Two Meet Ups in NYC: Baah Ben, then the Travelin' Man & Wandering Jew (with pics!)
FRIDAY MAY 1ST-
I met up with Baah Ben
once again not long after our Chinatown excursion and we made our way to the Doughnut Plant
on Grand Street in the Lower east Side of Manhattan for some sweet, fried breakfast treats. Outside the Plant.
The chalkboard menu is out there everyday (except Mondays-they're closed)
I've tried every single doughnut shown here and I wholeheartedly approve of each one!
Baah Ben had the Peanut Butter glazed yeast doughnut with Strawberry Jelly. He said he is more of a cake doughnut fan, but he really enjoyed this.
My Blackout doughnut. A dark chocolate cake doughnut filled with chocolate pudding and topped with chocolate cake crumbs (very reminiscent of the ones on top of the Entemann's Blackout Cake. One of my favorite ones here. Baah Ben wasn't going to try it, but I convinced him to take a piece and he really liked it. It's not a traditional doughnut in the sense that it doesn't have the crisp exterior that most folks are accustomed to. Very rich and decadent!
A shot from last year of the Blackout doughnut interior. Roll that beautiful pudding footage!
My Strawberry glazed yeast doughnut. One of my new addictions. There are pieces of strawberry in the glaze and the fresh strawberry flavor really pops. The DP's strengths really lie in the fillings and glazes. I highly recommend a trip here if you are in NYC!
The Butterfly Roll and Cinnamon Bun on the bottom shelf. I have tried the bun at a local coffee shop that carries DP's goods and I wasn't crazy about it. I thought it was a bit too chewy for my liking. I'm not sure, though, how much of that was influenced having bought it at an offsite location. The least amount of time from the fryer to my mouth (get it at the source!) is the best way to go, IMHO. The counter girl said the Butterfly Roll was savory, not sweet, somewhat like a pretzel roll. Maybe on my next visit...
The Churros. These are wicked good and light years ahead of the ones you might see people selling from grocery carts on the street at events or at the beach. But to be honest, that is not exactly a Herculean task, by any means. These are hot, fresh and melt in your mouth, with a crisp exterior/creamy interior and coated in a haze of cinnamon sugar!
After our doughnuts, Baah Ben and I parted ways as he was meeting a friend for pizza at Patsy's. I had some errands to run in the area, so I popped in to the Essex Street Market to see if I could find Shopsin's
as I had heard he makes Green Chile Cheeseburger sliders. I wasn't able to locate his place, but I did also go to stop in at Roni-Sue Chocolates
to try some of their Pig Candy I had been hearing about lately. Outside the Roni-Sue stall.
My bag of Pig Candy.
And a description.
Milk Chocolate Pig Candy. This is Roni-Sue's signature candy.
Dark Chocolate Pig Candy. I brought it home to share with my girlfriend and our friends, Doug and Marisa. We all liked it, but had a preference for the dark chocolate version. The milk chocolate didn't stand up to the assertive bacon, but the dark chocolate held its ground nicely. Smoky, salty, and sweet, pairing bacon with sweets seems to be the food "it girl" this year, but this rendition is pretty good.
A display for the Down The Hatch buttercrunch.
Down The Hatch buttercrunch.
And the cross section. This is a buttercrunch topped with (I think) sea salt and it has dried Hatch, New Mexico green chiles inside. they get them from Shopsin's and dehydrate them before adding to the mix. When I first ate it I thought, "What? I don't taste any chiles in here!" Then the flavor came, THEN the heat slapped me about the mouth. Salty, sweet, buttery, crunchy, smoky and spicy. This was aces in my book! I chatted for a while with the very sweet girl, Liz, who worked there and she really gave me an education on working in the chocolate business! She was really helpful too in telling me about most of their candies with a genuineness that was refreshing. This is a great stall to check out and it is right inside the Essex Market which is a neat place to shop in itself. SUNDAY MAY 3RD
-I had exchanged a few phone calls with The Travelin' Man, who was coming into NYC for a bit. We weren't sure where to meet up, but when I told him I had never had a pastrami sandwich at Katz's Delicatessen on the corner of Ludlow and Houston Streets in the Lower east Side of NYC, despite having lived here almost 6 years, he said that bordered on being criminal! I met up with TTM and wanderingjew for my first Katz's pastrami experience!! Outside Katz's.
And the Famous sign on the corner. A beacon for amazing comfort food!
