at all.
The rice pudding bowl looks shallow but it was indeed a lot of rice pudding. We could have shared this with three or four other people LOL. It was so much rice pudding! Taste-rise, it was absolutely delicious though. Daphne made a great recommendation. 😀 We definitely only made a small dent and brought the rest back to our hotel for later consumption.
I loved their little plastic bowl and their plastic spoons. The spoon was merely a piece of curved plastic. So cool! 😀
After this, we were tired from our first full day in NYC. We took the subway back to our hotel from Spring Street Station. This was my first time riding the infamous New York subways! It wasn’t as dirty as I imagined and it was a fairly straight-forward ride to get back to our hotel. Yay! 🙂
(The majority of friends I spoke to recommended me to get the unlimited 7-day subway pass for us to get around New York City. However, we did a quick calculation and figured we wouldn’t be using transit enough for it to be worth it. Thus, we simply bought a pass to use for the two of us and re-loaded it as we needed during our trip. It worked out well!)
The weather was so perfect for our first full day in New York. Day 3 of our New York adventure to come in the next blog! 😛