Monday, November 16, 2009

NYC explorations: City Bakery and Union Square Market

For a while I have heard great things about the unique food and atmosphere at City Bakery. They serve good, cheaper eats with a cafeteria type feel. This past weekend I was able to try it out and experience the uniqueness myself. New York City easily be very expensive, even when you are trying to watch costs. The City Bakery is a cool eatery just off of Union Square Market. I was there shortly before 11am and they were busy making the transition between breakfast and lunchtime fare.

The name City Bakery can be deceiving. Although it is a bakery, City Bakery offers so much more. There are three sections to the restaurant if you can call it that. The front one offers all sorts the normal bakery treats of bread, cookies, and pastries as well as coffee and cafe selections. If you are in for a real indulgence try the Hot Chocolate. They give samples and trust me when I say the little shot they give out will fill you up. It is rich and thick and oh so good; its reminiscent of European style hot chocolate.

Second smaller section was serving hot more hearty breakfast eats of eggs and French toast. The larger back section was housing yogurt and fresh fruit for parfaits. Again I was there at the change over and these were being taken down to make room for all sorts of salads.

The layout is designed for you to order, grab and go or sit and enjoy your food selections. I had a small snack of the one of the most well-known treats at the City Bakery, the Pretzel croissant. I don't like croissants usually. I find them too buttery in flavor and the flakiness does not fill me up. However, the salty pretzel flavor muted the butteriness. It was delicious and quite different than anything else I have had. I really enjoyed it and at around $4 it is the perfect snack. I highly recommend a visit and I plan to go back again soon for more of a meal. Don't bother with the website, it is quite disappointing and good only for an exact address.

As I said earlier, the City Bakery is right around the corner from Union Square which happens to hold a lovely farmers market most days of the week. Obviously in the summer months the market takes up most of the park with all of the vendors. I was pleasantly surprised though by the amount of vendors still in attendance mid-November. Walking through this market is one of my favorite things to do in the city. I am a bit weird. Anyway, they have so much variety to look at from heirloom veggies, pear cider, homemade cheeses, baked goods, canned goods, and game meats. There are several yarn and floral vendors as well.
This vegetable stand had purple carrots all piled high. I normally leave feeling somewhat disappointed as not being able to purchase the perishable to cook with. This is however another great place if you are look for a put together lunch of bread, cheese and fruit or a treat of natural fruit juices or homemade yogurt.

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