New York City Snapshots

by Sara on September 27, 2012

My favorite food in the entire world is vanilla bean ice cream.

You might call that boring. I call it classy. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I love vanilla bean ice cream even more than peanut butter, if you can believe it! (And peanut butter is a food, not a condiment, when it’s regularly eaten straight from the jarย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

So I didn’t need to think about what my order would be when Iย finally found a Van Leeuwen ice cream truck on my last day in New York City.

And I say finally because it took me two hours to get my hands on that cone. (I actually asked for a cup, but my scooper saw my camera and told me a cone would make a better picture. I think I agree!) My trusty tour guide, Yelp, wasn’t so trusty when it came to tracking down the famous yellow trucks.

The double scoop of vanilla bean ice cream was everything I dreamed it would be. While Van Leeuwen may not offer crazy flavors like Chubby Hubby or Phish Food,ย  they do offer the truest form of classic ice cream possible. . ย Byย true I mean, no artificial ingredients, no sprinklesโ€”no Chunky Monkey nonsense!ย  Their product is created using just three ingredients: locally-sourced hormone-free milk, cane sugar, and eggs.

An entire post could be devoted to Van Leeuwen ice cream, but there are 547385923 New York moments that deserve to be shared! I wish I could write an epic recap, but my word reserve needs to be saved for epic paper-writing today. Ewww.

So this is what NYC recap take 2 is going to look like: Few words. Lots of pictures. All foodie highlights.

(If you missed it, be sure to check out some of the delicious food I ate in recap 1 here)

Ready? Here we goooooo!

Tasting Tour at Chobani Soho

On Saturday, I met Amy, the Chobani rep, and my friend Gina at the Soho store for a tasting tour!

After Amy told us a bit about the company and the development of the store, we dug into five signature creations of yogurt.

Toasted Coconut + Pineapple/Cucumber + Olive Oil + Sea Salt

Each creation was made with creamy 2% plain yogurt and topped with fresh ingredients. They were all amazing.

Pistachio + Dark Chocolate + Orange + Mint.

Fig + Honey + Walnuts/Peanut Butter + Jelly

The yogurt masters were hard at work!

Every yogurt creation is served in a reusable glass bowl, which can be brought back for a discount. I love this concept.

Thanks for showing me around, Amy!


Mini Cupcakes at Baked By Melissa

Each cupcake was only 1-inch wide! Aren’t they cute?

Chocolate Chip Pancake, red velvet and peanut butter cup.

Bite sized bliss. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My favorite was the Chocolate Chip Pancake cupcake, but I’d love to go back and try Mint Chocolate Chip!

(Note: These cupcakes are not gluten free. I decided to take a chance and deal with the tummy upset later. Fortunately I handled them just fine!)

5-Hour Evening in Eataly

Saturday evening, I met my childhood friend, Stephie, in Eataly, which is a huge Italian market that houses nine restaurants and thousands of imported delicacies.

I discovered pasta half the size of my body. This would make a massive lasagna!

Fresh squid ink pasta.

More varieties of olive oil than I’ve ever seen in my life!

Cheese counter sampling. My favorite was blue cheese with saffron.

I enjoyed the most incredible grilled greens at Le Verdure!

Scarola alla Griglia: Grilled bitter greens with pine nuts, currants, Parmigiano Reggiano and aged balsamic

Next, we moved to Il Pesce, where we ate perfectly seared cod served over roasted tomatoes and eggplant.

no menu description—it was on special!

Ugly? Yep! Absolutely delicious? Oh yeah.

My dear friend and dining companion, Stephie!

We capped everything off with a cup of gelato.

Vanilla bean. Of course. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Peanut Butter & Co.

I made sure to stop by the flagship store. This is where “gourmet peanut butter” craze began!

Inside is a peanut butter lover’s dream.

I stocked up on two of my favorite fancy peanut butters: Dark Chocolate Dreams and Cinnamon Raisin Swirl.

I really wanted to buy this lunch box but realized that advertising peanut butter obsessions isn’t as cute when you’re 26 as it is when you’re six.

