iLoveMyGrub.com’s Editor, Helenka Bednar made it her mission to eat her way around New York on a recent trip to the Big Apple. Cupcakes, pizza, pancakes, sushi, oysters, pretzels and hot dogs all made it past her lips.
(120 Hudson Street, Tribeca, New York)
Just make sure you’re minted if you go here. Breakfast can easily end up costing $35 per person with all the extras. Most dishes are worth the price tag, but it’s stupidly easy to rack up a hefty bill. Yummy mummies, families and friends-who-love-to-lunch fill up the tables at this place. The tables incidentally tend to be laden with stacks of pancakes at breakfast time, bowlfuls of clam chowder at lunch and burgers at dinner. If you have gaps in between, you can try and stuff one full with a huge slab of cake or pie. A glass display straining under the weight of a cherry pie does its best job at tempting diners as you walk through the door.
Tip: When you do walk through the door, watch out: there’s a bar directly in front of you. You see how easy it can be to spend money in here?! Also try Bubby’s for grits - their version is really tasty. This place is also open until 7am from Tuesdays – Sundays with Bubby’s Midnight Brunches. So, if you need to re-fuel at 4am with steak or pancakes, it’s totally doable here.
Grab a pretzel
Pretzels are one of those New York things, and eating one gives you some indication of how much the Americans love their salt. Pretzel stands are just as ubiquitous as hot dog stands, so watch out for a man waving warm pretzels at you…
Tip: have a bottle of water handy after you’ve eaten one of these, as the huge salt crystals that stud the pretzels will leave your mouth craving hydration.
Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour
Tony Muia’s pizza tours have received almost as much coverage as Paris Hilton, but for quite different reasons. The Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour gives pizza lovers the inside scoop on where to find the best slice of pizza pie. The Times, the New York Times, USA Today, Frommers, the Lonely Planet Guide and the Food Network have all covered Tony’s popular food-filled tours. Whilst you’re stuffing your face with as many helpings of pizza as you can manage, you also get the kind of peek at Brooklyn that most people could only ever experience by knowing a local. Our Brooklynite for the day was Tony’s cousin Paula, who’s absolute love of Brooklyn (and pizza) left us with a serious fondness for this New York borough. We visited one of the few pizzerias that still sports a coal oven, burning away at a meltingly hot 900 degrees C. Light, thin pizza slices made their way to our table whilst we all refreshed our palates with glasses of black cherry soda and lapped up the Brooklyn backdrop. On top of the pizza tips, we also got a tour of Brooklyn’s movie hot spots as we wound through the borough in our air-conditioned, pizza-crazed mini bus.
Tip: To book places on The Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour, visit: http://www.asliceofbrooklyn.com/. Tickets are priced from $75 for adults and $65 for children under 12, for a half day tour.
Dean & Deluca
This rather upmarket deli chain is full of luxurious bites. Saturday mornings are generally hectic affairs as people jostle in line for their skinny-wet-lattes-with-an-extra-shot. You have to know what you want before the frazzled staff take your order, otherwise impatient eyebrow raising will occur. It’s worth browsing the shop to see what you fancy first, and eyeing up the specials board before you order. The foodie gifts, cakes and luscious muffins are worth bearing the slightly irritable staff.
Tip: Do not take photos in here – the staff will demonstrate more irritable glaring. For branch addresses, visit: http://www.deandeluca.com/
(113 St. Marks Pl. New York, NY 10009, nr. Ave. A. Tel: 212 614 2728)
This East Village haunt is the place to experience the hot dog in all its glory, Crif Dog style. The hot dogs here go through almost as many different dressings as Grace Jones has outfit changes. It’s one of those places you might walk past if you didn’t know its location, but its worth a trip down to Crif’s basement level. One hot dog isn’t quite enough, which gives you all the more reason to explore the menu. You can get your hot dog wrapped in bacon (Chuahua), smothered in cream cheese (Temptee Dog) or for the ultimate artery blocker you can go for the Morning Jersey: Taylor ham wrapped house dog, with melted cheese and a fried egg. Hot dogs will set you back by $3.75 - £5.00, but you will be in carbohydrate heaven, so just enjoy the fuzzy energy slump afterwards.
Tip: Inside Criffs, there is what appears to look like an old fashioned phone box. It’s actually the entrance to the bar next door, which you can only access through the Doctor Who-style phone box. Don’t get this door mistaken with the sliding door next to it, or you’ll end up in the loo instead of at the bar. Easily done…
Another tip: I had my first and last experience of root beer at Criff Dog?? For those not in the know, who may have thought, just like me “Oh root beer – I’ve heard of that! I’ll have one of those please,” it tastes like mouthwash with a lemonade top. If you love a minty fresh (breath) drink, give it a go, otherwise go for anything else.
(205, W 43rd St, New York, 10036)
If your body stops craving carbs during your stay in NYC, and starts craving protein instead – this is the place to go. Huge platters of cleansing sushi are available at Haru (located just off Time Square). The restaurant has a den-like feel to it and much of the place is adorned with fairy lights, so romantic sushi dinners are on the cards here too. If you’ve been experiencing advertisement overkill from your walk through Time Square, Haru offers up a culinary oasis of calm.
Tip: The green salad is served up with a beautiful ginger, soya & sesame dressing here. You wouldn’t think a salad could be so tasty, but it almost upstaged the rest of our lunch.
This well known West Village bakery has received a fair amount of press, not least because Sarah Jessica Parker was filmed eating her way through a fabulous cupcake outside the shop front, for an episode of Sex and the City. Since then it has become a Mecca for foodies, who all pack into the shop and its 30 degrees C of heat (the ovens are busy turning out cake batch after cake batch). The red velvet cupcakes look suitably intoxicating and the frosting is delicious. For an all out mouthful of bliss, the Magnolia Bakery’s little cheesecakes are gorgeously indulgent.
Tip: There are three locations for this bakery (see their web address for more details). The Bleeker Street location is on a long street! We almost didn’t have the energy to eat when we got to the bakery (but somehow we managed). This outlet of the bakery crosses W 11th St for any cupcake fans that want to conserve their energy for eating instead of walking. For more information, visit: http://www.magnoliacupcakes.com/.
Oyster Bar, Grand Central Terminal
Stepping into this beautiful building is worth a trip in itself, if only to gawp at the zodiac-inspired Sky Ceiling spanning the Main Concourse. The food hall leaves you spoilt for choice, with specialist shops, restaurants and cocktail bars, but the Oyster Bar isn’t to be missed. Try out some of the 72 different types of seafood, which are all available whilst you sit up at the fish bar, or pick one of the many tables on the main floor of the restaurant. Our waitress did a good job of blinding us with choice and presented a plate of oysters in front of us before we could say “that was lightning quick”. Our selection of bivalves were from Maine, Cape Cod and Long Island, and varied in size from a fifty pence piece to the size of a mango. Washed down with champagne, our plateful of seafood tasted suitably luxurious. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed the first time you visit the Oyster Bar – there are literally hundreds of dishes to choose from, but it’s an excuse at least, to return.
Tip: Study the menu online before you go! For more information and online menus, visit: http://www.oysterbarny.com.