This weekend Scott and I took a little journey to New York City, and of course, the main focus of my itinerary revolved around food! Yes, we saw some amazing stand-up comedy by Joel McHale and Donald Glover. Yes, we walked around until our feet were sore, enjoyed the view from the top of the Empire State Building, window-shopped in SOHO, and got to spend a little time on Sunday with my family. However, we also devoured life-changing sandwiches at the famous Katz’s Deli (see my memorable food-scenes post here), enjoyed a delicious dinner at Mercer Kitchen followed by dessert at Rice to Riches, stopped for a pre-brunch Croissant, and then ate some more at Balthazar. It was all so delicious and too much to photograph, let alone post about (and frankly the walk down gastro-memory lane is making me feel stuffed all over again!), so let me delve into the highlights.
You have to be able to put aside the stress the scene here will give you and keep telling yourself that once you sink your fangs into your pastrami, it’ll all be worth it. Picture mobs of people in what can loosely be described as lines, waiting to place their orders. But behold! Once you get face-to-face with one of the carvers, they will generously give you a mouth watering sample of your meat of choice. I ordered a Pastrami on rye with swiss cheese and mustard. Scott ordered the Reuben Combo – Corned Beef and Pastrami – on rye, with melted swiss, sauerkraut, and Russian Dressing. We were each given a heaping handful of pickles. Once you’ve obtained your lunch and have begun trying not to drool all over it, so continues the stress. We then had to mill around like vultures in the hopes that someone would soon finish their meal so that we could swoop in and grab their table. This survival-of-the-quickest game of musical chairs is the cruelest torture when you have a tray of warm, cured meat that you’re dying to devour! Luckily we got a table in about 10 minutes and so began the feast. Yes, these sandwiches were $15 each, but after one bite, any penny-pinching voice in your head is silenced. This home-cured, hand-carved, thick and juicy meat is the best I’ve ever had.
See for yourself at 205 East Houston Street.
This morning Scott and I found ourselves in SOHO a bit earlier than our brunch reservation, so we stopped for some coffee. Where we ended up was an adorable patisserie with rows of shiny tarts, eclairs, and napoleons winking at us through the window, and a sign out front boasting the best croissants in NYC. Sold! Scott ordered a cappuccino and a croissant and we headed across the street to a park to sit and enjoy. Let me tell you, in my experience of visiting Paris twice and spending quite some time working in cafes, this was the best croissant I’ve ever had in the U.S. Okay, to be fair I’ve only ever eaten them in New York, Providence, or Philly, but this perfectly flaky, yet moist and buttery confection was tops. One taste and I proclaimed, “this is Paris.” It took me right back to morning platters of baguette and croissants, served with tiny jars of blueberry jam and honey, and it was love at first bite. We resisted buying the frozen box of croissants to bring home, because well, most of the time I’m trying to ignore the carb-monster begging me to feed him, but maybe you won’t be as strong! Say “Oui!” at Ceci Cela, at 55 Spring Street.
Both photos courtesy of Scott- as I was too busy eating!