Food Review

Two Days in Manhattan Part II – Day Two


Thanks to a good night’s sleep, The Wife and I were ready for Day Two of our anniversary weekend in Manhattan. Here’s how it all played out…

Day Two

11:00AM – After a quick bagel and coffee breakfast, we took the subway back to Tribeca and stopped into Eataly (200 5th Avenue), a food market / restaurant / cafeteria that features mostly Italian food and drinks. I could go broke in a place like this! They sell cheeses, cured meats, beer, wine, pastries, gelato, pasta, fresh meats, fresh fish, fresh produce, and every Italian condiment and beverage that you can think of. For whatever reason, The Wife and I showed some restraint, so all I had was a double espresso and a chinotto (an Italian soda flavored with bitter oranges. It was good, but the San Pellegrino version is better). Though it was only 11AM, people were already seated and enjoying all that Eataly has to offer, and they were even drinking some wine. We passed a couple that was digging in to a plate of prosciutto, salami, and fresh ricotta. They looked like they were having an excellent time and I was half tempted to join them. Eataly is yet another place to revisit when we go back to Manhattan.

12:30PM – The Wife had three different pizzerias on our itinerary: John’s, Artichoke, and Bleecker Street Pizza. After walking by John’s Pizzeria (278 Bleecker Street) and seeing the line out the door (and down the street!), we decided to skip it and move on to Artichoke (111 Macdougal Street). Since the slices were huge, we decided to share one slice of their margherita pizza and one slice of their artichoke pizza. Of the two, we both preferred the margherita pizza. While the crust was thicker than expected, it was still very crisp and chewy (this is a good thing). We were particularly impressed by their use of Parmigianno Reggiano as the final topping for this pizza which gave it a really nice finish (it is The King of cheeses afterall). The artichoke pizza was good, but it was so rich that I doubt I could ever eat more than one slice. It was essentially a pizza topped with creamed spinach and artichoke hearts. Though the guy working behind the counter was unable to give me a detailed list of the ingredients that went into the topping for this pizza, he did say that it was very popular after the bars closed since it’s a great post-drinking snack.

1:30PM – Pizza stop #2 was at Bleecker Street Pizza (69 7th Avenue South). Once again we ordered two different slices for “research” purposes. The Wife ordered a slice of the Nonna Maria (similar to a margherita) and I had a slice with fresh tomato and ricotta cheese. Both slices were really good and the crust was superior to the one at Artichoke.  The Wife’s slice was better, so I tried to sneak a bite whenever she wasn’t looking. Not an easy task, but luckily, I’m a blazingly fast eater.

3:00PM – Have I mentioned that The Wife is a ridiculously thorough vacation planner? I’m not sure where she heard about it (probably Chowhound), but once she saw the words “Crack Pie”, she just had to have it! Once again we were headed back to Mid-town, but this time to score some “Crack Pie”. This potentially addictive confection was available at Momofuku Milk Bar (15 West 56th Street). Thankfully, “Crack Pie” is a very edible dessert and not a highly addictive narcotic. It consists of a toasted oat crust and a gooey butter filling. I now know why it’s called “Crack Pie”… one bite and you’re hooked! We also tried the “Compost Cookie” (pretzels, potato chips, coffee, oats, butterscotch, chocolate chips) and the “Coconut Tangerine Truffles” (self explanatory). The cookie was good, but the truffle was better.

6:00PM – Since we purchased tickets to see an 8PM show, we had to find a place to get a quick bite to eat. During our last anniversary trip to Manhattan, we had dinner at  Keen’s Steakhouse (72 West 36th Street). I liked the restaurant, but I LOVED the bar (they have one of the largest selections of whisky that I have ever seen), so that’s where I wanted to have dinner. We kept it simple: Stone Pale Ale for me, Tom Collins for The Wife, burger and fries to share, and their braised short rib salad which we also shared. The burger was topped with stilton cheese and was cooked to perfection (we asked for it “medium” and that’s exactly what we got). The salad consisted of braised short ribs (without the bones of course), bib lettuce, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, goat cheese, and a sherry-mustard vinaigrette dressing. Both of our entrees were delicious and deceptively filling. I have mentioned on two occasions that I generally avoid steakhouses, but it’s places like Keen’s and Butcher & Singer in Philly that are slowly turning me into a steakhouse enthusiast.

8:00PM – After standing in line for 45 minutes at the discount ticket booth on 47th & Broadway, I was able to secure two tickets for Avenue Q, an off-Broadway puppet musical that’s basically Sesame Street for adults. I was reluctant to go, but am ultimately happy that I went. It was a very funny and irreverant show. Check it out if you get the chance. The video above pretty much says it all.

10:30PM – Since St. Andrews Restaurant & Bar (140 West 46th Street) was on the way back to the hotel, we just HAD to stop in for a nightcap. Much like Keen’s Steakhouse, St. Andrews has an exceptional selection of whiskies from around the world. What I didn’t realize is that they also have a very fine selection of craft beers as well. After a careful review of their beer list, I noticed that they had several beers that I have had on my list of “beers to try” for quite some time. The Wife had a bottle of Magner’s Irish Cider and I decided to have a bottle of La Chouffe, an unfiltered Belgian blonde ale which is very similar to an Allagash White, but with a much drier finish. The Wife decided that she would take it easy and just have the one drink since we would be losing an hour of sleep due to the switch to Daylight Savings Time which was scheduled for that night. I decided to have one more, so I went with yet another Belgian beer. This time I chose the Westmalle Tripel. Yet another fantastic and potent brew! I was feeling pretty good as I worked through my second beer, so I decided to slow down a bit and enjoy the bar’s atmosphere. The Wife and I chatted while we listened to a Scottish folk band that was playing in the bar that night. We also commented on the various people seated around us. This is our second visit to St. Andrews and we definitely enjoyed it more the second tie around. Next time I’ll try the Haggis!

All in all, we had an excellent time during our whirlwind tour of Manhattan (and thankfully, the weather cooperated this time!). We didn’t get to everything on our itinerary (we never made it to The Brandy Library and Astor Center), but what we did get to see and do was well worth it!

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