New York Food Tasty Tips

New York Food

New York food is undoubtedly famous for its diverse cultures and nothing portrays this better than the variety of cuisines available in the city. This is one part of the world you won’t be stuck for choice in as well as every budget being catered for.

From cheap and cheerful street-side snacks to elaborate restaurants, fresh fish markets in China Town to the upmarket ristorantes of Little Italy, your taste buds are in for an adventure of their own! Her is our New York food post

Only having a few days in New York as well as a busy schedule, meant we didn’t have the luxury of time on our side, but with a chef on the job and a few lucky Google searches, we came across some real foodie gems. I am excited to share with you some of our finds, including a breakfast favourite of the locals, some New York staples we couldn’t go past for snacks during the day and a couple of real dinner treasures we indulged in.

Breakfast

We quickly discovered that breakfast was a meal eaten mostly on-the-go by New Yokers. Coming from Australia, where breakfast is not just a quick grab-and-go snack but more a full dining-out experience, we had to change our tactic a little in search of a good start to the day.

It might seem like an obvious choice, but once we discovered a hidden favourite of the locals, we didn’t look back from our morning bagel. Tucked between a row of insignificant looking buildings was bagel heaven, aptly named Best Bagel And Coffee.

One could have easily walked straight past this incredible venue as it was exceptionally small and very understated, however the queue that greeted us each morning was unmissable. Even when we arrived just after opening, there was already a line out the door and down the street…if that’s not a good sign I don’t know what is!

Although this shop was super busy each day we went there, the system the guys had in places meant we only ever had to wait a few minutes to place our order. By the time we had paid and found a nook to tuck ourselves into to wait, our bagels had been prepared and were ready to be devoured. And boy was that what we did!

The bagels were wrapped up neatly and served in such a way that even if we didn’t get one of the few seats available inside the restaurant, we could easily eat our breakfast as we wandered down the street.

We tried lots of bagels while in New York (come on, that’s a must!), but these were without a doubt, hands-down the tastiest. The bagels themselves were made and baked onsite, each meal was prepared to order and the fillings were generously packed in…the complete package!

Note: This hotspot has been extended since our trip, offering more space and menu options. It’s also easier to spot now with its new shop front.

Snacks / Lunch

As we were out and about exploring this amazing city from morning until night during our stay, we decided to avail of the many street food options. This meant we didn’t waste any precious sightseeing time and also that we got to try another authentic New York experience.

Some of our favourites were the large, doughy, salted pretzels that were still warm on purchase! We nibbled on a couple of these one day in Times Square…the perfect snack before we popped into some of the all-consuming shops in the area, we certainly needed the sustenance.

We also tried some bagels from the street vendors, even though we’d had them for breakfast…there’s nothing like a good old reliable and you know what they say, ‘When in Rome…’. As this was more of a snack and a little later in the day, I felt I could steer away from the savoury options and sampled some of the more exciting flavours on offer such as cinnamon and blueberry.

All the vendors had super fresh goods and a wide variety of spreads to add to their delicious treats. What a perfect way to immerse yourself in the experience of such a fast-paced city and have a snack on the go.

Deli Lunches

Another great option that we miss from living in Europe, are delis. We had lunch a few times during our stay in a number of different delis around the city. They are so plentiful and all very similar in their pricing and what they offer.

They are very reasonable for a quick lunch and have options available for everyone as each meal is made to order. This option allows you order a sandwich or wrap type meal from a selection of salads, meats, vegetables, cheeses etc and have it exactly as you want. We also grabbed a couple of delicious homemade soups to warm us up. There was seating available in the delis so you could have a quick stop off and be refuelled and ready to go again for the afternoon in just a matter of minutes.

A delicious and hearty way to keep you going until dinner without breaking the bank or spending half your afternoon searching for a suitable restaurant. A win-win!

Dinner

As we spent one of our nights in New York at a basketball game (obviously, we had hot-dogs for dinner that night!), we only had a couple of nights in which we dined out at restaurants. But we made the most of those opportunities and found two really fabulous, yet very different restaurants.

La Rivage

The first restaurant was located in the Theatre District of the city. La Rivage restaurant had the perfect flair considering its location among some of the most magnificent theatres in New York. Located downstairs on the basement level of the building, this restaurant paid homage to its French descent, with beautiful paintings of the French countryside adorning the walls of the restaurant floor. The atmosphere was just as welcoming and was matched by the warm and friendly service we received from the wait staff.

