Review

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC – Where to Eat in NYC Part 2

Welcome to part two of my ultimate foodie weekend in New York City! If you missed part one, check it out here.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Eataly

Say hello to this plate of homemade ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach basking in lemon butter with some chopped pistachios and freshly grated Parmesan. This dish from La Pizza & La Pasta at NYC’s original Eataly location was tender, well-balanced and so delicious. As a testament to how good this homemade ravioli was I finished before Matt, which says a lot since he’s usually done after I’m only four bites into my meal. The pastas on the menu are divided into two sections – dried pasta from Italy and homemade pastas made right there in the Eataly kitchen.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pictured here is Nick’s ring shaped pasta with shrimp, mussels and scallops with a tomato, white wine, garlic and chili flake sauce. I didn’t get photos of Matt’s homemade meat-filled agnolotti served in a beef reduction or Sarah’s spaghetti cacio e pepe, which is a black pepper, Parmesan, Pecorino Romano and butter sauce, but I tried them both and they were excellent. Everything we had was a standout dish and our plates were definitely wiped clean at the end of the meal. We were there on a Sunday and as it slowly tipped into lunchtime around noon La Pizza & La Pasta got packed so try to sit a little earlier to avoid the lunch crowds.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Eataly is self-described as the “largest Italian marketplace in the world.” Eataly establishments can be found locally in New York City, Boston, and Chicago, internationally in cities ranging from Seoul to Istanbul and in seemingly every large city in Italy. Currently, an Eataly project is in the works in Los Angeles as well. The Eataly in the Prudential Center in Boston opened this winter and Matt and I have already been a couple times! We also visited and ate dinner at the Eataly in Rome in 2015 on our honeymoon, but although it was excellent, it was on a much smaller scale than the Eataly pictured here.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Look at all this amazing fresh pasta! Also, check out those whole black truffles on the bottom left of this picture!

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Although fresh pasta is where it’s at, the rows and rows of dried pasta let me know I was in pure heaven. The marketplace is loaded with olive oils, fresh produce, meats, cheeses and every product you can think of to turn your kitchen into an Italian casa. The NYC Flatiron Eataly also has a great selection of microbrews, but they take it one step further. La Birreria, the all-season rooftop bar and restaurant that hosts different pop-up restaurants every season is actually a microbrewery! Don’t let the weather scare you away- La Birreria is equipped with a retractable roof and heaters.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

The marketplace has fresh seafood counters…

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

…cool signs…

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

…and even wild New Zealand cockles!

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

There’s several other sit-down restaurants similar to La Pizza & La Pasta and each one has a menu centered around a type of food, whether that is seafood or charcuterie. Several counter service spots are sprinkled throughout the marketplace dishing up sandwiches, pizza and espresso. Nutella-heaven, aka the Nutella Bar, aka a cafe where everything has Nutella, is part of Eataly with its own separate entrance on Fifth Avenue as well. Their motto is Nutella goes with everything – preach!

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Oh, did I forget to mention these amazing chocolate treats that were sold by the pound and I wanted all the pounds of them?

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Of course it wouldn’t be an Italian marketplace without gelato! I didn’t have a chance to taste any as we were on our way to our next NYC foodie spot, but I will definitely be back.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Dough

Next on the list was Nick’s favorite NYC doughnut shop – Dough! They have a unique signature flavor selection, as well as plenty of rotating flavors. Dough boasts about each of their doughnuts having their own distinct personality and just from the flavor descriptions you can tell they mean it. I’m looking at you, matcha sugar, lemon meringue and gin & tonic! Their doughnuts are made in small batches throughout the day so feel free to sleep in and still get fresh doughnuts. Or order as an after-lunch dessert, or an afternoon pick-me-up, or a pre-dinner snack, or a post-dinner dessert… you get the idea.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

