Hi friends! I’ve been in New York for the past week. 5 days, to be exact. I’ve seen basically all there is to see, ridden the subway so much that I’ve memorized the stations in lower Manhattan, and most importantly, eaten a whole lot of food. New York was everything I’d dreamed it would be, and more! Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Top of the Rock + the Rockefeller Christmas tree… they’re all exactly how I’d imagined. Especially during the holiday season, traveling to the city was utterly and completely magical.
You know the saying, “Sundays are for brunch”? Well, when you’re vacationing in New York City, the saying should be, “Everyday is a good day to brunch.” Because we didn’t have to get up early, my parents and I brunched every single day we were there. By combining breakfast and lunch, it saves money, and gives you an excuse to eat a late afternoon “snack” at Black Tap or Cookie Do. Plus, brunch is ALWAYS a good idea.
So my first post of 2018 is a food guide of all of the brunch spots we ate at in NYC. Starting off the new year right? I think so.
Pictured: plain latte, farmer’s omelette with a pumpkin muffin
On our very first day in NYC, we stopped at restaurant called Sarabeth’s, located in the Greenwich district (I’ve heard that it’s pronounced “GRUN-wich”). Obviously I ordered coffee, and upon a glance at the menu, I wanted to try at least 6 of their items! I was debating between a couple of the omelets and their french toast, but ultimately I decided not to stuff myself with too many sweets. The farmer’s omelette + a pumpkin muffin was the perfect combination that left me satisfied and ready to take on New York! My mom got the chicken sausage and kale frittata, and my dad got the tribeca breakfast, which is a massive plate of pancakes, sausage, bacon and eggs… he was really hungry that day.
Pictured: eggs Benedict and two eggs: any style
Here’s some things you should know about Norma’s: ridiculously overpriced, average, excessively enormous food, w/ horrible service and lots and lots of waiting.
On this blog, I have never once given a negative review about a restaurant. If it’s a bad restaurant, I won’t even bother featuring it here. But I feel like this one is worth mentioning, because I’ve read so many great reviews on it (namely here and Yelp)! I guess the serving size of the food gives them an excuse for jacking up the price so badly, but the food was so average and nothing special. My dad had a very bad experience with his lobster omelette; he felt so nauseous afterwards that he didn’t have much of an appetite for lunch or dinner.
I don’t want to intentionally bash them, of course. My expectations were pretty high, but my eggs Benedict were nothing special. I want y’all to know the truth. This is a brunch spot we went to in NYC, and obviously I’m not going to pretend that it was great just for the sake of putting it on the blog.
Ordered: matzo ball soup, veggie bowl, and eggplant baguette
Jack’s Wife Freda was actually my personal favorite brunch restaurant we stopped at. They serve a lovely array of Mediterranean/Jewish food that I enjoyed… especially their Matzo ball soup!! Their veggie bowl was loaded with all of my faves: spaghetti squash, quinoa, roasted tomatoes, avocado, and kale. My dad’s skirt steak sandwich, the Prego roll (not pictured), was surprisingly delicious! I’ve been eating a lot more meat recently, which is pretty different of me. Only good meat, of course, and Jack’s Wife Freda serves some of the best! The buns, which were perfectly toasted, are smeared with the most delicious garlic butter. My mom ordered the eggplant baguette, which was layered with soft, roasted eggplant, mozzarella, and pesto.
Although there is a wait, there are so many great coffeehouses to check out around the area! We got our spot in line, and went to Cha Cha Matcha to grab some coffee. On the way there, we cut through Little Italy, which is obviously loaded with so many cute little Italian restaurants. By the time we walked back, coffees in hand, it was time to eat. What a perfect way to start the day!
Pictured: The early bird, pesto “meatball” sandwich, and mornin’ glory, with air-fried sweet potato fries
Right when we got off the plane and set foot into New York City, I knew I wanted to go to By Chloe. By Chloe is literally everywhere on Instagram, and bloggers constantly rave about its delicious, trendy, vegan food. I loved it! Although I ordered a basic mornin’ glory breakfast sandwich, I enjoyed it very much. The fries were delicious too, and dunked in their beet ketchup dip, were heaven.
I also came to this place partially because I wanted to test if the food was good enough, so that even my parents, who don’t like vegan food in the slightest, might like it. Unfortunately, they didn’t, because my mom hates black beans (she ordered the early bird, which had a black bean pattie in it) with a passion and my dad love love loves meat (I guess the pesto “meatball” sandwich wasn’t good enough for him). Don’t take their word for it, because I tried both of their meals and thought they were great, sooooooooo…
They thought the beet ketchup dip was amazing, though. I’ll give By Chloe some major props for that :-)
Ordered: The Pink Drink
… the worst mistake ever. The pink drink itself was delicious, under normal circumstances. However, it was 20 degrees outside and I forgot to take in consideration the fact that it was a cold beverage. Like I mentioned above, we’d just gotten our place in line at Jack’s Wife Freda and had walked a couple blocks in the cold, New York weather. I ordered the pink drink, knowing it would resemble the Starbucks pink drink, so I’m not even sure what I was expecting. I guess just wanted something nice, warm, and caffeinated, but also fun? My mom and dad ordered the chai matcha and matcha latte, respectively, which I actually loved. I’ve never been a matcha/green tea kind of person, but it’s growing on me!
Also, can we please talk about the adorable neon sign and COMPLETELY PINK EVERYTHING?? This little place is basically all I would want in a coffeeshop.
Pictured: The Cronut™, cookie shot glasses, various pastries that I could stuff my face with right now (… no, we did not eat all of that for brunch. We only ate the Cronut, if that might make you feel any better.)
Not pictured: the DKA and Cannelé de Bordeaux cookies, which we packed and took back home with us. Because we are THAT extra.
Have you ever had a Cronut? It’s a croissant shaped like a donut, fried, and coated in cinnamon sugar. Let me tell you, it is basically the king of all pastries. It’s not like a regular donut, which is moist and cakey; the Cronut is crunchy and crisp on the outside, and buttery, fall-apart flaky on the inside. And Dominique Ansel is where it all began.
Yup. The very place in Soho where the first Cronut was ever created and sold to the public, was right in the heart of the famous shopping district of NYC. It’s a little cafe that, during tourist seasons, will always have a line extending to the very back, looping around once, and then continuing out the door and onto the sidewalk outside. In 20 degree New York weather, it’s a pretty miserable wait, but I promise it’s completely worth it. And yes, my parents and I each ate a massive croissant/donut pastry for brunch, because we’re healthy like that.
We stopped here twice, actually. First, we came here on a cold evening and waited about 45 minutes only to find that the Cronut had sold out many hours prior to our visit. So we ordered three cookie shot glasses filled with vanilla-infused milk (which were soooo good), along with some hot chocolate. My mom returned on our very last day to pick up some Cronuts, and she also ordered the famous DKA, which is another super flaky, croissant-esque pastry, along with the Cannelé de Bordeauxes.
OKAY WOW that was a lot of words, photos, and food. But seriously! I hope this NYC brunch guide helped you at least a little bit, even if you’re just reading this because you like looking at pictures of food. I’d be happy with either, honestly! Please please please do yourself a favor, and make sure to stop at Jack’s Wife Freda and Dominique Ansel. Those were my two personal favorites! I also have a couple more NYC food guides coming your way, so be on the lookout for those.
We ate a LOT of good food.