Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Vegetarian eating in New York (part 2 of 3) - MANHATTAN

This is a rather less over-excited post than my Brooklyn one. Manhattan is really expensive so we actually didn't eat there that much. The only proper Manhattan dinner we had was at Daniel for my father-in-law's 60th birthday (he paid, thankfully, as this place is more than Manhattan expensive, it's Michelin starred high end expensive).

I'm pretty certain Daniel is the fanciest place I have ever been. Beautiful lighting, delicate plates, thick soft carpet, really rich looking customers, comfortable seating, low noise levels. I opened the drinks menu and felt shaky - every drink was about $30!!! I don't have any photos at Daniel as I was too busy juggling being extremely uncomfortable with the prices/out of place and just enjoying the experience which was delicious and weird.

It's the sort of food where it's tiny and carefully presented with lines and dots of sauce. Very pretty! And I had imagined it wouldn't be filling but by the end of 4 courses I was very full - no need to sneak off for extra snacks after! There is a set price for 4 courses (you can also have wine pairings) with 3 sections of menu to select 3 dishes from and then the 4th is dessert. I had a special vegetarian menu so plenty to choose from.

You are also brought extra tiny things to eat and lovely tiny bread rolls. There are little plates on the table with a perfect ball of butter and 2 kinds of salt! One salt is black!

I turned away one of the tiny extra things because it contained parmesan, which isn't vegetarian - I was surprised that they didn't seem to know that - and then embarrassed and touched when they made me an alternative tiny extra thing especially for me.

I can't tell you exactly what I ate, only that it was all delicious and vegetable based.

To finish, we were brought a selection of gorgeous desserts, including one with "Happy birthday" written on the plate in chocolate for my father-in-law, and a basket of freshly baked madeleines.

The people serving us were so kind and polite and lovely even if I did feel a bit odd about it. The main guy helping us was so nice to us. I really felt that he saw how uncomfortable I was feeling and did his best to make me feel better. He explained the food so kindly and was so accommodating. I know it is his job to be nice but it felt genuine - he does it well. I wish I knew his name! I know he is originally from France but is now a New Yorker and that he worked in London for a while. Anyway, he was great.

I'm extremely unlikely to ever visit Daniel again as I doubt I'll ever be comfortable with so much unnecessary spending but it was wonderful and an experience.

So the only other food we had in Manhattan was snack like. Stu had a hipster donut from Dough which he seemed to moderately enjoy. The donuts here are HUGE and have pretty colours and unusual flavours. I liked looking at a pink hibiscus one but I'm not into flower flavours. (I'm actually not a big donut fan at all, they are bit too sweet and fried for me)

I loved this golden dog tap though, for getting yourself a free cup of water!

And we made a special journey to Superiority Burger because they are totally vegetarian and have beat meat burgers to an award for delicious burgers. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling it - maybe it was the mustardy flavour which I'm not in to. Maybe it was over hyped and my expectations were too high! The burger is fine but I wouldn't make a special trip to get one again.

Stu's parents really liked Guy & Gallard which was a convenient deli/café place near their hotel which had lots of different counters inside - one for coffee, one for juice, one for sandwiches, one for hot food like omelettes and burgers, and fridges with pre prepared things like cups of fruit and bottled drinks. Stu and I met them there one morning and we shared a coffee, some fruit and a bright green pistachio muffin. We never finished that muffin - it was so sickly sweet! We took the remaining half away with us in case we got hungry later and found it again 2 days later and had to bin it. Coffee and fruit were fine. This place is nothing exciting but it's quick and convenient with plenty of choice.

I had a list of vegetarian places I wanted to try, including Candle Café, Seasoned Vegan and Buddha Bodai but time and money were against me. Another time perhaps. This time, I didn't quite find Manhattan food joy as I only had snacks and one delicious but very posh dinner. My favourite places to eat are moderately priced, ethical and fresh.

Are you comfortable with fancy expensive places? What do you look for when you choose a place to eat?

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