I’ve been dying to tell you all about our trip to NYC. My absolute favorite thing in the whole wide world is to eat my way through a new city, and while this wasn’t my first rodeo in The Big Apple, I certainly took in some sights (and bites!) that y’all need to know about. Before we dive into the who, what, and where, let’s first take a look at the granola, as in, the only granola you’ll ever need for the rest of your life.
While in NYC, we dined at Eleven Madison Park (more on that later) and were sent home with our own individual jars of granola. Now, you guys know me. I like butter and chocolate and lots of sugar. I like fluffy cakes and drippy ice cream cones; granola really isn’t on my radar. But THIS granola… this was no ordinary granola. This is actually the best granola of my life.
I realized quickly that the tiny jar they sent us home with wouldn’t last long, and if I was going to make it last forever I’d have to figure out the recipe. Lucky for me, the kind folks at the New York Times had already nosed around about the how-to, and Daniel Humm, executive chef at EMP, had already shared his base granola recipe. With a few ingredient tweaks and modifications, I landed a granola recipe to share with you all that will from here out be known as THE GRANOLA. All others are dead to me.
The recipe for this granola is probably the easiest one I’ve ever shared on my site. We’re literally going to dump a bunch of dry ingredients into a bowl and then dump some wet ingredients on top before baking it. That’s it. The dominant flavor in this granola is the coconut flakes which lend a warm and toasty crunch to the mixture. Hazelnuts follow suit and show off their delicious flavor in cozy chunks that are scattered throughout the granola. The secret star of the show is the cacao nibs which provide just enough savory and smoke to offset all the sweet happening here. Rolled oats, golden raisins, and maple syrup round out the flavor profile, and, oh, it is a sweet flavor profile.
This Eleven Madison Park granola needs no toppings. It needs no milk, no yogurt, no janky açaí bowl to carry it; all it requires is a welcoming hand and an open mouth. It’s crunchy, sweet and salty, and has ridiculous depth of flavor. Follow the instructions and you’ll be sure to experience the same level of deliciousness in your own home. Keep in mind that the ingredients make a difference here. Invest in thin rolled oats (I bought mine from the bulk section at Whole Foods) and quality coconut chips for the biggest impact.
If you haven’t left your computers already to make your own Eleven Madison Park granola, let’s talk about New York! This is your official baking blogger, fancy dinner-loving, pampered prego lady guide to NYC. Leh-go!
Where We Stayed
We stayed at 1 Hotel Central Park. This whole trip, by the way, was thunk up by my favorite husband and his BFF who decided to plan the trip for me and my BFF. They picked the hotel, booked a few reservations, and surprised us Christmas morning. While 1 Hotel maybe wouldn’t have been the hotel I would have chosen, I am so glad we ended up there. This boutique hotel is situated on the edge of Central Park and is within walking distance to a few great spots and a subway station. Uniquely appointed in a vibe I would call “Nature Meets Industrial,” the iron-clad hotel sports an exposed pipes and beams look that is softened with rustic wood, an abundance of plants and greenery, and warm, neutral fabrics galore. We stayed in a City King, and while the room was small, it offered a thoughtful details and unique features that added a ton of WOW factor. A few perks to expect with this hotel include free fresh fruit from the farmer’s market every morning, a delicious hotel restaurant on the bottom level, and a street location that is relatively quiet by NYC standards.
Would I stay at 1 Hotel Central Park again? Absolutely. Would I recommend this hotel if you’re looking to capture a more touristy side of New York? Maybe not. You might find yourself better situated closer to Times Square and the Midtown trains for that kind of vibe, but that’s just my opinion. My girlfriend and I decided we’d love to check out The Greenwich Hotel in the future. With excellent restaurants nearby and a decidedly chic urban vibe, that hotel is definitely going to stay on my list.
What We Ate
What we didn’t eat might be the shorter list. Since I’ve visited New York several times in the past couple of years, I’m going to list out a few of those options below as well. Keep in mind that the food scene is ever-evolving in NYC, so if you happen to see this list in, say, 2024, maybe do your research and make sure it’s still the best recommendation. Cool?
A James Beard Award-winning pastry chef’s flagship bakery. Everyone loves the Cronuts, but I’d recommend the DKA (Dominique Kouign Amann).
Chef Umber Ahmad runs this newer hotspot and is up for a James Beard Award this year! I got to meet and speak with her during my visit there and was delighted to taste test some of the most delicious pastry bites I had in the Big Apple. My favorite bite there was the banana bread, but weekend crowds wait for a chance at the giant cinnamon rolls.
Pastry genius Christina Tosi is known for her playful takes on nostalgic flavors. I’d recommend getting the Cereal Milk soft serve and a copy of her book to-go.
Just get the chocolate babka, okay?
