So I was writing my Maui post, thinking about how I should have taken my camera to Chicago so I could have done a proper Chicago post, when it occurred to me I never posted about the second part of my New York trip! Clearly need to get better about posting on time. I did a NY post on the sweeter side of life on Laduree and Levain Bakery but never posted all my savoury food pictures! So much like in real life I started with dessert and will now do the meal. Behold.
MURRAY’S CHEESE BAR:
How wonderful is the idea of a cheese bar. Like an establishment cheese lovers can go to and just binge-eat cheese, with cheese on everything, where you can get cheese-wasted. And it’s all ages! Cheese-drunkenness for all. Not only that but Murray’s Cheese Shop (the shop not the bar) is immediately next door and they have a very wide variety of cheese (as well as all the other accoutrements that go well with cheese) plus are very generous with their samples. The perfect place to go shopping for a picnic really. Or for dining with the vegetarian that is decidedly not lactose intolerant.
APPETIZER: We started with the Burrata, crispy artichoke and grilled bread:. The burrata was magical really, a pillow of fresh mozzarella filled with creamy burrata goodness inside. The bread and the artichoke were the perfect accompaniments but what really made this dish was the drizzle of basil olive oil on the burrata. Could eat this forever and ever.
ENTREE: For entrees we decided to share two dishes. Note this was not lunch or dinner, it was a “We have not eaten anything all day and must eat or ultimately perish meal, even though its 3 o clock and we are eating Brazilian BBQ in 3 hours. Oh well”. The Murray’s Melt was quite stellar as well. This features their “secret blend of cheeses” on thick-cut Pullman bread with a cup of smoky tomato bisque. Really good grilled cheese. My sister loved it and she probably eats grilled cheeses every day of her life / always orders it at restaurants so this is quite the seal of approval as she is probably a world-class connoisseur on the subject. Then again it is hard for grilled cheeses to really suck. I really liked the tomato soup and the puffy little cheese crouton on it.
We also ordered the Mac & Cheese which has another secret or non-specified “Our blend of four dreamy cheeses” and is topped with crunchy breadcrumbs. For me mac and cheeses can be really hit or miss and even though they are super simple in general tend to find that most restaurants can really screw it up with too-dry or too-greasy or too-congealed mac and cheese. This was none of those things. Reveal to me your mysterious blend of dream-inducing cheeses Murray.
Lastly we topped off our pseudo-linner with their Goat’s Milk Cheesecake. It came with figs and a dried fig cookie crust and it was divine but I have no pictures of it because (as often happens with the dessert course in this blog) I got too excited and forgot to halt my family’s eating to get a picture of it. It was quite tasty though and like everything else we got I recommend it.
Burrata with grilled bread $14
Murray’s Melt $12
Mac and Cheese $12
Goat’s Milk Cheesecake $8
TOTAL (w/ tax) $50.14
Murray’s Cheese Bar
264 Bleecker Street
(between Leroy and Morton)
New York, NY 10014
Ahh Shake Shack. You know I have probably been to New York at least 15 times in my life and had until this point never tried Shake Shack. Although I am a die-hard West Coaster for life (awkwardly and imaginarily throws up “W” gang sign with right hand) I am always secretly proud when I fool people into thinking I am a New Yorker; especially when on the way to the JFK airport cab drivers ask me things like if I am traveling for work or for fun to California as “I can tell you’re not a tourist”. Ha. Well to be fair I have an encyclopedia-like knowledge of places to eat in NY and the numbered streets and avenues make it the only place I can easily navigate with my impaired sense of direction. Also, I wear A LOT of black. Anyways, my New Yorker impersonation sham always comes to a screeching halt when I reveal I have never tried Shake Shack. Clearly you cannot live in the city and never have paid your respects to this storied burger-slinging institution.
I love a good burger and with everyone’s general excitement about Shake Shack as well as Danny Meyer’s name attached to it I knew I should try it but it was always impossible fit in with our carefully scheduled plans of a million billion other restaurants we wanted to eat at. I did once almost miss a flight back to San Diego trying to run to the terminal in JFK that had a Shake Shack…only to find a disappointingly giant line and having to shamble back to my terminal, arms sore from dragging my overstuffed carry-on and ultimately burgerless. Sigh.
But it finally happened! It was 10 am and not really an appropriate burger time at all but with (for once) no breakfast plans, I just went for it. Shake Shack for breakfast (YOLO).
Not surprisingly there was no line at 10 am, surprisingly by 10:30 am there kind of was. As for the burger….ahh I hate to say this and perhaps I am just fully indoctrinated into the West Coast cult but…I like In N Out is better. I know plenty of people will disagree with me (including my own sister) and it was a pretty good burger but not a great or particularly outstanding burger. You can absolutely tell the beef is really good quality and the bread, a soft squishy potato roll, is way better than In N Out, but overall in the end my life was not changed. I went with the basic single ShackBurger, a basic cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and Shack Sauce. Maybe I just quite like the In N Out sauce better than the Shack Sauce. I love pickles and I get my cheeseburgers animal style so I missed pickles and grilled onions on this guy.
The patty is very nicely cooked and you can see the crispy outside of the patty in the pictures. The veggies were very fresh. I think the Shack Sauce was mildly disappointing. I went with the single patty basic cheeseburger because I wanted to try their ‘base’ product as well as it was 10 am and I was not yet psychologically ready for a giant bacon cheeseburger. I do want to go again though and try their SmokeShack burger that comes with applewood smoked bacon and cherry peppers or their Shake Stack that is a cheeseburger with a fried portobello mushroom. As far as options go this is leagues better than In N Out. You can add bacon and the veggie options (the Portobello mushroom burger for example) are infinitely better. They also have a variety of hot dogs and concrete shakes. In N Out shakes are ok but super artificial tasting, I generally do not get them. But the concretes here are pretty tasty. Ooh and their Strawberry Lemonade has real strawberries. Yum.
My sister tried the basic Chicken Dog that comes with a Shack Shack chicken, apple and sage sausage. It was good but pretty basic. She doesn’t eat beef or pork (or bacon or seafood, geez) so this was ok for her but if you eat other animals I would try another one of the hot dogs.
And oh right the Concrete. I got a s’mores-ish one and it had Rocky Road ice cream and lotsssss of brownies. It was pretty delicious. And clearly necessary to top off a healthy and complete breakfast (with all my essential vitamins and minerals….and cheese and mayo and ice cream. eek).
Single Shackburger $4.75
Chicken Dog $4.40
Regular Strawberry Lemonade $2.60
Single Concrete $4.25
TOTAL (w/tax) $17.44
Shake Shack – Upper West Side
366 Columbus Avenue
(at West 77th St.)
P.S. Also have tons of pictures of a cute Italian place we went to in Soho with really good pasta and Pok Pok in Brooklyn but the pictures are how do you say uhhhhh – crap, because the lighting sucked. Also this post was already too long. Perhaps I will put up the rest another time in a “NY – Poor Lighting and Improper White Balance Edition”.