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Mar 7, 2008 08:37 AM

First Trip to NYC

My husband and I are making our first trip to NYC in July. Staying at the Belvedere on West 48th in Midtown. Would like suggestions for good breakfast, bakery, deli type places nearby for breakfast and lunch-inexpensive is better. We're used to Oklahoma prices! Also open to dinner suggestions. I wanted Tavern on the Green one day but the reviews are awful. What about afternoon tea at the Waldorf or Plaza? Planning to attend a Yankees game-eat ballpark food inside or better to eat at street vendors on the way? Thanks for input.

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  1. Hey, sunbeltmom,

    Glad to hear you're making your first visit to the Big A! :-)

    Amy's Bread is on 9th Av., b/t 46th & 47th Sts. While justly known for superb breads, you can get a continental-style breakfast there. The menu includes sandwiches, soups, salads, and a variety of sweets. There are a few tables at the rear of the shop.


    For lunch (and dinner), if you like Italian food, I recommend Trattoria Trecolori, on 47th St., b/t B'way & 8th Av. Very tasty homestyle fare, friendly service, and nice atmospherics.


    The Plaza just re-opened, and acc. to the website, they are offering tea in the fully restored Palm Court. Since you say you're "used to Oklahoma prices," be prepared for *major* sticker shock!


    While there are a couple of famous delis in Midtown, in my view, they are mediocre. I think most Hounds would agree with me that you're better off going down to the Lower East Side to Katz's, where it's all about the pastrami. (Subway system is quite easy to navigate. Or you can take a cab.) If you decide to go there, you might want to consider taking my (in)famous LES food "tour." You will walk the streets of this interesting, historic neighborhood while sampling foods emblematic of NYC. Here's the tour:

    For the quintessential NYC deli experiences, no place beats Katz's, on the corner of Houston (pronounced "how-stun") & Ludlow Sts. You're there specifically for the pastrami sandwich. When you enter, you will be given a ticket. Instead of opting for table service, do what the "natives" do and get on line for counter service. When you reach the counter, put a $1 for each sandwich in the counterman's tip cup – though not mandatory, it is a tradition -- and order pastrami on rye. He'll give you a piece to taste. If you like it (the best pastrami is juicy and has some fat on it), tell him o.k., and he'll make your sandwich, give you some sour pickles, and punch your ticket. Then, continue along the counter for sides – the cole slaw is good -- and drinks. Find seats at a table in the center of the room. (Tables along the wall have menus on them and are reserved for waiter service.) When you’re done, take your ticket to the cashier in front, where it’s cash only. To pay by credit card, go to the counter at the rear where the salamis are sold. Note: For the purposes of this tour, unless you have a gargantuan appetite, it would be best to share one sandwich in order to leave room for more tastings along the way.

    When you exit Katz’s, turn left and continue along the same side of Houston St. You will come to Russ & Daughters, famous for all sorts of smoked fish and many other goodies. It's not a restaurant, but they make sandwiches to go.

    After leaving the Russes, continue west a couple of blocks until you reach Yonah Schimmel's. Get a tasty potato knish, and make sure to ask them to heat it up.

    Now it’s time for the quintessential NY drink – the egg cream. So, reverse yourself and head east on Houston until you come to Avenue A. (Note: Avenue A becomes Essex St. on the south side of Houston.) Turn left on A and head north until you get to the block between 7th St. and St. Mark’s Place. Look for a hole-in-the-wall candy shop, closer to 7th, with an overhead sign jutting into the street that says, “Belgian Fries.” (The place’s official name is Ray’s, but there is no signage to that effect.) One of the women behind the counter will make you a delicious chocolate egg cream.

    When you’re finished licking your lips, go back to Houston St. and make a left (east) one block to Norfolk St. Turn right and walk down Norfolk until it ends at Grand St. Two places to look for at the corner of Grand and Norfolk: Kossar's, for freshly baked bialys (another very NY food) and the Donut Plant (self-explanatory).

    Next, walking west along Grand St., you will come to Orchard St. Turn right. At 87 Orchard, snack on a pickle from Gus's World Famous Pickles.

    Then, continue to 97 Orchard, b/t Broome & Delancey, where you will find the Tenement Museum. The tour will show you what life was like for immigrants to NYC at the beginning of the 20th century. ( http://www.tenement.org
    Once you have finished the tour, Il Laboratorio del Gelato, right next door at 95 Orchard, is a must for some of the best gelato anywhere.

    If your sweet tooth is still not completely satisfied, the final stop on this tour should do it. Continue ahead (north) on Orchard, crossing Delancey, then one more block to Rivington St. Make a right and you will find Economy Candy at 145 Rivington.

    Note: It’s best not to take this tour on a Saturday since some of the spots are closed because of religious observance. Also, Donut Plant is closed on Mondays.
    With regard to the Yankee game, for me, sitting in a ballpark and eating a hot dog is classic. But I never get them from the vendors who come around to the seats because those dogs are boiled. I prefer to get up and go to one of the indoor stands where the dogs are grilled. Of course, if it makes no difference to you, then stay in your seat and let the dogs come to you.

