New York City. YATA!!! Cronuts and doughnuts galore, Momofuku buns and eat ALL the pizza!
YATA!!! HELLOOOO NEW YORK!!! Haha about 2mins after this was taken Times Square was completely flooded with humans!
We were staying in the Lower East Side which just so happened to be within walking distance to our very first meal- Katz’s Delicatessen (205 E Houston St, New York). The Ruben sandwich (US$17.45) is pretty much the most perfect sandwich I’ve ever had with hand-cut juicy pastrami, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and melty Swiss cheese. I didn’t get rye bread because I have issues. Oh and grape soda is the absolute best drink ever.
Yep the damn Cronut (croissant-donut hybrid) at Dominique Ansel’s Bakery (189 Spring St, New York) was on our list of places to hit. I mean cmon, the purpose of my trip was to eat as many donuts as possible so how could I pass up the chance of trying a Cronut? After being peer pressured to queue for more than 3 hours for barbecue back in Texas, I guilt tripped Helen and Lex to wake up at the ungodly hour of 5.50am so that we could trek 2km to the bakery and stand in line for Cronuts.
This was the queue when we arrived, Helen did a quick head count and estimated us being 54th in line which was pretty good considering about a week later we heard reports of the queue snaking 3 blocks down.
At 8am on the dot Dominique Ansel himself opens the doors and is greeted by cheers. He crowd controls the groups entering the bakery before ducking back in and carefully packing the Cronuts into gold cardboard boxes. There is a limit of 2 Cronuts per person for the very reasonable price of US$5each.
SUCCESS! I HAZ THE CRONUTS!!!
We make our way to the back of the bakery to the courtyard before opening our precioussss.
It’s generally advised you use a knife to cut through the Cronut but I uh couldn’t help myself and just took a massive bite heh. Look at all the layers! Ain’t she a beauty?! There’s maple cream in the middle, a sweet but tart lemon glaze on top and the whole shebang is covered in sugar. Surprisingly I think I would’ve been fine without any filling or glaze! But oh the layers! It just melts in the mouth! You know you want it.
The dreaded sold out sign appears about 30mins later. Would I line up again? Hmm probably not but I would happily eat another if someone happened to get me one out of the kindness of their heart 😛
A mini break from the eats and we visit the M&M store (600 Broadway, New York).
Spent much too long at the FAO Schwarz toy store (767 Fifth Ave, at 58th Street, New York City).
Ogled the lego displays and bought a whole lot of toys.
Admired the Rockefeller Center lego display at the Lego Store (620 Fifth Avenue, at 50th Street, New York)
Used all my self restraint from buying everything at the Hershey’s Chocolate World (593 Broadway, New York).
There were many visits to the Momofuku restaurant, we managed to visit Momofuku Noodle Bar for ramen and then later we had the famous fried chicken but it’s Momofuku Ssam Bar (207 Second Ave, at 13th Street, New York) that stole my heart with the glorious giant BBQ pork bun and the steamed pork belly buns.
Worst photo ever my bad! But most delicious desserts ever! The cornflake soft serve was phenomenal, the crack tart is exactly as addictive as I thought it would be and the compost cookies made for the tastiest breakfast the next day haha
Mandatory stop at Shake Shack (E 23rd St Madison Ave, New York) for a Double Shack Burger (US$7.20), Cheese Fries (US$3.70), and a Shack Lemonade (US$2.50) for me. I know, I know I should’ve gone for the Frozen Custard Shake but my lactose intolerance is slowly getting the better of me :/ tmi? haha moving on now… While the burger was all fine and tasty I couldn’t help but compare it to In and Out burgers which just about blew my mind. I loved eating in the park and people watching and the fries were heaps better than In and Out’s but burger wise it was a bit of a let down.
The beginnings of the pizza overload! After a food coma induced nap, Helen and I found ourselves starving and wandering the streets at 3am in search of food. We stumbled over Rosario’s Pizza (173 Orchard St, New York) with slices of pizza available at US$2.50-$3each. I fell in love with the pepperoni pizza not just because it looked exactly like it does in the cartoons with perfectly placed pepperoni slices but because of the cheesy layer and foldable crust.
