New York City Food Diary - Spring 2018

Monday, June 11, 2018

Plantshed Cafe, NYC, Spring 2018

Oh New York, how I love you! Between the end of April and beginning of May I spent ten wonderful days in New York City. One of my best friends, Clair, lives in Manhattan and she has graciously let me stay with her at her adorable UWS apartment each time I’ve come to visit her. She is literally a quarter block from Central Park, you can’t beat that location! 

This was my fifth time in NYC, third time visiting Clair, and each time I visit I love the city more and more. During my first two trips to NYC I was able to do a lot of the main tourist attractions so each subsequent trip has let me explore parts of the city more in depth. During this trip, most of my time was spent just walking around the city exploring and trying lots of new-to-me restaurants. Get ready for photo overload! I’ve included lists of restaurants/coffee shops/bars I tried during this trip - both the good and bad!

Plantshed Cafe, NYC, Spring 2018

Cafe District at Le District, NYC, Spring 2018

Bluestone Lane, NYC, Spring 2018

Blank Slate Tea, NYC, Spring 2018

La Pain Quidonte Yacht Club in Central Park, NYC, Spring 2018

Union Fare Bakery, NYC, Spring 2018

Maman, NYC, Spring 2018

Coffee Shops / Tea Shops

  • Plantshed: This tiny little coffee shop is inside of a plant/flower shop in the Upper West Side. The first time I went in it was a cold and rainy day and my mood was instantly uplifted at seeing pink peony arrangements at each of the tables. I couldn’t believe it! Such luck that the coffee shop would have my favorite flower as their decor for the day! On my first visit I had a vanilla latte I went back towards the end of my trip and also tried their donuts. The lemon poppy seed donut was delicious! 
  • Cafe District at Le District: The iced vanilla lattes here are my favorite in town! I’d been on a previous trip and I was happy to get to enjoy another latte from Cafe District! 
  • Bluestone Lane: I had breakfast at the UWS 5th avenue location which is on the side of a church. The look of the place is beautiful and the food was fine. I had the brekkie board with avocado toast and yogurt and an iced vanilla latte. The yogurt was delicious, my latte was fine - nothing special, and the avocado toast was disappointing. The avocado toast lacked flavor and the bread was quite hard. 
  • Blank Slate Tea: This is the cutest little tea shop I’ve been too! The interior is bright with pink walls, pink seating, and floral wallpaper, so naturally I fell in love with the place as soon as I set eyes on it. I ordered the Rose Latte and a Blueberry Lavender Waffle and both were delicious! 
  • La Pain Quidonte Yacht Club in Central Park: While on my run through Central Park I spotted this place by Conservatory Water. Once I was done running it was the perfect spot to pick up a post run latte. My latte was good enough but nothing too exciting. I saw they also offered a variety of food but didn’t try any. 
  • Union Fare Bakery: Union Fare Bakery is only one of the options in the Union Fare Gastrohall. I stopped in one morning and got an iced dulce de leche drink, it was ok, and a fruity pebbles croissant which was amazing! The citrus creme in the croissant was so good! 
  • Maman: Maman had been on my list because I wanted to try their Matcha Lattes. I ordered my Matcha Latte iced and while it tasted ok it wasn’t for me. None of us particularly liked our drinks much. It was a cute looking place though and I’m sure we would have found something else we’d like if we weren't just picking up drinks to go.

