Eleven Madison Park Granola

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Mom visited during her birthday week and I decided it was high time to treat her to something lavish as lunch at Eleven Madison Parkrecently named #5 best restaurant in the world; 21 years of gifting scrapbooks and last-minute Bath & Body Works lotions calls for something as big as 3 Michelin stars. I never envisioned restaurant reviews on this blog, but think of it as one of my travel posts—after all, this meal shed light onto a whole socio-economic world that might as well be as foreign as the next hemisphere over.


I can’t even begin to describe the nuances of all 15+ courses or each passing minute of the 3-hour tasting menu, but one theme rang true: Every individual flavour was so distinct and striking and clean… but when experienced as one mouthful, they were harmonious and composed; nothing tyrannical—only leading like a gentleman in the foxtrot; nothing overshadowed—only subdued accompaniment like a left hand’s cadence in the piano solo. If that seems too dramatically poetic or evocative of performing and visual arts, then good—you now have a better idea of what the experience was like. It was akin to a gallivant through the museum or prime seating at a Yo Yo Ma concert (which actually ALSO happened during this week of too many ridiculously good things), and chef Daniel Humm is most certainly an artist.


The brussels sprouts garnishing the lobster and guanciale were impossibly crisp and caramelised, the Szechuan-pepper-encrusted and lavender-stuffed honey-roasted duck was every bit as incredible as it sounds, various organs of that duck were reconstructed as a delicious kabob grilled right at our table, the sturgeon sabayon with chive oil had us digging to the depths of our delicate eggshells, and there was the intermission of tea and coffee complete with a magic trick. Out of a deck with 52 flavours, we chose passion fruit and mint playing cards that corresponded with chocolates of the same flavour, revealed under our saucers.


The courses were all notable, but a few were exceptionally exceptional. A glass dome filled with smoke was brought to the table and unveiled perfectly smoked slices of sturgeon to be eaten with waif-thin rye crisps, whipped cream cheese, caviar, soft-boiled quail egg, everything bagel crumble, and homemade pickles.


Throughout the dinner, the importance of locally sourcing  the best ingredients was rightfully emphasised again and again. The infamous Hudson Valley “muckland”-grown carrots, distinct in their flavour and texture, were perhaps the most outstanding example of this. They were cranked through a traditional meat grinder clamped to our table, the star of Humm’s steak tartare interpretation and served with the most adorable assortment of condiments (so conceptually similar to the miang kham I had in Thailand).



A kabocha squash was stuffed with herbs, sealed with sourdough crust, and roasted whole to serve with cranberry compote, caramelised pumpkin seeds, and maple-bourbon sauce that tasted like everything pure, earthy, and festive about Autumn.


The plating and presentation were thoughtful. The waiters were everywhere at once, swooping silently by to clear up utensils and bring new plates for each new course. They explained each dish, answered questions thoroughly, but put themselves out of the way. In addition to its artistry and seasonal flexibilities, Eleven Madison Park is, on the other hand, an extremely well-oiled machine capable of churning out amazingly orchestrated food.


Now, I enjoy a loud and sweaty hawker stall every bit as much as an afternoon in the plush seats of the world’s #5 restaurant, so it was a nice surprise when we were sent home with a humble jar of granola: “We made you breakfast for tomorrow.”


Turns out it’s more than any humble granola I’ve ever tasted. Leaving the restaurant both physically and mentally full enough to forego food for the rest of the day, I didn’t crack open my jar for a few days. When I finally tasted it, I couldn’t stop. Mom foolishly left hers with me, and both jars now sit empty upon my desk, echoing of no self-control. I’ve always stood solidly in the large clusters camp, but this cluster-less breed is confusingly perfect. You might think that granola is granola—one of those foods that’s incredible regardless of what recipe you follow or what you eat it with…but Humm will prove you wrong. There are ranks of incredibleness amongst granola, and this one’s at the top. It isn’t the most fat-free or low-sodium, it doesn’t involve healthy tricks like egg white or puffed rice, but it’s the best I’ve ever had. And that’s worth every extra teaspoon of brown sugar.


Eleven Madison Park Granola
Adapted from Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook
(makes 6 cups)

  • 2 3/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 3/4 cup dried apple slices
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 300ºF/150ºC.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, apples, pepitas, and salt.
In a small saucepan set over low heat, warm the sugar, maple syrup and olive oil until the sugar has just dissolved, then remove from heat. Fold liquids into the mixture of oats, making sure to coat the dry ingredients well.
Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and spread granola in an even layer. Bake until dry and lightly golden, 30 to 40 minutes, stirring granola a few times along the way.
Remove granola from oven, mix in the dried fruit. Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a storage container.


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28 Responses to Eleven Madison Park Granola

  1. rika@vm says:

    I love the spread in the first photo, simple and classic. And of course, who doesn’t love tea?! I have never seen carrots in a “meat grinder”, but I guess that’s even better than meat! Love the whole setting & styling. The restaurant plating looks gorgeous…now I’m curious to see if they offer vegan options or can accomodate vegans :) Love the granola, Irina, filled with lots of yum!

