Ok, so… New York City.
This has taken me a while to write due to the fact that my trip to NYC involved a hell of a lot more than the recommended three meals a day. I guess you could call it a gastronomic adventure and pretty much ALL we did was eat. We went from restaurant to restaurant and there wasn’t an hour that passed that we weren’t consuming calories. I’m going to briefly describe each and every morsel that passed my lips and give you some top tips for eating in New York City.
We stayed in Times Square, at a hotel called The Row – I recommend it if you’re visiting New York for the first time like I was but if I went back I’d definitely stay in Williamsburg or the Lower East Side. The hotel was really cool but Times Square is horrendous and I hope I never have to brave those gross tourist crowds ever again. The hotel was SUPER busy, waiting 10 minutes to get in the lift (elevator) was kind of annoying but the food in the hotels very own food court totally made up for this and all in all our stay was pretty great.
Embarrassingly enough, the first thing we ate was a McDonald’s. After not eating meat for seven weeks I’d been craving Chicken Selects like you cannot believe. I’m that person that needs to try a McDonald’s in every foreign country I visit and couldn’t not do this in The Big Apple. It was a dream. You don’t need to see that though.
Eataly is an Italian food emporium on 5th Avenue.We were en route to dinner so didn’t get to eat there but it’s definitely worth a visit and I’ll be going back for courgette (zucchini) flowers on my next trip.
Burgers and Freakshakes at Black Tap in the Meatpacking District on our first evening totally blew my mind. 10/10 for both and well worth the queue. Bloody delightful. They also have a Soho venue which is supposedly equally amazing.
One of my favourite meals was brunch at Jacks Wife Freda. Every single thing down to every little detail was perfect. The sugar packets, the menus, the decor, the service and most importantly the food was brilliant. It’s one of the cutest places we visited and there’s nothing that kitsch or adorable in London. I ordered a Fresh Lemonade, the Green Shakshuka (still not quite sure why it was green) with Toasted Cholla a side of Duck Bacon and Beet Hollandaise. This is a MUST do, it’s delightful. They also have two locations, both downtown and both adorable. We visited the Carmine Street restaurant but walked past the one on Lafayette and it looked just as gorgeous.
Friday was a good day for eating. After brunch we headed straight to the Dominique Ansel Bakery for S’mores on a stick and Cronuts. Unfortunately they ran out of Cronuts whilst we were queuing for them but the S’more stick well and truly made up for this. It’s a gooey marshmallow filled with choc chip ice cream and it’s next level. I was not expecting how fantastic it would be and I cannot wait until the bakery comes to London this summer.
After hours and hours or exploring the Lower East Side we were (kind of) hungry again so went for a late lunch at Black Seed Bagels. The bagels are crack. Instagrammable, delicious crack. Go there.
Friday night dinner was a light bite at Tacombi Fonda Nolita. Tacombi have four locations in New York with different menus at each restaurant – they’re all highly recommended and despite NYC’s reputation for bad Mexican food, the tacos are bloody amazing. Obviously after ALL the food from the day we weren’t up for a big meal so the gluten free tacos and Mexican corn were all we could manage. I had the Barbacoa and Crispy Fish tacos and would do pretty much anything to have these in my mouth again right now.
Snacking in New York is obviously heavenly. I’ve had reoccurring dreams for the last few years where I’m browsing American grocery store aisles and I was able to live out this dream every day in New York. I went IN on the Combos with pretty much a packet a day (definitely not keeping the doctor away whatsoever) and tried some really great crisps (chips) that we just don’t get in the UK.
Birthday brunch was at Flex Mussels on West 13th Street. Unfortunately for the first half an hour of our visit we were the only people in the restaurant so the vibe was pretty dead until it started to fill up a little bit towards the end of the meal. I’d put this down to the sunny weather and the fact that the restaurant is underground with just a little bit of shaded outside seating. We ordered the Everything Bagel Donuts to start. They are everything. Order them. The seasoning is salty and crunchy, they’re filled with creamy cream cheese and topped with yummy things. My Huevos Rancheros was slightly under seasoned and a bit of a let down though. As was my Bloody Mary – but I’m fussy. Kim ordered the ‘Messiest Sandwich In The World’ (or something along those lines) but she managed to stay pretty clean and seemed to enjoy it.
After brunch we sunbathed in Central Park and spent the afternoon walking the High Line; a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side – it’s a must do if you’re visiting New York and is the cutest day date location. We ate ice cream sandwiches from Melt to cool off from the heat and geared ourselves up for our next meal.
Birthday pizza and blush rosè at The Standard High Line was as premium as it gets. We nearly didn’t get a table because the place was absolutely swarming with New Yorks most elite crowd. With overpriced drinks, snooty service and average pizza you’d think we’d be let down but the decor and vibes at The Standard make up for everything else and with the whole place being an absolute marble mecca you can’t not sit with a smile on your face, people watching and enjoying the view. This is true bouji New York and I’m glad we witnessed it.