David’s Tea

I never ever imagined I’d be able to drop $80 on tea. I’m a coffee girl, after all.

But I did. David’s Tea has officially changed my tea is too stuffy mindset forever.

Of all the teas I sampled, the dessert-inspired ones were my favorites.

I wish my tea-loving sister had been in the store to help me navigate this wall of teas!

Banana Nut Bread, was the one that really captured my heart.

Banana Nut Bread is part of the Fall 2012 line, and is described this way:ย  The taste of real banana slices blends perfectly with almonds and the sweetness of dates and currants. Itโ€™s fragrant, with all the warmth of a loaf hot from the oven. As deliciously comforting as mamaโ€™s special recipe, but without the calories.

I’m hoping Santa Claus will stuff my stocking with the other two Fall flavors, Pumpkin Chai and Red Velvet Cake. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m also hoping that David’s Tea will open a store in DC veryย very soon.

Whole Foods East Village

ย I have access to Whole Foods in Washington, DC, but Whole Foods East Village was not a typical Whole Foods (at least as I know them!).

Kombucha Bar.

Granola Bar.

Full-service sushi bar with merry-go-round sushi.

My final meal in NYC was eaten out of a humble brown box.

Grilled salmon, arugula, hummus, sesame kale, Korean-style cucumbers, butternut squash, Parmesan

After several days of regularly indulging in sweet treats and richer food than I’m typically used to, it felt wonderful to tuck into something simple, clean and healthy. :)

That said, I savored every minute and every bite in New York. It feels good to be able to truly enjoy—and I mean TRULY ENJOY—being out of my fitness and clean eating routine while on vacation. In the past, I’d feel guilty for indulging while I was away, but isn’t what vacation is for? Isn’t vacation meant to allow us the opportunity to let go and experience those things that we rarely get an opportunity—or take an opportunity—to enjoy?

I think so. :)


Thank you for all your NYC bucket list suggestions! I wish I’d had more time in the city to hit each and every one of them. I guess I’ll have to go back. Who wants to join me? ๐Ÿ˜‰

My German “sister,” Kira arrives tomorrow and will be staying with me for a week, so I’m not sure I’ll have time to blog, since all of my free time will be spent showing her around DC! I’ll try to check in once, but if I don’t, I’ll be back at the end of the week!

What’s your “favorite food in the entire world?”

Are there any other vanilla bean ice cream devotees out there? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you enjoy being out of your typical routine when you’re on vacation? Why or why not?

Are you a tea person or a coffee person? Are you willing to splurge on good tea or coffee?





  • Alexandra

    SO MUCH AWESOMENESS!!! Ahh it looks like a wonderful trip– I wish I could’ve accompanied you and gotten a massive ice cream cone too heehee That literally looks like the greatest cone on the planet– man I’m droolin over here!
    I think my favorite food in the entire world would have to be mahi mahi. I could eat it for breakfast lunch and dinner for eternity– I’m obsessed! I think peanut butter would be a close runner up though haha ๐Ÿ˜€
    Have a great one Sara!

    • Sara Stewart

      I WAS the greatest cone on the planet! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wish you could have accompanied me too–want to plan a an epic blogger meet up in NYC?!

      I looooveee mahi mahi! I think the best I’ve had was in Maui–it was encrusted in macadamia nuts! xoxo

  • Danielle @ Clean Food CF…

    NYC has the best food ever!!! I love all the flavor combos at chobani soho! I’m dying to get there once I’m in NY! Those miniature cupcakes are so adorable! Chocolate chip pancake flavor sounds amazing! So glad you enjoyed your trip to the fullest and didn’t let food “rules” or restrictions get in the way :)

    • Sara Stewart

      Thanks, Danielle! I’d love to recreate the chocolate chip pancake cupcake…do you think we could make a good GF/paleo version? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    Girl, you know I love to eat when I’m on vacation!! LOL ๐Ÿ˜‰ OK, so they have a Chobani restaurant?! And a whole store devoted to peanut butter??? Wow, that is crazy!