This here is the toasted coconut doughnut and the lemon poppy doughnut. We decided to start basic and we were all deep in pasta comas to think about ordering more than two of these bad boys. If you haven’t been able to tell from the pictures, the Dough doughnuts are enormous! For scale reference, those are appetizer-sized paper plates. Dough also has a couple limited quantity items in addition to their yeast doughnuts- cake doughnuts and doughkas. Doughkas are their version of a doughnut-Babka hybrid; I am so crushed that I didn’t know this and order ahead so I could try one. If you’ve never had chocolate Babka, run, don’t even think about walking, to your favorite Jewish or Eastern European bakery (or even Trader Joe’s!) and buy one. Then eat it, of course. In a nutshell, it’s a yeast dough that’s twisted or swirled with cinnamon sugar and/or chocolate and somehow manages to be light, dense, sticky and chocolately all at once. Dough’s version uses their signature fluffy doughnut dough and they recommend calling one day ahead to reserve your order.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Both flavors were delicious, but what really stood out to me was the texture of the yeast doughnuts. Very slightly crispy on the outside while incredibly light and chewy on the inside. Their expanded interiors give way to lots of little air pockets that provide that delicate quality. It’s amazing that two yeast doughnuts can have such different textures since Doughnut Plant and Dough were both completely unique in their own delicious ways. I know Nick has his favorite, but I really can’t discern a winner until I have time to conduct more taste-testing of course.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Mad. Sq. Eats

Welcome to Mad. Sq. Eats! This bi-annual food gathering brings together the best dishes from New York City’s most delicious and trendy restaurants and food shops right in the center of the Flatiron District outside Madison Square Park. The vendors rotate every season and can be scoped out on the event website. Currently they are operating on a spring and fall schedule.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

See those sandwiches in the back of this picture? Pulled pork sliders with doughnut buns from Jicama California Street Food. Yes, you read that correctly. Be prepared to find a smorgasbord of food trends, whether or not you’re adventurous enough to try them. All the food vendors at Mad. Sq. Eats display their food so it’s like browsing a restaurant’s Instagram feed before placing your order.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

There was even a vendor serving up fruity sangria when we were there! Definitely take your time to walk around before hopping into a line so you don’t have serious FOMO – fear of missing out 😉 – when you’re super stuffed and spot something way at the end that you really want to try. The table space was tight, especially if you’re there with a group. If you’re unable to find a spot to sit fortunately Mad. Sq. Eats is right across from Madison Square Park, which has benches sprinkled throughout and is the perfect spot to munch your food finds.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

I can’t remember which food vendor these spring rolls were from because there were a whole bunch offering them, but they were really good! Mad. Sq. Eats prides themselves on sourcing together the city’s best restaurants and top trending food spots so you can bet that everything is going to be top notch.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Ice & Vice

Now that is a sexy ice cream drip. This is a scoop of Shade ice cream – smoked dark chocolate with caramelized white chocolate ganache – from Ice & Vice in a birthday cake cone from The Konery. Ice & Vice is a self-described “experimental ice cream shop” and can be found in the Lower East Side as well as occasional kiosks and pop-ups throughout the city. Their flavors range from slightly adventurous, like the Shade flavor I had, to crazy interesting, like Opium Den – white sesame and toasted poppy seed with lemon bread crouton. One of Ice & Vice’s signature creations is the Detention Ice Cream Pie – malted vanilla ice cream with a marshmallow Fruity Pebbles crust and Fruity Pebble dust. Ask for your ice cream cone order to be topped with a slice of the ice cream pie for some serious #foodporn.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Rein’s Deli

Matt and I were barely halfway home and we were already missing all the outrageous NYC foodie finds. As one last hurrah, we turned into Rein’s Deli in Vernon, Connecticut for a perfect pastrami sandwich. Rein’s is an authentic New York style Jewish deli that has been open since 1972. The first time we ate at Rein’s the waitress recommended we get the pastrami on a buttered, pressed roll with melted cheese. It may not be traditional, but it is damn tasty.

I hope you get a chance to check out some of these epic New York City foodie spots! Make sure to comment and let me know what some of your favorites are – I would love to add them to my food bucket list!

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC – Where to Eat in NYC Part 1

Last fall Matt and I ventured to New York City to visit my cousin, Sarah, my brother-in-law, Nick, and of course TO EAT ALL THE FOOD. New York City has so many over-the-top food creations and I was dying to check some off my enormous bucket list. I’m not sure what it says about me that my food bucket list is bigger than my actual bucket list… I’m going to go with it means I need to eat more!

Of course there is so much more to explore in the NYC food scene that this is just the tip of the iceberg, but read on for NYC’s must try food trends, restaurants and outrageous sweet treats.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Black Tap NYC

Calling all chocolate lovers! This right here is the Brooklyn Blackout Shake from Black Tap NYC! The milkshake glass has a thick rim of mini chocolate chips nestled into chocolate frosting topped with a chocolate chip brownie, whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle. Black Tap has eight different milkshake flavors and you can substitute any flavor you want to accompany the crazy milkshake topping.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Woah! Yes, my friends, this is a milkshake. Say hello to the Cotton Candy Shake: strawberry milkshake, rock candy, whipped cream, cotton candy and rimmed with colorful chocolate pearls pressed into vanilla frosting. And a lollipop. Obvi. The actual milkshake glass is normal-sized so if you were hungry and just coming for the shakes you could definitely down the whole thing yourself. It will set you back $15 though!

