Best cookies ever! Levain Bakery

This tiny little bakery on the Upper West Side has the reputation of turning out one of the best cookies in New York City.  Even on a late Sunday afternoon, half an hour before closing, there was a long line out its door!  Thankfully the line moved quickly. The minute I stepped into the bakery, I was overwhelmed (in a good way) by the aroma of the freshly baked cookies.  

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Even though I had the good intention of just getting 1 cookie, somehow I walked out of the store with two =P.  The cookies are absolutely divine!! It's shaped more like a mount than a flat disk.  A mount of warm, gooey, goodness!  My photos don't do the cookies justice at all. 

Chocolate Chocolate Chip

Chocolate Chocolate Chip

The saltiness of the peanut butter chip really balanced out the sweetness of the chocolate nicely.  That said, I really love the chocolate chocolate chip cookie as well.  

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip

The only thing missing was a tall glass of milk! 

Verdict: AAA.  Live up to the hype. It's possibility the best cookies that I have ever had…or at least in recent memory.  

Levain Bakery
167 West 74th Street (@Columbus Street)
http://www.levainbakery.com

A Carnivore's Heaven (@ Mighty Quinn's)

I grew up in Texas. I love my BBQ!  This counter-service BBQ joint is my favorite BBQ place in Manhattan.  

This place is usually packed with lines out the door…and they run out the good stuff if you get there too late!  My solution? Go in the late afternoon, after the lunch rush and before the dinner crowd.

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I got a glimpse of the smoker….drool! 

THE SMOKER

THE SMOKER

The Brisket is the most popular meat here.  

BRISKET SANDWICH

BRISKET SANDWICH

I have tried the entire menu and my favorite, hands down, is the Brontosaurus Rib!  It is ginormous!!  Before they serve it, they slather on some additional sauce and sprinkle on some sea salt.  It is the most divine piece of meat!  Super tender...falling off the bone. 

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YUP. IT REALLY IS THAT BIG!

YUP. IT REALLY IS THAT BIG!

Verdict: AAA 

Mighty Quinn's 
103 Second Avenue (@ 6th Street)
http://mightyquinnsbbq.com

Salt and Straw

This local "farm-to-cone" ice-cream shop churns out some seriously yummy ice-cream!  The ice-cream is handmade in small batches, using only all-natural ingredients.  

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There are some really unique flavors: Mint Leaves & Sea Urchin Meringue...Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper...Pear with Blue Cheese. After trying multiple flavors, I settled on a scoop of Pear with Blue Cheese and a scoop of Salted Caramel.  I don't even like Blue Cheese, but somehow Pear and Blue Cheese complimented each other perfectly. 

TWO SCOOPS: PEAR WITH BLUE CHEESE & SEA SALTED CARAMEL

TWO SCOOPS: PEAR WITH BLUE CHEESE & SEA SALTED CARAMEL

Ice-cream sampler! What a great idea! Too bad I only saw this after I placed my cone ordered.

ICE CREAM SAMPLER

ICE CREAM SAMPLER

This is a must-visit on any Portland trip!

Salt and Straw (multiple locations)
2035 NE Alberta Street 
http://saltandstraw.com

Screen Porch

Screen Porch is a MUST on any Portland trip.  The restaurant doesn't take reservations and the wait can easily be 1 1/2 to 2 hours, but no matter...GO anyway!  

After having the fried oyster appetizer, I knew the fried chicken would be great.  I think the secret is in the batter.  The crust was perfectly crispy and didn't taste greasy at all.

FRIED OYSTERS

FRIED OYSTERS

We ordered some veggies for good measure. 

CORN BREAD & VEGGIES

CORN BREAD & VEGGIES

The Fried Chicken might just be the best fried chicken that I have ever had!  The photo really doesn't do it justice. It would have loved to go back for brunch, just so I can order the chicken 'n waffle. 

CRISPY FRIED BUTTERMILK-BATTERED CHICKEN

CRISPY FRIED BUTTERMILK-BATTERED CHICKEN

CAROLINA PULL-PORK SANDWICH

CAROLINA PULL-PORK SANDWICH

SMOKED CHICKEN & ANDOUILLE JAMBALAYA

SMOKED CHICKEN & ANDOUILLE JAMBALAYA

Verdict:  AAA.  We all agreed that this was our best meal on this trip!

Sceen Porch
2337 East Burnside Street
http://www.screendoorrestaurant.com

Mother's Bistro & Bar

Like all other popular brunch places in Portland, this place does not take reservation.  Our wait wasn't too bad since we were able to get some coffee from the bar and wait in a separate seating area.  

I couldn't decide between Mike's Special Scramble and the Mushroom Scramble, so I hedged my bet and shared with a friend.  The Mike's Special Scramble was the clear winner!  The egg was fluffy and the dish was full of flavor.  I can eat this for breakfast everyday! 

MIKE'S SPECIAL SCRAMBLE - WITH PROSCIUTTO, ROASTED GARLIC, TOMATOES, BASIL & PROVOLONE CHEESE

MIKE'S SPECIAL SCRAMBLE - WITH PROSCIUTTO, ROASTED GARLIC, TOMATOES, BASIL & PROVOLONE CHEESE

GRILLED PORTOBELL0 MUSHROOM SCRAMBLE - WITH SAUTÉED SPINACH & ASIAGO CHEESE

GRILLED PORTOBELL0 MUSHROOM SCRAMBLE - WITH SAUTÉED SPINACH & ASIAGO CHEESE

I tried a bit of everyone else's dish and everything was good!  

WILD SALMON HASH WITH EGGS

WILD SALMON HASH WITH EGGS

BLUEBERRY PANCAKES 

BLUEBERRY PANCAKES 

Verdict: AAA.  The excellent brunch was worth the wait! 

Mother's Bistro & Bar
212 SW Stark Street
http://www.mothersbistro.com