Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Getting my sugar rush in New York City

I've lived almost all my life about 25 minutes away from DC.  I grew up thinking it was completely normal for an area to have a couple dozen free museums and hundreds of amazing restaurants.  It was so normal to me that I never really ventured much into the city.  Why bother?  It'd always be there when I wanted it.  Sure, when friends and family came to visit, I took them into the capital and showed them around, and sure, my family celebrated many, many birthdays eating out at various places like Central, CityZen, Vidalia, and Hook, but I was never a city girl.

Now, I live about 25 minutes (via train) from New York City.  And the city that never sleeps has somehow seduced me.  I used to get lost here all the time when I would come visit during college.  I would get frustrated by the complicated subway system (don't try to tell me it's simple when there's always rerouting due to construction!) and confused by words like "Midtown" and "borough."
But now I don't walk around staring at my smartphone for directions anymore, and I can actually kind of navigate the subway.  I have my places that I like to go to eat, and the other day someone actually asked me for directions (mistaken for a native, yes!).  Best of all, for the first time ever, I've experienced what Christmas looks like in the Big Apple.  The lights, the tree (frankly, it's a bit overrated), the window displays, the holiday market...

I love the holiday market.  After stumbling upon the one at Union Square the weekend before Thanksgiving, I've now been back three times.  I know there are other markets, but I just can't get enough of this one.  I love the artisan booths, the food stalls, and the farmer's market.  Most of all, I love Wafels and Dinges.  And yes, I did spell that right.
This food stall is also a food truck that you may have seen around the city if you're a native (which I clearly am not).  And they make the most amazing waffles I've ever tasted.  I don't even like waffles.  But these ones?  These ones I love.  As their menu will tell you, their liège wafel with spekuloos spread and whipped cream is the "legendary and glorious victor of the Battle with the Great Flay."  In other words, it won Throwdown with Bobby Flay.  And I can see why.  These chewy waffles are fragrant and fluffy with caramelized edges and they are delicious when eaten with spekuloos spread.  You really can't compare them to any other waffle you've tasted.  These are in a league of their own.

liège wafel with spekuloos spread and strawberries, from Wafels and Dinges

And if there's only one other place you have time to hit up before leaving the city?  I'd recommend the Doughnut Plant.  I've known about this place for years now, and it really is worth the hype.  The first I ever tried the doughnuts, I was visiting the city with my parents for my 17th birthday.  We bought a dozen doughnuts for the four of us, intending on bringing some home, but oh, how foolish we were.  We were completely unprepared for how good those doughnuts would be.  That box did not make it home intact.  Thankfully, I learned my lesson.  The place is still as good today as it was years ago when I first went, and now when I go here to get doughnuts for myself and two of my best friends, the order is for half a dozen doughnuts.  That's right.  Three girls, six doughnuts.  Best sugar high ever.

clockwise from top right: vanilla bean glaze with strawberry jelly, banana nut, blueberry,
peanut butter glaze with strawberry filling, Valrhona  chocolate, coconut cream
The yeasted doughnuts are my favorite, being so light and fluffy.  They have a great texture to them--just the right amount of bite and chew--and the flavors are fantastic.  My personal favorite is the take on a PB+J sandwich.  The yeast doughnuts are filled with fruit jam made from scratch and then they are topped with a delicious peanut butter glaze and peanuts.  Heavenly.  The coconut creme doughnut is also a revelation.  I wasn't so sure about ordering it the last time I went, but the guy behind the counter convinced me, and so I tried it and boy, am I glad I did.  The Doughnut Plant is great at getting flavors spot on.  None of that artificial stuff.  I'm not normally a coconut person because I don't like coconut flavoring, but real coconut is delicious.  And that's what I got from that doughnut.  Doughnut Plant does not disappoint.
Doughtnut Plant's peanut butter glazed, blackberry jam filled yeast doughnut.  Yum!

Doughnut Plant
379 Grand St (between Essex St & Norfolk St)
New York, NY 10002
Tel. 212-505-3700
open Tues-Sun 6:30 am till they sell out (normally around 5-6pm)


  1. I love the doughnut plant! a little expensive but a great guilty pleasure

  2. I just cannot believe you had the audacity to not bring these home.