Agatha Kulaga is a social entrepreneur, master baker, and co-founder of Brooklyn based Ovenly, one of the best loved bakeries in New York. She knows all the best speciality food shops, loves a good walk and if you read to the bottom there is a link to Ovenly’s much talked about Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie.
1. Where do you call home
I’ve lived in NYC for 17 years and consider myself an official New Yorker (I’ve earned it, right?!). Greenpoint has been home to me for many years now. It feels like a true community and happens to be where we opened our first bakeshop.
2. Best place to get lost in New York
I love to wander the streets of Chinatown where you can stumble upon incredible dim sum spots, stuff yourself with the taro and pineapple buns, sample pickled plums and dried squid at sweets shops like Aji Ichiban, and do some tai chi watching in Columbus Park.
3. Most memorable meal
My most memorable meals in NYC have all been home-cooked meals with friends…over many bottles of wine.
4. One thing the guidebook doesn't tell you
New Yorkers are the nicest people on the planet, don’t let anyone tell you differently!
5. A building to get locked in overnight
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the kind of museum that can feel overwhelming pretty quickly, which is why getting locked in overnight with no other humans and a sense of time having stopped would be epic. Isn’t it everyone’s dream to be locked up all alone with that much history and beauty for a night? My life as a New Yorker would be complete if that happened.
6. Favorite store in preparation for an epic baking day
Kalustyans is my go-to store for baking supplies and inspiration. Walking through the aisles is like traveling to multiple countries at once and it’s guaranteed that I’ll end up coming home with bags of ingredients and spices I’ve never even heard of.
7. Biggest extravagance
For the experience as much as for the food, omakase at Sushi Nakazawa will leave your body vibrating with happiness.
8. Taxi, bus or subway
Walking! But the subway is a great place for people watching and catching up on reading.
9. Favorite hotel in New York to hang
In Brooklyn, you can find me at the bar at Reynard’s at the Wythe Hotel. For a city hang, The Gramercy Park Hotel is a classic, where breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Mailino make it hard to leave the hotel. If you do make it out, it’s impossible to resist walking around the corner to Daily Provisions for a maple cruller, or three.
10. Your ideal spot to watch the sunset
Grand Banks is the perfect spot to make you feel like you’re taking in a sunset on vacation somewhere far away and tropical. And you can do it while slurping down oysters and negronis.
11. Best city break
One of my favorite day trips involves packing a picnic and driving up to Storm King to wander the grounds there. The drive itself is so beautiful, especially in late fall, and we usually squeeze in a stop at Blue Hill on the way there. It’s an easy break from the city that never seems to get old.
12. First thing you do when you get back to New York
Within 24 hours of getting back to NYC, there is a necessary stop at my corner bodega for a classic New York egg and cheese breakfast sandwich.
13. Your best cookie
I would have to say it’s a tie between our Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie (which is secretly vegan and a Food52 Genius Dessert) and our Boozy Tarragon Chocolate Chip Cookie (made with bourbon and brown butter). Both cookies strike a balance between sweet and salty and are a great hostess treat that will be the hit of any party.