The Best Things I Ate This Year

Macarons and coffee in Central Park. 

Macarons and coffee in Central Park. 

The other night I was lying in bed flipping through photos on my phone and I was reminded of just how many things I ate this year (and how much of my student loans went to pastries and pizza...whoops). Here's a wrap up of some of my favorite eats from this year, from savory to sweet, LA to NYC. 


NYC

In what was one of the best decisions of my life, I spent my "last real summer" working as a research assistant in NYC. I visited New York a number of times when I was in college two hours south of the city, but I had never stayed long enough to actually get the hang of what my friend Amanda calls "city-living-city-loving"--that quintessential New York hustle that never stops. When I first arrived in the city I was overwhelmed by how much I wanted to do, see, taste, and explore, but I decided that food would be the vehicle I'd use to see the city. I read tons of articles about the best pizza, cookies, pasta, cannolis, ice cream, coffee, bagels, brunch, and tacos in the city. I wrote them all on a sheet of paper and tried to hit one place at least every other day. Below are some of my favorite food memories. 

My NYC field guide/food bucket list that I took everywhere. 

My NYC field guide/food bucket list that I took everywhere. 

Burrata ice cream with balsamic caramel and Gianduja (chocolate hazelnut) from  Dominique Ansel Kitchen . 

Burrata ice cream with balsamic caramel and Gianduja (chocolate hazelnut) from Dominique Ansel Kitchen

Fresh coconut water, chicken, and rice dish from a thai place inside  Gansevoort Market in Meatpacking . 

Fresh coconut water, chicken, and rice dish from a thai place inside Gansevoort Market in Meatpacking

Flat whites from  Little Collins --best I had in the city.

Flat whites from Little Collins--best I had in the city.

Ess a Bagel ! Favorite bagels in the city, I ate here all the time because it was cheap and relatively close to work. 

Ess a Bagel! Favorite bagels in the city, I ate here all the time because it was cheap and relatively close to work. 

At long last I finally tried the famed Cronut from  Dominique Ansel!  This was May's flavor of the month--honey clementine ricotta. It was a sticky, dripping, sweet mess and I loved every bit of it. I've actually tried to make homemade Cronuts from DA's baking book but they were so so difficult! I'd much rather wait in line for an hour and pay $5 for one of his bonafide masterpieces.

At long last I finally tried the famed Cronut from Dominique Ansel! This was May's flavor of the month--honey clementine ricotta. It was a sticky, dripping, sweet mess and I loved every bit of it. I've actually tried to make homemade Cronuts from DA's baking book but they were so so difficult! I'd much rather wait in line for an hour and pay $5 for one of his bonafide masterpieces.

Spicy street corn from  Cafe Habana  on the LES with a mango agua fresca. 

Spicy street corn from Cafe Habana on the LES with a mango agua fresca. 

Chocolate chip walnut cookie from  Levain Bakery  on the west side. I was shocked at the sheer weight of this thing--amazing. And at 900 calories I was proud that I made it last for 2nd lunch and dinner that day. 

Chocolate chip walnut cookie from Levain Bakery on the west side. I was shocked at the sheer weight of this thing--amazing. And at 900 calories I was proud that I made it last for 2nd lunch and dinner that day. 

My mom, sister and aunt visited me for the Fourth of July which was so so fun (and not just because I got to sleep in the hotel with them instead of my tinyyyyyyy craigslist apartment room)! We ate breakfast at  Dimes  on the LES were we had amazing avocado, egg, and pineapple tacos. 

My mom, sister and aunt visited me for the Fourth of July which was so so fun (and not just because I got to sleep in the hotel with them instead of my tinyyyyyyy craigslist apartment room)! We ate breakfast at Dimes on the LES were we had amazing avocado, egg, and pineapple tacos. 

This pretzel and white chocolate cookie from  Maman  in SoHo was one of the best cookies I've ever had. The entire store was so cute, I felt like I was in a tiny shop in the french countryside. 

This pretzel and white chocolate cookie from Maman in SoHo was one of the best cookies I've ever had. The entire store was so cute, I felt like I was in a tiny shop in the french countryside. 

Falafel and hummus on a soft bun with peppers, onions, and tomatoes from  Mezetto .