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

The Cookie Shake! At the recommendation of our waiter we combined the Cookie Shake with the Nutella shake flavor. It’s hard to see with all the melting, but cookie crumb coated vanilla frosting make up the rim followed crumbled cookies, chocolate chips, whipped cream and chocolate drizzle. Oh, and an entire cookiewich. Did I forget that part? The melting seen here is what we call the non-sexy ice cream drip, but we love it all the same (for sexy version see here). Also, if it’s 90 degrees outside with little to no air conditioning in the restaurant and you order a crazy milkshake expect the whole top to fall off within 1 minute 24 seconds. Good thing Matt was there to catch it like a softball and plop it back on top so I could take this photo!

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Black Tap has monstrous burgers, fries, onion rings and salads if you’re into that sort of thing. Pictured here is a bison burger with fresh mozzarella, pesto mayo, shaved Parmesan and arugula on a potato bun because potato buns are the best buns. I would advise against getting a burger by yourself and following it with a milkshake by yourself unless you have prepped Joey Chestnut style. The general consensus on Black Tap NYC was that all the food was really good, but not the best burgers and milkshakes we’ve ever had. But we all agreed it was well worth it for the experience (and the Instagram photos). Normally you have to wait 1.5 – 2 hours to get into Black Tap, but if you want to be the first round of people in when they open on weekends at 11am plan to be in line no later than 10:30am. A special shout-out to my Aunt Dottie and Uncle Rob for making sure we got in line on time!

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Dominique Ansel Bakery

I finally got to try a Cronut! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Cronut it is a cream-filled cross between a croissant and a doughnut that was launched by Dominique Ansel Bakery in 2013. And no, it is not anything like the croissant doughnut from Dunkin Donuts. Dominque Ansel’s Cronut is on a level all of its own and it’s trademarked so you know it’s legit. A different Cronut flavor is released every month and is unique to each Dominique Ansel bakery (New York City, Tokyo, London, and opening this fall in Los Angeles).

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

The month’s flavor when we were there was Pear Honey Cream Cheese. Not our ideal flavor combination (unlike past flavors, such as Key Lime Young Coconut, Burnt Vanilla Smoked Caramel or Strawberry Balsamic and Mascarpone – swoon!), but the sugar-coated, flaky layer croissant pastry is so delicious. You can pre-order Cronuts from the bakery two weeks in advance so if you live nearby or know you will be visiting NYC you can pick a date and time to grab your Cronuts without bright and early line-waiting. Pre-ordering opens online every Monday at 11am for dates two weeks out. Check out Cronut 101 for more detailed information.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

I mean, look at those layers! If your ready to dive in just note that ordering at the bakery is limited to two Cronuts per person; pre-ordering is limited to six Cronuts per order.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

The Dominique Ansel bakery is so much more than just Cronuts. They have pastries, cookies, cakes and cheesecakes in the bakery case, as well as several made to order items. After 3pm you can buy one of their famous cookie shots – a chocolate chip cookie in the shape of a cup that gets filled with milk.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

I’m speechless right now. Well not really, but if anything was going to stun me into silence it would be this frozen s’more. Vanilla ice cream is surrounded by chocolate crunchies and then encased in a homemade marshmallow before being torched to order. Amazing! The marshmallow is made with honey instead of sugar to keep its soft texture even after being frozen. If you want to eat your frozen s’more off the stick then eat it right away because once the ice cream melts all bets are off.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pictured behind my frozen s’more are the madeleines Matt ordered. Madeleines are little sponge cakes that are light, buttery and highly addictive. Dominique Ansel’s did not disappoint and brought us right back to the first week of our honeymoon in Paris. They have the dough made and then bake them to order so they are always fresh out of the oven. Yum!

