World’s Best Whole Foods: Bryant Park

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If you live in NYC, you probably know that the literal best Whole Foods Market just opened in Bryant Park. It opened in the best Bryant Park location you could have…with views from its sit-down raw bar restaurant…yes, you read that correctly, RAW  BAR RESTAURANT…overlooking the park. Since I already mentioned the glorious-amazing-ridiculous-in-a-good-way raw bar restaurant, I’ll start there. If you don’t care about NYC or Whole Foods or raw bars, well, it sucks to suck. I went to the raw bar for lunch on a Thursday around 12:45 pm, and, boy was it crowded. But, we were able to be seated at the restaurant immediately, so that was nice. We ordered oysters to start. The oysters were very fresh and quite delicious. It did not feel like we were eating raw oysters at a grocery store…at all. Not trying to sound elitist if you like to eat at grocery stores and stuff but like really? 

Here are the aforementioned wonderful and fresh oysters. Oh yeah, we got shrimp too. Winning.  YASSS Whole Foods Bryant Park

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Continuing on… you don’t want to miss this…to lobster rolls! Wicked awesome!

The lobster roll was incredible. All three of us ordered lobster rolls. It was even better than the lobster rolls I had on the Cape (Cod) a few months ago. Sorry, Massholes…don’t kill me…or send Whitey Bulger to get me. Or like you can send Mark Wahlberg…that is fine. FINE. Anyways…the lobster was so fresh and tasty and the lobster roll had big chunks of meat. Word choice? Oops. The amount of mayo used was legitimate and appropriate enough that New Yorkers won’t complain or have to take 2 classes at Equinox immediately following consumption.

Here is the epic lobster roll…from Whole Foods…can you believe it?

img_4942 Moving on…even though the lobster roll was truly amazing. Here are some highlights from the actual Whole Foods Market store. There’s an out-of-this-world cheese section, there’s a produce butcher that will chop your veggies for you…there’s a fresh tahini and halva cart and a sesame pastry cart…there’s a beautiful espresso bar…there’s an entire beauty product store basically…you get the picture…Bryant Park Whole Foods rocks. Here are some photos of the highlights. If you haven’t checked out this new Whole Foods, you should probably run, don’t walk (cuz you’ll get trampled by all the suits in midtown) on over to this wonderful place.

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Let them eat cake…from Lady M Cake Boutique

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Checker Cake. Lady M cake boutique. From the Lady M booth at The Plaza Food Hall. Eloise ain’t got nothing on this. Kevin McCallister would definitely choose Lady M cake over the ice cream feast he had in his suite at The Plaza. Don’t like chocolate? You may some personal issues if you don’t like chocolate but you’re in luck because Lady M also has a variety of non-chocolate cakes. Mille crepe is their specialty and it is delicious. The checker cake was probably my second favorite of the Lady M cakes – who doesn’t like a fluffy, light, chocolate cake that has a wonderful checker pattern to it? The Picasso of cakes. Taking cubism to new levels. 

If you haven’t been to The Plaza Food Hall – you NEED to go. You can get lobster rolls, macarons, cake and MORE … all at the same place! Oh ya and if you don’t like chocolate- you need to work on that. 

The Mermaid Inn: Manhattan Staple…Only thing missing is a dinglehopper

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“Under the sea”…actually in a back-room-indoor-courtyard-oasis with dim lighting and filled with smiles. Happy customers at this East Village stronghold. Who knew Manhattanites could be this happy eating seafood on a freezing winter night.  

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My friends and I were a bit overwhelmed by the options. So cliche, a group of women who can’t decide on what to eat because everything on the menu looks good. We knew we wanted to start out with oysters, but we got into a debate over East vs. West Coast oysters. Can you say first world problems? Luckily we returned to our senses. 

So the waiter helped us create a beautiful combination of East and West Coast oysters, and let’s just say they looked pretty on the plate for a whole 3 minutes – before they were devoured.