But then there was even tastier pizza at Best Pizza (33 Havemeyer St, Brooklyn) We chose the white pizza (US$21) base (no tomato but with garlic), half anchovy, kale & caramelised onion and the other half with mushrooms, parmesan & caramelised onion. The pizzas only came in one size: ginormous. Helen and I battled bravely but in the end succumbed to carb overload.
Aaaand the best pizza of the trip belongs to Motorino (349 E 12th St, New York) with caramelised brussel sprouts, crispy ribbons of pancetta and a generous under layer of mozzarella. The more normal sized pizza was much appreciated and we devoured it in seconds. Oh yeah it was around this time I may have changed my hair 😛
Then there was brunch with the super lovely Hannah at Clinton St Bakery (4 Clinton St, New York). I was in dessert heaven with the Blueberry Pancakes (US$14) which came with an amazing warm maple butter which I promptly drowned everything in sight with. Oh and I couldn’t resist a side of sugar cured bacon (US$6) which were insane though I kinda wished I ordered the normal bacon for more of a crispy factor.
A stop off at il laboratorio del gelato (188 Ludlow St, New York) for samplings of crazy flavours like the corn, malt and root beer.
Last but not least was a visit to the Doughnut Plant (379 Grand St, New York).
It was ridiculously hot that day and we’d originally only decided to get just 2 donuts to share. Until we saw the menu and surprisingly found that we WEREN‘T sick of donuts. So we started off with the moist milk laden Tres Leches (US$3), Carrot Cake (US$3) which was heavy on the spices, Peanut Butter & Jam (US$3.25) which was just plain awesome and the Creme Brulee (US$3.25) and that Doughnut Plant’s donuts were pretty awesome with the favourite being the Creme Brulee which had the perfect crack of toffee on top and smooth custardy innards.
Helen went to take a pic of the donuts in the display case only to be distracted by some more flavours… Lime and Coconut (US$2.25), Peanut Butter and Banana Cream (US$3.25) and Strawberry (US$3). I’m not the biggest fan of coconut so that was all Helen’s, the PB & Banana didn’t quite stack up to it’s PB & Jam brother but the Strawberry was pretty intensely flavoured and didn’t taste artificial which was tops.
Seriously I must watch way too much teevee because everything just felt so familiar to me, from the shops at Times Square to the bright yellow cabs screeching to a stop and to the New Yorker drawl. It… felt like home… Absolutely loved how everything was open to crazy hours and how people walked with a purpose and didn’t dawdle along the sidewalk. One week was not enough so I definitely have to return!
Ms.G’s (55 Victoria St, Potts Point) is all kinds of amazing. Go for the AMAZING Crispy Pork Hock ($35) THAT WAS SO FREAKING AMAZING THAT I’M WRITING IN CAPS AND ENDING IN MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!
So I’m taking a break from the USA post onslaught with a post about the best birthday meal ever at Ms.G’s (55 Victoria St, Potts Point). After following Dan Hong, Paul Donnelly and Patrick Friesen on Instagram for ages now I thought it was about bloody time I visited for a non event dinner like this one and this one and brought the whole clan along to celebrate me turning the big three-oh.
So anywhos. That pic above? Crispy Pork Hock ($35) and OH MY GAWWWWWWD THIS WAS SO FREAKING AMAZING THAT I’M WRITING IN CAPS AND ENDING IN MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION MARKS!!! Yeah this was a main and came out at the end but I have to write about it first because it was so damn awesome. Crispy skin, creamy layer of fat and meat so tender it was as if angels blessed it to comfort our souls during this cold winter. The pork hock came with apple kimchi, lettuce and herbs and was enough to feed 6 of us and have leftovers to take home. Wrapping the pork nubbins in the lettuce with a bit of the kimchi made me feel healthy at first, because you know vegetable matter and all that jazz, but after a while I gave up and just dug into the meat like a caveman cos it was so tasty that I didn’t want anything getting in the way between us…
So back to the starters, first out came the Snow Crab Betel Leaf ($6 each) which were bite sized bundles of wonder, fresh delicate crab meat with a zing from the yuzu in the light miso ranch dressing. Pretty generous with the filling too, so generous that about half fell into my safety bowl as I attempted to shove the whole leafy package into my mouth.
