Showing posts with label Chinatown. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chinatown. Show all posts


Sundaes on Sunday with Sugartooth Tours

For many, summer is the time to don bikinis, travel to foreign places, and enjoy the extra hours of sunlight in the evening. While I'm not knocking any of that, summer--for me--is the time to gorge on ice cream (especially when it's 90 degrees out and NYC is so chock full of new "artisanal" creameries that I have tons of catching up to do!).

The most perfect way, I've found, to load up on sweets of any kind is through a Sugartooth Tours. I joined them for their first 2015 Ice Cream Summer Sundays Frozen Treats Tour last weekend. Even though my GI system has started rebelling against dairy in the ever-so-slightest way (TMI?), I grabbed a pack of Lactaid at Duane Reade and met up with the group at our first stop, Chloe's Soft Serve (25 E. 17th St.).

Our tour guide Alyson

Good news! I didn't even need the Lactaid here because all items only have 3 ingredients--fruit, ice, and cane sugar. We sampled frozen fruit pops (I had the pineapple), and it was so refreshing I can't even tell you. I also thought the pop was "creamy" in nature, even though there was nary a dairy bit in it! I'll definitely be back to sample their soft serve!

Pineapple Pop

Pineapple Pop
Next up was a place I definitely DID need my Lactaid for--Sundaes and Cones (95 e. 10th St.). This is an old school-style ice cream parlor. Our guide Alyson said it smells like waffle cones--and boy does it! She said she hopes that is what heaven smells like :) The storefront may be old school, but the flavors are NOT! We sampled avocado, red bean, taro, and sweet corn ice cream and all were as delicious as they were unique. But our sample here was the cookies and cream milkshake. Yummo!

Rachel and I enjoying Sundaes and Cones
The ice cream selection
Cookies and Cream Milkshake

Our third stop was a lesson in probiotics. Yogorino (657 Broadway) serves both gelato and frozen yogurt and we were able to sample a small size tart yogurt with 2 toppings--I chose dark chocolate and strawberries. I loved how the chocolate hardened on my frozen treat and I would highly recommend adding a fruit for some added natural flavor.

The awesome rotating gelato selection
My yogurt
Rice to Riches (37 Spring St.) is one of my all-time favorite places in NYC and somewhere that I always make sure out-of-town visitors experience. New Yorkers love their single ingredient-focused establishments, and this one takes the cake, or should I say the rice pudding? With several different flavors and toppings (try the french toast with "blessings"), Rice to Riches is also very tongue in cheek. "You MUST read all the signs on the wall," Alyson told our group. And yes, you must.

Rice to Riches
The flavor selection
My treat
This should be the new motto of this blog
Then we made our way down to Little Italy for a lesson in economics. If you can afford to only keep your storefront open for 5 months of the year, you will make your neighbors very jealous. M'O Il Gelato (178 Mulberry Street) does just that, and they make their gelato fresh every single morning. I sampled the coco flavor (coconut), and was super impressed by how creamy it was. We learned that gelato has a higher milk fat than ice cream (hence the creamier texture), but also that it melts faster than ice cream--which you would know if you've ever had a cone of stracciatella.

The selection at M'O Il Gelato
A small coco
The outside of M'O
Selfies in Little Italy!
Our last stop was probably the one I was most looking forward to. The Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory (65 Bayard St.) is a legend among New Yorkers. I first visited there after a trip to Thailand when I was craving some tropical flavors. Their selection includes black sesame, red bean, green tea, and much, much more. On the super hot Sunday we visited, the line was out the door and practically around the block. Thankfully we didn't have to wait in it as Alyson went in and grabbed us each a small green tea mixed with mango. It was the final dessert in a meal of desserts and it was well worth it.

Line out the door
Rachel and I with our ice cream
Green Tea and Mango ice cream
Once again the folks at Sugartooth have not failed to impress me with not only their knowledge of NYC and dessert (in this case ice cream) culture, but they have given me a heck of a good time and a lot of yummy eats. To close, I'll leave you with something I recently heard that cracks me up every time:

I scream. You scream. The police come. It's awkward.


Guests Come, Time to Eat, Play, Walk

Many people often ask me what they should do around town when they have guests. Though most people who live outside of New York are morally (it seems) against walking, it's truly the best mode of transportation to really see the city. Mike's brother, Jason, was recently in the city for the day and I wanted to show him a good time. Starting in the Financial District and ending at Penn Station, where we dropped him off to catch the train, we probably logged at least 6 miles for the day. Tip #1 for your guests: wear comfortable shoes!

