Saturday was probably the most packed day in my diary, I started it off with my morning stroll – and ended up at Black Seed Bagels for a spot of breakfast, so far every New Yorker I came across had a different view on their favourite bagel in Manhattan, everyone also claimed to be “bagel experts”, but Black Seed appealed the most as they have combined the best of their native Montreal and NY styles. The bagels are hand rolled, boiled in honey water for a touch of sweetness, baked in a wood-fried oven and cooled using hand-carved walnut peels.
I opted for the “Everything” bagel which had poppy, rye, sesame, salt and multi-grain. When in the USA go big or go home right? As it was still earning morning I opted for a bacon, cheddar cheese and wood fired egg filling, with a coffee to wash it all down. Having had my fair share of bagels over the years this was something special the bagel itself was lightly browned, had a lovely crisp to it, as for the ingredients inside the bagel they were of excellent quality and that for me is why I’d call it the best overall bagel in NYC.
Yes, I admit that is a big call and there are possibly better bagels in NYC but for my taste this was it – at the end of the day a review is simply down to the tasters own preferences and experience on the day, and my experience was excellent. I also grabbed a second plain buttered bagel to have later in the day and it’s a good job I ordered it alongside my breakfast as the queue was outside the door into the street by the time I left.
I then made a quick visit to see a friend who was a little under the weather and have a catch-up as well as ask for a few tips ahead of my FlyNYON helicopter flight later that day. After she devoured the Cadburys fruit and nut bar I bought her from London I then made the quick walk along 1st Avenue to catch up with my cousin Daven and his family for brunch at Bistro 61 on 1st Avenue, followed by a walk around Central Park. It was great to see them all and get to spend some time with them. We said our farewells as I needed to get to Kearny, New Jersey (NJ) in time for my 15:30 check-in for my helicopter flight.
I had two options at this point an Uber to Kearny costing $70-85 one way or a combination of the Subway, NJ transit and an Uber from Journal Square which cost $40 for return journey. It was a no-brainer the latter was the best option due to cost and the journey was not too much longer a journey time.
The FlyNyon flight deserves its own post due to the video and the photos, I’ll post this once I’ve finished editing the video and pictures – there was 30 minutes of footage and 2320 pictures, all in the space of 30 minutes!
Once back in Manhattan, I decided my next stop had to be Black Tap to try the infamous Freakshakes – I first opted for the location location in the Meatpacking District as I had a dinner with a friend not too far away, unfortunately this location was closed due to a gas leak so I headed over to the Soho location arriving at around 6.15pm, the queue (or line as my American buddies constantly corrected me) went around the block, I was advised that I’d expect to wait in line for approx. 2 hours. At this point I called my friend to take a rain check on the dinner portion but agreed to meet in a bar near her apartment for drinks.
As I was solo and had a long wait ahead, I did what I do best when abroad and started chatting to those around me and it was a mix of locals from Manhattan/Brooklyn and out of state visitors. It was a great opportunity to talk to some new people from all walks of life, and we discussed the one thing we love the most food. I gained a few new locations for my restaurant map, and shared a few locations in London that they could try when over. In fact, in September one of them is over in London and I’ll be heading to Hoppers with him – queue dependant of course ;).
As time went on 2 hours turned into 3 and I started chatting to the host who was a cool guy and it was a difficult role managing the long line where people were constantly asking how long it would be, having a moan at him etc. 3 hours was soon turning into 4 hours and by this time those around me were starting to get a little moany – I wasn’t getting hangry as during the 1st hour I devoured the second bagel from Black Seed, a #TactialWin. We all finally made it in together as a group – and the options are you can either stand and just have a shake or be seated at the counter and have a meal and shake. After 4 hours of standing I opted for the latter. Yep I arrived at 6.15pm and had finally sat down at 10.22pm.
Black Tap only seats 15 and has room for 5 standing, therefore it wasn’t a surprise that the queue was that long. For food I opted for the Lamb Burger – I love the fact that in the States most restaurants have at least 3 options, Chicken, Beef or Turkey, the fact that I had a fourth choice I opted for the lamb. Unfortunately, as I was a little too hungry I forgot to take a picture of the burger. Alongside a pint of Bronx Session IPA, on the house, thanks to the host (much appreciated!). I also loved the fact that all the beers and lagers were brewed within the New York Tri-State area.
As for the Freakshakes, they had four options available on the menu, each priced at $15: Sweet and Salty, Cotton Candy, The Cookie and Sour Power. I opted for an off the menu option. Mine consisted of traditional black and white milkshake base, chocolate syrup, a chocolate cookie rim (Oreo’s I believe), whipped cream, marshmallows, more chocolate syrup and black and white cookies. Possibly, the entire day’s calories in a few sips.
I actually had to stand up to be able to drink the milkshake, was it worth the 4 hour plus wait? Yes, Would I do it again? Yes, Was it worth $15? Without a doubt. If you have the patience and energy to queue for a milkshake, I’d certainly recommend it.
After this I decided to walk to the Meatpacking district where I ended up catching up with my friend A, over a few drinks, talking to some randoms as well as bumping into a blast from the past….. all in all a good, long tiring day in NYC.
Links: NYC Part 2, NYC Part 1, Black Seed Bagels, FlyNYON – The Ultimate Photo Experience, Hoppers Review and Black Tap NYC