After having a great first biking* and eating around New York City day with my friend Leigh, we decided to do another. This time, working off our mutual love for baked goods, Leigh and I made our way around on Citibikes for the best of everything baked in NYC**.
Here’s the round-up of all our stops for you to enjoy on your next day out with a bike in New York.
Paris Sandwich, 213 Grand Street. The Vietnamese sandwich, or bahn mi, when done right, is one of my favorite snacks/meals from the Asia region. The secret is in the French baguette that contains the fresh pickled vegetables and slices of meat inside. Get a bahn mi that fails to deliver on the baguette and you’ll be in for a huge disappointment. At Paris Sandwich, the baguette is ALWAYS baked fresh and to perfection. And ranging between $4.50 to $5.75 for most sandwiches, it’s one of New York City’s best cheap eats deal around.
Dominique Ansel Bakery, 189 Spring Street. Pretty much anyone with an internet connection this past summer has heard of Dominique Ansel’s cronut, the object of every foodie’s desire. While the marriage between the croissant and donut may seem like a match made in heaven, waiting for hours in line during the early morning hours is not my idea of fun. Thankfully, Monsieur Ansel has the frozen s’more on hand. It’s a sizeable cube of vanilla ice cream wrapped inside a double layer of crispy chocolate wafer, and a blend of marshmallow and Turkish dondurma (a sticky ice cream of sorts) coating that is speared on a stick and roasted to order. Sounds amazing right? That’s because it is.
Mille-Feuille, 552 LaGuardia Place. When a patisserie named after another pastry is rumored to have the city’s best croissant, it has my attention. After tasting the buttery yet delicately flaky croissant at Mille-Feuille, I’m pretty convinced that this croissant is certainly a leading contender for New York’s top spot for “best croissant.” Until a trusted source can persuade me otherwise, I’m not going anywhere else in NYC for a croissant. And the namesake, mille-feuille? Yeah, that’s pretty darn good too.
Bleeker Street Pizza, 69 7th Avenue South. Pizza is for the masses. I honestly do not know a single person who does not like pizza and given the wide variety of ways pizza can be made, presented, and eaten: traditional, artisanal, thick crust, Sicilian-style, stuffed, fresh out of the oven, cold leftovers – the possibilities are endless. While there is no shortage of excellent pizza in all varieties and price ranges in New York, sometimes going back to the basics with pizza is just what you need. Bleeker Street Pizza is practically a NYC institution, consistently turning out NYC-style pizza for decades. This no-frills, order-eat-then-get-out place hits the spot when you’re looking for a quick and cheap bite to eat on the go. Unfortunately, the quality seems to have diminished in the few years since I was last here. I guess all good things must come to an end…
Melt, 132 Orchard Street. I can’t seem to get enough of ice cream sandwiches and the Melt versions are by far, my favorite in NYC. Stored frozen, the cookies are a bit of a workout to get through, but the flavors and combinations, along with the complimentary textures, go perfectly well together. “The Morticia,” made of crackly chocolate cookies coated with sugar between a very generous layer of smooth and creamy malted rum ice cream is perhaps my favorite of all the Melt creations, and I should know because I’ve sampled just about every single one of them. (It’s dangerous living just a few blocks away!)
With the sun setting, Leigh and I had our bellies full of baked goods (and a couple of tacos we snuck in earlier that afternoon). Thankfully we had been biking in between our destinations to help us work up our appetites for our next sampling. Ready to call it a night, we parked our bikes and headed home, sad that this would be our last time biking and eating around New York City for several months due to my upcoming trip to Asia. At least when spring arrives, we’ll all have something to look forward to!
*Biking in New York City, among being extremely fun and whimsical, can also be very dangerous. Although not mandatory by law, you should always wear a helmet because the chances of you getting hit by an angry taxi driver or “doored” are fairly high.
**There is a treasure trove of good, cheap eats in Brooklyn, but I can only eat and bike so much in one day. That’s why this guide focuses only in Manhattan.