Besides good food options, another thing that will make my trip a happy one is the perfect hotel. I need a good spot to walk where I want to go, a descent size room cause I tend to be claustrophobic, down comforter and pillows ( that is non negotiable), valet parking, restaurant for breakfast and a nice hotel bar for the midnight cap. All of that at a reasonable price of course! That is maybe too much to ask in New York city? I found that perfect place in the brand new Mondrian Soho Hotel just opened in 2011. The entrance called the “tunnel of love” by the staff will seduce you right away before you walk in the very modern lush lobby and see the wonderfull glass ceiling over the bar area. It was love at first sight for me. Shop carefully your rate on various travel sites such as expedia.ca or otel.com. and make sure you ask for an upgrade checking in. Not always available but worth trying.
I was amazed with the breakfast menu at the hotel restaurant. So much unusual choices like a souffle frittata with caramelized onions or banana bread panini with fresh bananas and peanut butter topped with and egg. Was delicious and they serve a good cafe latte.
Staying in soho is real fun because you can walk to cool shops and restaurants like Dean and Deluca or Top shop. We found a great place for brunch in Tribeca neighborhood called Locanda Verde. That place felt like it was packed of New yorkers. I like that when I don’t feel like a tourist. I loved the coffee, the ambiance, my scrambled eggs were perfect: creamy and tasty loaded with fresh herbs and a side of cracking salad with citrus vinaigrette…mmm… They gave us onion foccacia that was really tasty and the garlic potatoes side is worth ordering. It’s located on Greenwich street which I can recall as my favorite of the city. We walked it all the way to Chelsea after our late breakfast then we could stop at Magnolia bakery to taste one of these famous cupcakes (seen in the HBO series Sex in the City). My expections were probably too high when I took a bite of the “Red velvet” cake so I felt a bit disapointed but the light lemon cupcake made me happy and the bakery is certainly charming.
Another foodie well known stop in NYC is the Porchetta located in East village. That tiny place is serving only slow-roasted pork belly sandwiches and is famous for it. The ciabatta bread is definitely good and there are no gravy or mayo to kill the taste of pork. Simple and good. Having my sandwich outside on a bench in the month of april did the trick for me. Spring is so cool!
Last but not least, we had our last dinner at Blue Hill NY restaurant near Washington square. Chef Dan Barber’s joint has been on the list of insiders for a while now. I still have the story that catched my attention, written by Dan himself: “The mouth that matters” in Gourmet magazine oct 2007 issue. Its all about the products here. They own a farm just outside the city where they grow stuff and they even planted a restaurant right on the spot: the idea is to reduce to distance between the products origin and the table. They try to keep it local with a maximum of 150 miles from the restaurant and Dan himself will visit the producer’s premises if it’s not their own. Fish is catched 24h max before hitting the kitchen and there are no distributors between Blue Hill and their suppliers. Walking in there is almost like coming at a friend’s house. We were lucky to sit in the garden room located in the back of the restaurant so you can walk trough the kitchen. Felt really nice in that small place, the quality of food was undeniable. I had some great fresh tilefish with spinach and green garlic. I will make it there again for sure just to see and taste those pickled greens again: melon radishes, tiny carrots and parsnips showing off on a fence. The products are truly the stars. Desserts were really good also. I will try to make it at Blue Hill stone barn on my next trip, 45 min from NY.