recently returned from a trip to nyc in january! it was cheapppp ($250 roundtrip tickets from california, and a 3 night stay at a hotel in tribeca was $450 when it’s normally $350+/night in the summer) because of how cold it was (you better bet i brought my ski gloves to combat the 27f weather), so we hopped on it real quick.
let’s be real, i was here for the food.
first: if you don’t follow foodbabyny on instagram, you need to. maybe after you go through your social media detox (if that’s one of your january goals); nevertheless, a must follow. without them, definitely would not have heard of bonsai kakigori, a japanese shaved ice place inside of canal street market, a mere few blocks from our hotel.
we split a blood orange and chocolate version, with mint chocolate shaved ice, orange whipped cream and cocoa pebbles. i know one person who would be very against this flavor combo (ahem, my mother), but it works really well. the mint keeps the sweetness from all the toppings in check, the chocolate is dark, the whipped cream fluffy and super bright with citrusyness, and the cocoa pebbles a happily crunchy crispy surprise in the middle. perfect pre-dinner, i must say.
i was surprised that new york wasn’t that diverse – maybe (ha, definitely) i’ve been sheltered in my california bubble, but there were more african americans and fewer asian americans than i expected in nyc.
it felt like home though as soon as we neared bar pa tea, a dinky all-white aesthetic shop with packs of asian american students everywhere. we got oolong and black tea-flavored soft serve topped with boba. wow. super smooth, love that you can get a mix of small and big pearls, and strongly tea-infused without being bitter. like if you froze milk tea. if you’re into matcha love’s soft serve, then you will like this. it’s hard to taste the oolong apart from the black tea, though it’s delicious regardless.
my parents had already raved about supermoon bakehouse when they went to nyc in oct 2018, plus i have stopped by mr. holmes (the founder of mr. holmes left and later opened supermoon) in sf/tustin a few times, so i knew this place was going to be a winner winner croissant dinner.
i grabbed a ferraro (chocolate hazelnut) and a black forest (chocolate creme patisserie and cherry jam) croissant. both were fantastic croissants on their own – super flaky and messy as can be. the chocolate hazelnut one was just fine, more like a croissant filled with super melty nutella, albeit with a couple of coveted toasted hazelnuts on top. the black forest was my favorite of the two, with light, creamy chocolate and plenty of fruity sweet cherry jam. mmmm. and these kept really well – i brought them home and they were only a little smeared, even though they’d been towed along on a walk, a subway, a bus, an airtrain, a plane, and a car over the course of 11 hours.
caution: their matcha is very intense. it’s sweet and milky but their matcha is otherworldly marvel-superhero strong. my friend drank no more than a sip before i co-opted it, opened my throat wide, and chugged it bc neither of us wanted to waste it.
i also brought a plie au chocolat from maison kayser home, though this one didn’t fare as well as the supermoon goodies (i kept forgetting about it and smooshing it in my jacket). toasted up though? deliciously flaky tender layers of pastry despite the mangling, with melty molten chocolate and creamy custard. the custard wasn’t like a thick layer (ie you’re not going to see a full creme brulee here), and instead overall added to the decadence.
not revolutionary, but i really enjoyed the dumplings from mimi cheng’s. the mighty vegetable dumplings were a little ho hum (probably my fault for ordering veggie dumplings in the first place), but nothing their sweet chili soy special sauce couldn’t fix. the pork ones were delicious. i had mine boiled, which felt like a nice hug of a last real meal (we had a few more snacks after the dumplings lol) in nyc.
shoutout to the following honorable mentions as well:
i love pickles and olives. i used to pickle jars upon jars of daikon in high school (at which point my brother would banish me to the garage to eat it because the scent is not for the faint of heart), and i was definitely that child who put olives on her fingers and ate them like candy.
so ofc i had to make a stop at the pickle guys. they let you buy cucumber pickles individually, because as much as i like pickles, even i can’t mow through a quart in a few hours (i probably could, i probably shouldn’t). i had their full and half sours, which didn’t open up a new pickle nirvana for me, but dang they were still nice snacks (and a great reward once we got to the airport to fly home, because we had to transfer 3 times between different public transportation methods. eek).
i judged tim ho wan really hard before we started eating the dim sum – they were playing michael jackson (…why), and the dim sum looked super pale and bland and not heurng (a chinese term for how brown and therefore how flavorful something is; the chinese way of talking about the maillard reaction).
but yum. the har gao and siu mai were super plump and flavorful, and the shrimp inside the har gao is what my mom would describe as crispy because it was so juicy and delicious. the char siu baos had bolo bao toppings (think the craquelin on a cream puff), which i normally don’t like, but it wasn’t too sweet and was nice and crispy in this case.
there’s a surprising lack of boba in midtown/chelsea/east village/tribeca/etc. there’s boba guys, gongcha, kung fu tea, etc, but nothing you can’t get in the bay area. enter grace street cafe. it was poppin when we got there, and was such a nice place to relax and hang out. my friend loved her rose milk tea so much that she had to return again before the trip was over.
despite what it sounds like, we did some none food things. mostly the tourist basics: the statue of liberty and ellis island, world trade center, the true original mickey exhibit (this was essentially my friend’s motivation for going to nyc. think mickey re-interpreted by modern artists into new art. i really enjoyed the compilation of steamboat willy scenes that 30 artists put together), etc.
my favorite activity? WAITRESS. the main protagonist was played by sara bareilles (you have until feb 3 to see her as jenna! gogogo), who was amazing and made this a concert and a musical. it was witty and sad and i was thoroughly entertained. i didn’t fall asleep once, even though i was terrified my sleep deprived body would force me to.
1 year ago: shiitake dun dan | matcha coconut breakfast bowl
2 years ago: roasted brussels sprouts with kimchi and ginger, maple persimmon upside down cake
3 years ago: winter panzanella with roasted vegetables, huckleberry’s chocolate chunk muffins
4 years ago: easy stovetop macaroni, peas, bacon and cheese a la jamie oliver (college edition), chocolate meringue cake with whipped cream and raspberries
5 years ago: nanaimo bars, basic scones