New York Quickie – Summer Edition

In Food Tripping, NYC by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch16 Comments

When locals flee for the beach, a New York City summer weekend is a great time to try new restaurants and score cheap hotel rooms.

New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

There’s something about a New York City summer weekend, especially on a holiday.

Most Manhattanites flee the city for the Hamptons and the Jersey Shore, turning the normally hectic metropolis into a more laid back town where it’s easy to find affordable Manhattan hotels and book prime-time dinner reservations at popular restaurants. This is why we left Philadelphia, the headquarters for the 4th of July, for a quick weekend getaway.

As many of you may already know, we live in the up-and-coming city of Philadelphia, a mere 90 miles from NYC. The New York Times recently ranked Philly 3rd in its places to go in 2015, the popular Pope Francis will be visiting here in September, and our city will host the Democratic National Convention in 2016. The sounds and sights of construction are everywhere, with future hotels and office buildings dotting the landscape.

Don’t get us wrong. We love our home city. But, after stepping out of our room at the Duane Street Hotel and looking at the buildings rising into the Manhattan sky, we realized how lucky we are to be just a couple hours from NYC. With its endless skyline, dense neighborhoods, cornucopia of entertainment and ubiquitous dining, New York is the epitome of urban life around the world.

Duane Street Hotel is located at 130 Duane Street, New York, NY 10013, United States.

Street musicians light up Bleecker Street in lower Manhattan. You never know what you'll bump into in New York City, even during a holiday weekend. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

Street musicians light up Bleecker Street in lower Manhattan. You never know what you’ll bump into in New York City, even during a holiday weekend.

Travel Tip:  Last-minute travel is easier than ever with applications like Hotel Tonight. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on hotel rooms, even in New York City. Plus, if you use our code (MHIRSCH26) for your first booking, we will both get a $25 credit.

Lunch at Dominique Ansel Kitchen

After breezing up the turnpike through the almost nonexistent mid-weekend holiday traffic, we parked on the street (free and ample street parking is another advantage to New York holiday weekend travel), checked into our cosy Tribeca hotel room and immediately headed to our first stop – the newly opened Dominique Ansel Kitchen.

Some of our readers may recall our previous holiday visit to Dominique Ansel Bakery, a mecca for food-obsessed fans who lined up around the block for the ridiculously popular cronut last year. Since the spring opening of Dominique Ansel Kitchen, Chef Ansel has expanded his culinary portfolio to include savory items like tartines and grilled sandwiches. The cafe, with its small amount of indoor tiered benches and outdoor seating, provides quick service for on-the-go city dwellers as well as for hungry travelers such as ourselves.

Dominique Ansel Kitchen is the master pastry chef's second NYC location. It's a perfect spot for a casual lunch or dessert or both. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

Dominique Ansel Kitchen is the master pastry chef’s second NYC location. It’s a perfect spot for a casual lunch or dessert or both.

No exaggeration here –  Ansell’s croque monsieur is the best that we’ve ever tasted, even in France. Thick, house-made bread provides a platform for savory country ham and funky gruyere cheese. After a visit to the grill, juices from the cheese and meat liquefy the artisan bread slices, creating a melty, oozy wonder. Plus, the cheesy sandwich is more than big enough to share.

The croque monsieur is an epic sandwich, oozing with cheese and loaded with ham. As a bonus, it's perfect to share since saving room for dessert is a must when you dine at Dominique Ansel Kitchen. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

The croque monsieur is an epic sandwich, oozing with cheese and loaded with ham. As a bonus, it’s perfect to share since saving room for dessert is a must when you dine at Dominique Ansel Kitchen.

A visit to DA Kitchen would be incomplete without dessert. We opted for the enormous Extra Fluff Mille Feuille. This dessert proved to be more spectacle than substance – a difficult to eat mess that somehow lacked the delicacy normally found in a great Napoleon. Next time, we will instead share a DKA, Ansell’s take on a Koughin Amann or the 1:1 Lemon Yuzu Butter Tart. Or maybe we’ll try the burrata ice cream.

We really wanted to love the Extra Fluff Mille Feuille at Dominique Ansel Kitchen. It's a beauty to look at, but, sadly, a struggle to eat.

We really wanted to love the Extra Fluff Mille Feuille at Dominique Ansel Kitchen. It’s a beauty to look at, but, sadly, a struggle to eat.

Dominique Ansel Kitchen is located at 137 7th Avenue S, New York, NY 10014, United States.

Dinner at Bâtard

As we exited Bâtard, Daryl couldn’t help but notice the shiny metal duck press stationed by the restaurant’s front door window. “It’s for decoration,” the manager standing at the door stated. But after our sensational meal we couldn’t help but ponder whether this laser skilled kitchen couldn’t put the press to good use.

