As a Brit in New York, Christmas definitely lacks a few of my favorite traditions. Where are the paper chains? The cauldrons of spicy mulled wine? But those, I can manage. However, there’s one thing no drunken office party or snack by the fire should be without: a homemade mince pie.
It’s rare that an American knows what a mince pie is – and it’s hard to fully explain the beauty of sugar-dusted pastry filled with fruit that’s spiced by nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. But thankfully there’s a British-themed shop in the West Village that cooks their own.
So tonight I met fellow Brit and St Andrews friend Jade at Myers of Keswick on Hudson Street. This place is amazing! Such a huge collection of British favorites – and of course, the star of the show, homemade mince pies.
Afterwards we went to a new cafe that’s opened next door and chowed down. And they did the job – crumbly pastry, a tangy filling and just enough gooeyness. We washed it down with mugs of coffee and chai lattes…
Now it feels like Christmas!
The visit also gave me a chance to weigh up the British stores I’ve been to this year.
For St George’s Day, I visited Tea and Sympathy, which has a somewhat limited, expensive collection of chocolates, HobNobs and Robinson’s Barley Water. But I realized it’s definitely worth a visit for the traditional fish and chip shop and the tea room that flank it.
Over in the Lower East Side, there’s Shi Eurasia which has an impressive (and cheaper) collection of British savories and sweets, beside foods from other countries (this has satisfied my Cadbury’s fix in many desperate moments).
Then over in Brooklyn, I’ve headed to Chip Shop, a pub-slash-cafe serving proper British grub – all of the hearty but artery-clogging favorites. I had a chip butty with a side of chips, and they were perfect. You can find a Chip Shop in Brooklyn Heights (this one has a bar) or Park Slope.
As far as shops go, Myers of Keswick takes the crown. It has a much greater choice of canned and packaged goods, as well as Christmas specials – from Christmas puddings to advent calendars. But the best part is the stacks of homemade pies. While I’m a veggie so would never try their scotch eggs, it’s no doubt a haven for pie-loving Brits and Americans.
So make sure you add a bit of British spice to your holiday parties and grab some mince pies (before I beat you to it).
Myers of Keswick can be found at 634 Hudson Street (between Jane Street and Horatio Street) in the West Village. They’re open between 10am and 7pm on weekdays, between 10am and 6pm on Saturdays and between noon and 5pm on Sundays. They also deliver!