    • wandercrush says:

      Thanks, Rika! Yes, they’re definitely extremely sensitive to everybody’s individual food needs and preferences, making sure before the meal to know any allergies/restrictions/preferences. They make each plate tailored to the individual guest, so I’m positive they wouldn’t have any problems with veganizing. Just another reason to go ASAP ;)

  2. What an amazing birthday treat for your mother (and you)! Your pictures are gorgeous as always and really tell a story! Must try the granola recip. I love pepitas!

  3. I love NYC, just spent a month there this summer, and I never get tired of hearing about New York City. Needless to say, I really enjoyed your restaurant review – this place will be on my to-go list. How did you manage to get such wonderful photos indoors? Was the restaurant OK with you taking pictures?

    • wandercrush says:

      Many thanks, Julia! Our reservations were for lunch, which started at 12:15 so there was still plenty of natural light coming in through the gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows. Pretty much everybody was taking photos, whether it be iPhone snaps, DSLR, or hand-held with flash. I was a little hesitant at first, but the staff was very used to it and seemed to understand that anybody would want to document the courses like they would any work of art.

  4. Trisha says:

    Wow that looks like one great spread!!! I would love to go to this place.

    Happy weekend x

  5. Norma Chang says:

    Happy Birthday to your Mom. What a delicious treat, 15+ course meal! What did your Mom think of the whole dining experience? I agree with the other commenters, your photos are just gorgeous.

    • wandercrush says:

      Thank you so much, Norma! Mom really loved it, and even though she’s not a “foodie” in the terms that my generation would recognise, she appreciated each and every bite. Neither of us had done anything like that before, so it was a really great experience even aside from the food itself.

  6. Happy Birthday to your mom! What a nice high tea you took her to! Looks amazing…I’m sure it beats that NYC pizza ANYDAY. That granola recipe is a winner, going to have to make it!


  7. Monica says:

    What a serious treat and wonderful experience to share with your mom! How on earth did you get these amazing shots?! And if it’s possible to crave granola, you’ve made it happen for me here.

  8. Oh, Irina. You are reliving my dream. Happy birthday to your mom. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do more than have lunch with my daughter at 11 Madison Park. I’ve always heard so much bout it. And it looks like they didn’t miss a trick. The granola looks great!

  9. I guess I meant living, not reliving, because I haven’t lived it yet!

  10. Erika says:

    Take me take me take me? Everything looks AMAZING. And thanks for sharing this granola recipe with us–my fav go-to recipe is the one that David Lebovitz posted on his blog (adapted barely from a few other sources), but with your rave reviews about this one…I may have to swap it into the rotation!

  11. liz says:

    I hope your mum enjoyed every moment at Eleven Madison Park. I’ve never been there but I enjoyed reading your narration of the experience. If ever I come to NYC I shall remember this lovely narration. Thanks so much for sharing the granola recipe which I’ve happily bookmarked and will make as soon as I gather my ingredients. You have a lovely blog. Belated Birthday Greetings to your Mum. Have a lovely weekend!

  12. I have always wanted to try Eleven Madison Park, and it looks just as amazing as I imagined. I love granola and can’t wait to try this version!

  13. Caz says:

    It sounds like you had a wonderful experience with your Mum at Eleven Madison Park but for all that lovely food it’s the granola I’m most excited about! I never tire of trying different variation and this one looks delicious. :)

  14. What a symphony of flavors, a real treat to experience such an array of food! That kabob sounds very interesting and I hope to try it someday =)

  15. Can I ask what kind of lens you primarily shoot your food shots with? I always, always love your photography!

  16. I’ve heard this is a wonderful restaurant, and you’ve confirmed it. The meal sounds superb! And giving you granola as you leave? Super touch. It’ a good recipe, too. Happy Birthday to your mom!

  17. Sissi says:

    It looks like a magical unforgettable meal! I have enjoyed reading every single description, admiring your perfect photographs and dreaming of going there one day…

  18. Three hours of food sounds like a culinary adventure! Those brussels sprouts and lobster sounds incredible. I love love love granola and am so glad you shared this recipe, the apples and currents would definitely make it stand out. As usual, incredible photos Irina! You are so talented!

  19. Yelena says:

    OMG, everything looks so good! Happy birthday to your dear mother, I wish her the best! Seems like you had a wonderful day!

  20. Joanne says:

    That meal is ca-ra-zee. I need to get my butt to Eleven Madison Park. STAT.

    And get this granola in my kitchen. ULTRA STAT.

  21. LOVE NYC!! It’s my dream city ever :) Enjoying all the action shots. Amazing!

    ps: Happy Birthday to your mom!

  22. Ceclia says:

    Chef Humm is a very talented chef and a true artist! I bought his cookbook last year. It is the most beautiful cookbook i’ve ever seen. I would love to check out his restaurant in the future. Thanks for sharing these amazing photos!

  23. Pingback: Granola - mi receta preferida - Cocina Central

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