The gilded gold letters on the window of Bâtard in Tribeca welcome guests with a 'decorative' duck press near the front window. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

The gilded gold letters on the window of Bâtard in Tribeca welcome guests with a ‘decorative’ duck press near the front window.

Restaurateur Drew Nieporent’s Bâtard is classic New York dining at its finest, featuring meticulous dishes created by James Beard winner, Chef Markus Glocker. The cutting edge food at Bâtard manages to maintain a comforting accessibility and affordablilty while showcasing the best flavors of both America and Glocker’s native country of Austria. Situated in a trendy Tribeca spot formerly occupied by Nieporent’s previous restaurants Montrachet and Corton, the restaurant’s relaxed square dining room features monotone relief sculptured walls bathed in a subtle orange light that makes the dining experience feel special.

The serene atmosphere in Tribeca's Bâtard sets the tone and allows the food to be the star. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

The serene atmosphere in Tribeca’s Bâtard sets the tone and allows the food to be the star.

Dinner at Bâtard is a great value for a luxurious New York City dining experience. We shared a total of six courses between the two of us beginning with a thick, tender slice of pastrami spiced octopus and rich fennel tagliatelle dotted with delicate sturgeon caviar.We would be remiss not to mention the rare veal tenderloin wrapped in a butter pastry crust, the simple yet perfect roasted Amish chicken and the coffee and milk “kardinal” signature dessert. We enjoyed the meal with a food friendly Beajolais from Bâtard’s comprehensive, eclectic wine list.

It's impossible to pick a favorite dish at Bâtard. Each dish of our dinner was creatively conceived and impeccably prepared. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

It’s impossible to pick a favorite dish at Bâtard. Each dish of our dinner was creatively conceived and impeccably prepared.

We missed the fireworks, but, with food like this, we didn’t mind. Also, we’ll be there with bells on if the restaurant ever starts using the duck press.

Bâtard is located at 239 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013, United States.

Ground Zero

The pace of construction remaking the once destroyed area at ground zero in Lower Manhattan is daunting. As we looked at the thorny spires of the future entrance to the Path train terminal, we realized that only a world capital like New York could engage in something so ambitious.

Ground Zero is a major construction site and tourist spot in lower Manhattan. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

Ground Zero is a major construction site and tourist spot in lower Manhattan.

Visiting during a holiday weekend afforded us a peek at the moving monument at the site of the original twin towers without throngs of tourists. The moving square black holes, adorned with all the names of  the victims in the September 11 attack, feature walls of water that flow into an abyssful exit at the bottom.

The waterfalls at ground zero are a moving tribute to the victims of 9/11. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

The waterfalls at ground zero are a moving tribute to the victims of 9/11.

Breakfast at Russ & Daughters Cafe

Russ & Daughters has long been a go-to location for the finest sliced lox, but making your own sandwiches can be cumbersome when you’re staying at a hotel.

Niki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper solved this problem when they opened Russ & Daughters Cafe last year in the heart of the Lower East Side neighborhood. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but this is not an issue on a holiday weekend. (Note the theme here.) That being said, a wait isn’t such a bad thing when you can walk around the formerly poor, currently upscale neighborhood while you wait for a text that your table is ready.

Russ & Daughters Cafe is the perfect spot in the lower east side to enjoy traditional food of the diaspora - bagels and lox. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

Russ & Daughters Cafe is the perfect spot in the lower east side to enjoy traditional food of the diaspora – bagels and lox.

We recommend that you commence your meal by sharing a nosh, the Super Heebster Bagel Toast – a toasted bagel slice topped with a generous amount of whitefish and salmon salad and garnished with wasabi-infused roe and horseradish dill. Did we like the crunchy, toasted bagel half with savory smoky mash of fish topped with tiny, spicy pearl of caviar? Yes we did – enough to order a second one in lieu of dessert.

The Super Heebster Bagel Toast is a taste sensation. It was such a great nosh, that we shared a second one for dessert. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

The Super Heebster Bagel Toast is a taste sensation. It was such a great nosh, that we shared a second one for dessert.

We also shared The Classic, a board with Gaspé Nova Scotia smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, onion and capers. This dish brought back fond memories of our youth with lox sliced so thin you could see through it. We also noticed that the bagel boards expand to feed larger crowds of diners as witnessed by the generous board filled with all varieties of smoked delicacies that fed a party of six seated across from us.

The fish boards at Russ & Daughters Cafe are perfect for sharing. We comfortably shared The Classic, but other boards are large enough for larger groups. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

The fish boards at Russ & Daughters Cafe are perfect for sharing. We comfortably shared The Classic, but other boards are large enough for larger groups.

