Favorite Things Lately, Volume 11

Rose Main Reading Room at NYPL: It’s almost a religious experience walking into this world-famous, recently renovated space. Behold the chandeliers, the stone archways and oversize windows, the intricately molded ceiling. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the room resembles a kind of cathedral as it seems to be a literal monument to the power of ideas and scholarship.  It’s also my favorite place in the city to write.

library

Mini Zip Wallet from Everlane: I happen to be somewhat wallet-averse. I need to keep things light in a purse I lug around all day, and most women’s wallets are way too bulky. I’ve been stuffing everything into a threadbare Anthropologie giveaway change purse for the past 4 years. It’s gotten super gross. Enter this adorable mini wallet from online clothing and accessories shop Everlane. The company is all about ethical sourcing and transparent pricing, so every item has a breakdown of all related costs (labor, materials, duties, etc.). At $50 (with a true cost of $23), this wallet, made in Spain, is a very good deal as far as small leather goods go. My husband, a product developer and industry insider (who does not work for Everlane, promise) praised the workmanship and the price.

everlane

courtesy of Everlane

Turkey Leg Sandwich at Henry Public: After half-a-dozen years, this iconic sandwich ($17) is still worthy of gushing prose. The sandwich’s juiciness is derived from the very un-Kosher process of braising the pulled turkey leg meat in milk for hours. Add crispy, deep-fried onions, a heaping side of French fries, an expertly made cocktail, and you’ve got the ideal meal for these short, dark days.

henrypublic

oo35mm: A haven for beauty junkies who’ve tired of Sephora, this pocket-size, 2nd story Chinatown shop is brimming with an assortment of beauty products, many of them imported from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The employees are super helpful, especially when asked to talk through the dozens of single-use sheet masks, infused with a variety of ingredients like rose, honey, and 24K gold. Some even resemble animal faces! They’re an affordable indulgence at around $1.50 to $4.50 a piece.

oo35mm

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Doughnuts in Unexpected Places

Let’s talk doughnuts. One might venture to say they’re the perfect dessert. Pillowy, buttery, sugary and carb-y, doughnuts haven’t met a day they couldn’t make better. They’re as much a part of American culture as Superman and movies about prom (seriously, how many do we need?).  New York City has a healthy collection of doughnut-focused purveyors, including standouts Doughnut Plant on the Lower East Side, Dough in Bed-Stuy and Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop in Greenpoint. Today, however, we’re focusing on something a little different. Here are a few places where doughnuts are an unexpected surprise, not the main attraction.

606 R&D

Paid for through the generosity of Kickstarter “dough-nators”, this restaurant’s doughnut machine makes small cakey doughnuts, which are sold plain or dusted with either cinnamon-sugar  or powdered sugar, three for $4 or a dozen for $15. I think all those who donated should feel vindicated. These doughnuts (available to-go or with your sit-down meal) are wonderful, with an appealing crust and a surprisingly moist interior, escaping the mealiness that sometimes befalls similar style doughnuts. Overall, one of my favorites on the list.

Doughnuts at 606 R&D: powdered sugar, plan and cinnamon-sugar

Doughnuts at 606 R&D: powdered sugar, plain and cinnamon-sugar

Brindle Room

This homey East Village restaurant known for its juicy burger and shareable comfort food also churns out fresh doughnuts. I came in at an off-hour and was treated to made-to-order doughnuts in three flavors: powdered sugar, caramel and chocolate hazelnut with sliced almonds (for $1.75 a piece). These doughnuts were so hot the powdered sugar topping had caramelized by the time I opened my to-go container. According to Grub Street, the secret ingredient is mashed potatoes in the batter. They did have a very unique taste–my favorite was the indulgent chocolate hazelnut–though may have spent a few seconds too long in the deep fryer.

A trio of doughnuts from The Brindle Room

A trio of doughnuts from the Brindle Room

Chinatown Mini Cakes, Several Locations (Different Owners)

Okay, so they’re not REALLY doughnuts in the traditional sense. They’re mini cakes, a Hong Kong street food made from a pancake-style batter that is poured into a special griddle (see below). The result is a web of quarter-sized ovals with a crisp exterior and a soft, slightly custardy center.  At 15  or 20 for $1, depending on location , they’re hard to pass up.

Hot cakes at Canal Street purveyor Ling's

Hot cakes at Canal Street purveyor Ling’s

DuMont Burger

Fresh, made-to-order doughnuts are available everyday starting at 11:30 a.m. at this go-to counter of Dumont Burger in Williamsburg. They can be had in a variety of sugar dustings–cinnamon, lemon or ginger–and, if you get the 9-order,with  dulce de leche or chocolate dipping sauces. They have a nicely browned exterior and soft, satisfying, albeit slightly dense innards. Three bites for $4, or nine for $6 isn’t the most amazing deal, but totally worth it for the MTO factor.

dumontburger

Cinnamon sugar doughnuts with a gratis–thanks to the lovely cashier–dulce de leche dipping sauce

Sullivan Street Bakery

These filled Italian doughnuts, or bombolini ($3.50 each), at bread whisperer Jim Lahey’s cafe -bakery are the bomb…olini (I’ll show myself out). They have a tremendous amount of flavor in the actual dough–a testament to their quality since yeast doughnuts not fried correctly often taste mainly of grease. The raspberry filling (one of several offered) is tart, sweet and potent, with none of the artificiality of chain-style jelly doughnuts.

Raspberry bombolino at Sullivan Street Bakery

Raspberry bombolino at Sullivan Street Bakery

Ray’s Candy Store

Not only is Ray’s one of the only places in the city to get freshly-made beignets to go, it’s also THE only place to get them at 4 a.m. after a raucous night out in the East Village. Ray’s has been an Alphabet City institution since 1974, and though the surrounding area continues to transform at some-would-say alarming speeds, Ray’s is a time-capsule of a grittier era, when the ‘hood was filled with junkies and artists. These perfectly serviceable beignets come buried under a mountain of powdered sugar. As in, I had to turn a few over in the below photo, so you could tell there were actual doughnuts hiding under those sugar peaks. Six will you set you back $3.50, or if you’re really hunger, you can get 12 for $6.50.

An order of six beignets at Ray's

An order of six beignets at Ray’s

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