I feel like I’m constantly introducing myself as a fashion, travel and all-the-things blogger, but back in the day things were a lot simpler. I’d share wishlists, badly composed photos taken by my bedroom door and musings about the 500 posts I would go through on Google Reader. Food only really came into it a few years in and it wasn’t just to get the free meals, oh no. When I moved to New York, it seemed natural to write about what I was getting up to every weekend, discovering things like brunch, bahn mi and buffalo wings.
Of course I was itching to create a ‘guide’ during my recent trip, but it can seem overwhelming and like there’s more Instagram-friendly restaurants than people. Still, I wanted to feature a mix that reflect the breadth of cuisines and offer something a little different to your typical burger (though I did end up having an emergency Shake Shack, because hangry).
Here’s a place I picked out purely for the gram potential, without really looking at the menu. Cafe Henrie is super hip and healthy, think Deliciously Ella with a Wes Anderson makeover and a distinct lack of chips. Oh well. It’s the kind of food I’d like to cook more of but wouldn’t necessarily order when I go out. I was impressed with my chicken and beetroot bowl (though I would have liked a little more) and it’s great place to know about if you’re vegetarian. I definitely wouldn’t say no if they brought out a cookbook, though I’d probably double the quantities.
A review of Maison Pickle was the reason for my first Upper West Side experience and we had a quick look at the grand houses near Riverside Drive, before heading to dinner. The thing to try here are the French Dip sandwiches, consisting of crunchy bread, hot filling and jus from the cooking process. It’s the best kind of comfort food and there’s a slightly Vietnamese pork belly variation (which I was gutted not to be able to finish).
A special mention also has to go to the chips, known as the duck fat gaufrettes, which were a bit like warm McCoys covered in cheese (excuse my lack of foodie terms, but I have fond memories of these crisps as a child). I think I may also be finally converted to cheesy chips? The brunch also sounds amazing and it’s a chilled alternative to some of the more hectic areas. Walk it off with a visit to Central Park a few blocks away!
It can be tricky to get decent Mexican food in London, so I was determined to get my tomatillo fix in The Big Apple. Imagine if Austin Powers did Mexican fusion and you’d probably end up with Tijuana Picnic. It’s located in the oh-so-trendy Lower East Side and combines Mexican classics with an Asian twist (you need to try the crispy duck wings and ceviche). I’m easily pleased though and couldn’t get enough of the tortilla chips they make from scratch and the guacamole with charred corn (this is why the bowl was practically empty in the photo). Main dishes are perfect for sharing and the margaritas are lethal, probably best to plan your visit around happy hour.
We were guests of Tijuana Picnic
OK I’m cheating slightly since this is an ice-cream place, but we ordered so much it was practically a meal. It’s always nice to discover somewhere spontaneously and originally I’d planned to visit some of the places in Carrie’s guide, until the cheerful interior of La Newyorkina tempted us in. I wasn’t too familiar with the sweeter aspects of Mexican cuisine, so this is a great place to acquaint yourself with paletas (traditional ice lollies made from fresh fruit), chipotle hot fudge and ice creams that have a bit of a kick. Definitely one to visit if you don’t mind getting a little experimental with your flavours, I had a spicy mango topping on my ice-cream which was everything.
The Butcher’s Daughter
More healthy-ish grub! The name may have you believe that this place will be a meat-fest, but The Butcher’s Daughter is actually plant-based, super photogenic and often packed (we spotted a Kim K lookalike behind us). The concept is that they ‘slaughter’ vegetables and are 100% vegetarian, but not in a super sensible way. There’s juices to combat hangovers, pretty acai bowls and animal latte art that you won’t want to ruin. The decor is like stepping into a real-life Pinterest board and founder Heather Tierney’s own home is just as dreamy.
We were guests of The Butcher’s Daughter
Very Fresh Noodles
I have no pictures of this meal, as it was another hangry Kristabel situation, but this is a great option if you’re craving noodles in the Chelsea area. After trying Xi’an Impression in London, I was vaguely familiar with the chewier, hand-pulled sort found at Very Fresh Noodles and but things seemed a lot more fragrant with the addition of spring onions and coriander. It’s a hearty, filling meal and there’s a vegan option too.
If you’re looking for any other foodie inspo, I’d recommend following Infatuation NYC and going on a saving spree. Some places may require booking and my trick is to go for the brunches if you don’t want to spend too much.