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

Doughnut Plant

Next up, we have Doughnut Plant! How fun is this doughnut bench they have? Doughnut Plant is full of fun surprises including the doughnut shaped tables, the doughnut door handles and even the disco ball mirrored bathroom – yes that’s exactly what it sounds like.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

This right here is one of Doughnut Plant’s signature doughnuts. A square yeast doughnut filled with blackberry jam topped with chopped peanuts and a peanut butter glaze. It tasted exactly like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I love classic pb&j’s so of course I was totally digging this doughnut. The square-filled design allows for a perfect doughnut to filling ratio. This staple doughnut is always on their menu, but many of Doughnut Plant’s other flavors rotate seasonally. Check out their website or Instagram for featured doughnut updates.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

I wish I had another one so I could take a big bite! Doughnut Plant has both cake and yeast doughnuts, however I always tend to gravitate towards yeast ones for their airy and chewy texture. Also, a special thank you to my hand model, Matt, pictured here displaying a freshly nibbled peanut butter and jelly doughnut.

Ultimate Foodie Weekend in NYC  |  Lemon & Mocha

In addition to regular sized doughnuts, Doughnut Plant also has these special items called Doughseeds, which are basically super-sized filled Munchkins. Their most popular is the crĂšme brĂ»lĂ©e Doughseed – vanilla bean custard filled huge-mini doughnut topped with caramelized sugar. Unfortunately, we were pretty stuffed from our weekend foodie adventures and were not able to try more flavors, but we will definitely be back.

Be sure to check out part two of my ultimate foodie weekend in NYC later this week! Which spot so far has you most ready to hop in a car, train, plane or subway to go grab a bite?

Review of CafĂ© Fleuri’s Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

You are on the edge of your seat waving your hand so furiously to ask a question right now that you are almost falling out of your chair, so I will cut right to the chase and answer that question you all have at the tip of your tongue. Yes, this is a brunch where everything is chocolate. Milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate cakes, chocolate mousses, chocolate ice cream. Prepared chocolate sweets and made-to-order chocolate treats.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Oh, and a four foot tall heavenly tower continuously gushing molten chocolate. Also known as a chocolate fountain. This, my chocolate crazed friends, is CafĂ© Fleuri’s Chocolate Bar brunch at the Langham Hotel, Boston. You walk into the swanky Langham Hotel in downtown Boston and head upstairs. There is a traditional brunch menu available, but all you can think about is the Chocolate Bar buffet brunch.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Yes, buffet. As in you can eat til you can’t eat no more, and then some. The live jazz trio starts playing the song from Willy Wonka when the kids walk into the candy paradise and you ask your table mates to check your pulse to make sure you’re still alive.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Without even feeling your feet moving, (maybe you’re gliding?), you come upon a scene you’re sure you dreamt about once, twice or a hundred times. Four large three-tiered tables are filled with individual chocolate-packed plated desserts.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Every table has different treats and each one looks like a pastry chef spent several hours making it look spectacular. In the far corner you see a server scooping out ice cream and topping it with gooey hot fudge.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Another server works the made-to-order crepe station, expertly stuffing the thin pancakes with fresh fruit before smothering in crĂšme anglaise and homemade whipped cream.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Something catches your eye and your turn to see a towering never-ending flow of chocolate that makes you weak in the knees.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Matt and I ate at the Chocolate Bar this past weekend and as I’m sure you have already presumed, we thoroughly enjoyed it. We made sure we went in with a game plan of not getting more than one of any single item between the two of us and only having a few bites each so we could enjoy as many different chocolate desserts as possible.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

This worked out really well because most of the treats are small. Just when you think you’ve had too much chocolate, there’s a huge bowl of popcorn and addictive salted homemade potato chips to balance out all the sweetness. The servers are continually re-stocking so there’s never a shortage of treats.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Was everything amazing? No, but between the large percentage of really great desserts and just the sheer volume of items offered we both felt it was completely worth going back. The cakes were where they seem to fall a little short, although I’m obsessed with my Perfect Chocolate Cupcakes so I might be a little extra critical. The standouts for me were the crepe station, the homemade pastries, the custards, the chocolate fountain and this salted caramel chocolate bombe.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Oh, and those addictive potato chips. The atmosphere was classy without being stuffy, every employee was sincerely friendly and the live jazz music was a perfect touch. My recommendations would be to avoid being seated in the main room with the chocolate and band if you can as it is a little loud and to focus your stomach capacity on the desserts you really love. Seatings are 11 am to 1:30 pm on Saturdays only, from September through June.

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha

Review of Café Fleuri's Chocolate Bar Brunch at the Langham, Boston  |  Lemon & Mocha