Paya (signature flat breads): charred corn, avocado, farmers cheese, chilies
Being obsessed with all things Peru (it’s at the top of my “if-someone-gave-me-a-free-plane-ticket-this-is-where-I’d-go” list), I couldn’t wait to try Bar Paya, a sleek little wine bar, opened just a few months ago on Second Avenue’s hopping restaurant row. The small plates are innovative and fresh, packed with tons of flavor. It’s the perfect place for a light, alfresco evening. I can’t wait to return, next time for a cocktail and the corn nuts with Incan pink salt.
Ensalada Paya: romaine, grilled Peruvian corn, avocado, hearts of palm, queso fresco, aji amarillo vinaigrette
Here’s a little secret about me: I don’t love cupcakes. Sure, if someone offers me one I’ll take it, and I do get a hankering for them from time to time, but they’re not my all time fave. That distinction belongs to cookies. Cookies are my number one favorite food, xoxo times infinity and beyond.
Yet surprisingly, until lately, I hadn’t found the ultimate best cookie in New York City. Previously, my top three favorite cookies ever (all chocolate chip) were from Sueann’s Bagels (Green Bay, WI, now closed—RIP), Kavarna (Green Bay, WI), and the Eastern Market (Washington, DC). But those are all in the past now because I’ve officially hit the jackpot. The best cookie in NYC (and possibly the world) is at Momofuku Milk Bar.
- Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow (my absolute favorite)
- Blueberry Cream, with dried blueberries and milk crumbs
- Compost, with pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, and chocolate chips (crazy intense flavors!)
- Chocolate Chocolate
What’s more, this place has flavored milk. And not just boring vanilla or chocolate, but cereal flavored milk. There is no way they could make this any other way besides actually letting cereal sit in milk and then bottling it. That’s how accurate it is. Outrageous.
While devouring my first box of Momofuku cookies back in March, I was perusing New York Mag’s Best of New York issue. When I arrived at Best Chocolate Chip Cookie, I greedily laughed (as I shoved another Momo cookie in my mouth), because no way in hell was there a better chocolate chip cookie than the one I was currently eating. Ma Peche? I’m so sure. But seeing as this place is only a couple blocks from my office, I decided I’d check it out (for comparison’s sake) when the time came for my Famous Amos afternoon cookie binge. Well, it turns out Ma Peche is part of the Momofuku empire, and now a second Milk Bar resides in midtown. Lord help us all (that would be me, and any civilians that get in my way while I rush over each day during my afternoon sugar crash).
Seriously. These are Grade A, change-your-life cookies. As a bonus treat, here’s recipes for the Compost, and the Cornflake Choco Marshmallow cookies. Enjoy!
Another way to celebrate fantastic weather: ice cream! I finally tried 16 Handles a few weeks ago, hence our winter wear. Yes, that’s right, the place has 16 flavors of frozen yogurt. (Oreos and cream, peanut butter, and red velvet cake were my choices.)
It’s not the most flavorful stuff I’ve ever had, and is more comparable to Tasti than tart yogurt. But having so many yogurt flavors and at least twice as many topping choices was exciting.
Drawback: with toppings like brownie and cookie dough bites and peanut butter sauce (guilty on all counts), don’t expect this to be a healthy treat unless you have incredible willpower. Good thing the yogurt is nonfat.
So a couple weeks ago this happened. Actually, because of a cold, I only made it through a half dozen cupcakes, and yes, I ate all of them by myself within 24 hours. Don’t judge. One Groupon went unused (I was that sick); let’s not dwell on it.
Butter Lane has three cupcake flavors (vanilla, chocolate, and banana) and at least 20 different frostings, so you can mix and match your little cakes right on the spot. I normally hate all things banana except banana bread, but I decided to give “The Elvis” (banana cake, peanut butter frosting, topped with mini marshmallows) a go. Thank God. This actually was my favorite out of the whole bunch.
Using the picture below and going clockwise from The Elvis (also ranked 1-6, 1 being the highest, and going to The Elvis):
- Chocolate cake with chocolate raspberry frosting (5)
- Vanilla cake with strawberry frosting (6)
- Chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting (2)
- Vanilla cake with honey cinnamon frosting, swirled with honey on top (4)
- In the middle, vanilla cake with burnt caramel frosting, topped with popcorn (3)
The vanilla cake is sometimes a little dry, but the frosting is outstanding, the creative flavors are ridiculous, and the thoughtful way they top the cupcakes is just the ”icing on the cake.” Butter Lane is one of my top four cupcakeries in the city, along with Crumbs (I don’t care what you haters say!), Baked by Melissa, and another place I’ll tell you about soon.
PS- they also have frosting “shots.”
I have several go-to healthy restaurants in New York that I eat at frequently (Candle Cafe, Spring Street Natural, and Josie’s), but last week I wanted to try some place new. Enter Angelica Kitchen. The space is cozy and relaxed, the food vegan and delicious, although it’s no Candle Cafe. I had the Marinated Tofu Sandwich: lemon herbed baked tofu layered with roasted vegetables, a smear of parsley-almond pesto, and lettuce. It was pretty delicious.
I will definitely return next time I’m jonesing for some vegan food and don’t feel like traveling uptown. Candle needs a downtown outpost, stat.
Do you have a favorite healthy restaurant in New York? Do tell!
With the incredible special the Cow has going on right now ($16 3-course prix fixe), and the awesome remodeled back patio, I reeeeally wanted to like my dinner. But…
I’m sad to report my fish burger was almost inedible. Despite the fact that it came with two huge fish fillets, the fish was the funky-fishiest thing I had ever tasted, to the point where I couldn’t eat it. Perhaps I was just spoiled with all of the fresh fish in the Bahamas, but alas, no good. Its one saving grace: a delicious cilantro-mayo spread.
I’ve had the burgers here before, and they are delicious. They’re served with the lot: pineapple, a fried egg, beets, and bacon. I should have played it like my friends and stuck with what I knew.
Will I come back to the Cow? Perhaps. I wasn’t starving so I didn’t get the prix fixe, but on the menu is a Cow Salad (avocado, mango, and pecans with a mango mustard dressing) and a Half Roasted Chicken (with cream corn succotash and potato scallops). All that plus dessert for $16? I must say I’m curious. Also, their all you can drink brunch for $18 is a great time.
I’ll leave you with a few shots of my drink: The Oasis. That’s a little pool of tequila floating on top. Sadly, the taste did not match its awesome looks.
Boca Chica is one of my favorite little finds in the city, although I don’t frequent it as much as I should. Maybe that will change now.
The kitschy cute restaurant serves up some of the best frozen margaritas in the city, specifically the passion fruit flavor. What’s more, each meal starts with a plate of delicious plantain chips and black bean dip—-not just some cheap factory chips and bland runny salsa.
I’ve never been a plantain lover, but after last nite’s chips and dip, in addition to the tostones (fried green plantains with garlic mojo), I might be their new number one fan.
I rang in my 25th year this weekend with a surprise party at Mercadito. Unfortunately I was so shocked with the surprise that I could hardly focus on tasting the food. But it was all beautiful, and the stand-out shrimp and mahi-mahi tacos were incredible. I can’t wait to go back under less excitable conditions!
Appropriately, we finished the meal off with Crumbs cupcakes. (Thanks Fuzz!) Much love to Spencer and my wonderful friends and sisters for making this one of my best and most delicious birthdays ever.
(photo via jessica p)