Falafel and hummus on a soft bun with peppers, onions, and tomatoes from Mezetto.

Macarons and coffee from Laduree on the UES. Very $$$ but also very good. Chewy, not too sweet, and those colors!!! I love making my own macarons because you can make around 40 for probably the cost of two store-bought macarons, but there is something so great about being able to buy six different flavors at once and enjoy them all.  

Macarons and coffee from Laduree on the UES. Very $$$ but also very good. Chewy, not too sweet, and those colors!!! I love making my own macarons because you can make around 40 for probably the cost of two store-bought macarons, but there is something so great about being able to buy six different flavors at once and enjoy them all.  

Rainbow paleta from  Big Gay Ice Cream  during the NYC Pride Parade. Such a fun day celebrating #lovewins! 

Rainbow paleta from Big Gay Ice Cream during the NYC Pride Parade. Such a fun day celebrating #lovewins! 

Cheeky Sandwiches  in lower Manhattan is a total hole-in-the-wall (isn't it so fun when you find one of those diamonds in the rough?!). I actually walked by it several times because the storefront is so unassuming. Inside, the people are friendly, the coffee and beignets are fresh, and this chicken sandwich is unbelievable. It's served on a buttery biscuit with slaw and a peppery gravy. Seven bucks well spent. 

Cheeky Sandwiches in lower Manhattan is a total hole-in-the-wall (isn't it so fun when you find one of those diamonds in the rough?!). I actually walked by it several times because the storefront is so unassuming. Inside, the people are friendly, the coffee and beignets are fresh, and this chicken sandwich is unbelievable. It's served on a buttery biscuit with slaw and a peppery gravy. Seven bucks well spent. 

Donut and coffee from  Underwest Donuts --a donut shop literally inside a carwash place. Notice how the frosting looks like carwash soap? Also PS I later spilled that ENTIRE coffee on a bus on the way to work #thatcommutestruggle

Donut and coffee from Underwest Donuts--a donut shop literally inside a carwash place. Notice how the frosting looks like carwash soap? Also PS I later spilled that ENTIRE coffee on a bus on the way to work #thatcommutestruggle

"Jewish Penicillin" from  2nd Ave Deli . Biggest matzo ball of my life! 

"Jewish Penicillin" from 2nd Ave Deli. Biggest matzo ball of my life! 

My friend and I rode the bus for nearly an hour in 95-degree heat to Red Hook, Brooklyn to try what was famed as the  best key lime pie  in the world! We sat in a park eating these chocolate-covered pies on a stick with a view of the Statue of Liberty in the distance. One of my favorite days.

My friend and I rode the bus for nearly an hour in 95-degree heat to Red Hook, Brooklyn to try what was famed as the best key lime pie in the world! We sat in a park eating these chocolate-covered pies on a stick with a view of the Statue of Liberty in the distance. One of my favorite days.

Plain bagel with BIRTHDAY CAKE CREAM CHEESE from  Tompkin's Square Bagels  in East Village. My boyfriend called it "unicorn poop" but I thought it was totally the best thing ever. 

Plain bagel with BIRTHDAY CAKE CREAM CHEESE from Tompkin's Square Bagels in East Village. My boyfriend called it "unicorn poop" but I thought it was totally the best thing ever. 

And here's couple of non-food pics because it's New York and you can't just NOT have a picture of the Flatiron Building, a street pretzel, and taxi cab when you write about New York. 

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LA

My summer started and ended with visits to Los Angeles and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I spent my first year out of college working in LA and it was one of the best years of my life. I find that LA is one of those towns people love to hate; I don't know if it's the Hollywood thing, the traffic, or the sheer commercialism of it all. However, I gotta say, even on the worst day of traffic on The 10 I think the pros greatly outweighed the cons of being an Angeleno for a year. So if you're one of the LA-haters do yourself a favor and skip the walk of fame, the studio tours, and the Santa Monica pier and instead take a drive up the PCH to Malibu, grab lunch at the Farmer's Market at the Grove, visit The Last Bookstore downtown, and go shopping on Abbot Kinney. You may just decide it's not such a bad place after all. 

Peach lemonade and hot dog on a gluten-free bun from the Farmer's Market at the Grove. 