The counterman slicing the pastrami. TTM walked up to the counter with me as I was a virgin in terms of ordering here. I knew of the process but knew nothing about how it actually worked. WJ held our table until we returned. I voiced some concern about getting the most (fatty) pastrami as I'm not a being fan of a lot of fat (or gristle) in my meat after the cooking process. TTM suggested that I ask the counterman for a sample. Luckily, he was there for me or I would have made a rookie mistake and ordered the lean. I stepped up, although there really is no formal line, just go to whichever guy is available (as long as he is the one making sandwiches) and asked for a sample of the moist pastrami. Drinks and sides are another set of lines altogether. Before I even took the dollar from my pocket to tip him, he had set up a small plate upon which he gave us generous slices of pastrami, corned beef and brisket to try. I'm liking this place already. I wasn't a huge fan of the corned beef (but, I was never a fan to begin with and let's face it, pastrami, after all, is the most sensual of all the cured meats!), the brisket was very god, but that pastrami with those spicy blackened edges won me over immediately!
My pastrami sandwich on rye with mustard. Look at the pride he takes in his work!
TTM ordered a corned beef sandwich and here is our guy, hard at work slicing.
TTM's corned beef sandwich on rye.
Our tray of sandwiches, french fries and pickles.
Our plate of sours and half sours. TTM loved the half sours, but I found them to be too much like cucumbers. I was really digging the sours and they provided a sharp contrast to the rich meat.
I love all of the signs and pictures on the wall in here.
A close-up of my pastrami sandwich.
The french fries. I'm pretty picky about my fries and these ones were great. Honestly, I'm not sure if these are fresh cut or not (I'm leaning towards not), but they had a great potato flavor and struck a nice balance of crispy exterior an creamy interior.
When I saw this huge jug of Fox's U-Bet Chocolate syrup, I just HAD to make an Egg Cream as my beverage of choice!
Unfortunately, this one fell short in a few ways. I think serving it in a glass is very important as it showcases the separation between the chocolate drink and the white foam (aka the "cream") on top. The guy who prepared this didn't mix it properly and as a result there was no white head on it, which is a hallmark of a well-made egg cream. And lastly, egg creams consist of only three ingredients: ice cold milk, Fox's U-Bet Chocolate syrup and seltzer water, so it's all about balance. This one was somewhat heavy-handed with the syrup so the fizziness of the water was lost in the shuffle and it made the drink too sweet.
My Chocolate Egg Cream
Billyboy and pastrami bliss. I'm not sure if I ever fully let go of this sandwich the whole time we were there!
Some Katz's postcards. Steve and Dale, I can't think of two guys with whom I'd rather have my first Katz's pastrami!!
After our savory sojourn to Katz's, we were looking for something sweet to eat, naturally, I led the guys to one of my favorite neighborhood cupcake shops (surprised?), sugar Sweet sunshine
. We met up with this very sweet doggie who was just a bit distracted by the prospect of dropped food coming her way, but she accepted my scratches and rubs nonetheless.
There is a really great vibe to this place and the walls are adorned with pictures of locals...
...as well as many of the locals of the canine persuasion. Any place that welcome dogs is alright with me! This is one of the most welcoming places I know of in the city and it just feels like a great place to relax an hang out.
Working the counter.
WJ's Peanut Butter Icebox Pie
My Peanut Butter Icebox Pie fell apart somewhat, but it was still amazing. Great peanut butter flavor and a graham cracker crust. WJ almost didn't finish his slice but I warned him that somewhere, somehow, buffetbuster
(much like Obi-Wan Kenobi) would sense a great disturbance in the Force. So he polished it off!
A shot of three very happy, well-fed guys! The 411 Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street (btw. Essex & Norfolk Streets)
New York, NY 10002
Ph # 212-505-3700 (closed Mondays)
Website:   http://www.doughnutplant.com/ Roni-Sue Chocolates
#11/12 Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street @ Delancey
New York, NY 10002
Ph # 212-260-0421
Website: http://www.roni-sue.com/ Katz's Delicatessen
205 East Houston Street (@ Ludlow Street)
New York, NY 10002
Ph # 212-254-2246
Website:   http://www.katzdeli.com/ sugar Sweet sunshine
126 Rivington Street (btw. Essex & Norfolk Streets)
New York, NY 10002
Ph # 212-995-1960
post edited by billyboy - 2009/05/31 15:00:37