The Vietnamese Steak Tartare ($18) is an instant winner with Noods who half heartedly offers to share. Smooshing the egg yolk and mixing everything together I surprisingly loved the crunch of the fried shallots against the hand cut beef and scooped onto the prawn crackers. Prawn crackers over normal crackers = winning.
Ms G’s Grilled Corn on the Cob ($4ea) is insanely awesome thanks to the cloud of parmesan cheese and slather of lime mayo. It is bury-your-face-and-ignore-the-fact-you’re-in-a-public-space-get-messy type of food- simple but ridiculously tasty.
The Mini Bánh Mì‘s ($6ea) are almost too cute to eat. Almost. While the chicken katsu was delicious, the crisp pork belly was hands down the winner with freakishly soft pork, a schmear of rich pate, pickled veg and a pillowy soft bun. Totally want a full banh mi size!
We couldn’t resist the Malaysian Style Butter Prawns, ($29) which was fragrant with curry leaves, chilli and coriander. I wasn’t too fond of the amount of toasted shredded coconut coating the buttery prawns but that’s because I have issues with coconut that’s not in liquid form. Yeah ignore me.
Nearing explodey point we groan when the Crunchy Bangkok Fried Chicken ($25 whole) arrives for it is perfect with gloriously crispy skin and juicy tender meat. We do our best to finish but have to resort to tao pao.
Awww I do love candles but love free dessert even more haha thanks boys! Loved the presentation of the Dirty Passion ($12), a puddle of passionfruit curd hid beneath a rubble of dark chocolate ‘dirt’, chocolate wafers, shredded coconut and topped with a quenelle of refreshing coconut sorbet.
8 Treasure Textural Mind F@$k ($12). Ok, I’m totally going off my not-so-awesome memory but I do believe the 8 textures were: sago, honeycomb, blueberries, pandan ice cream, tapioca pearls, coconut cream and I THINK nata de coco- like the jelly rainbow strips in bubble tea? All up it was pretty crazy but we loved it.
And finally my favourite dessert, the Stoner’s Delight 2.0 ($12)- doughnut ice cream, peanut butter, raspberry jam, candied bacon, potato chips, mars bar slice and banana fritter. One word: PHENOMENAL. All the elements of awesome right there on that plate! Sweet, salty, crispy, smooth, hot, cold. Everything just worked! Of course the candied bacon stood out for me because well, it’s bacon 😛
ChocolateSuze received complimentary desserts thanks to Ms G’s
New Orleans, Louisiana, known for gumbo, crawfish and of course, the beignet aka the famed fried donut covered in a cloud of icing sugar.
Wheeee! Aaaand a 12 hour road trip from Austin, Texas later and we’re in New Orleans baby!
New Orleans is known for gumbo, crawfish and of course, the beignet aka the famed fried donut covered in a cloud of icing sugar.
We begin at Cafe Beignet (311 Bourbon St, New Orleans) also home to the musical legends park where sweet jazz tunes fill the courtyard. Cafe Beignet serves Cajun/Creole food but it was the beignets that we were after. It was pretty humid so luckily the queue was short and we took a number and found a table in the shade but unfortch it’s also home to crazy and daring seagulls and pigeons.
Then a wander through the New Orleans French Market and it was off to Cafe Du Monde (800 Decatur St, New Orleans) which was chock a block mainly with tourists at the tables but also with locals who ordered takeaway from a window around the corner.
Tee hee couldn’t resist another paper hat!
3 beignets (US$2.42). Zomg so much sugar! Look! Would you like some icing sugar with your donut? Haha I think I preferred Cafe Du Monde over Cafe Beignet because of the table service in the huge hall was much preferred over ducking for cover from the diving pigeons and well, the novelty of a mountain of icing sugar was just so insane!
Even though we dunked our beignet into the icing sugar this is the amount that was left! I wonder how much sugar they go through in a day..