If you don’t want to bug your waiter to help you order or you’re just so into the convenience of your iPhone, iTouch, or iPad, and want to use it at dinner, there is an Oysterpedia app that The Mermaid Inn created. OK so this is definitely a first world problem in more ways than one. But, I must say it is pretty genius and seems like it could be useful. 

The oysters were great, and even though I liked the East Coast ones A LOT –  my blog name is the EAST COAST food blogger after all – the West Coast oysters were incredible.

The true highlight of my meal was the main course. Even though I generally find all things to come out of New England a bit annoying – OK just the Patriots and Tom Brady – I ordered the lobster roll. It was pretty much everything and more than you can ask from a lobster roll. Oh and it came with Old Bay seasoned fries. #yesplease

photo-3 lobster roll at The Mermaid Inn – Photo Credit: Gotham Magazine’s best lobster rolls in NYC article 

This lobster roll was included on a list of the best lobster rolls in the city. The fact that this list exists makes me want to try all of them and see for myself. It will be hard to top this one from The Mermaid Inn.

I loved the company I was with, the ambience in the nautical indoor courtyard space, the lobster roll, and last-but-not-least the complimentary dessert. Literal “icing on the cake”.

They give you chocolate pudding cups (which they also give you at the sister restaurant Mermaid Oyster Bar which I have also dined at). In addition to these bite-sized, perfectly portioned pudding cups, you get a fish fortune. A plastic fish that moves when placed in your palm and tells you what you are feeling. According to my fish fortune I was feeling passionate, but one of my dining companions was feeling envious according to her fish. HMM. 

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A pleasant , happy, tasty meal. I mean anywhere with oysters + lobster + free dessert… can you say happiness?

Who’s kitchen? Hu Kitchen…Humans that is.

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Oh, New York. On a rainy, wintry-mix kind of Saturday morning, over the long MLK weekend, I had the pleasure of experiencing Hu Kitchen near Union Square. This ‘straunt , as one of my good friends likes to say, is located directly across from the rust-colored New School building (or in simpler terms 14th and 5th).

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In New York City one can encounter any cuisine they are searching for…you want some South African food for lunch? No problem you have multiple options…are you dying for Serbian food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? I mean, honestly who isn’t? Are you over-the-moon about Barbadian food? You can get Barbadian or barbaric food, whatever you prefer, whenever you want in NYC. What I’m getting at is that you have so many options in New York City, and Hu Kitchen clearly demonstrates that eating in New York is like nowhere else, and other cities should start taking notes…yesterday. Hu Kitchen is a Paleo friendly, entirely Gluten-Free, mostly grain-free casual restaurant. You may be asking what is Paleo…just think about how Ross on Friends was a paleontologist…and the Paleolithic Period you studied in school…well if you don’t catch on yet, it is a back-to-the-roots diet focused on pre-industrial foods. I’m going to event a term to describe just how food-allergy friendly Hu Kitchen is…it is basically-everything-friendly.

I went to Hu Kitchen to grab brunch with some friends, and one of the friends just happened to be following the Paleo diet. I am so pleasantly surprised by my experience at Hu Kitchen. I was so pleased with my meal that I didn’t even notice that there was no cheese involved in my delicious breakfast bowl. That’s right…I didn’t even miss having cheese in this tasty concoction.Image

My breakfast bowl had a root vegetable mash base and a sunny side up egg  and vegetable medley on top. I also had some sweet potato hash which was incredible. In addition to the delectable breakfast bowl and sweet potato hash, my friend and I shared the freshest of the fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice. If i’m ever not really hungry (slim chance), I will come by Hu Kitchen just to grab a fresh juice. The fruits and veggies at the juice bar were of such good quality and were displayed attractively; it really made you want to order a juice. AND that is saying something…Image

They also have Paleo-friendly baked goods, packaged gluten-free granola and more…all of which looked incredibly (and surprisIngly) appetizing. 

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