I have been blessed and traveled to some spectacular food destinations, but not until now will New York City be checked off on my list.
Every time I have flown through New York I have secretly wished we would have to have an over-night delay, just so I can get a nibble at what the Big Apple has to offer. Not even a small nibble was in my reality, until now. My wonderful husband wrapped a light birthday present for me and inside had a CD, written on it: PLAY ME. I put the CD in our player and started dancing and singing to Mr. Frank Sinatra. Not until the actual lyrics NEW YORK NEEEEWWW YOOORRRRK came out of my mouth did I realize we were New York bound. You can only imagine my excitement; I jumped around like I was back in my high school cheerleading days!! To top off the excitement he booked our trip to land right on our 1st wedding anniversary.
In preparation for our trip I wasn’t looking at what time the museums opened or how long the wait might be for the empire state building, nope I was looking up every restaurant I could, writing down the ones I want to eat at for breakfast, brunch, lunch, snacks, dinner, cocktails and late night munchies that doesn’t even include the amazing street food I have been told is a requirement to try.
I am a woman on a mission I only have 2 and 3/4 days, and 2 nights to get my large nibble of NEW YORK. Good thing they only weigh the baggage on the way home!
Ok, so I officially ate my way through New York City. Luckily we walked for hours on end so I didn’t tip the scales coming home!
We arrived at The Royalton Hotel on Thursday night about 11:30pm, dropped our bags in the room and headed out to get our first bite. Since we were about 2 blocks from Times Square I figured finding a unique place to grab a bite would not be an issue. WRONG!! Restaurants and bars were open late, but the only ones serving food were Olive Garden or Red Lobster. I thought to myself this is what the most popular place in New York City has to offer? Bummer. We settled on going hungry and found a small Irish pub down a few streets for a pint or two. As luck would have it we struck up a conversation with two born and raised New Yorkers that showed us the way to the ultimate street cart, Halal food, on 6th by the Hilton. I had chicken and rice with “white sauce” and 1 drop of the off the scovial scale hot sauce. Late night munchies and street food…Check.
The next day after a morning of great sightseeing we tried Roxy’s Delicatessen, good food but HUGE portions. My husband and I had the Ruben, the corned beef was flavorful and tender, the portion was plenty for the 2 of us and that was a good thing cause the sandwich came at a steep $27!! Roxy’s Delicatessen gets a 3 out of 5.
After walking off our large lunch we headed to Soho for dinner at Jean Georges Vongerichten’s Mercer Kitchen. We dined on Roasted lobster with artichokes, fingerling potatoes and spring garlic, New York strip with gingered shiitake mushrooms and caramel soy infused sauce and French fries. The only thing left on our plates was the lobster shells and the salt from the French fries. The sauces were simple yet had layers of flavor. The service was impeccable and since we had dinner at 7pm we beat the local rush. Mercer Kitchen gets 5 out of 5. Jean Georges did it again.
The next morning we hopped the subway back to our new favorite spots, Greenwich Village and SoHo for late breakfast at Balthazar. The intricate tile floor, old fashion mirrors and an abundance of seafood on ice brought back wonderful memories of a Paris. It was a good thing we called ahead for reservations cause it was packed with locals who seemed to be “biting the hair of the dog” with one of Balthazar’s signature “hangover drinks”. But we were there only for the food. I choose the Eggs Benedict for a hefty $18.00 and my husband had the Brioche French Toast with smoked bacon for $16.00 dent. The food was fine, yet over-priced and the service was average, Balthazar receives a 2.5 out 5.
Because we ate Brunch we were able to save our money until dinner, where we traveled to Little Italy. We walked up and down the streets trying to find the perfect place to enjoy our favorite cuisine. We looked as so many enticing menus that I totally forgot the name of the restaurant we actually ate at, but the food was unforgettable. I ordered Gnocchi in a Gorgonzola cream sauce, and ravioli smoothed in a Bolognese sauce. My husband had a delicious Osco Buco. It’s a good thing we had to get to a Broadway show, because the desserts were calling my name.
Our Trip ended with a stroll through Chelsea Market, where Food Network Studios is located and a light lunch at Lusso. I tried the Poached eggs Polenta with bacon, it was delicious, but too rich I could only eat 5 or 6 bites. We also ordered the Parma Cotto Panini, baked ham with asiago cheese, it was delicious. The restaurant it was small, yet felt spacious because of the high ceilings and wall mirrors. Lusso for lunch scores a 3 out of 5.
This is where my big apple food adventure stops…until next time. I truly love New York City and miss you already. CHEERS!