Leena Eats: NYC with a baby!

By on Oct 25, 2011 in A Leena-made food tour, Food Porn, Ice cream, Leena Eats, New York City, With a baby | 2 comments

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My trip to NYC started as all my trips to NYC do–with a trip to the Doughnut Plant. This is a yeast-raised donut in fresh raspberry glaze.

Ah, NYC. I’ve only visited you twice before, but each time, you’ve rocked my stomach three ways to Shang-hai. So I was incredibly stoked to be introducing this awesome city–and a few very close friends of mine–to baby Ella. Although traveling with a baby is never easy, we made sure to hit up all the food stops on my list, even if we had to carry the stroller up the subway stairs in the rain. Which we did. It was worth it for some kick-ass dumplings, but I’m getting ahead of myself. First, a little more donut porn.

The daily flavors at Doughnut Plant. Yes, they totally had my coconut cream pie filled donut!! Holla!

I was first introduced to The Doughnut Plant on a food tour of NYC’s Lower East Side given by The Enthusiastic Gourmet in 2005. What’s not to like about artisan donuts with creative, seasonal flavors? The owner, Mark Israel, opened The Doughnut Plant in the basement of a Lower East Side Tenement Building in 1994 using his grandfather’s doughnut recipe, and bicycle to deliver the donuts to local shops like Dean and Deluca. After perfecting his techniques, he opened the shop in 2000, where he’s been ever since. The shop has expanded to Tokyo, where there are nine shops today.

I particularly enjoy his filled donuts, which are square with a hole in the middle, yet filling is in every bite! So creative. So delicious. In addition to the raspberry glaze donut, we also had a coconut cream pie filled donut and a pistachio glazed yeast raised donut.

Flavors of the day at The Doughnut Plant. See how some of the flavors are translated into an Asian language? The shop sits right next to Chinatown, so I assume this is for their Chinese patrons.

More food porn after the jump!

Subway baby! She totally fits in, right?

After donuts, we wandered around Chinatown until we came upon the place I want to live in for the rest of my life, Prosperity Dumpling. From my research on Chowhound and Yelp, I was pretty sure this place would have some killer pan fried dumplings like I used to get in Adelaide. So we rock up to this place, and it is a total hole in the wall. Maybe three stools total in the whole place, which is the size of a large walk-in closet.

Prosperity Dumpling in NYC’s Lower East Side Chinatown. I want to go to there.

And of course, we had a ginormous stroller with a baby in it. But ain’t no way in hell a baby gonna keep me from my dumplings. We folded up the stroller, hid it behind the garbage can, and slung her car seat up on the tiny counter. Victory.

Just in time too. The menu was small, but had purpose. Boiled dumplings, steamed dumplings, and fried. Other dishes too, but I didn’t care about those. I cared about those fried pork and chive dumplings, 5 for $1. A DOLLAR. Hot damn.

A few orders of their pan fried pork and chive dumplings, smothered in black vinegar. HEAVEN.

These were the shit. Crispy on the bottom, chewy on the top, the meat SUPER flavorful (not that breakfast sausage crap I’ve found in most American dumplings) and really juicy, and even though they didn’t have soy sauce and caramelized onion chili jam like The Dumpling King, the black vinegar was enough to give me that taste I missed so much.

They were so good, we hiked across town in the rain the day we flew out just to get more. By the by, if you think most subway stations have elevators to help get your stroller down into it’s depths, you would be wrong. And stuck carrying that bitch up and down the stairs yourself. SO much respect for NYC moms.

We took a short eating break to check out the NYC Public Library and their exhibit of the original Winnie the Pooh dolls. Ella slept through the whole thing, like she’s a baby or something.

After our brief detour, we headed up to Little Italy to check out Lombardi’s Pizza, the first pizza restaurant in the country, with it’s original coal-burning oven. We got the margarhita pizza and the white pizza.

The margarhita pizza, with a simple sauce of pureed San Marzano tomatoes, topped with fresh mozzarella and basil. Our favorite, by far.

The crust was crispy in all the right places on the bottom, and slightly chewy on top. The toppings were fresh and delicious-this was just a classically delicious pizza.

Cheese action shot.

The white pizza, while good, was a bit dry and one-note for us. I loved the garlic and white sauce, but it needed something OTHER than garlic and white sauce…maybe some red sauce on the side to dip it in? I don’t know.

The white pizza, which had rosettes of ricotta cheese on top.
Pizza-eating baby!!!

From there, we headed to the East Village for some dessert at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop.

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop, and my paleta from there.


The Big Gay Ice Cream shop started off as a food truck, but recently expanded to this shop. It’s known for kooky, delicious flavor combinations, so I had to check it out. But I was so full by the time we got there, I could only handle a small paleta made by an outside vendor. That was dumb. It was nowhere near as delicious as the other stuff people got.

The Salty Pimp on the left, and the Mermaid sundae on the right.

One person got the salty pimp cone, vanilla soft serve with dulce de leche, sea salt and chocolate dip. Ridiculously good. Another got the mermaid sundae, which was vanilla soft serve, Key lime curd, crushed graham crackers and whipped cream. Another great dish, making me wish I had come to the shop a little hungrier.

The last amazing spot we hit up in NYC was a venture started by former Top Chef contestant Angelo Sosa. This is an Asian-inspired sandwich lunch spot in Midtown East.

The unisex bathroom sign at Social Eatz. Too funny.

We met up with friend and fellow food blogger Emily Hanhan here, and proceeded to eat our way through the menu.

Smoked pork ribs, marinated in smoked tamarind, topped with a pineapple gochujang (hot pepper) bbq sauce. Super tender, slightly smokey, very good dish.




Bad shot of the Kung Pao sandwich, a creative take on the traditional dish.


My imperialist dog, a chicken sausage with Asian flavors, sweet and spicy sauce, and a cheese sake dipping sauce. SO GOOD. Haven’t had a dog this good since I last ate at Hot Doug’s in Chicago!
The bibimbap burger, which tasted EXACTLY like the original dish.
Delicious and spicy onion rings, and their sake mac and cheese. Mac and cheese sauce was a little sweet for my taste, but husband LOVED it.

In the end, we were pleasantly surprised with Social Eatz. It turned out to be a creative and fun Asian-inspired lunch place that I would totally go to again if I lived in NYC.

We had to be rolled onto the plane home. But it was so worth it. Addresses below!




The Doughnut Plant

379 Grand St

New York, NY 10002

(212) 505-3700




Prosperity Dumpling

46 Eldridge St

New York, NY 10002

(212) 343-0683


Lombardi’s Pizza

32 Spring St

New York, NY 10012

(212) 941-7994



Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

125 E 7th St

New York, NY 10003




Social Eatz

232 E 53rd St

New York, NY 10022

(212) 207-3339
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  1. Lora

    29 Oct ’11

    Post a Reply

    I am now reminded there is no excuse for not getting my ass to Prosperity Dumpling and Lombardi’s asap. Both are within walking distance my my Apt. I always feel for those parents schlepping the strollers up and down subway stairs.You definitely made good use of your meal times in NYC.

    • LeenaEats

      31 Oct ’11

      Lora~ You live within WALKING DISTANCE of Prosperity?!!!! Talk about a dream location for me. Get there as fast as you can! For me!

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