lower east side food crawl part deux

Boy is this post long overdue! (sorry, Lisa)

Before I left for home (a whole other post I’ve been slacking on), my partner in foodie crime, Lisa, and I mapped out a much anticipated LES food crawl part two.

We made an ambitious list of sandwich shops, Asian delicacies, and other hidden gems throughout the LES.

I know you’re waiting for it, so here’s the map!

A: Doughnut Plant
B: An Choi
C: 88 Orchard
D: Cheeky Sandwiches
E: Fried Dumpling
F: Il Laboratorio del Gelato
G: Dessert Truck Works

That’s 1.7 miles of deliciousness!

We started at the doughnut plant.  Every day the plant has an array of specials like pumpkin, roasted chesnut or tres leches.  We asked for a house recommendation, and got creme brulee.

Sounds good to me! The doughnut was missing it’s hole, but I didn’t mind.  The soft sweet bread pretty much melted in my mouth and the custard in the center was as creamy as any good creme brulee.  The layer of icing sugar on the top added that toasted-sugar crunch.

Seconds please!

But we had a long afternoon ahead of us! So Lisa and I were trying to play it smart and keep our portions small.  Next stop, Vietnamese sandwiches at the popular An Choi…

We got a classic BBQ pork banh mi with shrimp chips.  Looks pretty standard, tasted pretty standard.  I still think Chinatown does it better.

Across the street was 88 Orchard.  A granola-y type coffee shop with a host of baked goodies sitting by the cash register for those wishing to indulge.

And we did!  With an oatmeal, coconut, chocolate, raisin cookie.

Their lamps were made out of colanders! I want one!

Next was Cheeky sandwiches, the NOLA-style hole in the wall serving classic and not so classic po’ boy sandwiches.  We went non-classic with  a “grass” sandwich.  Roasted beets, butternut squash, arugula, and crispy goat cheese on “flautta” bread.

The beets were sweet, the squash comfortingly soft, the cheese added the salty kick and the arugula the peppery crunch.  The bread was pretty darn amazing itself.  Who needs fried chicken on a po’ boy when you have this colorful beauty?

Just a few blocks away, on the border of Chinatown and the LES we stepped into a 2×2 room (practically) with three hard at work cooks churning out hundreds of little dumplings.

Unfortunately we were caught behind a group of what must have been 50 hungry food tourists waiting for their own individual plates of jiaozi (dumplings).

Hence the massive pile of dumpling filling…

4 little dumplings in a Styrofoam box…should be a song, no?

Just look at those prices.  Yes, that picture was taken in 2010.

On the way to the next stop, I spotted a Xin Jian lamb cart selling skewers of tasty lamb for a buck.  Since Lisa had never tried it before, I had to introduce her to the wonderful world of Xin Jian yang rou!

The verdict?  Another convert!

We hadn’t planned on heading into Il Laboratorio del Gelato either, but we walked by it on our way to our final stop and decided we had to go in.

It was a very clinical feeling room (laboratorio = laboratory?) and the cases were filled with about 30 different gelatos.

Ranging from olive oil to black sesame seed, this was definitely the most cutting edge gelato I’ve ever tried!

Lisa wisely picked a tried and true favorite – salted caramel. Oh.my.god.  It was everything you know and love about salted caramel.

Getting…full….Last stop! The brick and mortar version of the dessert truck…dessert truck shop.

Lisa ordered their Bobby Flay throwdown-defeating bread pudding (with bacon custard sauce, of course).

The bread pudding was more like molten chocolate goodness.  It was so warm and gooey, I think of it every time I’m walking through the friged streets of NY in the 28 degree cold.  Ah, winter.

The bacon custard was mildly bacon-y and a lot yummy.

While I ordered the beneigts filled with…wait for it, wait for it…

Nutella! Oh yes, that is the most amazing picture. Ever.

And I’m just going to leave it at that.


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