Aaaand a Crawfish Beignet (US$5) from J’s Seafood Dock to even out the sweetness 😛
IT’S PINCHY!!! Ok, I realise Homer’s Pinchy was an American lobster but I’ve always wanted to pick up a crawfish which is basically a small lobster and wave its claws around and weep at it’s deliciousness after it’s hot bath:D
Helen and I had been walking through the madness that is Bourbon St which was filled with happy drunk people but surprisingly it felt more safe there than walking around the Cross. Like, everyone had plastic fishtanks filled with various hues of alcoholic beverages hung on lanyards around their neck but they weren’t off their faces! I dunno I just found it very refreshing lol anywhos we needed a break from walking and stumbled into Pier 424 Seafood Market (424 Bourbon St, New Orleans) after spotting crawfish on the menu at the super cheap price of US$11/pound. ELEVEN BUX GUYS!!! WHY SO CHEAP?!
Haha this is the way I reckon the pinchys should have been arranged! I had a bit of trouble opening them up but our trusty waiter came to the rescue and showed us how to get at the sweet meat in the tails. So fricken tasty I still can’t get over how the food is so much cheaper in the states even with tax and tips.
The next day Lex leads us to Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar (739 Iberville St, New Orleans) where we sat at the bar to watch the oyster shuckers hard at work. They’re a chatty bunch and Michael Jackson “it’s the name on my driver’s license!” shows us his wallet before shucking open a sample oyster for us to try before we’ve even looked at the menu. After we’ve ordered the shuckers find a pearl and soon they’re all trying to find us a bigger pearl to take home haha I ordered a salad thanks to my fail over-eating but ended up adding fried oysters, fried and grilled shrimp on top of it which kinda negated the health factor but made it one fine salad indeed.
Not quite sure when I ate this on our trip in New Orleans but I had to include it because Popeye’s has the best biscuit ever! And the crispy bacon rashers was bloody awesome!
We’d been eating so much that I was literally feeling sick at the end of each day and may have entered my very first gym. Of course I had to wear my bacon tshirt to cheer me up..
Austin, Texas! Land of barbecue! Fatty brisket, ribs with fall off the bone meat, big fat donuts, and Whole Foods
Aaaand we move onto Austin, Texas- the land of awesome barbecue! You see this photo? It was taken at 8.30am and Franklin Barbecue (900 E 11th St, Austin) opens at 11am. You see, Helen and Lex are nuts. Barbecue nuts. And we’d been told that Franklin Barbecue was the best in Austin and so, we drove halfway across town to be among the first in the line.
This is the queue not long after 9am.
Aaand this is the queue at 11am. Oh and did I mention the 30C heat?
Luckily this enterprising chap was renting out deck chairs for $5 a pop which came complete with a sun umbrella tho the majority of the locals had brought their own chairs and eskys filled with beer.
Several episodes of Gilmore Girls later and we had finally reached the promised land! We’d been asked earlier in the day what we were going to order so that they could estimate when they would run and cut the line. We may have over ordered due to grumbling stomaches haha that there is 2lb of Brisket (US$32), 2.3lb Ribs (US$32.20), 1/4lb Turkey (US$3.25), 1/4lb Pork (US$3.25), 1 Sausage link (US$2), side of Pinto Beans (US$1.35), side of Slaw (US$1.35) and side of Potato Salad (US$1.35). The onions, pickles and jalapenos were free in the condiments station.
Texas Brisket. OH EM GEE. Time stood still after the first bite of that brisket. It was so juicy with just the right amount of charcoaly caramelised edges and tender with beautiful ribbons of fat I just have no words for how glorious it was. If I were to have a last supper that brisket would be it.
Then there were the ribs which just fell off the bone by staring at it. No seriously, it was ridiculous.
We may have ordered one of each of tarts for dessert. You know, for research purposes 😛 Don’t worry we ended up taking them home to eat later after our meat coma! On offer that day was the Bourbon Banana Pie, Pecan Pie, Key Lime Pie and the Lemon Chess Pie all US$4 each. I particularly loved the Pecan Pie with its buttery biscuit base and sweet brown sugar filling hiding under the pecans. The Key Lime Pie had the perfect sourness to sweet ratio as did the Lemon Chess Pie but the Bourbon Banana Pie was not my fave of the bunch not because of the flavour but more for the texture, it tasted gelatine-y and not as smooth as the other pies.
