At the end of March, Chad and I visited New York City for our seventh anniversary. My first post covered Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Chelsea Market, Greenwich Village, and New York Style Pizza and my second post covered the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Bagels. Today I am finishing up with a recipe for Black and White Cookies along with our experiences at Central Park, Chinatown, and Flatiron District.
We started our last morning with breakfast at Café Sabarsky. I bought a copy of Kurt Gutenbrunner’s cookbook, Neue Cuisine (recipes from Café Sabarsky, Wallsé, and Blaue Gans), a few years ago and was excited to see the cafe in person.
Café Sabarsky is located inside the Neue Galerie at the corner of 86th Street and Fifth Avenue, right next to Central Park. I really wish we had set aside enough time to tour the museum. It features German and Austrian media (painting, sculpture, works on paper, decorative arts, and photographs) created between 1890 and 1940. One of the most notable pieces is Gustav Klimt’s Adele Bloch-Bauer I, featured in the 2015 movie- Woman in Gold. Unfortunately we had to catch a train back home early that afternoon and the museum doesn’t open until 11 am. I am definitely adding it to our itinerary next time we go to New York City.
We enjoyed quite the breakfast in the elegant cafe beginning with Eiskaffee (chilled coffee with vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream and cocoa) for Chad and Wiener Heiße Schokolade (Viennese hot chocolate) for me. I ordered the Marillenpalatschinken (crêpes with house-made apricot confiture) and a slice of Klimttorte (chocolate and hazelnut cake) while Chad had the Palatschinken mit Räucherforelle & Oberskren (chilled smoked trout crêpes and horseradish crème fraîche) and a slice of Linzertorte (hazelnut tart with fresh raspberry confiture). I particularly loved that so many of the menu items are dishes that I haven’t come across while in the United States.
After breakfast, we took a rainy stroll across Central Park. Central Park is one of the most famous and visited urban parks in the United States. This oasis in the center of Manhattan stretches from 59th Street to 110th Street. It was originally created in 1857 over 778 acres of land. In 1873, it was expanded to 843 acres. In 1962, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
We only went through a small portion due to the rain and time constraints, but there is so much to explore and it can be quite easy to get lost among all of the trails.
The park is home to dozens of activities and other forms of entertainment including 21 playgrounds, Central Park Carousel, Conservatory Garden, the Ravine, Shakespeare Garden, Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, Central Park Zoo, restaurants, concerts, museums (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History, The Guggenheim Museum, Neue Galerie), Belvedere Castle (photos below), and more.
Depending on the season, you can also row boats in the lake, ice skate, have a picnic, or just enjoy a leisurely walk/jog/run.
West of Central Park on 2090 Broadway is Gray’s Papaya. They are open 24/7 and well-known for their hot dogs and tropical drinks. We stopped by for a quick, inexpensive snack before heading back to our hotel to check-out. A new location recently opened at 612 8th Avenue.
On our first day, we also visited Chinatown and the Flatiron District. Chinatown is located in Lower Manhattan (there are also newer neighborhoods in Flushing, Queens and Sunset Park, Brooklyn along with a few other communities) and follows San Francisco’s as the second oldest in the United States.
We should have come with more of an appetite because there are so many amazing restaurants to choose from. We settled on Baked Roast Pork and Cocktail (coconut) Buns from Mei Li Wah Bakery on 64 Bayard Street. Note that only cash is accepted and no seating unless you are dining in the restaurant.
We took the buns over to Columbus Park for a relaxing place to sit. Columbus Park was created in 1897 and rests on the area previously known as Five Points (featured in Gangs of New York). Due to the off and on rain, it was fairly quiet with only a few people playing games and music.
I stopped by the Yunhong Chopsticks Shop on 50 Mott Street to grab a couple of beginner chopstick sets and rests for Evan and Claire. They have quite the collection to choose from with chopsticks and accessories for less than 10 dollars to more than 250.
We also enjoyed browsing through New Kam Man at 200 Canal Street. This three-story grocery store features everything from food and kitchen appliances to dinnerware, toys, and toiletries. Next time I will need to save enough room in my suitcase to bring back a couple of bowls.
