Tag Archives: West Village

Gray’s Papaya Closing

So the big NYC food news is that Gray’s Papaya is closing its West Village location due to a rent hike.  It is iconic, known for its super cheap hot dogs.  I admit, though, that I only ate there once, while a student at NYU.  I’m not a big hot dog person, so it wasn’t top on my list.  But it’s always sad to see an iconic restaurant, especially one in the Village, close.

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Lunch: Umami Shoppu

I really wanted to try the ramen at Umami Shoppu in the West Village, but when I went here for lunch, I was craving sushi.  So I ordered a lunch special of two rolls and salad for $9.  A great deal in NYC!

My salad:

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My sushi:  a Philly roll and a salmon avocado roll.  A great value for lunch.  I do want to return to try the ramen some time, as it sounds delish!

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Afternoon Tea: Tea & Sympathy

One of my favorite places in NYC is Tea & Sympathy on Greenwich Avenue (not to be confused with Greenwich Street) in the West Village.  I have been going to this haven for British ex-pats and Britophiles for a long time.  My favorite thing to get is the afternoon tea for one with finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam and assorted cakes.  It is truly a special treat.  It used to be very hard to get seated here with a long wait, but these days when I come, I’m seated right away.  On this latest visit with a friend, I got scones with clotted cream and they were deliciously wonderful, as always.

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Of course, I got tea in these adorable tea pots.

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My friend ordered the shepherd’s pie and enjoyed it very much.

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Two for Tuesday: Croissant Doughnuts and Bagel Balls

Is there anything better than a doughnut, a croissant or a bagel?  Can you really improve upon perfection?  Well, the popularity and the “black market” cronuts would have one believe that you can.  Having never tried a cronut, I can’t speak to them.  I have tried the knockoff at Crumbs and wasn’t impressed.  On a recent trip to the grocery store Food Emporium, I tried two of its “croissant donuts”:  strawberry and salted caramel.  At first glance, they look delicious.  Knowing that they come from Food Emporium makes one believe they will taste like grocery store baked goods.  And guess what?  They do–but in a really yummy way.  I have to say I enjoyed the cream in both of these, especially the strawberry.  I still have yet to taste an authentic cronut, but these are pretty darn good.  They have layers like a croissant but more of a doughnut flavor.

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Is this better than a doughnut or a croissant?  Well, no, I like both for different reasons.  I like my doughnuts sweet with jelly or sugar and my croissants savory with butter.  So I probably think of these more as doughnuts.

At Bantam Bagels on Bleecker Street in the West Village, the bagels are small, round balls of bagel dough filled with cream cheese…well, not always.  The takeout spot has a variety of bagels to choose from.  I got a French toast, an everything and an onion bagel.  The first thing they do is toast these in a small oven.  I wish they would ask if you want them toasted before they put them in the oven because I don’t like toasted bagels.  The French toast bagel was my favorite.  It was flavorful, cinnamony and had an ample amount of a sweet cream cheese inside.  The onion bagel had a dot of butter inside.  These were a real disappointment because they didn’t have enough cream cheese inside and some had no cream cheese at all (which I didn’t know because I made an assumption when I saw onion that it would just have cream cheese in it).  Also, the dough is hard.

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Bantam bagels are $1.35 each.  While I enjoy a little experimentation, it’s hard to justify charging a high price for something that just isn’t that great.

This idea reminded me of bagel knots from Chesapeake Bagel Bakery.  They were a pastry made from bagel dough with an icing on top.  They were delicious, but the bakery discontinued making them.

7 NYC Candy Stores

When I was a kid, I remember trick-or-treating in my neighborhood and getting large-sized chocolate bars of many of the popular candies.  There was a woman who always gave out popcorn balls and a doctor who gave out apples.  They were not my favorites, but looking back on it, those were more of the memorable Halloween treats.  As I got older, I noticed the candy became smaller, as people opted for smaller-sized treats to give out, probably due to the cost of candy.

I don’t think of specialty candy when I think of Halloween candy, but if you are in the city for Halloween and want to pick up some candy or find yourself a sweet treat to celebrate, here are some candy stores to visit.  Admittedly, I am not a big candy eater, so I don’t frequent candy stores all that often.  My favorite candy store in the city is Sockerbit because I have a like for all things Scandinavian, and I like the tart gummy candies.