Tee hee it’s the Hi How Are You Jeremiah the Frog! I had to visit it thanks to my obsession with the movie Whip It haha
[Image from Helen] After eating at Franklin Barbecue we didn’t think it could be topped because really how do you top deliciousness? But word on the street was that John Lewis, the dude who perfected the recipe at Franklin Barbecue had his own place called La Barbecue (1502 South 1st St, Austin) and that it was a billion times better. AND HOLY MOTHER OF GOD IT TOTALLY WAS!!! A BILLION TIMES INFINITY!!! Insert all the superlatives and expletives of all the languages in the verse because the Sliced Brisket Sandwich (US$7.99) was fan-freaking AHMAZING. Sure it may look like it’s sitting in a puddle of oil but it’s damn tasty oil haha it was freaky how soft that brisket was and the ratio of creamy fat to meat oh boy I still have dreams… The highlight of the entire trip was that brisket!
Clutching our stomaches we trudged back to the comfort of air con in our car only to round the corner and unexpectedly see a shiny silver trailer in a car park with the slogan of BIG. FAT. DONUTS. And well, how can you not stop when you see that?! Gourdough’s (1503 S 1st St, Austin) just brings a smile to my face when I remember that day. Best donut of the trip!
The Flying Pig (US$5.50). JUST LOOK AT THAT BEAUTY!!! BASK IN ITS FABULOUSNESS!!! A piping hot, fresh from the fryer fluffy donut, topped with uber crispy bacon and drizzled with maple syrup icing. BEST DONUT EVER. If you’re ever in Austin get your butt down to Gourdough’s!
I may have also ordered the Mother Clucker (US$5.50) just to say its name and to see this concoction with my own eyes. The donut did not disappoint with its hot fluffy innards however the fried chicken strips were a bit dry tho we did our best dunking the strips in the accompanying tub of honey butter. Because we totally needed to ingest more calories after the heavy barbecue (not).
Lex ordered the raspberry popsicle tea for lols but it turned out to pretty tasty and refreshing in the crazy heat.
Food coma time! I’ve been asked what exactly did we do when we weren’t eating and well you’re looking at it haha lots of food coma naps 😛
Austin is home to many a food truck and some have put down roots like Biscuits & Groovy (5015 Duval St, Austin). The Johnny Hash (US$8) is a pretty much a party in a plate- buttery biscuits (like savoury Aussie scones) and smothered in pepper gravy with cheese, sausage, crispy bacon bits, potatoes and chives. Rich and comforting and would be freaking awesome in a uh colder climate heh
And then there was our very first trip to Whole Foods. Helen had wanted to reenact the Top Chefs running for their trolleys and hooning it down the aisles but resisted. Man Whole Foods is magical, the place is so freaking big and the ready to eat section was incredible! No day old soggy sandwiches and greasy meat pies no siree everything was super fresh from the the soups station to the meats. There was so much variety even at the salad station where it wasn’t just your boring 3 types of lettuce, carrot and cucumber but all the colours of the vegetable rainbow! The desserts section was of course my favourite place to stare at with the perfectly iced cakes, portion controlled parfaits, selection of freshly baked cookies and of course my favourite section the cheese. Ah the cheese! What I wouldn’t give to plonk myself right there and eat you all! Ah Austin you were a blast, I can’t wait to come back!
Hadouken! Eat ALL the donuts- The Donut Man, Bouchon Bistro, Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts, Randy’s Donuts and Six Flags Magic Mountain
I’m baaaack! Farewell USA I shall miss you and your gigantic servings of food and everything being open 24/7! Sorry for not posting last week dudes but jet lag hit me like a tonne of bricks and I’m still not sure which side of the road I’m supposed to be on haha but anywhos my trip with Helen and Lex was awesome with many a shenanigans happening 😛
It all started with the talk of food. In my case it was the wistful thoughts of travelling to America and eating all the donuts in all the land. Cos you know, donuts are awesome and how incredible would a donut tour be? And then somehow with less than 3months planning it happened, we arrived in LA with eager and empty stomaches and ready to take on the land of plenty. I’ll be mainly blawging about the many donuts consumed but be sure to hit up Helen’s blog who will be attempting to write about every single place we ate at!
