Looking for some best of NYC food
August 29, 2014 5:11 PM   Subscribe

We are planning a trip to NYC in November and looking for some specific 'best of' food recommendations...

The catch is that we are not looking specifically for fancy or expensive meals. It is the snacky food which interests us. We are looking for:

- Best cookie in NYC
- Best cupcake in NYC

He likes cookies, I like cupcakes. We will accept the 'second best' for one of these if it's venue will allow us to combine into one outing

- Best fries in NYC
- Best vegan/vegetarian specialty restaurant
- Best place to buy lunchbox/bento supplies

We are staying in the Times Square area and are planning outings to a Broadway show, the Lego store, Dylan's Candy Bar, the public library from Ghostbusters and so on. Recommendations for snacky food experiences around these locations would be great. We want to try All the Things of New York and so would rather have many snacks than three squares while we are there.
posted by JoannaC to Food & Drink (28 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
So many options. Can you give us more details? What kind of cookie/cupcake, etc.. perhaps Momofuku Milk Bar? And unless you absolutely love cupcakes, cronuts are the more typical touristy dessert right now.
posted by acidic at 5:21 PM on August 29, 2014

Response by poster: Peanut butter or chocolate chip cookie. And I definitely want a cupcake, not a cronut :-)

Don't mean to thread-sit :-) Just want to make sure you have all the info. We have been saving up for this trip for awhile and it is a bit of a special one for various reasons. We want it to be fantastic.
posted by JoannaC at 5:29 PM on August 29, 2014

Cookies, I am very partial to Levain Bakery. My suggestion for vegan would be Red Bamboo.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:30 PM on August 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: First, by virtue of it being midtown, there won't be that many (that is, any) snacky places around you at all.

Best cookie - Momofuku Milk Bar.
Best cupcake - maybe Magnolia's Bakery, although I find their banana pudding to be better.
Best fries - Pommes Frites.
Best vegan/vegetarian: Lula's Sweet Apothecary, Saravana Bhavan, Angelica's Kitchen, Red Bamboo.
Best lunchbox/bento supply place: Sunset Mart in the east village, or Kinokukiya in midtown, or the second floor of Kalyustan's for an Indian-style lunchbox.
posted by suedehead at 5:38 PM on August 29, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best vegetarian/vegan: Buddha Bodai (dim sum)
Best cupcake: Robicellis, available various places, including Icon which is pretty near Buddha Bodai
Seconding Levain for cookies
posted by ferret branca at 5:46 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Vegan lunch truck http://www.cinnamonsnail.com
Also, Google Tiam mobile for the most awesomist falafel if that sounds good.
posted by cestmoi15 at 5:52 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, and cupcakes at baby cakes, hands down.
posted by cestmoi15 at 5:52 PM on August 29, 2014

Best answer: For the lunchbox/bento supplies, check out Pearl River Mart. It is a three level superstore with everything you could possibly imagine. There is tons of kitchenware, home decor and Asian snacks/tea. You could easily spend hours there and everything is very reasonably priced.
posted by dangerbird at 5:57 PM on August 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Cupcake: Two Little Red Hens. The Dean and Deluca by the New York Times building carries a few flavors, but the Brooklyn Blackout is ridiculously good.

Cookie: Momofuku Milk Bar, especially the compost or cornflake. Or corn. Or blueberries and cream. Actually just get any of them, you can't go wrong. The cake truffles are also yummy.
posted by constellations at 6:08 PM on August 29, 2014

Momofuku Milk Bar cookies look like crazy flavors to me...

My vote is +1 to Levain Bakery for special-event-quality cookies. Awwwww yessssss....
posted by Zephyrial at 6:32 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Bento supplies meaning Japanese food items ? Sunrise Mart. Or take the bus to Mitsuwa in NJ.
posted by JPD at 6:42 PM on August 29, 2014

Momofuku milk bar cookies are weird as hell, and AMAZING.

Don't go to Magnolia for cupcakes, it's super touristy and the cupcakes are very meh. Go for the banana pudding, which is a revelation.

+1 to Pommes Frites for best fries.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:50 PM on August 29, 2014

Momofuku cake truffles SO delicious if you have a double sweet tooth
Levain worth walking out of your way for chocolate chip cookies
The City Bakery pretzel croissants (not on your list but so snack-worthy)

Bouchon Bakery - skip it I am sad to say
posted by RoadScholar at 6:51 PM on August 29, 2014

Also, if you like snacky stuff and a jaunt to Brooklyn isn't too far out of your way, check out Smorgasburg.
posted by Itaxpica at 6:52 PM on August 29, 2014

*takes notes for my business trip next week*

I went on an bento box search during a NYC trip about 5 years ago and had terrible luck. Kinokuniya is not great for actual bento boxes, but they often have some great little tenugui and/or furoshiki for wrapping boxes, and cool magazines/books about packing bento (In Japanese, but still plenty inspiring.) It's a really nice store.

