This Toronto hound and her gluten free lactose intolerant vegetarian friend had a great visit last weekend in Manhattan. I had a quick look at the threads before arriving and made a list from everyone’s recs so a very big thank you to all for making this a wonderful eating experience. Our schedule had to be fluid so we only made 2 reservations before arriving and just picked from the list as needed. Here’s a summary of where we ended up:
Breads Bakery – Completely ignoring my friend’s inability to consume anything here, I happily dove in and sample the chocolate nutella babka. Flakier than I’m used to but still delicious and a definite repeat the next time I’m in town.
Franchia Vegan Café – we sampled the black sesame porridge (light in flavour and very underseasoned), leek pancakes (delicious), vegetarian curry hot pot (really tasty), the (not so) spicy franchia noodles (quite bland) and the red bean/black sesame/peanut mochi balls (filling was nice but the dough was dense and a little too thick). The room is beautiful and the service was good. We didn’t have reservations but had no problems getting a table and we never felt rushed.
Big Daddy’s – desperation led us here as the options for gluten free vegetarian breakfasts near the Metropolitan Museum on a weekday were limited. The GF menu was so grubby that my friend didn’t even attempt to pick it up and read it so she just ordered an omelette instead which she declared was satisfactory. I had the fried chicken (perfectly fried) and waffle.
Petite Shell – Picked up another chocolate nutella babka in order to compare. Found this one more doughy than flakey (which I liked) but too moist for my liking. Still tasty but I prefer Breads between the two. I didn’t get a chance to check out Arcade’s or Oneg’s versions on this trip unfortunately.
Candle 79 – Loved the mezze platter. Particularly the smoked hummus, eggplant caponata, almond tzatziki and roasted garlic. We shared the stuffed avocado (wonderfully refreshing with nice balance of textures & flavours) and the baby arugula salad. For dessert we had the chocolate peanut butter bliss (love love love this dessert) and the strawberry rhubarb pie (nicely done). The chocolate peanut butter bliss is a definite reorder the next time we’re in town. Really happy we had made a reservation here beforehand since the restaurant was quite full when we arrived for lunch at 2pm. Our wait staff were fantastic. Great attention to detail without being obtrusive.
Anjappar – perfectly serviceable fish biryani and chettinadu thali. The service was great. We had an earlier miscommunication that was quickly and happily rectified.
Penelope – Had a great brunch here. Service was great, loved the space and the food was delicious. I had the Bacon Egg Lettuce Tomato Sandwich with fries (way more food than I can possibly eat that early in the morning!) and my friend had the farmer’s omelette with home fries and gluten free toast (words can’t express how happy she was to find GF toast that didn’t taste like cardboard!). I was sorry that I didn’t have enough room to sample the monkey bread or the hibiscus doughnut they had for dessert. Next time!
Doughnuttery – I love cake doughnuts and I love doughnuts that are freshly made. This was pure heaven for me. Loved the variety of sugar flavours to choose from and was very happy with my selections (cinnamon sugar, vanilla glaze, cacaoboy-chocolate cookies/cacao nibs/mesquite/cocao/sea salt, pbcp-peanut butter/cayenne/pretzel). Service was great and the doughnuts were delicious and warm. A definite repeat for sure.
The Green Roll – Had a fresh and tasty quick bite at the Chelsea Market with a Mighty Mushroom roll. Curious to try some of the other rolls next time. The Spicy Mango looked interesting.
Doughnut Plant – Picked up a cinnamon sugar cake doughnut, a vanilla bean and a valrhona chocolate yeast doughnut to sample. They were tasty but not so spectacular that I would go out of my way again to seek out. I didn’t have the time (nor stomach room this trip) but I would like to check out Dough, Balthazar & Dough Loco’s selection next time.
Dirt Candy – We had high expectations for this reservation before we arrived and I’m so happy it succeeded in being the eating highlight of our trip. I really loved that Korean Fried Broccoli (super delicious) and the Mushroom appetizer (fantastic combination of textures and flavours). We enjoyed the fennel app (the pickled fennel was nice and refreshingly), cauliflower entrée (love the hit of chutney against all the cauliflower) and the eggplant entrée (the mapo eggplant was super flavourful). Super love the onion chocolate tart with the smoked almond sorbet. Will definitely build another eating trip around the restaurant in the future.
A perfect ending to a great weekend of eating. Can't wait to return. I've attached a link to my pix of our eating excursion. Thanks again everyone!