    • Sara Stewart

      I can’t wait to travel with you! We’re going to have amazing foodie adventures! Yeah, the Chobani store is pretty amazing. If you visit NY, you HAVE to go! xoxo

  • Jessiejoshua21

    I’m so proud of you for letting your hair down and enjoying your time while on vacation. I know how hard it can be to find balance with all the amazing food NYC has to offer!

    I LOVEEE Vanilla Bean. My favorite — but I must admit, I like it even better w/ rainbow sprinkles on top :)

    • Sara Stewart

      AGREED. Nothing beats sprinkle-topped vanilla bean! <3 xoxo

  • Christina

    You hit all the good spots! The ice cream is making me drool. And the cupcakes! SHEESH!

    • Sara Stewart

      You would have loved the cupcakes–they were literally the smallest I’ve seen. I could have eaten 20. :-p

  • Kristen RD

    I never knew Chobani had a store! That is so neat!
    I didn’t know much about food trucks when I went to New York years ago (perhaps they weren’t as popular then), but when I go back I will have to hunt a couple down. I love that he pointed out the cone would make a better pic. I am sure he gets a few food bloggers then. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Sara Stewart

      Yeah, the Chobani store is amazing! I’m hoping that they’ll open more locations around the country. Next up: DC and Vegas? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • runwithspoons

    Omigosh there’s just too much deliciousness in this post! NYC really looks like a foodie heaven, and I definitely have to go visit it sometime soon, if for nothing else than a few scoops of that amazing looking ice cream! I agree with you 100% that vanilla bean ice cream is the very best. Some of those fancy flavors can be interesting, but when it comes down to it, nothing beats a classic vanilla :) And when it comes to coffee/tea, I can’t live without either. I used to think that I was a coffee person but then I fell in love with a few black teas and I was done for. I just recently started buying a few teas from David’s Tea, and I definitely can’t blame you for splurging on your purchase because I’m the same way. I buy expensive tea, and I hit up Bux pretty much every day because it’s something I enjoy so much that I don’t mind paying a little extra for the pleasant experience :)

    • Sara Stewart

      I agree–it’s completely worth spending extra money on something that’s a million times more pleasurable than the less expensive counterpart. :) Which teas are you loving at David’s Tea?

      • runwithspoons

        Well I only tried a few so far. Right now I have Cinnamon Heart and Coffee Pu’erh, which are both black teas. And then Mango Madness and Pom Power, which are white teas.

  • Caitlin Croswell

    Wow how much do I love this post! You so remind me of myself Sara – ready to EXPERIENCE new places through their culinary offerings, and striving to accept that as a way to showcase our passion for fresh food & drink! I’m so glad you got that heavenly ice cream cone. Vanilla bean used to be my favorite as a child and I have so many fond memories of visiting my godparents’ house and being so psyched to eat their fresh vanilla bean ice cream (my mom would always buy low fat so theirs was way more legit ;-P). Can you believe I’ve never been to PB&Co or Eataly?! Have been dying to go to both! I already love PB&Co’s PB! Amy of Chobani rocks, I totally loved Chobani SoHo. The Chocolate Chip Pancake cupcake sounds divine, I’ve passed Melissa’s a few times! I think the first time I ever visit David’s Tea, Meg HAS to be there!

    • Sara Stewart

      Your godparent’s fresh vanilla bean ice cream sounds amazing! Did they make it at home? I’ve never made homemade ice cream, but would love to give it a whirl!

      Caitlin, you NEED to go to Eataly! You will LOVE it! Make sure to devote half a day to it though; I spent five hours there, but wanted more time! xoxo <3

  • Rach

    I absolutely love this! It’s like “a foodie takes NYC!” ๐Ÿ˜‰ So glad you had such a great time and ate so much delicious food! :)

  • Meg

    BAHAHAHA I started crying when I saw you call me sister :) I know we call each other that ALL the time, but I just get so happy hearing/reading it! I love you, sis.