Meatpacking District

Sugar Factory–At Sugar Factory, you can get a variety of candy cocktails with flavors of popular candies like Jolly Rancher, Blow Pop, Lemon Heads and Hubba Bubba bubble gum with a real piece of Hubba Bubba.  There are also 60-oz. drinks in ginormous goblets.  Sugar Factory is a restaurant, but it also has a retail candy store.

46 Gansevoort Street (between Washington Street & Greenwich Street), (212) 414-8700, www.sugarfactory.com/new-york-citys-meatpacking-district-0

Midtown East

FAO Schweetz–A candy store inside the famous toy store.  It has all types of candy, including giant gummy bears.

767 5th Avenue, (212) 644-9400, www.fao.com

FAO Schweetz
FAO Schweetz

Little Italy

Papabubble–If you like hard candy, Papabubble is the place for you.  The shop is a modest size and specializes in artisan hard candy in a variety of shapes and flavors.

380 Broome Street (between Mott Street & Mulberry Street), (212) 966-2599, www.papabubbleny.com

Lower East Side

Economy Candy–An old-fashioned candy store with all kinds of candy, including nuts and jelly beans.  They also have novelty gift items like Pez and specialty candies like halvah and Turkish delight.

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108 Rivington Street (between Ludlow Street & Essex Street), (212) 254-1531, www.economycandy.com

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West Village

Sockerbit–A Swedish candy store with all kinds of colorful licorice and gummy candies in sweet, sour and tart varieties.  My favorite of all the candy stores listed.  They also have a limited selection of Scandinavian knickknacks and gourmet food products.

89 Christopher Street (between 7th Avenue South & Bleecker Street), (212) 206-8170, www.sockerbit.com

Swedish sweets

Swedish sweets

The London Candy Co.–For the expat Brit or Britophile, the London Candy Co. has all  your favorite candy from the UK.

267 Bleecker Street (between Cornelia Street & Morton Street), (212) 427-2129, www.thelondoncandycompany.com

Sugar and Plumm–The main location of this candy store is on the Upper West Side, but this outpost is a candy store and bakery.  The UWS location is a bistro with a full menu along with a retail candy store.  The desserts here will satisfy any sweet tooth!

257 Bleecker Street, (212) 388-5757, www.sugarandplumm.com/

Dinner: Sant Ambroeus

West Fourth Street in the West Village is one of my favorite streets, and it has a plethora of quaint and trendy restaurants.  On a few occasions, I’ve come to Milanese restaurant Sant Ambroeus looking for a table only to find it booked.  Forget about brunch there.  I was told I’d have to make reservations in advance two weeks for an outside table.  Whether or not that is true, I do not know, but this past Friday night, I was able to eat inside without a wait.  While the outdoor tables are cute because you get a great view of the Village, the interior of the restaurant is quite pleasant.  The space is intimate–perfect for a date.

While there were many appealing items on the menu, I went with the salmon special.  This salmon dish was wonderful.  You wouldn’t think much of the spinach topping, but it was so flavorful and went so well with salmon.

salmon

My friend ordered the strozzapreti and lobster special.  Well, my salmon was delicious, but I was jealous of his dinner because this dish was out of this world good.  (A side note on strozzapreti.  Translated, it means “priest strangler.”  My grandmother used to make these, and in her Neapolitan dialect, it was a different word.)

strozzapreti

For sides, we got sautéed Tuscan kale with tomatoes and pan roasted Brussels sprouts.  The kale was excellent.  The Brussels sprouts were blah, but we didn’t notice since the rest of the food was superb.

kale
Yes, Sant Ambroeus is known for its baked goods, and you would expect moi to get baked goods at a place known for such things. But I was full, and in New York fashion, I wanted to restaurant-hop and get dessert elsewhere. So I have an excuse to return to Sant Ambroeus.

Brunch: The Little Owl

The Little Owl on Bedford Street in the West Village is the restaurant on the ground floor of the building where Monica’s apartment was on the show Friends.  It’s across the street from 17 Grove Street, built in 1822 and one of the few wooden houses left in NYC.  Despite its proximity to historical and pop cultural landmarks, The Little Owl is a destination on its own.  Very popular for brunch, The Little Owl usually has long lines, but the day I visited, there was no wait.

The brunch menu had a lot of enticing dishes, but I’m glad I got the perfectly poached eggs atop pork polenta cakes.

little owl poached eggs polenta cakes
My friend opted for a more classic version of poached eggs with greens.

poached eggs