Weekend Adventures: NYC Food Vacay, Part II

June 27, 2016

My food chronicles in NYC continue...

Number of Babka Eaten: THREE but from two different bakeries. After seeing Louie declare Russ and Daughters's babka as "the best thing I ever ate," I knew it was something I couldn't pass up. It had so many layers of gooey chocolate inside a soft bread.
As if that wasn't enough, they also had a babka ice cream sandwich!
We got a lead on another noteworthy babka via Instagram and tried out Breads Bakery's babka. We ordered their chocolate as well as cinnamon raisin. Not as wonderful as the R&D babka but I'm wondering if no other babka can measure up to their amazing babka. And they are now baking them in house!
NYC Dog: One of the items on my must-eat list was a proper NYC hot dog, in particular, a Gray's Papaya hot dog, which is often hailed as the best in the city. Mustard and sauerkraut are the usual toppings for a New York dog but we also ordered a chili dog. Simple yet totally delicious.
Reunions: It seems as if no trip to NYC is complete without a giant, soft, gooey Levain cookie. I was also reunited with a Beard Papa cream puff. It's been years since I first sampled one. Please come back to Chicago, Beard Papa!
Bakeries: No cronuts were had at our visit to Dominique Ansel but we gobbled up freshly made, pillowy madeleines, buttery kouign amann, canneles and a made-to-order frozen s'more (inside a freshly torched marshmallow is vanilla ice cream wrapped in a chocolate cookie).
Cupcakes: I had two bakeries on my radar that are NYC favorites. Two Little Red Hens was on most top cupcake lists and I even tried to visit the bakery three years ago to sad results. I ordered the popular Brooklyn Blackout cupcake (chocolate cake, chocolate pudding & fudge frosting) along with two minis: Peanut Butter Fudge and Carrot.
The Brooklyn Blackout wasn't too sweet and the bites with the pudding filling were delicious. I just wish it had more depth of chocolate flavor. It was a good cupcake, don't get me wrong, but I had such high expectations going into it that I can't say it was as amazing as I hoped it would be. But the peanut butter fudge mini was by far the best of the three. Each cupcake is $4 and minis are $1.75.

The second cupcake bakery we patronized was Billy's Bakery, another top cupcake bakery in NYC. I sampled their banana cupcake. Each cupcake is $3.25.
This cupcake was even better than the Two Little Red Hens cupcakes. It was more banana bread than cake but still flavorful and a good combination of flavors between the cake and frosting. If I want to be super picky, the frosting was a tad too sweet. Overall, very tasty!

Other Good Times: a New England lobster dinner in Connecticut with relatives, a touristy stop to Cafe Lalo (featured in one of my fave movies, You've Got Mail), NY Cheesecake at Two Little Red Hens, homemade cheesecake (thanks, Sarah + Erin), gourmet yogurt at the Chobani Soho Cafe, Frank Pepe pizza and refreshing mango sold on the street. I already can't wait to go back again to NYC to continue exploring the food scene. Until next time...
Two Little Red Hens
1652 Second Ave
Upper East Side
New York, New York

Billy's Bakery
184 9th Ave
New York, New York

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