Old Rose, NYC, Spring 2018

Xi'an Famous Foods, NYC, Spring 2018

Maison Pickle, NYC, Spring 2018

Street Taco, NYC, Spring 2018


  • Bustan (Mediterranean): Clair and I went here for dinner the evening that I arrived. We ordered the grilled cauliflower which was way tastier than I thought it would be and the Lamb Terra-cotta which was just perfect. 
  • Souvlaki GR (Greek): I was really hoping to get a photo of the outside of this restaurant because it looks like something you’d see in Greece, but the evening we went there was construction that obstructed the view. This place was small and every single table was filled. Luckily we’d made reservations and didn’t have to wait for a table. We ordered a salad and the mixed grilled platter for two and were so happy with how everything tasted. 
  • Old Rose (Italian): Gosh what a pretty restaurant! I was enamored with the black and white checkered floors, marble table tops, modern light fixtures, and overall airy feel to the space. We shared a pitcher of Italian margaritas, the vodka pizza, and eggs benedict and were happy with our selections. Watch out for those Italian margaritas though they are definitely strong! 
  • The Real Kung Fu Steamed Buns Ramen: This place was so good we went twice during this trip! We shared the beef noodles, beef scallion pancakes, and steamed buns. It is a very casual place with tasty and inexpensive food.
  • Xi’an Famous Foods (Chinese): We went to the UWS location, this place is very casual and just has counter space for you to sit at. It is more of a takeout spot but Clair and I sat at the counter and ate our food. We were both excited to try it because they served several dishes that we’d had when we visited China back in 2010. One of those dishes was the Chinese burger and it did not disappoint! We shared the Chinese Burger, noodles, and a salad. While the portion sizes were pretty good we were both left hungry at the end so we decided to go grab dessert at a different place. 
  • Maison Pickle (Comfort food): After our dinner at Xi’an Famous Foods we decided to treat ourselves to a cocktail and desert at Maison Pickle. We laughed at ourselves because we had a very casual dinner and ended up at a much fancier place for dessert. We each ordered a cocktail and enjoyed them, unfortunately I don’t remember what they were, and we ordered the 24 layer chocolate cake. OMG the cake was so good and that is coming from someone who is not a cake person. The cake was rich and moist and was way more than enough for two girls to share. We ended up with half the slice in a to go box and ate the rest the next day. 
  • Aangan (Indian): We had dinner here one night when we were really tired and while we didn’t have to wait for a table we did wait a while for our food. I love Indian food and this place was fine. We shared two different dishes: Lamb Vindaloo and Murgh Xcutti. The Murgh Xcutti was tasty but the lamb vindaloo was a let down. I order lamb vindaloo because I love spicy food and this vindaloo had no spice at all. Over all I wouldn’t go back to this place. 
  • Tenzen 89 (Sushi): We were in the UES for a talk given by Iris Apfel and didn’t know what to eat for dinner so we popped into this place. We shared a couple of rolls of sushi and while we both liked one of the rolls we didn’t like the others. There are way better places for sushi just skip this place. 
  • Veselka (Ukranian): I’d never had Ukranian food before going to Veselka. Luckily Clair had been before and ordered for us. I tried the cold borscht, a blintze, and the meat plate. Everything was delicious! 
  • Street Taco (Tacos): We made reservations here during happy hour. I loved each of the margaritas I tried especially the watermelon one. We had chips and salsa, guacamole, Mexican corn, and a quesadilla. We enjoyed everything we ate and enjoyed the lively atmosphere as well. 
  • Boqueria (Spanish Tapas): I love Boqueria! I’d gone for dinner on a previous trip and went for brunch this time around. We chose to do the boozy brunch that included unlimited sangria and mimosas for two hours, choice of four tapas, choice of two brunch dishes or paella, and churros. I have yet to try something I didn’t like at Boqueria and will surely be going back for more yummy food! 
  • Rosa Mexicano (Mexican): We made reservations for dinner on cinco de mayo and were happy with the lively atmosphere. We ordered table side guacamole which was delicious and a pitcher of margaritas. Honestly the margaritas were not good. We ended up leaving a third of the pitcher on the table and that is unlike us. We shared a couple of different entrees but the best one was definitely the carnitas. Being from Texas I have had great Mexican food and while Rosa Mexicano was not amazing it was a decent meal.
Los Tacos No. 1 at Chelsea Market, NYC, Spring 2018