Though still bummed by the closure of the original Ess-A-Bagel shop, we’re encouraged by the opening of Russ & Daughters Cafe  – a great development for bagel and lox lovers such as ourselves.

Russ & Daughters Cafe is located at 127 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002, United States.

Late Lunch at Lolo’s Seafood Shack

For our last meal of the weekend, we headed uptown to Harlem for some lip-smacking Caribbean soul food. Lolo’s Seafood Shack is another new-ish restaurant in Manhattan that is bringing excitement to the dining scene. Helmed by Raymond Mohan and Leticia Young, this restaurant was the perfect place to end our New York City holiday weekend.

The funky, laid back vibe is readily apparent as soon as you enter Harlem's Lolo's Seafood Shack. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

The funky yet laid back vibe is readily apparent as soon as you enter Lolo’s Seafood Shack in Harlem.

Located in a former Chinese take-away restaurant, Lolo’s Seafood Shack looks small on the outside, but the restaurant sports a delightful backyard garden with picnic tables and funky decor. If you squint your eyes, you can almost imagine yourself transported to an island eatery.

Though the interior is cosy, Lolo's Seafood Shack has a spacious backyard with loads of tables. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

Though the interior is cosy, Lolo’s Seafood Shack has a spacious backyard with loads of tables.

At the end of the day, what makes Lolo’s Seafood Shack special is the food. The flavors of the various dishes are spot-on from the fresh seafood pots to the island snacks. Chef Mohan grew up in Guyana, and he brings the tastes of his childhood to New York City. The restaurant serves up a slew of zesty sauces to accompany the food, including a lethally hot sauce made from spicy ghost chili peppers.

Our meal at Lolo's Seafood Shack was full of hits and no misses. We especially enjoyed the jerk ribs and smoked wings. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

Our meal at Lolo’s Seafood Shack was full of hits and no misses. We especially enjoyed the jerk ribs and smoked wings.

There's nothing like Caribbean comfort food after a weekend of foodtripping. New York Quickie - Holiday Edition

There’s nothing like Caribbean comfort food after a weekend of foodtripping.

Lolo’s Seafood Shack is located at 303 W 116th Street, New York, NY 10026, United States.

One weekend. Four new restaurants. One boutique hotel room. Not a lot of money spent. This is our kind of New York City summer weekend!


Comments

  1. Ooh, I love the lox at Russ & Daughters! I’ve just been to their shop, I didn’t realize they have a café too. I’ll have to add it to the long list of places to check out on my next trip to NYC.
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  2. I have never been to New York City, but its on my bucket list to go there. I know that life is so fast paced there, but I would love to see all the sights and taste all the wonderful food! Your pictures are great!

  3. NYC and food are the best combination! There is always a new restaurant to try each time I travel there. The last time I was there I had the most amazing Korean food in Koreatown. I haven’t been to all of the restaurants that you’ve mentioned here, but Russ and daughters has such yummy food.
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  4. Wow it looks like you had a fabulous weekend full of wonderfully delicious food! Visiting new restaurants and trying new foods is one of my favourite parts of traveling! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂

  5. I am new York born and bred, so i really enjoyed your blog post today! I wish I could spend the summer once again in New York City There is always so many places to explore! The only thing missing in New York City today is me! Look forward to what more about New York you would like to share with your readers and me!

  6. All the food you featured made me hungry. I have never been to New York, but I would love to visit and explore it one day. I will make sure to visit these restaurants when I go there.

  7. Oh wow look at that food! Looks so good. I’ve never been to NYC. Would absolutely love to go one day and explore. I’ve heard so much about many different places to explore in NYC but I haven’t heard much about food. This is great!

  8. I love NYC so much! I was just there for work last month and I’m headed there in a few weeks for a quick trip with a friend and our daughters! My next goal is to go with my husband and eat our way through the city, thanks for some great restaurants to add to my list!

  9. I’ll have to come back to your recommendations the next time I head to NYC. This last time, I defaulted to the same restaurant I’d gone to the previous time just b/c I didn’t know where to go and I wanted a great meal- but there are SO many restaurants in NYC, it seems a shame to not have tried something new.
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  10. I was JUST in NY a week or so ago for a Vanity Fair event. We probably bumped into each other and didn’t even notice! LOL I am now starving though and wish I would have visted a few of these places. I have an Ansel cookbook that I mostly bought for the gorgeous pictures! LOL
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  11. What a lovely – and delicious – weekend getaway! Great suggestions, and you found the coolest food! We haven’t gotten to spend much time in the city itself (always passing through on our way somewhere or stuck in a hotel on business), but it is really high on my must do list. Thanks for the ideas!

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