Sweet things are my destiny, I can never resist cakes and I would be happy to survive for several days with chocolate and coffee. As I planned my trip to New York City I skipped looking for restaurants (check out New York! New York! The savory part) but I had a long list of bakeries and I had a lot of cupcakes on my mind.
Do you know the difference between cupcakes and muffins? For me it is the texture: a cupcake is a miniature cake with a fluffy, airy consistency and a muffin is more bread like and often contains fruits or nuts. I searched for more and found this on several pages:
“If you threw a cupcake against the wall, you could hear something of a “POOF!” If you threw a muffin, you could hear a “THUD!”
Let’s say a muffin is something I can have for breakfast everyday but a cupcake is a chichi dessert with a frosting. Finally the only thing they have in common is their shape.
If I would be a Manhattanite I would look for a corner bakery nearby my home, where I know everything is made fresh especially good bread. But as a tourist I preferred this two chains because they got several stores all over New York City and you know what you get with a consistently quality.
My favorite cupcake bakery is CRUMBS!
I got the black-bottom cheesecake which was my best ever and the screaming green one from the picture above which contains pistachio but I can’t remember the name.
I liked their coffee and that they offer three different sizes of cupcakes.
This picture is from the store near Wall street. The staff had been very friendly and answered all my questions, even as I asked them which one is the best, a nasty question I know…
I spare you the sight of my after eating a cupcake picture.
We also went to the Magnolia Bakery in the Grand Central Terminal. This place was packed and while waiting I spied on the baker and discovered the best technique to spread the frosting evenly. That was worth waiting.
On the menu I found this and liked it very much: “At Magnolia our cupcakes and cakes are baked from scratch in small batches throughout the day. We bake the old fashioned way without the use of preservatives or stabilizers so our goods are meant to be enjoyed right away.”
Other than at Crumbs you can get so much more mouth-watering baked goods. I just tried the cupcakes but everything else had been looking so good. Mr. F got an apple something cake which he didn’t share with me, this must had been very good too.
If you travel you get the chance to breath the air of an unknown city. If you travel to New York City you breath the air of several countries and continents which you can find within a stone’s throw away. I strolled around in China town and found little Italy just around the corner. Yes everybody knows this two neighborhoods of Manhattan, but do you know Washington Heights has got a hugh community of people from the Dominican Republic? Some say there are more Korean restaurants in Korea town than Koreans. And don’t miss the North and South Indian restaurants, the Jewish Lower East Side and many more. New York City is a melting pot and that is the reason why it is so interesting for food lovers like me. About 35% of the Manhattanites were foreign born and brought their culture, religion and way of cooking with them.
Usually I am better prepared when I travel, I use to pick some restaurants I am interested in before I even leave home. This time I decided to choose the place to eat by the amount of local people inside the eatery. This works fine if you are in Italy or Spain or somewhere you can tell by one look if they are locals or tourists. Not working well in NYC. But all we ate had been very good and I would like to share my notes with you.
One evening we planned to eat at Eataly, this is a recently opened food hall/market/restaurant owned by Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich and some collegas. It is located in the Flatiron District, 200 5th Ave./23rd St and it is hugh about 50,000 sq. ft. (4.645 qm) and packed with a lot of very good Italian fancy foods. Unfortunately it had been also packed with people, getting a table and trying to enjoy our meal would have been a challenge we didn’t want to take. What is the thing about slow food if you eat in a noisy and busy surrounding? But taking peeks on the plates or just looking and discovering this place was great fun. You can also find fresh baked bread and pizza, gelato, coffee and vino. A microbrewery will be opened in a few weeks. I had an eye on several cookbooks but had been to lazy to carry them around for the rest of the day. There is a section for vegetables and fruits and it had been hart for me to resist all this tasty looking food. Here are some pictures taken with my phone camera (but not that bad).
After Mr. F and I left Eataly we had been hungry, even more because watching at all the pizza with an empty stomach made me slightly dizzy. Looking for a hot meal we ended up in a Russian restaurant called Mari Vanna. I ordered the Vareniki (potato and mushroom pierogi in a porcini mushroom sauce) as an entree and had been a happy camper with that. Not as good as my mum’s pierogi (and I don’t have to say that) but a really delicious dish in a cozy atmosphere.
Unfortunately it was too dark inside to take some pics but I can tell you it is very nice decorated and reminded me more of French country style than Russian. We had to wait a little bit for our meals and were pacified with a homemade cranberry-vodka and a martini cocktail for free. I can live with that.
We other day we visited the great American Museum of Natural History and I can tell you food for my brain makes my stomach hungry. Just a few blocks away at 450 Amsterdam Ave (81st-82nd St.) we found LAND – Thai kitchen. Unfortunately I didn’t made any pictures although the furnishing was nice, modern but not cold. I liked the brick wall with the lighting behind a mesh fabric which makes it diffused and warm. The food and the plates looked amazing. I really enjoyed a shrimp lemongrass soup “tom yum goong” and from the wok cashew nut with shrimps, with jasmine rice, water chestnuts and plum chili sauce. Do you notice I like shrimps? Everything was great, friendly service, relaxed atmosphere and the food had been so fresh that you can really taste it. You can make a great deal at lunchtime 12.00-3.30 pm if you try the two courses for $ 8 offer. Go there and eat there.