    Everything looks incredible! SO AMAZING! I really need to have some ice cream, huh ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I would have LOVED to go to Chobani with you <3 some day, sis! <3

    I am OBVIOUSLY more of a tea person. Not more… I AM A TEA PERSON! You knew that though ๐Ÿ˜‰ SO happy you got to experience DAVID!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€


  • Brittany Lesser

    Holy amazingness of a post!!!! I agree – peanut butter is it’s own food. I will argue with anyone who doesn’t believe so ๐Ÿ˜‰ There is also nothing like plain vanilla ice cream. I’m totally with you on that! I do enjoy being out of my typical routine while on vacation. That’s the whole point! A vacation to do what you want, when you want, and not have to worry about anything. I need to go to chobani soho and pb&co … YUM.

  • David Barr

    I’m so glad that you finally managed to track down the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck. They are my favorite! :)

  • callen47

    Oh my gosh, you ate SO many good things in NYC!

    I love real vanilla ice cream too. It’s so delicious on its own that it doesn’t need any toppings! My dad used to make it in our ice cream maker when I was a kid and it was seriously the most delicious thing ever!

    I love coffee, but it doesn’t love me. I have terrible sleeps whenever I drink it! I love tea too, but it’s just not quite as satisfying as a good cuppa Joe with a splash of creamy whole milk.

  • Min

    Wow….wow….lordy…this post…
    can we go on a foodie trip together one of these days? First of all, I LOVE vanilla flavor! Yup I’m that plain vanilla and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The Chobani store sounds amazing! And yogurt masters? yes please! All the flavor combinations sound delicious but I’m esp intrigued by Toasted Coconut + Pineapple/Cucumber + Olive Oil + Sea Salt. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must’ve tasted like!

    Thank you for taking a picture of the Peanut Butter & Co. store! So that’s what it looks like! My favorite is the Bees knees! And I heart David’s Tea, and I haven’t even been there before! Banana nut! Pumpkin Chai!!!!! oh boy…

    I’m so impressed by how many different varieties of olive oil could be found in ONE place! I still haven’t opened up to blue cheese yet. Perhaps if I pinch my nose real hard?
    I’m so glad you got to experience all this! Love you!!

  • Khushboo (

    Oh goodness, that ice cream cone totally has me drooling! I share your sentiments towards vanilla bean ice cream- it beats every kind of fancy flavor available…in this case, simple is best! It’s one of my all-time favorite foods too…hand me a spoon and I’m a happy camper! Although I am more of a cup girl- at the speed I eat ice cream, eating out of a cone would end up being extremely messy. Glad you had such an enjoyable (and delicious) trip, Sara! Like you I love being able to break out of routine when I travel. As you said, we exercise and eat clean for the majority of the time that we absolutely deserve to make the most of our vacations!

    As for choosing between tea & coffee, that’s like asking me to choose my children (if I had any, that is!)…can’t choose, won’t choose ;)!

  • Giselle@aheatlthyhappyhome

    Wow! Everything looks sooo good! I want to visit New York just to go to the same spots! Looks like you had soo much fun!
    I’m normally a coffee in the morning person but during the cooler months, love to drink hot tea during the day and at night. I think I’m more likely to splurge on a good coffee than tea just because I drink it more often.
    I think it depends on where I’m vacationing as to whether I like getting out of my routine. If I’m somewhere new and fun, I splurge and like to try the local cuisine. If I’m just away on a weekend trip to visit family or friends I try to stick more to my routine. This weekend we are going to visit my family in my home town and I’ll be doing my best to stick to my healthy eating habits as well as squeezing in some exercise!

  • Sally

    Such gorgeous photos! I would have especially enjoyed your evening at Eataly with Stephie!

  • Life’s a Bowl

    You ate SO WELL in NYC- so many good finds and tasty treats :) You’ve lit a light bulb in my head and I now totally want to do a “taste of NYC”! Vanilla ice cream has and always will be a classic- even when topped with melted PB. And I reallyyy want to go to the Cho store- it’s such a tease following them on Instagram, their pictures always look so yummy!!!

  • StoriesAndSweetPotatoes

    Squid ink pasta?? This was foodie overload. I can’t hardly process it all. My favorite food in the entire world might be kabocha squash or parsnips…it changes often. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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