“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin
Every time I’ve sat down to write this post, I’ve gotten stuck. Stuck because there’s so much to say so succinctly. Stuck because it’s so hard to re-cap this whole New York experience. Last week, I had the absolute shock of a life-time winning Saveur’s Best Baking and Sweets Award, in both editor’s and readers choice. I couldn’t, and still can’t, believe it. I didn’t set my heart upon winning, nor did it cross my mind that I could win one, let alone – two awards.
The other bloggers nominated in my category are so talented. And I owe it to all of you, all of you that have continued to support me along this journey. So thank you. I plan to make a celebratory post as soon as I return home, so keep an eye out. But for now, there’s this post all about my time in this crazy place, New York.
My time in New York already feels a blur, the days already dripping in glaze. Arriving was an initial shock, the fast paced lifestyle was so different from my own – but I soon fell in love with the atmosphere, the languishing long lunches, of photographing, of having dessert straight after breakfast and of never knowing what to expect. The food was great, the shopping too.
I’ll forever be devastated that we don’t have Wholefoods or Anthropologie in Australia. And I for sure can’t get my hands on concord grapes, yellow raspberries or all the heirlooms as easily as I can in the city. But I think that’s what makes it all the more special though.
I didn’t play tourist, the monotonous motions have never appealed. There’s a vast difference between tourist and traveller, a distinction thats so often unrealised. Instead, I choose to see the city through food, and people. People that know New York, restaurants that capture the heart of the city.
We visited too many restaurants and had too many amazing meals. By far our favourites were Vic’s, Ladybird and ABC Kitchen. I’ve included a more in-depth shortlist of places below below. The bakeries in New York were fabulous too, I loved Lady M and Union Fare the most. Oh, and Seed and Mill too – they have like a million different types of halva (get the lemongrass!).
We also did Smorgasburg – for food and views, and Union Square Farmers Market – for produce. I was so grateful to meet up with Claudia, who was also Saveur nominated and is just as obsessed with New York eats like I am – we ran around the city on more than one occasion – photographing, eating and doing it all over again.
Meeting really cool bloggers, was definitely a highlight of the whole experience. It’s funny how much we all have in common. I think that’s the beauty of the Saveur Blog Awards, it binds people with a similar interest together. It gives you the ability to make friendships with people you feel like you’ve always known but never met.
One half of myself feels disembodied. I’ll miss New York, I’ll miss her like a lost limb – a week and a half in the city was just a taste, and I definitely want more. New York was every feeling I’ve ever tried to name. Like how I could finally understand darkness before I began to appreciate the light.
While I’ll always have these images, it’s so easy to forget the small things. The moon, the beauty of the clouds, the stars, the lights. Standing in a penthouse watching the New York skyline and being like “Is this really my life?”. The kind of things I didn’t or couldn’t capture in a single image, the things I’d rather standby and watch – allowing myself to become immersed in the moment rather than caught up in the capture.
Highlights of the trip include:
- Everything Saveur related (and being able to finally say it properly, it’s sav-uuuurrr…)
- Shooting ice cream sandwiches overlooking the manhattan skyline with Claudia
- Having brunch with Hetty and trying to pronounce all the jewish words on the menu at Russ and Daughter’s (still can’t say seltzer)
- Making and eating pizzas at Emily then rolling out the door to a three course lunch
- Accidentally taking a (not free) doughnut hole with Michelle and Claudia (major lol’s)
- Having pie straight after breakfast with Betty, Jenny and Claudia – because well, health
- Doing a terrible job of making Claudia’s Miso Butterscotch Sauce with Soe but making it look pretty a/f
- Using the word gritty everyday to describe everything
- Becoming best friends with Henry Piglet and wanting a french bulldog/pug so badly (please)
- Meeting and making friends with all-around cool people like Betty, Michelle, Claudia, Jenny, Hetty, Julián, Nevada, Holly and Natalie, Alexandra, Soe, Adam and Ryan, Jack, Caitlin and Marie
We visited too many amazing places, but here’s my favourites:
- Vic’s, arguably the best food in New York (do the Crispy Sweet Onions, the Farinata is a must)
- Ladybird (totally inventive tapas plates, and you’ll never guess that they’re all vegan – we loved the saffron risotto)
- Buddakan (out of control asian food, the Edamame Dumplings are a must)
- Grey Lady (I loved the fava hummus, whole roasted artichokes and shishito peppers)
- Four & Twenty Blackbirds (for the infamous Salty Honey Pie!)
- Momofuku Milk Bar (Cereal Milk Ice Cream! Crack Pie!)
- Lady M (the Earl Grey Crêpe Cake is incredible, so sad I didn’t get to try the Green Tea Crêpe Cake)
- Ovenly (the Brooklyn Blackout Cake definitely lived up to the hype)
- Levain Bakery (get the Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie, break it in half and take the mandatory oozing shot)
- byCHLOE (their Chocolate Chip Cookie was the best I’ve ever had, and it’s vegan too!)
- Dough Doughnuts
- Union Fare (the Birthday Cake and Matcha Croissants are amazing)
- Breads Bakery (babka!)
- Roberta’s (the best sides ever – the stracciatella looked amazing and the coal roasted beets tasted incredible too. The pizza’s are insane – order the bee sting pizza! (it’s not on the menu!).