Starting off our night with a glass of champagne and a frosty beer from the extensive drinks list, we struggled to choose our favourites from all the tempting options on the menu. Eventually deciding on a delicious vegetarian dish for me and a duck special for Richard, we were not disappointed. The meals were tantalisingly mouth-watering and we didn’t leave as much as a morsel behind! As our trip was a couple of years ago now, the menu may have changed but I have no doubt, this long-standing eatery would impress any appetite with their offerings.

Tip: This is a great location for dinner if you are attending a show one evening. It is close enough that you can relax and enjoy your meal with the comfort of knowing you are only a short stroll away from the theatres.

Gelso & Grand

Our last supper in this beautiful city was in an unforgettable restaurant in Little Italy called Gelso and Grand. This beautiful Italian ristorante was located on a corner and covered a huge area. There was seating on the ground floor as well as the lower level and we actually sat outside and dined al fresco (yes, in December… a mild, dry night).

We sampled some of the outstanding red wines on offer, the perfect pairing for the decadent food on this menu. We had some of the freshly baked bread served with olive oil and vinegar to start followed by the melt-in-your-mouth calamari. Richard had steak for his main while I had the fish. Both were cooked to perfection and the sides of veggies were prepared and cooked with an elaborate combination of delicious herbs and presented tastefully. The service was impeccable and the only thing we were sorry about was that we couldn’t return another night to do it all over again!

And Finally

Looking back on this trip and remembering all we did in just a few short days, reminds me how versatile New York City is. It truly has something for everyone and this is very true of its food scene.

Unfortunetly we didn’t have time to try many more restaurants and cafes, as we knew this city has one of the best reputations for food, with many diverse cultures and cuisines catered for.

But hey, just means we have to go back.

As always with thanks see you next time.

Check out our other New York post What We Did In New York

Fancy finding a few more of our foodie guides then check out our Gold Coast Restaurant and cafe guide

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New York New York (At Christmas)

New York New York

If you are like me and get excited about the early appearance of Christmas decorations popping up in shops, then this post (and this location in December), is perfect for you.  Welcome to New York New York.

In 2016, we had a four-day stopover in New York on route from Australia to Europe. It was early December, so the perfect time before schools broke up in America and before other holiday makers started vacationing.

The city had a festive buzz but was not crazy busy like it would have been closer to Christmas and New Year’s.

There is so much to do in New York throughout the year, but there is something magical about this city in the lead up to Christmas.

We had booked a few activities before we arrived to make sure we didn’t miss out on things we really wanted to do and see but we also included some last-minute attractions too.

Accommodation

We stayed at the Yotel New York in Manhattan which was a great location. It was far enough off Broadway and Times Square to avoid the hustle and bustle but close enough that we could walk right into the centre.

The hotel itself was perfect for what we needed. It was very clean and super quirky. The rooms were small but certainly cleverly planned. On entering the room there was lots of space to move around and store our suitcases etc.

At night, the bed was extended with the push of a button to reveal its full size…super clever engineering! The hotel offered a complimentary service of tea/coffee and muffins each morning in the hotel lounge and there was also a bar for residents… perfect for a night cap after a busy day exploring.

We wrote our full account on the Yotel and gave it all our thoughts make sure to check it out.

Things to do

We had booked a couple of activities that were at the top of our list prior to our trip and were glad we did. It gave structure to our short time in the city and encouraged us to plan the remaining time efficiently so as not to miss out on other attractions.

NBA Game

Richard’s choice was to catch a basketball game while in New York. Due to the time of year we were visiting, it was basketball season as opposed to baseball so we got to experience the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76’s playing in Barclay Centre in Brooklyn.

The atmosphere at the game was electric, even for someone not very sporty like myself. There was an incredible pregame demonstration to introduce the line-up of players, very dramatic and like a show in itself. The whole night was exciting and an experience I have only had in America.

Tip: If going to the Barclay Centre, it is a bit of a hike from Manhattan so plan ahead your day or at least your evening to ensure you get there on time. We were feeling adventurous and took the subway over to Brooklyn which was an fun experience. It was great too as it meant we then had our subway passes and continued to use them for the rest of our stay in the city.