    Enjoy your visit to NYC and Bon Appetit!

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      Thanks RGR-Amy's Bread sounds perfect for us and I'm looking forward to trying your other recommendations. Will try to fit in the tour-it sounds like fun.


    2. Absolutely stay away from Tavern on the Green. Can you give us an idea of your food preferences or dislikes? Are you adventurous? What is your budget for dinners? Do you want your dinners to be close to where you are staying or are you willing to take taxis or subway? There are so many great places to eat in all price ranges, locations, and types of food that it is hard to advise without knowing a bit more about what you are looking for.:)

      1. Somewhat adventurous-we enjoy trying regional favorites. Love bistro type food, salads, sandwiches, Italian, would like French if we can find a place not too pricey. Can skip Tex-Mex, bbq, plenty of that here :) Entrees under $25 if possible but wouldn't mind at least one night spending more. We will use the subway during the day but don't know about being on it after dark..

        6 Replies
        1. re: sunbeltmom


          Here are two more options in the area near your hotel:

          dbBistro Moderne, on 44th St., b/t 5th & 6th Avs., is 4-star chef Daniel Boulud's take on contemporary French cuisine. Yes, the a la carte menu is expensive, but not anywhere near as high as his eponymous temple of haute cuisine. In addition, they offer a 3-course pre-theater prix-fixe for $45 -- a bargain for cuisine on this level.


          Marseille, on the corner of 9th Av. & 44th St., is an attractive, vibrant brasserie that serves very good French/Mediterranean cuisine. For the budget-minded, they offer a well-priced dinner prix-fixe for $35.


          1. re: RGR

            Just looked at Marseille's on-line menu. Mouth-watering. Couldn't pull up the other but will try again later. Sounds like just what we were looking for. Thanks so much for your time.

          2. re: sunbeltmom

            Definitely go with RGR's suggestion of Marseille. You may also like Vice Versa on West 51st. They have a prix fixe with limited choices, but even on the a la carte menu most entrees are less than $25, and they allow you to order half orders of pasta for appetizers. The space is elegant and comfortable. For a more casual and less expensive Italian it's worth the (quick subway) trip to 14th St. for dinner at Crispo. The menu is extensive and I have been impressed with every dish. Creative takes on classic Italian dishes. For something a little different, Chow Bar is pan-Asian as interpreted by an American chef, with great food in a fun atmosphere (West 4th St. just off 7th Ave., in Greenwich Village). The subway is really quite safe for travelling short distances like this, or you can take a taxi for under $10. For more of a splurge (entrees between $25 and $30, Olana at Madison and 28th is a short subway ride or you could even walk. It has only been open a few weeks but we had a wonderful dinner two nights ago. Very elegant with large tables and huge comfortable chairs. The food is of exceptionally high quality and very creative. Do a google search to find menus for these or check Menupages.

            1. re: rrems


              I'd love to hear more about Olana since it's in our nabe. However, rather than hijack this thread, perhaps you could post about your dinner there on a new thread? Thanks. :-)

              1. re: RGR

                Hi RGR,

                I posted to an earlier thread on Olana. I was thinking about you when I wrote it. Unfortunately this is another one that doesn't have a usable website yet, though it is on menupages, without the benefit of prices(!), but the total for 3 appetizers, 3 mains and one shared dessert with one bottle of wine was $200 (after the 15% discount) before tip. A real bargain IMO. I really think you will love this.


                1. re: rrems

                  Thanks for the link, rrems. Olana definitely makes my "go to" list.

          3. I would do some research in the outer boroughs for places near Yankee Stadium, which is in the Bronx. Even better, grab some sandwiches and take them with you (in a clear plastic bag, if possible). The food in the stadium and immediate vicinity is pretty bad, for the most part. If you have to eat inside, the chicken fingers are tolerable.

            1. While you will want to enjoy some of the touristy things they will be e$$$pensive by OK standards! Recommend 9th Avenue restaurants near Amy's Bread - find the neighborhood joints - Wondee Siam for Thai food, Uncle Nicks between 50th and 51st are two excellent REASONABLY priced places, The EATERY at 53 and 9th is very good for lunch, as is Thalia on 6th around 49th-50th, Cellini on 54th between Madison and Park is excelent moderately priced Italian for dinner - genuine - Italian waiters, etc. If you head to the Time Warner Center on 6th and 55th is another Thai restaurant we love - Chai. Then there is the Burger Joint in the Parker Meridien between 6th and 7th on 56th st. - great burgers and reasonable. In TWC check out Landmarc for reasonably priced lunches and dinners, PJ Clarke's near Lincoln Center. Have fun

              Touristy fun and great experience? Carmine's between 7th and 8th - crowded, noisy, and not cheap, but ENORMOUS entrees - so share. The linguini with clam sauce is fantastic - $21 I believe but will feed 4 ! All the other entrees are equally generous.