Jason and Mike on the Brooklyn Bridge

We started our journey with a walk halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge and back. This is really one of the best ways to get a feel for the city. This bridge has been around for more than 100 years and is a one-of-a-kind structure. The bridge in itself is truly a microcosm of the city if you think about it - you get city views, street vendors, a historical perspective and an opportunity to experience the hostility of local pedestrians and bikers.

Next stop, a walk through Chinatown and the Lower East Side. Tourists always get a kick out of Chinatown with its knock-off purses, super cheap tchatchkes, alive and dead animals in shop windows and its funky smells (oh that durian fruit). I love the area as well. There's no better place to find good bubble tea, dumplings, and just about anything you ever wanted to buy for cheap.

Crab tied up in what seemed to be a corn husk among krill.

Eldridge Street Synagogue

The immigrant history of the Lower East Side is dense and the architecture shows it. The Eldridge Street Synagoge on well, Eldridge Street, was built when this area was settled by Jewish immigrants from Russia, Poland, Ukraine and all other parts of Europe. It's gorgeous on the inside and I'd highly recommend a tour. A visit to the Tenement Museum, currently undergoing a revamp, is also a great way to spend an afternoon.

We kept north and ran into one of my favorite holes in the wall, Prosperity Dumpling. This is THE place for dumplings. At 5 for $1, you can order boiled or fried pork and chive dumplings, and their 75 cent sesame pancake is my go-to snack. Everything else on their menu is super cheap as well and the same guy is always running the show in front and taking orders. Definitely check it out, but make sure you take your food to the nearby park to eat as there is limited and crowded seating inside Prosperity.

Jason with his dumplings

Still heading north, we took another pit stop at a place I've been longing to try since it opened a few months ago - The Meatball Shop. Another awesome thing about NYC eating establishments is that so many of them get off with touting one food item. There's Peanut Butter and Co. in Greenwich Village, Rice to Riches (rice pudding) in Soho, and S'mac (mac 'n cheese) in the East Village with its many flavors of the glorious comfort food, and now The Meatball Shop.

The menu listed several types of balls (beef, chicken, pork, veggie and a special - lamb when we were there) and several types of sauces (pesto, spicy meat, marinara, mushroom, parmesan cream, etc.). We did the naked balls, since the boys were full from their dumplings, which was 4 balls with a sauce served with a slice of focaccia bread. You also have the option of ordering a sandwich or meatball sliders. In addition to the meatballs, this place had a great selection of sides (I'd love to come back and try the special risotto), drinks (every day is a special lemonade!) and, wait for it, homemade ice cream! You can even select your favorite type of cookie and flavor of ice cream and they'll serve up a highly dangerous looking ice cream sandwich. 

The Meatball Shop

Although we didn't go in, Katz's Deli is a NYC landmark. It was featured in "the scene" from Harry Met Sally and is known for it's ginormous sandwiches. There's a great window where you can watch the master sandwich builders and knish makers work.

Jason and Mike at Katz's

We ended our food journey at Mike's new favorite place - Lula's Sweet Apothecary in the East Village. It's a completely vegan, dairy-free and mostly organic ice cream shop and since Mike is lactose-intolerant, he was finally able to indulge in a banana split without disastrous effects. Even I, a hard-core ice cream fanatic thought this sundae was amazing. The ice cream didn't taste anything less than the super creamy dessert I know and love. The hot fudge and marshmallow sauce were flowing, sweet and gooey. I did notice a slight texture difference in the whipped cream, but by that point I didn't really care because this thing was the real deal. Lula's also serves "ice cream" shakes and malts, brownie sundaes and a myriad of different flavors on cones. If you are milk-free for whatever reason, I'd run to go find this place.

Lula's Banana Split

Weighed down by fried meat in dough, meat in balls and 3 scoops of ice cream with all the fixins, we slowed down a bit. Headed in the general direction of Penn Station, we strolled through Union Square just to give Jason the vibe (and stop to use Nordstom Rack's restrooms - very nice I might add). If we had more time, and a third stomach, I would have liked to go to Max Brenner's, Chocolate by the Bald Man. They have amazing chocolate food, regular food and like a million different varieties of hot chocolate. I'm not kidding, like a million - Swiss, Mexican, Italian, white, milk, dark, in a hug mug, with caramel, rice crispies, whipped cream. I don't believe I've ever not taken an out-of-town guest there and every single one still raves about it.

I hope I've given you some good ideas for the next time you play city host or hostess. I'd love to know what your favorite places to take your guests are. Leave a comment and let me know!

Lula's Sweet Apothecary on Urbanspoon

Braeburn on Urbanspoon

Lula's Sweet Apothecary on Urbanspoon