Broadway

Obviously, my choice for this evening’s entertainment but Richard was also enthralled throughout the entire show!

We went to see Aladdin, a show any Disney lover would dream of seeing on stage. It was truly magical and everything from the settings on stage to the voices of the actors were mesmerising. We didn’t have the most expensive tickets in the house but we had a great view from our seats in one of the balcony’s.

The theatre was an old-style beauty in the middle of Broadway with the most authentic atmosphere to add to our overall experience.

Tip: The seats were a little squishy and at quite an incline so if you do have an issue with heights, perhaps consider going for a seat on the main floor of the theatre (although these tickets may be more expensive).

Central Park

This amazing respite in the middle of a concrete jungle certainly did not disappoint. You could spend days on end exploring this beautiful sanctuary and still not have seen it all.

One of the major highlights for us was the horse-drawn carriage ride we treated ourselves to through the park.

The man driving was very friendly and told us lots of interesting titbits that we wouldn’t have otherwise known about the area.

I think it was even more romantic at that time of year too as we were all wrapped up in out winter woollies and had a fleece blanket to snuggle up under as we rode through the park…it truly felt like a scene from a movie!

After our fantastic trip in the carriage, we took a wander through other parts of the park. We wandered past baseball pitches, over beautiful little streams and had a rest in the gazebo that featured in my all-time favourite Christmas movie, Home Alone: Lost in New York.

After a little persuasion, I convinced Richard to take a spin with me on the carousel in the middle of Central Park.

In this beautiful setting and at such a magical time of the year, this was another memorable experience (for me at least lol). It was like something from an old, romantic movie.

Tavern On The Green

After a long afternoon exploring the park, we went in search of an icon that had been recommended to us, Tavern on the Green. This is an amazing venue, that serves both food and drinks in an elegant setting.

It has both an indoor bar area as well as courtyard and garden seating for diners. We decided to sit inside as there was a spellbinding jazz singer and band performing, setting such a tasteful ambience for an afternoon drink.

Richard opted for a homemade mulled cider that came with a generous dash of whiskey, certainly one to warm you up on a winter’s day! I had a delicious cocktail (or two!!) while we soaked up the incredible atmosphere. We would highly recommend this venue for a casual afternoon drink or a special dinner out at night.

Times Square

One of the many iconic areas of the city, you can’t miss the photographic opportunities in Times Square.

On walking into this area initially, it feels like you have walked onto the set for a movie. With the enormous flashing billboards and hordes of people rushing in all directions, it just doesn’t seem real.

Times Square has many attractions, from delicious street side food carts selling freshly baked pretzels to some of the coolest stores you can think of.

A few of our favourites had to be the M&M shop, the Hersey’s store and Toys R Us. The M&M shop was nothing short of chocolate heaven with floors full of M&M varieties and merchandise.

The Hersey’s store is one you can’t go past when in New York. Again, floors of delicious varieties of mouth-watering chocolates tempting you from the moment you step foot inside.

The complimentary Hersey’s Kisses we received as we walked in was a clever ploy, we certainly didn’t leave there empty handed!

Toys R Us

Our final big spend in Times Square was in Toys R Us. This was truly a child’s paradise!

There were drones and airplanes flying around (by skilled employees of course), to dazzle and impress the large audiences of admiring little children (and big children!) that had gathered to appreciate the displays.

You couldn’t possible think of a toy, game or cartoon character that wasn’t represented in some form in this shop.

No stone was left unturned here and I can only recommend that you allow yourself lots of time when visiting as there is just so much to see.

And finally

Finally, I can’t express how much joy we got from just walking through the streets of New York city at this time of year.

There were carol singers on every corner, the shop windows were like productions of entire shows in themselves and the lights and Christmas trees that adorned every street and park could lighten the heart of the Grinch himself!

This city is an amazing one to visit at any time of the year but I can’t express how magical it feels to be there in the run-up to one the happiest times of the year.

Even writing this post makes me long for a trip back, with my woolly coat and beanie while sipping on a hot chocolate and staring into the window of Saks on Fifth Avenue.

Now I better get off my computer before I book flights that I can’t afford!

Want some more adventures to add to your list we have some top locations to tantalise the taste buds like Vietnam or Hong Kong 

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