19 April 2016

Best Brunch Spots in New York City

Everyone knows New York is famous for its breakfast. With pancakes, bagels and waffles on every street corner, it's the city for brunch. I visited this fantastic place in February for the second time and had the joy of sampling some of the best food of my life. Here are my favourite spots for breakfast and brunch in the city that never sleeps.

We were staying in the financial district – quieter than the more touristy areas but a really interesting part of the city, architecturally. On our first morning we headed down the road to Pearl's Diner – a classic New York diner. It was the kind you see in all the films and we ticked off every single cliche. We were greeted by the sweetest New York waitress – who had worked there her whole life, we decided – and she seated us in a booth at the back of the diner.

Maple syrup is a condiment as common as ketchup in America. The status quo is to pour it on everything, so, that's what we did. Jess had the lumberjack pancakes - strawberry pancakes, bacon and eggs, and I had blueberry pancakes with bacon. Both came with orange juice. Our waitress checked on us every so often and filled our coffee cups accordingly, and when we were stuffed full we got the check, which came to about $12 each. We were really pleased with Pearl Diner and despite it being a bit off the beaten track, would recommend it for an authentic, affordable New York breakfast.

Black Seed Bagel was a recommendation of Miho's – check out her review (and fantastic blog all round) here. Situated in the East Village, this place gave us some much needed fuel having risen extra early that morning to watch the sun rise on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Jess and I ate these in total silence; a sure sign that these were the best bagels we had ever eaten. The reason being – according to a guy we met in a bar on our first night – was that the quality of the water in New York is (arguably) better than anywhere else in the world. It's hard to believe until you're there, eating the best bagel of your life.

Black Seed had so many fillings to choose from, it could have been overwhelming had I not already decided on smoked salmon and cream cheese (Black Seed's variety included tomato, red onion and capers, too). There was also the question of choosing the bagel – there are eight types: plain, poppy, sesame, salt, rye, everythig, multigrain and multieverything. I chose everything and Jess had sesame. I could eat my way through Black Seed's menu and live happily ever after, if it weren't three and a half thousand miles away.

H&H bagels – available all over the city

On Monday morning we took a trip to Chelsea – a gorgeous part of the city I'd love to have spent more time exploring. Wandering around this leafy area got us very hungry, so we stopped at the nearest cafe we could find. I wish I'd made a note of the name of this place. It was teeny tiny and run by two Spanish men, but anyway, they served H&H bagels which we'd heard great things about.

Basking in the window-seat sun, we ate our bagels and drank our coffee. I had cream cheese and nutella in mine. I got some funny looks but it.was.delicious. Like a cheesecake for breakfast.

My next trip to New York will involve a lot more time spent in Brooklyn. One morning just wasn't enough. It was raining, cold and quiet on our last day, so we cosied up at The Park Bench Cafe & Creperie and admired the borough we knew from Gossip Girl.

I had the Challah French toast with banana, granola, almonds, maple syrup and whipped cream. Served with a good cup of black coffee, it was soft, fluffy and undoubtedly the best French toast I've ever had. What's the secret, NY? Why can't I have your delicious breakfast here in the UK?

What are your favourite spots for brunch in NYC? I'm already planning my next trip so let me know your recommendations - there's always room for more breakfast :)


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