Food at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, NYC, Spring 2018

Food Markets

  • Chelsea Market 
    • Los Tacos No. 1: These are my absolute favorite tacos in the city! Every time I’ve gone (3 times now!) I have waited in the line and it never takes too long. On this trip I tried the Especial for the first time and OMG I was missing out! The regular tacos are amazing but the especial is just beyond words! So good! 
    • Manhattan Fruit Market: I picked up some dried kiwi and a watermelon lemonade to snack on and was happy with both! 
  • Smorgasburg in Williamsburg 
    • Raclette: Yummy! You can’t go wrong with a baguette filled with cheese. Clair and I split a sandwich from Raclette but I honestly could have eaten the entire thing on my own. 
    • Zia Green Chili Co: I didn’t try any of the food but the prickly pear cactus lemonade I had was delicious! 
    • The Base: These naturally sweet beverages were not only pretty but delicious! 
    • Thai Bird: We ordered the Thai chicken and pineapple in a half pineapple. It was really pretty and perfect for pictures but the food itself was just ok. 
  • Urbanspace at Vanderbilt
    • Roberta’s Pizza: I went during the week during lunch time and this food hall was busy! I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly my pizza came out after I ordered it. I got the Margherita Pizza and it was delicious!
    • Dough: I had the blood orange donut and while it was good there was just way too much donut compared to the flavored icing. I would have liked the donut itself to have had a flavor. I much prefer the cinnamon sugar donut that I’ve had from them before. 
Milk Bar, NYC, Spring 2018

Flour Shop, NYC, Spring 2018

Four Shop, NYC, Spring 2018

Milk and Cream Cereal Bar, NYC, Spring 2018

Taiyaki, NYC, Spring 2018

Dō, Cookie Dough Confections, NYC, Spring 2018

Tipsy Scoop, NYC, Spring 2018

Levain Bakery, NYC, Spring 2018


  • Milk Bar: Honestly the soft serve is fine but not my favorite. The crack pie and blueberry cream cookies however are so so good! I would really recommend trying their baked goods. 
  • Magnolia Bakery: I have been all about blueberries lately so I had the blueberry jamboree at Magnolia Bakery. It was a delicious dessert! 
  • Flour Shop: Flour shop is known for their colorful cakes that are full of candy but since those have to be special ordered we decided to get their rainbow cake push pops. The shop itself is instaworthy and the cake push pop was a yummy treat. 
  • Milk and Cream Cereal Bar: I loved the cereal flavored ice cream at this shop! Not only do you get to pick which cereal you would like for the ice cream, you also get to pick the toppings, and the flavored cone.
  • Taiyaki: We had the unicorn ice cream in a fish cone. Not only was our dessert super cute and photogenic, it tasted good too! 
  • Dō, Cookie Dough Confections: This was my least favorite dessert spot. I didn’t grow up eating cookie dough so it’s not something I crave. We shared a small serving and it was rich and way more than we could finish. I honestly would have preferred a cookie over the dough. 
  • Big Gay Ice Cream Shop: It was a 90 degree day in the city and I knew an ice cream break was in order so I stopped in and ordered the “Dorothy” from Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. I enjoyed the flavor of the soft serve with the dulce the leche and vanilla wafter toppings. 
  • Tipsy Scoop: You must be 21 to enjoy this ice cream shop because all of their flavors are infused with alcohol. We stopped in on Cinco de mayo for their Patron Mango Margarita ice cream and even though the serving looked enormous we had no problems finishing it! 
  • Levain Bakery: Best cookies ever! OMG! I am so sad that I only tried this on my last day in the city because I honestly would have gone back for more if I’d known how amazing these cookies were! I picked up three flavors so that Clair and I could have a taste of each. One whole cookie is more than enough- the cookies are big, rich, and delicious.
UES Speakeasy, NYC, Spring 2018

UES Speakeasy, NYC, Spring 2018

UES Speakeasy, NYC, Spring 2018

While We Were Young, NYC, Spring 2018


  • UES: I love this speakeasy! Street front it is functioning ice cream shop but when you find the secret switch it will open a door into the “storage room” which is a cozy speakeasy. I loved the creativity of the drink menu and can’t wait to go back and try more of their cocktails.
  • While We Were Young: I stopped for a drink on a very hot day in the city. I had the “one night stand” which was watermelon flavored and I literally could have stayed there all afternoon enjoying my refreshing drink! The place is small and super instagram worthy.

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