Let's be honest. When you go to NYC, you do it for the shopping, the sights, and the museums, but mostly you do it for the NOMS. We don't want to make too brash a claim, but we'd dare say the Big Apple is the foodie capital of the world (We mean, it's even in the name). However, finding a place to eat can present a daunting task: with so many choices and such a range of cuisines and prices, it's all too easy to find yourself overwhelmed and in a Ruby Tuesday on Time Square. Fear not. If you ever find yourself in the city, try giving any of these places a go. We promise you won't be disappointed!
Jack's Wife Freda
Locations: West Village, Nolita
Oh, Jack's Wife Freda. For me, Katherine, Jack's is a New York staple, and I was so excited to take Maia here after our first show. The meal couldn't be more quintessentially New York: two beans finishing up their runway debut at Fashion Week with a good ol' mediterranean brunch. The owner, whose quirky and stylish figure brings their instagram account, @jackswifefreda, to life, was even there, walking, feet clad in Miu Miu ballet slippers, amongst tables and chatting with regulars, a red and blue breton striped shirt swung carelessly across her shoulders.
What to order: This particular day I, Katherine, went with Maya's Grain Bowl, and I, Maia, went with the Madame Freda (a rendition of a classic croque monsieur, featuring duck prosciutto). Both were beyond delicious. Looking for other suggestions? The Green Shakshuka, Rosewater Waffle, and Mint Lemonade are all winners.
Photos below by Katherine:
Bô Cà Phé
Conveniently situated next to Jack's Wife Freda's Nolita location, we resisted the urge to return for dinner and instead checked out french-vietnamese restaurant, Bó Cá Phê. While the service left something to be desired, there's nothing quite like face planting into a bowl of noodles at the end of a long day.
What to order: We both went with the shrimp rice noodle bowl: sweet and savory shrimp over a bed of cold rice noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, garnish, peanut sauce, and a spring roll. I, Maia, also ordered the chicken bao.
We need to preface this section with the fact that it was quite a feat getting me, Maia, into a vegan restaurant. Ya girl loves meat, potatoes, and all things drowning in cheese. You've also probably seen By Chloe featured in my, Katherine's, instagrams and blog posts far too many times to count and are still wondering what all the fuss is about. While I admit, vegan noms aren't for everyone (though they definitely would be if everyone got to eat here), By Chloe is hands down one of my favorite NYC spots. I could spend hours here eating quite possibly everything on the menu.
What to order: I, Katherine, am a creature of habit and went with my go-to, the Quinoa Taco salad. I also ordered a piece of HEAVENLY chocolate chip banana bread because I lack any and all restraint. (I actually do deserve a pat on the back for resisting the urge to order a side of Mac & Cheese. Though I did end up eating a hefty portion of Maia's...) I, Maia, the devoted meat-lover I am, went for the dubious pesto meatball sub (is it even LEGAL to call this tofu concoction a meatball???) and the mac and cheese (which I'll admit was quite a masterpiece of cashew proportions, yet will sadly never replace a good 'ol cheesy heart-attack in a bowl). While the sub pleasantly surprised me, I'm still not entirely sure about this vegan mac and cheese thing. We both admired the mushroom "bacon" on top, Katherine for the taste, Maia for the effort.
Cha Cha Matcha
Finally a meal we can agree on: Cha Cha Matcha was completely worthy of all of the hype. We have been eyeing this spot, which specializes in Matcha lattes and soft serve, for quite some time and were itching to try one of their towering twists. As evidenced by the odd small-hand-picture below, we quickly demolished our creamy soft serve and resisted the urge to go back for more.
What to order: Vanilla and Matcha twist, Iced Matcha Latte.
Our final real food stop of the trip (We include the word "real" because following this, we proceeded to buy cookies, banana pudding, and ice cream. Obviously on that Fashion Week diet.), Dudley's, with its edgy corner charm, embodies the up and coming East Village. Following a brief wait, we found ourselves a table outside and relished in our last morning in the city.
What to order: Yogurt & Granola (Definitely order another item if you want to feel tided over), Pancakes, and Juice (I, Katherine, went with The Rocket, and I, Maia, went with a watermelon concoction). The Eggs Benny, Rice Salad, and Shrooms Benedict looked worth coming back for!
We are avid believers in the following rule: if you go to NYC and don't indulge in one of Levain's infamous cookies, you didn't really visit NYC. This place is worth the wait. Every. Single. Time. Just take a moment to admire that molten chocolate goodness. You know you want every cheat day to look like this.
What to order: I, Katherine, always go with an oatmeal raisin and a chocolate peanut butter. I, Maia, being my first time here, went with the chocolate chip walnut, the chocolate peanut butter, and the single most chocolaty option for my roommate Leila, because if I visited NYC and didn't bring her back an instant cavity, what kind of roomie am I?
Ample Hills Creamery
Okay, I'll admit it. I will officially go on the record and say that I, Katherine Victoria Harrison, have a minor (read: major) obsession with ice cream. After stalking their instagram account for months, I had been DYING to try Ample Hills Creamery, a Brooklyn-based ice cream shop started by two ice cream lovers who felt that there could always be more cookie dough in cookie dough ice cream. Have you ever ordered a classic cone with say, Cookies n Cream, only to be disappointed by an overall lack of Oreo goodness? Not at Ample Hills. The owners actually say they want people to come back and complain about how jam-packed their flavors are. No complaints here. So good, I did come back, but only for more ice cream.
What to order: I think the question is what does one *not* order. Just google the flavors for yourself. Every single one is eclectic, eccentric, and delicious in their own rights. I, Katherine, went with their Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and Honeycomb flavors, and I, Maia, sampled one flavor (sweet cookie something and cream something) and ate it before I could picture it. So so so delish.
As you might be able to tell, we weren't exactly thinking of our runway bods when noming in the city, but who has time for that when there's ice cream and Levain cookies to be had? If you end up checking out any of these places, be sure to let us know what you think! Also, get excited for the final two installments in our NYFW series: the Street Style and the Beans.
Xx, Katherine & Maia