just returned from a quick trip to nyc to fulfill all my cravings (having lived in your fair town a few years back) - hit jean georges' cafe, pearl oyster bar, levain bakery, and easily the highlight of the trip - mariebelle's for hot chocolate.
mariebelle's was not on the agenda, but we were walking by and were intrigued. this is hot chocolate you can eat with a fork (well, almost). i'm talking chocolate sludge with chunks of heaven. we had the spicy (includes chili, chipotle, cinnamon) american style (with milk vs european style with water) and were totally blown away. we had to buy the "powder" to make at home and just did - it's 95% as good at home as it is in the cafe, and calling it a "powder" is not quite true - there are more bits and pieces than granules. divine stuff, maybe not to everyone's tastes, but amazing and a break from the norm.
as for our other stops - pearl's lobster roll was not quite up to memory - it was definitely more 'saucy' than it used to be and i prefer a simpler approach to the lobster salad. the fries were still great, and it was better than any lobster roll i can buy in san francisco anyway.
levain's cookies remain my all time favorites. we had the chocolate chip walnut and the oatmeal raisin and loved every bite of those giant chunks of cookie.
jean george's cafe (is it still called nougatine??) was excellent - though the menu has diverged a bit more from the main room than it used to. it's not too pricey either, except for the wine list which took our $100 meal to $160 for a nice german reisling. the foie gras with strawberries appetizer was wonderful.
thanks again new york for a great few days of eating.
mariebelle - 484 broome street, 212-925-6999