Some people go to NYC for the nightlife and culture. They hit Broadway, tour MOMA, walk the Brooklyn Bridge. My boyfriend and I went to eat. And four glorious days of eating it was. We ate our way through the city like children experiencing chocolate for the first time.
Best of the trip: The Doughnut Plant. I’m pretty sure you know how great doughnuts are. I mean, they’re bad but great. But these doughnuts blow other doughnuts out of the boiling oil they’re fried in. I spotted my victim right away: the Chocolate Blackout is made with Valrhona chocolate, sprinkled with cake crumbs on top, and is filled with, brace yourself, chocolate pudding. I may not be able to eat a chocolate doughnut ever again. Also on display: a crème brülée, a cashew, a tres leches—enough exoticism to keep you breakfast-happy for days. And after a trek through Chinatown to find the tiny shop, I wasn’t sure if they would measure up. At nearly $3 a pop, they were outstanding. Of course, once you have them, you’re willing to pay any price.
We’d heard a lot about In-N-Out Burger in LA, so we were thrilled to find an outpost of New York’s answer to the best burger and shake: the Shake Shack. The burgers were juicy, the fries crinkly, and the shakes made with a light custard. We thought about camping out for the rest of our meals here, but it was only Day One. Too early to give in.
Next up was the consummate noodle bowl at Ippudo in the East Village, which we tracked down after reading this review in The New York Times. The savory broth was laced with scallions, soy sauce, and a tiny heap of something red that I thought would be firey, but wasn’t. My chopsticks got quite a workout making my way through the bottomless bowl of akamaru modern ramen ($13). The waitstaff was so welcoming, we wondered if we hadn’t just stumbled into a surprise party. The food was delivered with fanfare, too, making you and your food feel special. Stuffed, we were crestfallen to see the couple next to us chow down on some of the fluffiest looking pork buns we’ve ever seen. We almost returned for dinner that same night.
We hit the wall after trekking all over Hell’s Kitchen to find an obscure location of H & H Bagels, which I gleaned from Chowhound were not to miss. Except they were. We found the outpost hidden amongst car wash places and warehouses by the docks. They sold bagels, alright, if you liked them untoasted and wanted to buy some cream cheese to smear them yourself and then eat them standing up. We had more luck at Barney Greengrass on the Upper West side, a charming throwback to the 50s, complete with gruff men behind the counter who prepared smoked fish in between customers. We grabbed a quart of fresh-squeezed orange juice and enjoyed the bagels on a shady bench in Central Park. Seriously, could a Broadway show be better than that?