Eat It for the 'Gram
A place you'll get greeted by a "Ciao" and be overwhelmed with options for pastries. Choices ranging from everything croissants with jalapeño cream cheese to earl grey macarons and too-pretty-to-eat eclairs are laid out right in front of you.
I grab a bar stool in the back with Patricia Holliday, getting front row seats into the soul of the bakery.
"That's the chef over there," Patricia points. "Rory MacDonald."
This particular NYC establishment opened on that Monday, four days before I found myself sitting inside of it with my black sesame seed pastry - amongst the 5 other pastries, we also felt the urge to indulge in.
It was Patricia’s second visit. This #EEEEEATS enthusiast, having done her research that led us here.
She is the one to call whenever you have the burning question: where do I go to eat? With an Instagram profile flooded with food, Patricia does her research and knows what she’s getting into before she orders off the menu.
Before we can eat, she puts the pastries to work modeling.
“When I was kid I was a creature of habit and ate mostly dinosaur chicken nuggets and mac and cheese,” she explains to me.
On March 1, 2014, she posted a photo with the caption: "The search for the best burger begins." Though she had been posting photos of food since she got rid of her Blackberry two years prior, she credits this quest with her current food-porn hobby.
“I got the idea that I wanted to find the best burger in NYC. I thought Instagramming the burgers I got was a good way to chronicle and share the 'best' burgers. I started adding in stuff I baked at home and then just more food I ate.”
Her personal account turned into a crash course to good eats in NYC.
“I did find out that some of my friends want me to make a "personal account" and that I post too much food,” she says, “but, to me, I am constantly thinking about food so it's pretty personal.”
A local Astoria establishment and personal favorite of Patricia, this spot was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Aside from their cash-only, party-brunch weekend vibes, you'll find yourself happy to stand on line. From the moment you arrive in the seemingly grueling line, Avatar, who controls the door, provides you with games and jokes to make your wait more tolerable.
Inside, there is magic happening. Dishes like their southwest benedict, chicken & waffles, and fried mac & cheese balls are comfort food for Queens natives and as well as tourists. As if the food isn't decadent enough, @donutdivany has a residency there, whipping up some insanely creative and cakey donuts and biscuits that will send you on a sugar high like no other.
During the week, the place is much quieter; but not completely...
I stopped by with Patricia on a Thursday. She was standing on the corner of Steinway Street and 30th Avenue, a few steps from Queens Comfort. There was no line, the lights weren't on, but the door was open.
The lone gentleman inside greeted us from behind the chairs turned up onto the tables.
"We're here for a donut," Patricia gently commanded.
As he went to check on the status of the donuts, he got a swift verbal kick in the ass.
"Tell Montana to hurry up, some of us have to go to work,” this comment comes with a laugh from both of them.
Montana, of course, being @donutdivany herself.
Montana’s extraordinary creativity has birthed miracles like the Cap’n Crunch Donut and Italian Rainbow Cookie Crumbcake.
Patricia always stops by for some of her choice favorites, which earns her rights to the first-name basis with @donutdivany.
They're also frequenters of the establishment, but the regardless if you run into them on line or not, Patricia swears by this place.
"It's a fun environment, good brunch, and [@donutdivany] is the absolute sweetest person ever."
Prince St. Pizza
“Truth be told, I'm not one to be adventurous with my eating," Patricia says.
"I have foods I like and I am always on the quest to find them done well. I could eat a different slice of pizza every day and be okay with that.”
If that were the case, this is the place.
For those who don't like sweets, the carb option to go to is Pizza. One may be fooled into thinking a lot of options are NY's best, but Prince Street is the nook like no other.
Hunting down the best burger has transformed over the years into finding the most exotic donut and the best slice of pizza.
It's also done more than that. Instagram became an online archive of her favorite foods and a fan club of people who share the same affinity.
“I love sharing my food with my friends but most of them are casual fans of food. Instagram lets me talk to people who would also murder someone for the last slice of rainbow cookie crumb cake from Queens Comfort.”
Patricia has no plans to quit her day job. Her Instagram has become a habit, a hobby, and a social club. She avails herself for openings and new releases when she has the chance, and thoroughly enjoys filling her free hours with photo shoots.
“For now I just enjoy getting food with my friends and pairing my love of photography with it.”
She may "Do it for the 'gram," but she doesn't necessarily do it for her fans. Her main goal of taking pictures of her food is to share the love and let other in on the great things she's gotten to experience.
“I'd just hope my audience is people like me: always looking for something good to eat."