Your favorite brown bag lunch has classed itself up in a big way. In New York City, creamy peanut butter, sweet jelly and bread – plain, toasted or even fried, along with eclectic toppings – can be found in restaurants, cafes or even as bar food. By Sarah Shaker.

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(credit: Sarah Shaker)

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Creamy peanut butter, jalapeño jelly and applewood smoked bacon are layered on crispy warm bread at Randolph Beer, changing the way you’ve always thought about sweet, innocent PB & J sandwiches. The food menu at Randolph Beer has beer-pairing suggestions for each plate and this dish is no exception, with a recommendation to enjoy as you sip a Porter. The PB & JJ is crunchy, salty, spicy and sweet, making it an all-around indulgent comfort food.

(credit: Sarah Shaker)

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When you didn’t think peanut butter and jelly could get any better, enter a fried version on to the scene. Potato rolls are stuffed with peanut butter and grape jelly, then rolled in brown sugar, panko and crushed peanuts before they are deep fried to a golden hue. These balls of PB & J are crispy on the outside and hot and creamy on the inside. Once you have these fried bites, you may never go back to cold white bread sandwiches.

(credit: Sarah Shaker)

Gastro pub fare is served with a mixology-style twist at Highland Park with their Grilled PB & J offering. Creamy peanut butter, infused grape jam, and elderflower are layered between a grilled brioche. This sophisticated PB & J will impress all of your cocktail drinking friends looking to indulge in more than just your average bar food.

(credit: Peanut Butter and Co Facebook)

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How could a PB & J list be complete without mentioning Peanut Butter and Co., NYC’s all-peanut butter haven? The Elvis is a popular choice, stuffing a grilled peanut butter sandwich with bananas and honey. Try it with bacon for an indulgence truly fit for a king. Or go for a gourmet peanut butter sandwich, like the Dark Chocolate Dreams sandwich; dark chocolate peanut butter and cherry jam are mixed with shredded coconut – it’s a Black Forrest Cake disguised as good ole’ PB & J.

(credit: ‘witchcraft)

Tripled-decked Pullman white bread is layered with chunky peanut butter and greenmarket fruit preserves. This is not your standard jarred jelly and peanut butter from mom’s cabinet. Enjoy this sandwich when you’re on a lunch break from the office and craving comfort from your younger years.

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Sarah Shaker is the founder of the blog Bright Lights, My City.

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