NYC. Foodie Tour. Winter. YUM.
For some reason, I have not been to New York City very often and I’m not sure why. But when I had the opportunity to take a short weeklong trip during the winter, I jumped on the Big Apple. For one main purpose. TO EAT.
Katz’s NY Deli
As most Americans know, NYC has some of the best restaurants in the country. And if you’re a foodie like me, you’ve got to get there and try some. The trouble was – which ones? One place we could not miss was Katz’s NY Deli. Famed to have the best pastrami in town, we were not disappointed. The meat was rich, fatty, salty and the rye bread was firm but started to disintegrate almost immediately. No time to waste! The decor looks like it hasn’t changed much since it’s founding in 1888 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which is all part of the charm. A MUST.
Dinner our first night was at Minetta Tavern, just a few blocks from the apartment we rented through Airbnb. A hip oldy, worldy style restaurant, Minetta was packed, loud and fun. From classic martinis to roasted bone marrow to their signature black label burger with carmelized onions, every bite was indulgent, rich and deeply satisfying. A memorable meal in an interior so dark, no pictures survived!
A different dining experience that was part snack, part meal was our charcuterie platter at EATALY. An emporium of all things Italian – produce, pantry items, bakery, butcher and cheesemonger – to gifts, wines and restaurants, EATALY is an upscale Italian food lover’s paradise. Be prepared for the crowds!
We had another truly memorable dinner at Babbo – Mario Batali’s rustic yet refined, much beloved Italian Enoteca. Seated at a beautiful booth with a view of the center of the restaurant, the dishes were familiar, yet with unique twists using seasonal and local ingredients that made them their own. We had the grilled octopus antipasti, which is perhaps the best octopus preparation I have ever tasted, and the pappardelle with wild boar ragu. Although the wine service was a little pretentious, everything about the food and atmosphere was superb.
Non-Food Entertainment and Shake Shack
Although it sounds like it, I promise we did not eat the entire duration we were in NYC (although we tried)! We walked through as many neighborhoods as we could, though the snow made it a little more slow going. We saw a Broadway Play (“Book of Mormon”), went to the Metropolitan Museum (a first!), went to a Jazz show, did a little shopping at the Strand Bookstore, ABC Carpet and Home, Fishs Eddy, Henri Bendel and others. In between we stopped for a bite at the infamous burger joint, Shake Shack – waiting no less than an hour, in the winter, for a burger. It was pretty good – but coming from the land of In-n-Out, we’re pretty hard to impress!
A very, very meaningful excursion, totally un-food-related that made our whole trip was a visit to the 9-11 Memorial. We stumbled upon it while it was still under construction, but we were fortunate enough to see a portion of the museum and the beautiful monuments of the two towers.
It had begun to snow while we were there, and the snow resembled ash – a surreal experience while wandering around the footprints of Tower 1 and Tower 2. We were so moved by the beautiful, haunting statements to the tragedies that took place there not so long ago and to the many victims and heroes honored by name.
More Foodie Mentions
Some additional honorable foodie mentions on this trip included April Bloomfield’s, The Spotted Pig – a wonderful British gastropub that was perfect for a post-theater late-night eat. Our favorite bite from the whole week we had here – her famous deviled eggs. Doughnut Plant was a fun stop for unusual and square-filled donuts. And many food emporiums made our list, including The Plaza, Zabar’s, Citronella, Chelsea Market, Russ & Daughters, Grand Central Market and our favorite of all time – Dean & Deluca. We visited Dean & Deluca in SoHo no less than every other day and I still could not get enough of it.
This place had my name written all over it and if I could have figured out a way to hide and spend the night there, I would have. REALLY.
Every section and every case was spectacular. It took seemingly hours to narrow down what to take home on each visit. One of our favorite memories of this trip to NYC was a Dean & Deluca picnic we had in our tiny apartment, watching the snow fall outside and inside watching an important (to my hubby) British rugby match. Another meal to remember!
There were more meals, snacks, adventures and sights that were too numerous to mention. One meal I can’t believe I almost forgot to relay was a lunch at the highly acclaimed seafood restaurant, Le Bernadin. Everything about this meal was impeccable – the freshness of the ingredients, the modern and sleek decor, the potential of seeing Eric Ripert emerge from the kitchen! I must say though, the experience was a little austere for us. Less relaxing and more formal than we prefer. But wonderful in it’s own way, nonetheless.
I don’t really know how to summarize NYC. As a west coaster, a Californian – it’s a different world. But NYC does not disappoint. It’s a place unto it’s own. It waits for no one. It takes no BS. And I love it. I don’t think I could ever pass as a New Yorker, but I love to visit. Hopefully for longer periods in the future and at different times of the year. I LOVE NYC.