As much as I enjoy brunch on the weekends, I love food crawls more. Tom, G, and I managed to visit 9 different places on our food crawl though we were aiming for 11. We just did not have enough stomach space even though we walked 40+ blocks.
Best of the Best:
Vanilla Bean filled & Blackberry Jam Filled Doughnut from The Doughnut Plant – Doughnut perfection. I can never eat Krispy Kreme or Dunkin ever again.
Carne Asada (grilled steak) from Los Tacos No. 1 – Taco nirvana. This is the real deal. High-end, mid-priced, hole in the walls, street carts, I have never had a carne asada that tasted so good and so fresh.
Clam Chowder from Lobster Place – 3rd best clam chowder I have ever had.
Here is the complete list of what Tom, G, and I ate from noon – 5pm:
Lobster Place Seafood Market (Chelsea Market) – We had the clam chowder, bacon & scallop chowder, slider sampler (lobster, shrimp, crab). The only thing that I would come back for is the clam chowder. The bacon & scallop chowder tasted mostly of bacon which is not my thing but might be yours. The slider sampler…it is hard to mess up fresh lobster, shrimp, crab. There were lots of people eating steamed lobsters but I can never bring myself to pay $30+ for a 2lb steamed lobster when live lobsters are $5 a pound at Chinese supermarkets. Besides, Tom had it at the Lobster Place before and said it was just okay. Again it is hard to mess up fresh lobster.
Num Pang Sandwich Shop (Chelsea Market) – We tried the coconut tiger shrimp which was okay but nothing special. It was basically 4 medium sized boiled shrimps sprinkled with coconut flakes, 2 slices of cucumber, a bunch of pickled carrots which lacked tartness, sprigs of cilantro, lots of chili mayo, on a 6-7 inch baguette. Granted the ingredients were fresh, but I don’t understand the hype over this sandwich. I prefer Bánh mì’s a lot more. At slightly under $12 for a small take-away sandwich, I also found it lacking in value. Especially since I would need 2 to fill me up. And really only 4 medium sized shrimps per sandwich? When I make shrimp sandwiches, I budget at least 10 usually 12 tiger shrimps per sandwich. Otherwise I would have to listen to G complain about the filling to bun ratio.
Amy’s Bread (Chelsea Market) – I have always enjoyed the baguettes at Amy’s. Went well with the clam chowder as I don’t care for oyster crackers.
Los Tacos No.1 (Chelsea Market) – We tried the Carne Asada (grilled steak) taco and Adobada (marinated pork) quesadilla. I loved their grilled steak taco. It was fresh, delicious, and on a different wavelength than Chipotle’s (which I like but don’t find authentic). The marinated pork had too many different flavors competing for supremacy. My only request for Los Tacos is to add a fried fish taco and a shrimp taco to their menu.
Blue Bottle (Chelsea) – Tom really wanted to try Siphon coffee so we headed to the second floor where there is a dedicated brewer at the coffee bar. It was cool and unique experience but if I wanted my coffee to taste like tea, I would just drink tea. The Kenyan blend tasted extremely similar to dandelion tea, same color as well. Note: people who order coffee at the coffee bar drink it black, ordering milk or adding sugar seems to be frowned upon here.
The Doughnut Plant (Chelsea) – So many choices but we settled on their signature Creme Brûlée, Coconut Cream, and the amazing Vanilla Bean & Blackberry Jam. Everything was delicious but the Vanilla Bean & Blackberry Jam won my heart. The cappuccino here is also very good, much better than Starbucks.
Food Gallery 32 (Midtown West, Korea Town) – I was really craving kimbap so we came here so that I can get my fix. The kimbap was decent but Queens has much better kimbap spots such as Nolbu.
Pinkberry (Midtown West, Korea Town) – I loved pinkberry since the start of the yogurt craze and have never found another yogurt shop quite as good. I love the tartness of pinkberry and the fact that they do not use artificial sweeteners. I can’t help but think how stupid I was previously for only ordering their yogurt in cups and with lots of toppings when it tastes so much better in a waffle cone. Face palm.
Lady M Cake Boutique (Midtown West) – G has always been a fan of Lady M’s green tea crepe cake. I like it but don’t love it. And I prefer the original over the green tea because I find the green tea to be too powdery. At $7.50-$8, it’s pricy for a small slice. I don’t think it’s worth it, but G does as he loves it. Oh and be prepared to wait an hour in line if you want to eat in. We didn’t so we took it to go. I like their their Upper West Side branch better as it’s less crowded. Ippudo and Gyu Kaku and several other Japanese restaurants serves Lady M’s crepe cakes but I find it to be less fresh than Lady M branches.