We were starting to take things a little easier on the 4th and 5th days. First up was a visit to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

Matisse

…and its calming Sculpture Garden. I love it.

The Sculpture Garden

We could have spent all day here and we almost did; for lunch, we stayed in the museum and tried the restaurant on Level 2: Cafe 2. We were impressed with the food in the canteen-like setting (but there’s table service). The restaurants at MoMA are actually part of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group and they’re keeping some good company in their portfolio of restaurants.

We split an antipasti tasting consisting of three of our chosen antipasti from a list. Artichoke gratin was plenty of sliced artichokes with hot cream and cheese, perfect for dipping into with their homemade carta di musica.

Artichoke Gratin

There was also a lone meatball (excellent though so lonely) and a brilliant roasted carrot salad with almonds and maple and yoghurt.

Antipasti Tasting - Roasted Carrot Salad and Meatball

There was also a good-sized bowl of perfectly al dente rigatoni with braised pork-fennel sausage and a creamy tomato sauce.

Rigatoni with braised pork-fennel sausage

And, of course, for dessert, gelato. I’ve heard that theirs is from Il Laboratorio del Gelato though I don’t know if that’s the case anymore. Whatever the case, the chocolate, raspberry and strawberry gelati we tried were very good indeed.

Chocolate, Raspberry and Strawberry

Good stuff overall – it’s definitely a big step up from the usual museum food.

After our time at MoMA, we took a subway to the start of the High Line. This elevated park on former freight rail line wasn’t open when I was last in NYC and I relished this opportunity to see it this time.

The High Line

The High Line

Untitled

What a beautiful park – I loved the way the style of the park would change along its length! Seeing it on a weekday afternoon was excellent as it wasn’t too crowded but there’s lots of benches and it’s fantastic looking over the streets and if we had been hungry, it would have been easy to pop to Chelsea Market for a snack.

We headed back to Brooklyn for dinner. We had spotted Hill Country Barbecue on our first night and it looked like a great place for a meal; we were not disappointed. The place was huge – we were seated and drinks were brought to us but after that, you’re on your own until dessert. It’s up to you to bring your little order card to the counters to get your meats and sides.

I got us a sampling of their moist brisket, a jalapeño-cheese sausage and some ribs. This was all wrapped in brown paper and placed on a tray. They were brilliant – I loved the tender peppery brisket and the mild cheesy sausage. The ribs too had a good chew to them and I had plenty of their barbecue sauce with them.

The Meats

I liked that you had a choice of sizes for the sides and we opted for the smallest to get a variety. White shoepeg corn pudding was a surprise, all sweet and creamy corn kernels. Braised collard greens had been cooked with smokey bacon. Green bean casserole was made in the traditional American manner with a creamy mushroom sauce and crispy french fried onions. Tender cornbread was served with whipped chipotle honey butter. All were excellent.

The Sides

The start of the 5th day was excellent. Unfortunately it was also Blai’s last day in New York as his flight was late that evening so the day was tinged with sadness. but we made it a super food day, beginning with a trip to the Dough outpost in Manhattan.

Dough Doughnuts

It was doughnut heaven in there! We tried a hibiscus one…

Hibiscus

…and a mocha. Yes, for us, Dough beats Doughtnut Plant – I like their doughnut texture and taste and their glazes. Well, no more doughnuts for me for a while. Oof.

Mocha

Then our walk took us through the West Village where we came across Pasticceria Rocco on Bleecker Street. I knew we had to walk in upon seeing their pastry display in the window and their sign proclaiming the best cannoli in the city! Blai had never had cannoli and we bought a mini one for takeaway. The ricotta filling was piped into the shell to order and we had a choice of pistachios or chocolate for the ends. It was fantastic.

Cannolo

For lunch, it was back to another outpost of Luke’s Lobster at Blai’s request. We skipped the lobster rolls and went straight for the crab rolls, with, of course, more of their clam chowder.

Crab Roll Set

For dessert, it was off to Grom, the Italian chain of gelati shops. This was probably the best gelato we tasted in New York – Grom, please open in London!

Grom Gelato

After a bit more wandering and a rest back at the flat, Blai was off! I was by myself now and work was starting the next day. I was supposed to meet a New York friend for dinner but due to a number of happenings, I had to cancel it as I had an early morning.

But I still managed to get a good (and light) dinner in me at the Pok Pok Phat Thai. The small restaurant is one in Andy Ricker’s Pok Pok chain (which originated in Portland) and is next to Pok Pok NY and across the street from their Whisky Soda Lounge. The Phat Thai branch was probably the most casual and that Wednesday night, it was easy to get a seat for just me.

The tables were set with colourful tablecloths and all the proper Thai condiments were available. A nice touch was that the drinking water was infused with pandan.

Pandan Water and Condiments

I chose the simplest phat thai on the menu, without the addition of large prawns or minced pork. That’s not to say it was vegetarian – there were still dried shrimps giving lots of flavour. Excellent stuff and it hit the spot after all the rich eating the previous days.

Phat Thai

And then I was on my own in the city for work.

MoMA Cafe 2
Café 2 on Urbanspoon

Hill Country Barbecue Market
Hill Country Barbecue Market on Urbanspoon

Dough
Dough on Urbanspoon

Pasticceria Rocco
Pasticceria Rocco on Urbanspoon

Grom
Grom Gelato on Urbanspoon

Pok Pok Phat Thai
Pok Pok Phat Thai on Urbanspoon