I was promised an “Instagrammable” bakery but received so much more! Flaky stuffed croissants (I loved the PB&J) were among my favorite things I tried here.
Pro tip: Stop here on your last day and pick up a dozen cookies to bring home with you. They freeze like a dream and are worth every
This Michelin Star restaurant from Daniel Boulud was a highly anticipated portion of our trip. While the price tag for this meal made me sweat a little, the service was superb and the food was excellent. I recommend dining in the bar lounge.
Dining at EMP has long been on my bucket list, and this meal delivered on all levels. Every bite was delicious, inventive, and stunning to look at. The service was precise and thorough without being the least bit stuffy or pretentious. A highlight of the meal was getting a mini tour of the kitchen. We requested this at the beginning of our meal and after we finished eating, one of the staff members brought us to the back. They treated us to a taste-testing game and a brief walk-through of the prep areas. Eating at EMP was, without question, the very most enjoyable portion of our trip, and I’d highly recommend to anyone with a taste for an incredible dining experience. For reference, we enjoyed the 4-course lunch menu in the bar area.
A New York staple, Gramercy Tavern has long been one of my favorite spots in the city. You’ll find cozy, seasonal bites and warm service all year round. I prefer to eat in the bar- it’s beautiful!
Someone told me to check out the spaghetti at this Scott Conant restaurant. I was hesitant to order something so basic, but it blew my mind. I also recommend the San Remo cocktail which, to this day, is my favorite cocktail of all time.
Quirky Thai food in a cozy setting. Expect intense flavors and HEAT.
BURGERS AND FRIES. That is all.
This is the Momofuku franchise’s most casual spot. We saddled up at the bar for big noodle bowls but stayed for the fried chicken.
Would you believe that we came here for… the burger?!? We ordered a burger, the Brussels sprouts salad, the loaded fries, and the spicy pizza with the honey drizzled on top. Do the same and you won’t regret it.
Owned by the same folks that started the cult favorite Grimaldi’s, Juliana’s in Brooklyn offers the same perfect slices with slightly less wait.
An inventive cocktail experience.
A self-proclaimed “cocktail institution” with no-fail beverages in a speakeasy-style setting.
We visited this bar during the wait for our table at Uncle Boon’s and I wish I could have stayed all night.
What We Did
I’ve done the touristy thing in NYC more times that I can count. We specifically avoided the host of available tourist options on this most recent trip, however, if you’re looking for an out-of-the-box historical option for your trip, please check out the Tenement Museum! I was dying to go and couldn’t reserve a tour at the right time, but this little blip on the Manhattan museum scene offers an inside look at American immigrant life. If you’re looking for a fluffy, pampered NYC experience, check out the things we did below!
We treated ourselves to makeup consultations before dinner on our theatre night. They’re totally free and you can book a consult at the link above!
If you live in a rural area (raises hand!) you’ll want to check out the big-city workout offerings. I visited a Pure Barre studio and my friend did Soul Cycle. Both were excellent! I recommend booking in advance.
“It’s not a facial. It’s a workout.” This is the slogan of FaceGym, the studio offering exercise training-inspired facial treatments now in NYC. Expect muscle manipulations, hydrating serums, and high-tech lasers and infusions.
We tooled around the market to check out veggies, dried flowers, and even small-batch liquors. Highly recommend if you’re in the area!
Check out the boutique offerings in the village for quirky gifts and fun take-homes.
If you go to New York without seeing a show, did you really go to New York? We saw Hamilton for what will probably be my final time, but there are new shows popping up all the time! I’m dying to see Mean Girls and Ain’t Too Proud.
If the weather is right, take time to walk (or bike!) the bridge. We walked to our Brooklyn dinner destination and took the F train home.
What I’ll Check Out Next Time
Eleven Madison Park Granola and Our Trip to NYC
This granola, adapted from Eleven Madison Park’s recipe, features a coconut base and loads of flavor from hazelnuts and cacao nibs.
- Prep Time: 5
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 Cups 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- 2–3/4 cups (250 gm) rolled oats
- 1 cup (110 gm) hazelnuts, chopped
- 1 cup (60 gm) unsweetened coconut chips
- 1/3 cup cacao nibs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup (100 gm) maple syrup
- 1/3 cup (60 gm) extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup (50 gm) golden raisins
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oats, hazelnuts, coconut chips, cacao nibs, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan on the stove over low heat, stir to combine the maple syrup, olive oil, and brown sugar. Stir regularly and remove from heat when the brown sugar has dissolved. Pour the syrup mixture over the oat mixture and stir to toss evenly. Spread the mixture out onto a large sheet pan and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Once the mixture is barely golden and dry, remove from the oven. Toss in the golden raisins and seal in a large bag or tupperware once cool.
- I love the balance of salt here, but feel free to trim back 1/4 teaspoon if desired.