We packed so much into every moment that's it hard to remember what we got up to each day. I managed to tick quite a few places off my "To Eat List", but a gal only has so much stomach room and about 7 days into the trip I was full to bursting point. Not that I stopped eating mind you - I just undid the button on my jeans and soldiered on. When my stomach got too big for jeans I ditched them and donned my faithful eating dress - no pesky waistband to get in the way.
I think that you'd have to be pretty unlucky to have a bad meal in New York and nearly everything we stuffed into our already bulging tummies was a winner. That said the cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery were a MAJOR disappointment - barely cooked so they were uber soggy and WAY to much sickly icing. This really surprised me as I'd be there before and fell in love with their Red Velvet Cupcake (of which they had none of in this bakery this trip - like huh)? To satisfy my Red Velvet Cupcake craving I grabbed one from a Starbucks at the Staten Island Ferry terminal - OMG, it was AMAZING!
|Not so good cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery...blergh|
|Seriously good Red Velvet from Starbucks|
|Damn good hot dog from the street vendor at Battery Park|
|Not so good hotdog from Gray's Papaya|
I had quite a few foodie highlights on my trip...a lot of highlights actually. It's a bit sad that the first time I got really excited about being in The Big Apple ...really excited...was when we headed to Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. OMG the cheeseburger from Shake Shack was probably the best burger of my life...really. Juicy meat patty, soft bread roll. Amazing! I'm not going to think too much about this burger now that I'm home as it's just going to make me sad that I'm a 20 hour flight away.
One morning we had breakfast at Balthazar. I hadn't actually put this place on my wishlist as I just though there was no way we'd get a table at this legendary NY French Bistro, so why bother. We literally stumbled across the restaurant whilst out wandering one morning and scored a table in the corner of this vast and beautifully shabby dining room.
|My egg with toast soldiers at Balthazar...simple but good.|
|The iconic Balthazar...love!|
Of course a trip to NYC wouldn't be a trip to NYC without a trip to one of the Momofuku eateries. We had lunch at SSAM one day followed by a stroll across the road to dessert at the Momofuku Milk Bar where I got to try their legendary Crack Pie and their Compost Cookie (filled with chips, pretzels, coffee grounds and stuff - better than it sounds, trust me). Both were delectable though the Crack Pie was uber sweet and nearly defeated me...nearly. The BBQ Pork Buns at SSAM were as good as all the hype makes them out to be, but what they do with duck at SSAM will blow your mind (and your waistline)! This was not a day to be wearing jeans like I stupidly did.
|Pulled Duck Bun with crispy duck skin - enough said really.|
|Broccoli Salad...with crispy duck skin crumble. OMG - totally genius.|
|Rotisserie Duck over rice with pancakes, lettuce etc - wrap it all up and nom it down.|
|BBQ Pork Bun from Momofuku...get in my belly!|
|Crack Pie from Momofuku Milk Bar - this was so sweet I'm getting a toothache just looking at the photo.|
Our hotel was quite near Korea Town - a teeny tiny area of Korean Restaurants. One night we ventured off for KFC (that's Korean Fried Chicken folks) at KyoChon. When I read about this place on another blog I actually thought it would be some dingy hole in the wall place serving buckets of fried Koren chook - how wrong I was. KyoChon is sleek and modern, fitted out with shinny white furniture and bank of TV screens playing K-Pop, or J-Pop, or some type of Pop that I didn't understand a word of, but who cares as the chook was FABULOUS!
|KyoChon - eat your chook and have a boogie while you do it.|
Of course it goes without saying that we ate quite a bit of "pie" (aka Pizza) whilst we in New York.
I started off my pizza eating frenzy with a piece of Pepperoni from a random little place in Brooklyn - the pie was as big as my head, floppy, cheesy, oily (from the Pepperoni) and oh so good! Next was a Neapolitan pie from the legendary Grimaldis in Brooklyn - one of the few remaining stores that cooks their pizza using the traditional coal oven method. I also tried Sicilian pizza from another random pizza shop over near Coney Island somewhere...not my favourite style of pizza as the base is quite thick like a Foccacia. And last but not least was a visit to Artichokes in Chelsea for a piece of their (now) famous Artichoke Pizza - this was so good (super cheesy and creamy topping), but we could barely eat one piece each as we'd just finished a picnic on the Highline Park. This was one occasion where my lazy tummy really let me down!
|Pepperoni Pizza - drool|
|Neapolitan Pizza from Grimaldi's in Brooklyn|
|Sicilian Pizza = meh.|
|Artichoke Pizza from...Artichokes|
Another random find was a place I'd read about on someones blog months ago - Tacombi in NoLiTa...two dudes cooking AWESOME tacos. In a kombi van inside an old mechanic's garage. Not only was this place awesome for the pure novelty factor that my food was being cooking inside a Kombi, but the tacos were FREAKING amazing. I'm sad I only ate two tacos - I was saving myself for a bagel down the road at Russ and Daughters (which was SO crowded we could barely get in the door, let alone order food).
|Only in New York...unfortunately for us.|
|Pork taco (front) and Crispy Fish Taco (back) - seriously good. Seriously!|
|Good luck getting served at Russ and Daughters. We gave up after about 20 minutes...shame.|
So attempt number three at getting something to eat in the Lower East Side was met with jubilant success as the quirky - yet delicious - The Pickle Guys. This shop has VATS of pickles...pickled everything really - olives, cucumbers, turnips (like you get at El Jannahs), capsicum etc. We bought some giant sour pickles - mind blowingly good!
Lucky for us there was some GREAT Jewish Food at the 2nd Street Deli which was right near our hotel. We went there one night (another totally random find) for a light dinner after our epic Momofuku pig out. I tried a Knish (something you see everywhere in NYC - in delis and sold in hotdog carts) which is a fried (and totally delicious) potato cake. As I was suffering from the most epic cold I've ever had I decided to indulge in a bowl of Matzo Ball Soup (also know as "Jewish penicillin"). It didn't cure me but it was lovely. At the end of the meal we were brought a Chocolate Soda - totally weird, but kinda nice too.
|Matzo Ball Soup - nice, but I think my sister's is better!|
|Chocolate Soda - as Matt Preston would say "yum yuck"...but mostly yum|
|Outdoor "green market" at Union Square - this was GREAT!|
|Fancy indoor market at Grand Central Station - if only our Central Station had something like this|
On our last night in New York we ventured to a local restaurant, Penelope's that is a big hit in the area. It serves "homestyle" food in a cute little dinner/bakery/milkbar setting. The food was SO great, and I loved the atmosphere so much that we went back the next day for brunch - it was a great place for "our last meal" in NYC.
|Spinach Pie - damn good.|
We also went to a few GREAT places that were just too dark to take photos in - Ruby Foo's at Time Square is a great modern Asian restaurant - it's a bit fancy in its decor, but the food is really good. We also went to Buddakan in Chelsea - similar to Ruby Foo's in the food it serves (and also a bit similar to Momofuku too) but WAY more cool and hip. Buddakan had an amazing dining room that reminded me a bit of Rockpool Bar and Grill - but we were sat in one of the darker rooms surrounding the main area (lucky it was so dark as I felt so daggy compared to all the other trendy people there). One of last dinners in NYC was at Gordon Ramsay at The London - a Michelin Star restaurant. The food was great, but the Petit Fours trolley (yes an entire trolley of petit fours) blew my mind - I wanted to wheel that baby right back to my hotel with me.
So there you have it - around New York in ten days with Miss Piggy and her tummy. Burp.