Tuesday, April 8, 2014

New York City Eats

central park nyc new york city bridge spring 2010
Central Park in NYC (Spring 2010, I forgot to take a picture this time!)
Last fall we were in New York City for my good friend's wedding. We stayed a few extra days to see some sights eat and it was certainly worthwhile. We had all the old favorites: Levain Bakery cookies, Shake Shack burgers, Sugar Sweet Sunshine banana pudding, Halal cart chicken and rice, Joe's Shanghai dumplings, Del Posto lunch, and Momofuku pork buns. We also hit up some new spots we hadn't been to before: Marea, Tabata Ramen, Yuji Ramen, Motorino Pizza, wd-50, Mamoun's Falafel, A.B. Biagi gelato, and Domnique Ansel bakery.

momofuku pork belly buns new york city nyc
Momofuku Pork Belly Buns in NYC
Most notable on our list may be Dominique Ansel Bakery, which most people know as the creator of the Cronut phase that swept the country last year. His cronut, a hybrid of a croissant and a donut, spawned scores of replicas in many bakeries along the west coast and around the world. I even saw them at the Safeway supermarket! While stories spread of the crazy lines and black markets for Dominique Ansel's cronuts, people in the Bay Area were also lining up for cronut copycats. I was not one of them. There are already very few things I'd wait even 30 minutes in line for, so I wasn't going to wait several hours for a cronut when I could spend that time in NYC eating so many other delicious things!

We had lunch plans at Del Posto on a Monday (Veteran's Day) and decided to stop at Dominique Ansel beforehand just to see all the hype and pick up some of his other creations. I was excited to get the Frozen Smores and try the DKA (Dominique's Kouign Aman). We lined up at along the counter, admiring all the sweets on display and mentally selecting the ones we wanted to try. As we neared the cash register, I noticed the people ahead of me ordering cronuts and watched as the sales clerk bundled them up in small carryout boxes. I thought they might have pre-ordered them or had them on hold or something. When it was our turn, I figured I'd just ask about it and it turned out they did have cronuts left! We managed to snag the second to last one! I was tempted for a moment to order two but my greediness was tempered by the other sweets we ordered and the full lunch we had ahead of us. But, wow! We got to try a Cronut (dulce de leche filling) and we only had to wait 10 minutes in line at 11:00am!  Maybe it was the Monday or the holiday or an unclaimed order, whatever the case it was exciting to actually get one.

Dominique Ansel Bakery Dulce de Leche Cronut NYC New York City November 2014
Dominique Ansel Bakery: Dulce de Leche Cronut
The verdict? It was good! Flaky, buttery, sugary, creamy from the filling, but a little oily. Though it was enjoyable and I'm glad I got to try it, it wasn't something I'd wait hours for. I actually liked some of the other items we got better, such as the frozen smores and the cannelé. These are items I would even get again next time. The cannelé was my top rated cannelé in recent memory. Caramelized and crisp exterior with a springy and eggy center. None of the chewy exterior that blends in with the interior like I've seen in other cannelé. The DKA was good to try but I like the kouign amans from B. Patisserie in SF even more. 

plane food, "The Bomb" everything sandwich, astoria deli
Perfect plane food for the flight home: "The Bomb" sandwich
It was an exciting trip full of good food, lots of walking, great company, and memorable moments.  Lugging a dozen Levain cookies in our luggage, we ended our trip the same way I have the past couple times: with "The Bomb" sandwich from Sal, Kris & Charlie's Deli in Astoria.  This sandwich is amazing.  Described as having "everything," it's loaded with all the italian meats (salami, pepperoni, mortadella), american meats (ham, turkey), cheese (american, swiss, provolone), roasted bell peppers, onion, tomato, lettuce, all the dressings and more.  For a 12-inch sandwich at under $10, it was undeniably one of the best meals (2 meals for me) on our trip. The deli is the perfect stop to get a meal for your flight if you're flying out of La Guardia (LGA). It's a short walk from the Astoria-Ditmars Blvd (Line N,Q) metro station and afterwards you can hop on the M60 bus to the airport. There are no problems bringing this sandwich through TSA, just be sure you don't refer to it by name.

Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring St
New York, NY 10012

Sal, Kris, and Charlie's Deli: The Sandwich King of Astoria
33-12 23rd Avenue, Astoria NY 11105

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