Our hotels food market City Kitchen had seven cuisine options from around the world. Going with the whole ‘when in Rome’ mantra I decided on a quick Birthday Peanut Butter and Bacon burger from Whitmans before we headed to our room for pre drinks. This works, trust me. Kim got a stupidly large glazed donut from Dough, she was very pleased.
After our night out at Tropical (which was super fun) I ate a pretzel from one of the street food vendors outside our hotel. I don’t know why NYC rave about them because the one I got was so gross. Overly salty and gross. Had me dehydrated and thirsty for the next 24 hours.
Bottomless brunch is the only thing to get me through a two day hangover so we got back on it at Pig & Khao on the Lower East Side before heading to Brooklyn for the day on the Sunday. The Southeast Asian inspired cuisine at Pig & Khao offers a variety of Thai and Filipino influences on the menu. Bottomless Mimosas in orange, lychee, mango and white peach were flowing and ensured I wasn’t hungover for long. Kim went for the Steak and Eggs and I had the Bahn Xeo; a sizzling crepe with shrimp, bacon, bean sprouts and something called nuocchom. The food was good and the restaurant was packed. My glass was only empty a couple of times and they were very generous with the top ups – as you can see. Full to the brim, just how I like it.
Even though it was pouring with rain, we trekked through Prospect Park for an hour looking for Smorgasburg, ruining my trainers in the process. Due to the bad weather there really weren’t very many vendors at the outdoor street food market but we filled our already quite full bellies with Brunch On A Stick and the most insane chips (fries) ever. Both dishes were topped with with Parmesan and Truffle Oil – the greatest combination. We stayed drunk by sipping on the most humungous can of watermelon-rita Bud Light Lime and spent the afternoon exploring the streets of Brooklyn.
I’d been excited about Roberta’s pizza for months and was over the moon when we finally sat down (out of the cold and wet) and enjoyed two of the best pizzas we’ve ever eaten. This place has the coolest vibes and is a Brooklyn MUST GO for every single one of you reading this. I’m not even going to bother telling you what to have because every single thing on the menu looked divine. There’s a shop opposite called Friends that I highly recommend too- it’s super duper cool and had some really cute little bits. A bit like Urban Outfitters but much, much cooler.
Root & Bone was another highlight. We went for brunch on the Monday and I literally took a photo of every single thing inside (and outside) the restaurant. They serve up delicious, home-style Southern cooking and we were treated to some absolute winning dishes. The service was impeccable and the food was really, really nice. Brunch should never really be a three course affair but this one was and we weren’t complaining. They started us off with Grandma Daisy’s Angel Biscuits with honey roasted chicken jus and Drunken Devilled Eggs. Mains came in the form of Crispy Fried Chicken with Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Collard Greens and Grits. And dessert (not that we needed it) was Dirt Cake and Crumble. The desserts were the best thing about the meal and thats not something you usually hear me say.
Another highlight was the Momofoku Milk Bar. Do this. Trust me. Birthday Cake Truffles and Crack Pie are life. Plus the Lemonade tip jar made my day. There are six Milk Bar locations in NYC so you have no excuse not to go and get me truffles as a thank you for this gem.
We spent the afternoon in Williamsburg. Had drinks on the Wythe Hotel rooftop, explored the shops and had dinner at DuMont Burger. The DuMac n Cheese burger was banging and Williamsburg is my favourite place in New York. We went to a (not so) secret bar through the back of a laundromat called Sunshine – it was full of pinball machines and an odd mix of people but it was super cool and I can now tick ‘speakeasy’ off my list.
Our last lunch was at Bar Primi. We enjoyed three courses of Italian delights. Risotto Balls, Ricotta Toast, Spaghetti and THE BEST Hazelnut Gelato ever gave us all the energy we needed for jumping on the bouncy boob castle at the Museum Of Sex.
Still not hungry and unable to eat another thing, we strolled through Mad Square Eats and drooled over food that we couldn’t possibly fit in. This was our last day and I was saving the best until last with a pre flight afternoon snack at Raclette. We wondered around working up an appetite and then headed to the place I’d been dreaming about for weeks. Raclette cheese is warm, gooey and fucking delicious. They scrape it onto your plate at the table over spiced oven roasted potatoes, cornichon pickles, and cured meats. We went for a veggie option with cauliflower and had a ham and cheese toastie on the side. This was probably my favourite meal of the whole trip and if you’ve seen the video on my Instagram you’ll totally understand why. There is nothing better than melted cheese and that is a fact.
Our nights out in New York were brilliant. We went to the Ace Hotel, 1 Oak, The Park and of course Tropical. We ate late night pizza at Artichoke, rode round in yellow taxis and spent half an hour at an apartment party on the Lower East Side. Lounging in Central Park in the sunshine was one of my favourite moments, riding the subway felt like being in a movie and being treated like royalty for bring British never gets old.
New York is an incredible city and I cannot wait to take another trip there some time soon. If you’re visiting and want my full list (It’s nine pages long) then just email me firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d be more than happy to share months of research. It was a shame I couldn’t visit all the places but hopefully one day I will…