Our first donut stop was at the The Donut Man (915 E Route 66, Glendora), about a half hour drive from downtown LA. The Donut Man is open 24hours which was good because we were still on Sydney time and wide awake with the munchies at 2am.
We parked our car and rounded the corner and Lex swears my pupils dilated when faced with the amount of donuts to choose from. We stood for ages watching the bakers pull out freshly fried donuts and then glaze them. It’s a beautiful thing.
The most popular donut was the Tigertail donut (US$1.60), a behemoth foot long donut that was incredibly light and airy and surprisingly not too sweet.
We also picked up a Seasonal donut packed full of fresh strawberries (US$3.25), a Maple Bar donut (US$1.35) which WAS tooth achingly sweet, a Devils Food Cake donut (US$0.90) that was denser in texture and a Raspberry Filled donut (US$1.70) that had the perfect jam to donut ratio.
Definitely a winner though I may be slightly biased as this was the very first donut stop hehe
In and Out (7009 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles) time!
Hands down the best burger I’ve ever eaten! Crazy soft bun but not so soft that it melts from meat juices, gloriously melty cheese and tasty meat patty! No tomato or lettuce for me thank you very much. Pink lemonade and Animal style fries mmm baby!
And then there was Bouchon Bistro (235 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills) where I couldn’t resist the Croque Madame (US$18.95) with Truffle (US$35). That wasn’t just your ordinary run of the mill ham and cheese sandwich, nay. A thick slice of buttery brioche topped with a gooey egg and smothered in mornay sauce, it was the richest concoction I’ve ever had. So rich in fact that I was left not wanting to eat anything for the rest of the day and the very thought or sight of food made me nauseous.
But then they gave us free donuts! Well, Beignets du Jour (US$6). I managed 1/4 of the raspberry filled, sugar coated pastry before admitting defeat.
Then there was late night stumbling around the Chinese Theatre where I bumped into a very eery Captain Jack Sparrow lookalike.
Found Arnie! And got very incensed when Lex found out that Jackie Chan’s prints weren’t around anymore. Tho Mr Google is telling me that he redid his prints a week after we were there? Tch
Found Bruce Lee’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
While checking out the Original Farmers Market (6333 W Third St, Los Angeles) I head straight to Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts (Stall #450).
So tempting to get a neon coloured dinosaur!
Sensibly (hah!) stuck to a Cream Filled Long John (US$1.45), Buttermilk donut (US$1.20) and a ginormous Cinnamon Roll (US$1.45) that was the size of my head. Oh and an Iced Tea to wash it all down heh
Last but not least of the donuts in LA, I present you the epic Randy’s Donuts (805 West Manchester Ave, Inglewood). You can’t miss the giant donut!!! And drive thru donuts!
A little donut-ed out but oh look at all the pretties!
You get a discount if you order 5 dozen or more. Unfortunately we didn’t partake in this offer and settled with a Jelly Filled donut (US$0.90) that had just the right amount of jam, a Devil’s Food donut (US$0.80) which was perfectly light and chocolatey and a Crumb Cake donut (US$0.80) which tasted exactly like it sounds but er in donut form?
Oh and there was that time where Lex convinced us to go to Six Flags Magic Mountain (26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia) and I was sure I’d lose my cookies on an unexpected upside down zoom.
I lasted 2 rides before begging off the next ride and then wandered off and got myself a ginormous Turkey Leg. I usually hate turkey but this was pretty damn tasty and tender!
One cannot live on turkey alone… so we got a Bacon and Maple Funnel Cake! Ridiculous is the word that comes to mind. Piping hot and surprisingly not greasy, this baby pretty much tastes like donuts but in drizzle form, studded with freshly fried bacon and drowned in maple syrup. Oh and a ‘light’ sprinkle of icing sugar.
Oh ok there was also the Oreo Funnel Cake because well, it was there in giant letters on the menu which meant it was epic. And it was. See that mountain of ice cream? And all those Oreo bits? Deeeeelicious!
Aaaand I leave you with another hadouken pic 😛