Friday, May 3, 2013

Sneak Peek....A Few of Our Favorite New York Eats!

I'm slowly easing my way back into the kitchen again after last week's trip to New York, but I promise to have tons of great new recipes for you starting this weekend! First, I want to share a few of the best food items that we experienced during our trip. We visited casual eateries...and fine dining establishments -- and everything in between. When we weren't eating, we enjoyed the gorgeous Spring temperatures and took in some amazing live music performances. All the foods we enjoyed were delicious, but a few really stood out. I'll share all the details later this month, but I wanted to share a few teasers with you now.

Sweet Treats
We sampled a lot of special treats...and I'll tell you all about them in my upcoming article The Sweet Side of New York. For now, let me whet your appetite! Our first day in town, we visited Laduree to sample their flown-in-from-Paris macarons. I had heard they're the very best macarons money can buy, and I believe that after our tasting. The shop owner hand-selected a few flavors for us to sample. Swoon! Let me say that the rose macaron was one of the most uniquely delicious cookies that I've ever tasted. These macarons are the real deal!
We also visited a long-time favorite this trip -- Doughnut Plant. These are the doughnuts by which Michael and I measure all doughnuts...and for good reason. All of their ingredients are made by hand, including the jams and other fillings. Quality really makes a difference! We met with the manager for a tasting of some of their signature and seasonal doughnuts...and their amazing chai latte. The carrot cake (bottom left) was the surprise of this was moist and filled with a rich cream cheese filling. Paired with the spicy sweet chai, it got our day off to a perfect start!

We visited Thomas Keller's per se after the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra Show. Both venues are located inside the Time-Warner Center, making it very convenient for a special date night! The $295/person dinner was a bit out of our price range, but they also offer an amazing five-course dessert tasting for $65 in their Salon that overlooks Columbus Circle. That price includes two sweet amuse bouche, five very creative dessert courses, and a selection of house-made chocolates at the end. The portions were perfect for Michael and I to share. It was an unforgettable experience that I can't wait to tell you about. For now, I'll share my favorite course: Poached Vanilla Meringue with Champagne Mango and Rice Pudding. It was gorgeous and outrageously delicious!

As you can see, it looks like an egg. The "yolk" is a tart mango-champagne coulis, the "white" is a meringue-like cookie, and it rests on a bed of creamy vanilla bean-flecked rice pudding. We didn't just indulge in over-the-top sweets, though...we also enjoyed some great savory dishes as well.

Savory Dishes
Another New York "must" for Michael and I is Shake Shack. This is definitely not a typical fast-food burger, though. The quality of ingredients is superior, and they cook the burgers to juicy perfection. No trip to New York is complete for us without having a Shack Burger and fries. We've visited other locations on previous trips, but this time we finally visited the original Madison Square Park location. It was a gorgeous afternoon for an al fresco Spring lunch. This Shake Shack location opened in 2004 and is where it all began. We sat in the park and enjoyed our burgers as we watched the line snake around the park -- we're not the only ones who love these burgers! 

If you think these are "just a burger..." think again! Shake Shack's custom blend of ground beef ensures the burgers are flavorful and juicy, the veggies are always perfectly fresh, and the Shack Sauce is amazing. To us, the sauce tastes like a mix of mayo, ketchup, and maybe a touch of mustard. All I know for sure is that the creamy condiment tastes great! Add a side of their crispy crinkle fries and a Concrete, and you've got the perfect burger joint. A Concrete is frozen custard and fun mix-ins -- we love to customize ours by combining fresh strawberry puree and bananas. As you can see in the picture, quality really does make a difference!

Another favorite of ours is New York-style pizza! We visited Motorino this trip, which is consistently named among the top pizzas in the city. We shared a Soppressata Picante pizza. If you've never had soppressata, it reminded me a bit of pepperoni -- with an extra kick. The pizza was a bit spicy and cooked to crispy perfection in the kitchen's wood-fire oven. 

Finally, we visited Norma's at the Le Parker Meridien Hotel in Midtown for breakfast our first day in town. It's considered one of the best breakfasts in New York, so we were excited to try it. Portions are quite large, so we decided to order one sweet entree and one savory and share them. For the savory entree, we ordered Normalita's Huevos Rancheros. It was so good! The spice level was perfect, the eggs were cooked over medium, and all the individual components were delicious. Together, they made one of the best breakfast dishes we'd had in ages.
I hope you enjoyed this sneak preview of some of the food that we enjoyed during our most recent visit to New York. I'll have the complete travelogue up later this month, as well as two breakout articles in early July. One breakout article will feature two ideas for romantic New York date nights, and the other will showcase the ver best bakeries and sweet treats in the city. 

Disclosure: The restaurants featured in this article provided us with complimentary visits to facilitate inclusion in our article. All photographs are copyrighted by Michael K. Garcia and may not be copied or used without prior permission. All opinions expressed are my own.

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