Last month I spent a week and a half in New York City visiting my brother Jeff, exploring, and (of course) searching out delicious food. For the record, do you know how hard it is to write a post on the subject of eating in New York without making the title some kind of apple pun? I’ll tell you. It’s hard. But I’m resisting. That’s how much I love you.
My first meal in the city was, I thought, pretty iconic. Around the corner from my brother’s Brooklyn apartment is Wi Pie Pizzeria. The place is mostly a big counter with glass cases displaying the food, with one tiny table and a counter at the front facing the glass window onto the sidewalk. I picked out a classic Italian sausage and peppers roll with a side of marinara. It was really tasty, but my mother’s selection of a simple little cheese and pepperoni roll was so good I wanted to steal it from her. I settled for going back for my own later in the week.
Brunch seems to be a big deal in Brooklyn, and I have to thank Jeff and Ashley for steering me to an incredible one. Prime Meats describes itself as “influenced by Germanic alpine cuisine.” I don’t know how alpine or Germanic grits with smoked salmon and a poached egg is, and I don’t care. I have never had grits I liked before – which makes you wonder why I ordered them, I suppose – but these were so rich and smooth and creamy they made me want to lick the bowl. Paired with the meltingly tender, smoky salmon and a perfectly poached egg, they were divine. The plate-size biscuit and cup of coffee were equally well crafted. Best brunch I’ve had in a long time.
Exploring Manhattan with my mom, we stumbled upon the Union Square Greenmarket, home to towering piles of vegetables the likes of which we just don’t see at farmer’s markets in Albuquerque. Also featured were live plants, fresh meats and cheeses, hard cider, bread, juice – a lovely array. I couldn’t resist a baggie of little cider doughnuts (not as good as the ones at Curtis Orchard back in Illinois, but also not freshly fried, so how could they be?) and Mom bought a bag of maple sugar candy in three different flavors (almond, coconut, and habanero).
I had a day all to myself after Mom flew out and before Arne came to town. I spent it exploring the Brooklyn neighborhood near my brother’s apartment. I walked from bustling business areas through quiet, leafy streets lined with classic brownstones – many of which hosted tiny container gardens of flowers, tomatoes, or vines supported by strings from upper windows – and back to bustling businesses again. On one of the quiet streets, right next to a shady park lined with wooden benches and nannies pushing strollers, I found an adorable little coffee shop called Ted & Honey.
I took my egg sandwich with avocado, Havarti cheese, and local tomato on brioche to Cobble Hill Park. I ate it while I watched the children and squirrels playing and pondered the socioeconomic gap between the mothers and the nannies. The sandwich was amazing – fresh and simple and perfect. Where did they get such wonderful tomatoes at the end of May?
I was pretty footsore by the time I stumbled across The Chocolate Room. How could I resist? I took a seat in the cool, quiet back room and ordered a dark hot chocolate. The room was lovely, with high punched-tin ceilings and marble tables. I loved how the swirled chocolate-and-cream top of my drink was reflected in the cream-and-brown swirls of the marble tabletop. Alas, the drink itself was tasty but not a standout, and the sample of chocolate sorbet they gave me was downright awful – grainy and chalky. Still, a refreshing stop.
Come back in a few days for the second half of my culinary explorations in the city, including Fatty Crab and Momofuku Noodle Bar!