Soho is one of my obligatory pilgrimages when in New York. I usually get out of the subway at Spring street, and head to my very first fuel stop; Ansel Bakery, by French pastry chef and owner Dominique Ansel (ex pastry chef at Daniel by Daniel Bouloud). Now, I am sure everybody knows him for the infamous Cronut, with the never ending queues lining up around the block, the frozen s’more, the chocolate cookie shot, or more recently a weirdly phallic looking Pretzel Lobster tail, a soft peanut butter pretzel sprinkled with buttercrunch and Maldon sea salt to be dipped in a whipped brown butter honey sauce.
There is much more to it that needs discovering; his creative pastry collections. Take the indulgent Paris-NY cake. A twist on the Paris-Brest with a choux dough and a chocolate, caramel, and silky peanut butter filling.
What really caught my eye however when I visited last time was the new Lime Me Up Tart. An eclair tart shell filled with a juniper lime curd, topped with a soft lime mousse, served with a lime wedge on the side along with an edible white chocolate spoon filled with brown sugar and sea salt for customers to season their dessert to their individual taste.
After a cheeky pastry treat, I spend the rest of the morning browsing the shops. Very often I bump into sample sales, which are a blessing and a curse. Because that’s where my shopping goes a little crazy. Best way to keep up to date is to check regularly the Racked website. Another favourite or mine is C Wonder. Go, and buy the handbags, and of course Bloomingdale’s.
When I get tired of shopping, it’s bookshop time. My favourite in the area is Mc Nally Jackson, a cozy independent shop, where I rest for a bit, flicking through the pages of their interesting selection of books – they have a very well curated selection of food and drink classics and new launches. Just a couple of blocks down is the MoMA design store, which I think is one of the best gift stores I have ever been to, filled with many design pieces as well as smaller items, perfect for quirky small presents.
If I want to soak up the classic NYC vibe, it’s Katz’s deli for lunch, the kosher style delicatessen founded in 1888, popular for its uber famous pastrami sandwiches.
Did you know that each week Katz’s serves 10k pounds of s, 5k pounds of corned beef, 2k of salami, and 12k of hot dogs? And it’s of course known to be the place where Meg Ryan famously faked an orgasm in When Harry Met Sally.
A curiosity, not far from Katz’s, is “Red Square” building, on top of which you can spot a bronze statue of Lenin.
After a pastrami lunch you would probably need a nice little walk, and a coffee. A few blocks up, in the East Village is a little cozy shop called Zucker Bakery.
Here you need to try their Alfajhores – Dulce de leche filled cookie sandwich rolled in coconut flakes, their Roses – doughy cinnamom sticky pastries, and of course one of their chocolate snowballs, a little brownie ball sprinkled in crunchy sugar.