Peach lemonade and hot dog on a gluten-free bun from the Farmer's Market at the Grove. 

Favorite meal of the trip from SQIRL in Silverlake. Pour over coffee, sorrel pesto rice bowl with poached egg, and ricotta brioche toast with homemade plum jam. PS you can buy the jam online  here !! 

Favorite meal of the trip from SQIRL in Silverlake. Pour over coffee, sorrel pesto rice bowl with poached egg, and ricotta brioche toast with homemade plum jam. PS you can buy the jam online here!! 

I realize Coke isn't an LA thing by any means but cold coke out of a glass bottle while staring at the waves in Malibu? Definitely an LA thing. 

I realize Coke isn't an LA thing by any means but cold coke out of a glass bottle while staring at the waves in Malibu? Definitely an LA thing. 

The best fresh squeezed oj from  Tasting Kitchen  on Abbot Kinney, which is possibly my favorite street in the world. 

The best fresh squeezed oj from Tasting Kitchen on Abbot Kinney, which is possibly my favorite street in the world. 

Old school donuts at  Kettle Glazed .

Old school donuts at Kettle Glazed.


Philadelphia

Philly...a piece of my heart lives here. Always will. I spent four awesome years in the City of Brotherly Love going to college. Philly is a little rough around the edges; people are quick to notice that this city doesn't have the sparkle of the Manhattan skyline, the magnified patriotism of DC or the New England-ness of Boston. What Philly has to offer is real people living in a city they are proud to call home. Sometimes that pride comes off as, well, rudeness. Anyone who has ever ridden SEPTA can attest to this. But if you look in the right places I think this pride is what adds to Philly's hidden charm. Look at the beautifully painted, unique homes in West Philadelphia, watch the rabid fans during a Phillies game, walk down historic Elfreth's Alley in Old City, go get a Dutch apple dumpling from Redding Terminal, or eat a cheesesteak at Jim's on 4th Street. Philly's got an extremely underrated food scene. It's less expensive than New York but it offers just as much variety and there are so many great BYOB restaurants.

Over the summer I met a friend from medical school down in Philly for the day. It was slightly overcast and not too hot. We ate at Federal Donuts which has expanded to four store fronts since I graduated, got popsicles at Lil Pop Shop, grabbed lunch at Percy Street BBQ on South Street, and ate dinner at Audrey Claire, my favorite BYO in the city.

Above: Vanilla sprinkle pop from Lil Pop Shop in West Philly. I used to live just three blocks away and it was a constant temptation. Right: Hot and fresh vanilla sugar donut from Federal Donuts. 


Boise | Salt Lake City | Park City

SLC is my home town and I returned here to attend medical school. It's changed a lot since I grew up here and it's been great discovering new places to eat. And when you get tired of options in the valley Park City is only a 40 minute drive up the canyon and there are so many great options up there as well. Also, I went to Boise for the first time over Spring Break last year and it was so charming! I couldn't believe I'd never been there before since it's so close. 

Grilled cheese from  Bluebird  in Boise with brie, gruyere, cheddar, carmelized onion, fig preserves, and dijon aloli. The owner is amazing and remembers everyone's name, even if they've only come in once or twice.

Grilled cheese from Bluebird in Boise with brie, gruyere, cheddar, carmelized onion, fig preserves, and dijon aloli. The owner is amazing and remembers everyone's name, even if they've only come in once or twice.

Craft sodas, also from Bluebird. Basil Lemonade and Pomegranate Sage.

Craft sodas, also from Bluebird. Basil Lemonade and Pomegranate Sage.

Apricot and cream cheese toast with a blonde mocha from  Publik  in SLC. 

Apricot and cream cheese toast with a blonde mocha from Publik in SLC. 

The best buttermilk pancakes for breakfast at Washington Schoolhouse Inn in Park City. 

The best buttermilk pancakes for breakfast at Washington Schoolhouse Inn in Park City. 

Churros with chocolate and sweet milk dipping sauces from  Finca  in SLC. 

Churros with chocolate and sweet milk dipping sauces from Finca in SLC. 

Turkey chorizo tacos from  Taqueria 27  in SLC. I go here way too much. 

Turkey chorizo tacos from Taqueria 27 in SLC. I go here way too much.