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Jun 1, 2008 08:23 AM

1 day in the city...just to eat...can you help?

Whenever I go to NYC (I live in CT) it's always just to eat and usually a day trip. In a couple of weeks I'm taking a friend for her first visit to the city since a Jr. High field trip we took 20+ years ago. She's not a fan of cities in general but has volunteered to be led around on a chowish day long dash. I've got a couple of ideas from my various romps through the city but if you could help me on this one, I'd appreciate it.

Couple of things-
She doesn't eat red meat.
She doesn't like riding the subway (slightly claustrophobic). (most likely we will be walking everywhere)
She is a bit thrifty. (hence the walking and not springing for cabs)

We'll get to the city around 10am via Grand Central. Without spending too much $ on cabs, help me figure out the best area to focus our chowing. (not full meals but smaller stuff)

I definitely want to take her to Pommes Frites. What else is near there that we might like? I've done Dumpling House, Gelato in the LES, falafel at Mamouns. Both of us are fairly adventurous. (dumplings, dosas, chicken and rice from a cart...anything you can suggest)

Also, last thing--even if we have to cab it from downtown to uptown, is William Greenburgs the place to go for black and white cookies? I've got an assignment to bring some awesome ones home. The bakery in Grand Central has awful ones so that's not an option.

many thanks...
masha b.

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  1. Hye, masha bousha,

    I was going to suggest my (in)famous LES Food Excursion -- great for nosh stops while walking and experiencing this interesting, historic neighborhood -- but was sort of stopped in my tracks by the info that your friend doesn't eat read meat. However, thinking it over, as much as it pains me, you could x-out the first stop at Katz's and start the tour at Russ & Daughters. If you're interested, here's a link to the tour:

    As it stands now, the tour ends at Economy Candy, but you can easily tack on a stop at Sugar Sweet Sunshine, on Rivington St., b/t Essex & Norfolk, for excellent cupcakes. Also, you might want to pop into the Essex Street Market. Then, you can proceed to Pommes Frites, after which you can have another egg cream (you'll understand why it's "another" when see the stops on my tour) at Gem Spa, which is on the same block, on the corner of 2nd & St. Mark's.

    Hope you and your friend have a great eating day in NYC. Bon Appetit!

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      Second RGR's rec for Pommes Frites and egg creams!

      Also in the E village is Momofuku Ssam - and even though the pork there is wonderful, so is just about everything else with a lot of choices for the non meat eater. If the octopus or the shrimp is available, they are must gets as are whatever veggies are in season. Go for an early dinner if you can as the choices for dinner are broader than those for lunch.

      Chickalicious (sp?) is nearby for dessert as is Black Hound.

      Also, much as I love Mamoun's, the chicken shawarma at Chickpea with the addition of their excellent pickles, hot veggie mix, and day-glow orange middle eastern hot sauce is something I yearn for here in NJ. And they are just off St. Mark's Pl there as well.

      1. re: seal

        We were recently at ChikaLicious again. Needless to say -- Outstanding!
        Note that they will be closed June 2 - 11 "for maintenance."

        Directly across the street, Chika and Don have opened Chikalicious Puddin'. There are a couple of small tables, but it's mainly take-out. Three varieties of puddings + cookies and cupcakes. I'm not sure if it will be open during Chikalicious's hiatus.

    2. ice cream: Australian (st marks btwn 1st and ave A)

      other desserts: for in budget eats go to chicalicious' puddin' storefront. get either the bread pudding or the SERIOUSLY chocolaty dark chocolate puddin. 10th btwn 1st and 2nd ave.

      Japanese owned italian (yea seriously!): Dieci 10th st btwn 1st and 2nd ave. get any one of their risottos, or their cavatelli with eggplant and tomato. the salad with apples and gorganzola is also good. all are a good cost value. if anything tastes off, just let them know and they'll redo the dish for you without hesitation!

      korean ($15-20 range pp): in korea town area go to Kunjip (get the soon dubu stew, or one of their other well done non-redmeat dishes) or in the east village Dok Suni (1st ave and 7th st) has many many veggie and non-red options.

