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Necessary NYC before moving away!

I've been living in NYC on and off for almost two years now...but its time to pack it in and move back to Southern CA! I want to try and eat in as many unique, ethnic, special, etc restaurants as possible before I leave this summer!
I'd love to get everyone's opinion about where they think is a not to be missed place!

Mainly ethnic restaurants I probably can't find in Southern CA (no sushi, Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese) , best bakeries, and famous chefs that have restaurants NOT to be missed.

TIA!:D

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  1. babbo. eat at the bar if necessary. do not return to so-cal without doing this. you'll regret it. maybe not today. maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

    1 Reply
    1. re: steve h.

      Totally agree with steve h. I moved from NYC 3 years ago and try to fly back twice a year for Sushi Yasuda (have yet to find a place in LA to match Yasuda's rice, selection, and quality), Babbo, Lombardi's, Ess-a-Bagel in that order. Time permitting, I try to throw in 1 high end french place.

    2. Well, not a lot of resto recs, but noshing is essential NY in my opinion - the first things that come to mind:
      - Katz's for a pastrami sandwich
      - bagel/lox sandwich from Russ & Daughters, or bagel/spread from Ess-A-Bagel
      - chicken and rice at the cart on 53rd & 6th
      - for the bakery fix: Claude's for a croissant and/or pain au chocolat, and I always meant to get to Moishe's for some hamentaschen...though I hear they have great black and white cookies too. Rocco's for one last cannoli.

      Happy chowing! I've been abroad for the past six months and can't wait to get back to some quality NY eating.

      2 Replies
      1. re: theannerska

        nice! so far, so good. i've eaten the tasting menu at babbo (showed up at 5 and got a table), i've been to katzs, russ and daughters, and the AMAZING croissants at claudes. keep the rec's coming pleaseeeeeee

        1. re: junglekitte

          i wrote a similar post a few months ago before moving to Bangkok (although because of forces beyond my control i've since then been bouncing back and forth between NY and Asia)...

          Glad you went to Russ&Daughters, that's the one place i'll miss most when my NYC exit is complete...and i like RGR's suggestion to go to Keens -- the closest thing to Keens in LA is Pacific Dining Car and it can't really match Keens for history/vibe unless you are a real LA noir buff...

          I'll also suggest Il Giglio, which is great old-school NYC Italian...(but you have a fine fine option for similar food at Dan Tana's in LA)

          And definitely the Grand Central Oyster Bar (assuming you like oysters): sit at the counter only, order only raw oysters, raw clams, fried oysters, and maybe a salad and wine or beer...

      2. I have no idea what the steakhouse situation is like in Southern CA, but you should definitely have a meal at Keens before you leave. In addition to delicious food, what makes it special, in my view, is the unmatchable old NY ambiance.

        http://www.keens.com

        Best wishes on your move back to CA.

        1. I say ditto to Babbo and Katz's. I would add a trip to the doughnut plant (just because), drop in to the Russian Vodka Bar for an infusion, and a hamburger at Le Parker Meridian Hotel. I would also venture to guess that you can't get Babka in CA. I like the standard cinnamon one that they have at Zabar's but I haven't done much exploring to see if there are better ones. Also, it goes without saying that the pizza in cailfornia will be depressing compared to what you can get in NYC. (i.e. pizza should never ever contain tofu or barbeque sauce). You should take one last trip to Patsy's/Grimaldi's/Lombardi's/John's of Bleeker/Di Fara for a slice. Also, I don't think you can get a black and white cookie anywhere west of the hudson so you should probably stop into Moishe's/ William J. Greenburg/Zabar's/Hot and Crusty/Zaro's to get one before you leave.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ohromujici

            No offense but do not bother with the Le Parker Meridian Hotel. Nothing will beat In-N-Out. And at the ridiculous price, you would be wanting to go back to California even quicker.

          2. I'm in the same situation - moving back to Canada after two years in the city. Any veg stuff I should absolutely have before I go?

            I'm not worrying too much about bagels since I have access to Montreal ones at home. And we have really good Middle-Eastern food. (That said, if there are exceptional specimens out there, please point them out anyway.) Some things I'm looking for: good veg Korean, a great veg burger, any creative veg food.

            On my list so far:

            the veg ssam (after I confirm it really is veg)
            fresh tofu at Kasadela or EN
            truffled egg toast at 'Ino (or is it 'Inoteca?)
            more Kyotofu desserts

            1 Reply
            1. re: piccola

              Both 'ino and Inoteca have the truffled egg toast!

            2. stock up on pizza (anything italian actually). it is very lacking here in socal.

              1. go to grimaldis in brooklyn. the best pizza in NYC

                1 Reply
                1. re: adrouault

                  Yeah I may be flayed alive for saying this, but when I moved away from NYC (I moved back, its too tough out there in the rest of the country) I had a 'tourist day party' in which we did touristy things I'd never done, and the evening was topped off with a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and then dinner at Grimaldis. I'm veg, but if you're not, I'm sure Peter Luger's would do the trick. I know Grimaldis is not the best best BEST pizza in NYC (B/c 5 Roses on 1st ave is) but it was fun and indulgent to do something totally un-hip.