Just Opened Meets: Arts+Food NYC
Here at Just Opened, we’re bringing you a new series of interviews where we delve into the lives of some of New York’s best-informed food and drink bloggers. They know what’s hot and what’s not – it’s their job. We’re asking about what’s new and exciting on their foodie radar, as well those old favorite haunts they just keep going back to.
First up, it’s Dayna and Brian from Arts+Food NYC…
Tell us a bit about Arts+Food NYC– how long have you been doing this and how did you get started?
Dayna: ‘We grew up five minutes away from each other in North Toronto, but only met when we were both studying music at Berklee College of Music in Boston. We were best friends right away, and started dating about two years later, and now we’re married!’
Brian: ‘We love culture and food and when we moved to New York, we had a huge list of places we want to try – we didn’t know where to start! As we checked the list off one by one, we started taking photos of everything we were eating. It started out as a hobby but then it grew – when we hit 10k followers was when we realized we’d created a bit of a “thing”.’
What makes Arts+Food NYC different from other Instagram accounts focusing on food in NYC?
Brian: ‘We celebrate, rather than critique. We do it together and we document experiences that we’ve loved and want to share with others. We love creating content and we figured the chances are, if we like it, other people will probably like it too. Turned out we were right!’
Where’s your fail-safe date night in NYC?
Dayna: ‘100% our ramen place just around the corner – Jun-men Ramen Bar. They have the best bao buns and the ramen is delicious. There’s this dry ramen with uni sea urchins and mushrooms, in this incredible creamy sauce – it’s so good! There’s only about 15 tables so it’s super intimate and approachable – really phenomenal.’
What’s your favorite recent opening in New York?
Brian: ‘We love The Grill – it opened last year. You walk in and you’re immediately transported back to the 50s/60s Mad Men era, when the US was fascinated with Cuba. It’s in a super elegant, romantic setting, the food is sensational and they play wonderful Havanan music – it’s quintessential New York at its best.’
Where do you think you can get the best desserts in the city?
Dayna: ‘Oh my gosh, 100% Billy’s Bakery – they’ve got my favorite dessert in the entire world. It’s a peanut butter blondie with jam inside – it’s gooey and so delicious; you’ve got to try it; you will freak out! I want to have an entire cake made out of it for my 30th birthday.’
Best cocktails you’ve ever tasted?
Dayna: ‘We love The Wallflower in the West Village – they make craft cocktails and they’re doing a beautiful job. They also just got a new chef and the food is exceptional. If you go, try and sit in the cute little nook in the bar area – it’s a super romantic little spot with a window facing out onto 12th Street.’
Best foodie destination in the USA outside of New York?
Dayna: ‘Definitely Boston, and it’s not just that we’re biased because we studied there! It’s super under-rated – they’ve got the best, freshest sea food and an amazing chef scene.
In fact, Brian’s favorite restaurant of all time is in Boston! It’s called Deuxave – the chef is Chris Coombes and he cooks delicious French/American food in a gourmet but totally approachable way.’
Brian: ‘Yeah it’s got this beautiful fireplace, the place is wildly elegant, and the flavors are delicious. And, oh my gosh, the lobster gnocchi in dark brown butter sauce and grapes…..!
We also love any Barbara Lynch restaurant. She’s got a place called Stir which does gourmet cooking class. There’s maybe ten people around a chef’s table and you get to experience fine cuisine cooked in front of you, and you can ask the chef questions as they cook. There are all kinds of different themed classes and they’re always getting in guest chefs for it. Oh, and the wine pairings are AMAZING!’
Who’s your favorite chef?
Dayna: ‘We love Chef Nir Mesika – he’s the owner and head chef of Timna. He’s mastered his own take on modern Israeli cuisine, with really forward, elevated flavors, but totally approachable and unpretentious. He does this Kubenah bread that comes in a clay flower pot and you tear apart and dip into different sauces – it’s exceptional.’
Is there anything new you discovered on a menu that we should know about?
Dayna: ‘Definitely the most delicious and unique thing we have tried lately are these Hungarian Langos donuts from The Eddy in the East Village.’
What upcoming openings have got you excited?
Brian: ‘We are incredibly excited about the South of the Clouds opening. It is a delicious family-owned restaurant that brings noodles to the next level!’
Which of your Instagram posts get the most likes?
Dayna: ‘The posts that people go most wild for are our videos, and they normally involve cheese – our followers just can’t get enough! This post of the cheesy bread at Mr Panzerotto had almost half a million views!’