      Japanese ($10/pp if you order right): go to Natori on St. Marks between 1st and 2nd avenue for their Yasai Don, or their early bird special (till 7pm, the chicken katsu don is to die for, avoid the udon), Uminoie is slightly more expensive but has the best homestyle japanese and most amazing dashi ever (3rd st btwn 1st and 2nd ave)

      wings: there is only one choice: Birdies on 1st ave and 9th st. get their burning hot wings and okra dipping sauce. avoid their baked chicken and order with care, their other stuff can be sub par.

      tibetan: cafe himalaya (houston btwn 1st and 2nd aves) great curries, and momo, avoid the noodle soups. cheap! less than 10 a head without any effort.

      mexican: downtown bakery 1st ave at 4th street (ish)-- rice and bean burrito with everything ($6) enough food to feed two and addictive. the chicken tamales are great with sauce, but dry without, avoid the veggie tamales.

      dim sum: dim sum go go on catherine street in chinatown. amazing. go in the morning around 11am for the freshest dim sum and the shortest line for a table. a filling meal should run you about 10- $12/pp

      vegetarian chinese: buddha bodai (also in chinatown) a happy haunt of local buddhist monks. all the meat if fake meat, and tasty!! servings are HUGE, one entree per two people is MORE than enough.

      there is more... if you know of what cuisines you're looking at let me know.

      1. this girl will go nuts when she has a shroom burger and black and white shake at shake shack.

        otherwise, skip all meals, save money and go straight to sushi yasuda.

        1. Thanks for all of the great suggestions. I've done quite a bit on RGR's famous LES tour (which I love) and I think quite a bit will work for my day.
          I myself have only had a "custard" cone from Shake Shack but I'm dying to try that shroom burger.

          any feedback on the B/W cookie question? William Greengrass the best or what? I'm looking for cakey cookies, not crumbly. mmmm cookies.

          1. RGR's tour is indeed great. Not sure if there's much that's snack-y at Essex St Market. The portions at Shopsin's are quite large. Maybe splitting at sandwich at Paradou Marche? Chocolates at Roni-Sue's?

            If you happen to STILL be hungry when you get up to the East Village, there are a number of good snacky joints around 2nd and 7th (Pommes Frites location).

            Maybe do it in this order so there's less backtracking:
            Donuts at the Donut Plant
            Bialys at Kossar's
            Pickles at Gus'
            Gelato at Il Laboratorio
            A pastry or two at How Sweet It Is
            Cupcakes at Sugar Sweet Sunshine
            Bagel with smoked salmon at Russ & Daughters
            Knish at Yonah Schimmel's

            And in the East Village:
            Fries at Pommes Frites
            Egg cream at Ray's
            Soup dumplings Grand Sichuan
            Cured olive cookie at Abraco
            Crepes from Cecil Crepe Cafe
            Shiitake or chicken steamed buns at Momofuku Noodle Bar (Ssam Bar only has pork)
            Curry Pan at Cafe Zaiya
            Korean Fried Chicken at BBQ Chicken / TKettle
            Soup dumplings at Grand Sichuan International
            Okonomiyaki at Otafuku
            Cream puffs at Beard Papa
            Frozen yogurt at Pinkberry
            Cookies at Black Hound (on the expensive side)
            Hot dogs at Crif dogs (they have veggie dogs) -- this is right by Ray's too
            A slice at Artichoke

            5 Replies
            1. re: kathryn


              Good job organizing the LES spots.

              Excellent EV list, but you've left out Gem Spa. One can never have too many egg creams! lol And I love doing a comparison tasting between Gem Spa and Ray's. Crif Dogs has egg creams, but theirs is awful.

              1. re: RGR

                oh yea and don't forget sugar sweet sunshine on the LES!

                1. re: courtney.hami

                  It's on my list above! I like the chocolate cake with regular frosting, myself.

                  1. re: kathryn

                    I have to say, maybe it's just me and what I ordered but last year I got a red velvet cupcake from Sugar Sweet Sunshine and it was beyond bland. Is it because I'm not from the south??

                    thanks to everyone for the killer I'm starving.

                    1. re: masha bousha

                      I think the red velvet is their weakest cupcake. For whatever reason, it doesn't taste chocolatey enough to me, and the frosting is a bit chalky. I always stick with the regular ones - white cake or chocolate cake.