Just a short subway ride north from Chinatown brought us to the Flatiron District. It is named after one of the most notable and interesting buildings in the area- the Flatiron building. Constructed in 1902, this triangular-shaped 22 story building was designated a New York Landmark in 1966 and a National Historic Landmark in 1989.
Other notable sights in the district include the Center for Jewish History, Madison Square Park, the Metropolitan Life Tower, Gramercy Theatre, National Museum of Mathematics, and a variety of restaurants (from cheap eats to upscale and Michelin-starred) and shopping. It was already closed by the time we got to the area, but the Union Square Greenmarket is definitely on my list for next time.
Chad is always drawn to Lego Stores when we pass by and came across this one on 200 5th Avenue. I enjoyed the personal touches with the Flatiron District model, Statue of Liberty, and mural.
While Chad could have spent hours inside the Lego Store, I could do the same in Eataly. Eataly is a huge 58,000 sq foot Italian-themed marketplace across the street from the Flatiron building. The first location opened in 2007 in the Lingotto district of Turin by Oscar Farinetti. There are also locations Downtown and in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and other cities around the world.
This Flatiron location is owned by Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianisch. The building is set up like a grocery store with counter service restaurants scattered throughout featuring pizza, pasta, meat, fish, vegetables, panini, gelato, pastries, and coffee along with a rooftop beer garden featuring a sit-down restaurant offering themed menu items that vary based on the season (currently Sabbia- inspired by the Italian seaside).
I loved browsing through all of the produce and specialty shops. I came across many ingredients that I often have difficulty locating such as fiddlehead ferns and a variety of mushrooms. There are also sections with books, housewares, and gourmet items.
There were plenty of meats, cheeses, and fresh seasonal pastas to choose from too.
So that was our two day trip to New York City covered in three blog posts! I had such an incredible time even though I would have liked at least a couple extra days to visit the museums, Harlem, Queens, and Brooklyn. This just gives us a reason to go back! As we were waiting for our train at Penn Station, I tried my first Black and White Cookie from Zaro’s Family Bakery. It was the perfect ending to the trip.
I had heard of Black and White Cookies, but hadn’t actually seen or tried one until in Penn Station. They are a New York staple with a similar version introduced to Germany during World War II and known as the Amerikaner (though it may be iced with only vanilla or only half chocolate with the other half bare). I was surprised at how large they were, nearly the size of my hand, with a domed bottom and cake-like texture. The one I tried was incredibly sweet so I was only able to eat half of it.
To recreate the cookies at home, I found this recipe at Karen’s Kitchen Stories. The only change I made was to switch out half the all-purpose flour for cake flour. The “black” side of my cookies came out lighter since I didn’t actually glaze the entire batch of cookies and forgot to remove the excess white frosting before mixing in the cocoa powder. So if you glaze all of the cookies with the white frosting before mixing in the chocolate, they should come out more authentic. The cake base is flavored with vanilla extract and a little lemon zest to add some brightness and help cut through the sweetness.
Also, be sure to decorate the flat “bottom” side of the cookies. When the cookies are glazed-side up, the bottoms should be domed.
These tasted just like the one I had in New York with the hint of lemon and vanilla. They are also just as sweet, but I made mine a little smaller.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup buttermilk, divided
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4-5 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or lightly grease.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in 1/3rd of the flour mixture followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk. Add another 1/3rd of the flour mixture followed by the remaining buttermilk and the remaining flour. Stir in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.
Use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to place mounds of dough, in as even a circle as possible, on the prepared baking sheets, 3 inches apart (about 6 cookies per baking sheet).
Bake, 1 sheet at a time, in preheated oven until cooked through and slightly golden, about 17 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough (make sure the baking sheet is completely cool before adding more dough). Allow the cookies to cool completely before topping with the glaze.
To make the glaze: In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla extract. If the glaze is too thick, add a little more milk. If it is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar. It should be spreadable, but just enough to coat the cookie and not thick like a frosting.
Spread the white glaze over half of the flat side of each cookie with an offset spatula. Allow the glaze to set, about 20 minutes.
Whisk the cocoa powder into the remaining glaze. Add a little water to get the desired consistency. Spread over the other half of each cookie. Allow to set for an hour before serving or storing. Best within a day of making. Store in an airtight container.