If you live in an area where Italian cookies are not available, and/or if you like them, Veniero's has amazing Italian cookies and other treats.
posted by tchemgrrl at 7:05 PM on August 29, 2014

City Bakery. It's a substantial cookie, and the chocolate chunks are, some-crazy-how, melty for hours after they're made. Probably voodoo magic.

Butter Lane. Choose a cake type, choose a frosting type, eat way too fast, repeat.

Seconding Pearl River Mart.
posted by D.Billy at 7:26 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

The ultimate New York City snack food is a slice of pizza. And, the best by-the-slice pizza is Joe's on Father Demo Square. If you go to Greenwich Village and Bleeker St one night (a good spot for bars, nightlife, and music) - make sure you get a slice at Joe's!!
posted by Flood at 7:46 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

The best vegan restaurant I've eaten at in NYC is Sun in Bloom -- I've only been to their location in Brooklyn, but apparently there's one in Tribeca as well. It's not cheap, but it's insanely tasty. If you want something more...Fried? Sweet? You could try one of the Zen Palate locations. It's an old favorite of many of my veggie/vegan friends, although not as much to my personal taste.

If you want to eat a bunch of small delicious things in a relatively short amount of time, you probably want to be in the East Village. Pommes Frites, Yakitori Taisho, Criff Dogs, Momofuku Milk Bar, Panya Bakery, Otafuku, Spot Dessert Bar, and about a billion other places. I worked in the area a few years back, but new restaurants are CONSTANTLY opening. Honestly, you could just wander along St. Marks Place and 9th Street and see what looks interesting! And the East Village -- even today's cleaned-up, Starbucks-ified version -- is about a billion times more interesting than midtown.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:51 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you plan on going to Levain, walk down half a block to try a warm chocolate chip cookie from Jacques Torres Chocolates, too. You know, for science.
posted by spec80 at 8:29 PM on August 29, 2014 [3 favorites]

For fries, check out http://pommesfritesnyc.com/ for really fries and a huge selection of dipping sauces (the peanut satay sauce or whatever it's called... yum..). It's a tiny place and gets very crowded and might have a short line outside, so you might not be able to sit and might have to get your fries in a paper cone to go. Worth it though, it's definitely an awesome snack that will fill you up.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 8:55 PM on August 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

The best cookie I've eaten in NYC (or, indeed, in my entire life) is from the Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side.

It was a thick cookie, crispy on the outside, soft and gooey in the middle. Delicious.
posted by essexjan at 12:57 AM on August 30, 2014

cookies - http://www.schmackarys.com/.

you're welcome.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 1:04 AM on August 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best hot chocolate in NY, City Bakery.
posted by kinetic at 3:03 AM on August 30, 2014

Best answer: Best vegan/vegetarian restaurant by far is Blossom's West Village location on Carmine. Also look at Candle 79, and Champs in Brooklyn.
posted by lunalaguna at 6:56 AM on August 30, 2014

Nthing levain which I had never heard of until stumbling upon it last weekend. Wow. Gigantic delicious and the peanut butter chocolate cookie was so good. It's near Central park so combine a trip with a stroll through the park.

I like vegetarian paradise 2 down in the village if you like vegetarian Chinese food. Their mango fake chicken is yum.

If you're down in Soho sunrise mart is better than pearl river I think for bento stuff. Once you're done hike over to tacombi for very tasty tacos.
posted by ch1x0r at 12:01 PM on August 30, 2014

Best answer: Oh, and if you're staying in Times Square, your best options for interesting walkable food nearby are to go northwest to Hell's Kitchen (50th and 8th, 9th, etc). Everything else will be either 1) a rip-off, 2) not so great, 3) only open during the day as they cater to the daytime business crowd.

However, there are a few good Japanese katsu and lunchtime bento box places around the Mid-Manhattan Library (the Ghostbusters library) - surprisingly affordable and good. All other restaurants around there is a toss-up or overly pricey.
posted by suedehead at 10:10 PM on August 30, 2014

Nthing Pommes Frites. SO GOOD.

Vegetarian? Borscht at Veselka...recently they had blueberry pelmeni, too, which were fab.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:00 PM on August 31, 2014

Another +1 for Pommes Frites.

I agree with Flood above for Joe's Pizza on Bleeker. And when you're done, go around the corner to Molly's Cupcakes, where you'll find the best cupcakes in NYC.

I got their cupcakes for my wedding last year, and people are STILL talking about them. You could do what me and hubs have been known to do when we go there which is get 4 different flavor cupcakes in a to go box and we cut them each in half and have 1/4 each of the 4 cupcakes. Then the next morning (or who's kidding, later that evening) you'll have more cupcakes to snack on. Definite YES to the chocolate decadence and YES to the pumpkin spice.
posted by AlisonM at 11:58 AM on September 1, 2014

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