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4 nights in NYC – my plan....

Here we go….as a 2nd time visitor to NYC (we're coming from Toronto); I’m planning a food adventure with some sights as well, for myself and my hubby.
We love Italian food, I will add!

Here is what I’ve got planned for us…is it too much? Is something missing?!

Friday night arrival – dinner at Puttanesca
Saturday morning – venture to Doughnut Plant & Kossar's Bialys for breakfast “on the go”
Saturday lunch – Shake Shack
Saturday dinner – We’re taking in a Broadway show and we’ll eat prior at Scarlatto (not dining on prix fixe, but rather a la carte)
Sunday morning – Shop and eat “on the go” at Zabar’s
Sunday lunch – Otto Enoteca Pizzeria (eyeing the cheese plate selection!)
Sunday dinner – Katz Deli (def getting the pastrami!)
Monday morning – Grandaisy Bakery
Monday lunch – Papaya King
Monday afternoon snack – Cannoli at Rocco’s Pastry
Monday dinner – Babbo
Tuesday morning – right before we depart…..cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery

It’s a little aggressive (& calorie-consuming!!), but I hope we’ll manage and stick with this plan!!!!!!!!!!

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  1. remove Puttanesca. Nothing special. And Scarlatto? How did you choose these two? By address? There are much better choices in theater district: Marseilles for example.

    4 Replies
    1. re: chow_gal

      Reading extensive reviews on both CH and Yelp. Like I said, we like Italian!

      1. re: sylvrgirl

        Really, on CH? I have never seen good reviews for those two places on this board. Must have been Yelp. You should really replace them. Esca is amazing seafood.

        1. re: chow_gal

          Neither of us are big seafood lovers.

        2. re: sylvrgirl

          Puttanesca is really nothing special, as chow gal said. Scarlatto I find to be terrible. I love Italian food and once ate their spaghetti with meatballs (the most untalian of meals, I admit) and I couldn't even swallow their red sauce. If you want theater district Italian, try Maria Pia.

      2. Kossar's is closed on Saturdays (religious observance).

        If you are going to Shake Shack and want to avoid the crazy lines, arrive just before they open at 11 a.m.

        For Italian dining in the Theater District, Trattoria Trecolori is a favorite of mine and many other Hounds.


        For sensational cupcakes, I recommend Sugar Sweet Sunshine, on the LES.


        2 Replies
        1. re: RGR

          Goodness me! Thank you for being so informative. I've been waiting for an email reply (anti-spam process in place) from Kossar's about their store hours.
          I'll have to do a quick re-shuffle!
          Trecolori did make my short list initially...I'll have to read up on it some more. Thanks!

          1. re: RGR

            I think Sugar Sweet makes far better cupcakes. Their lemon cupcake is amazing.

            If you find that your schedule veers a bit (which is what I always experience when I travel), I think that getting cupcakes at Sugar Sweet should always be preceeded by the sliders and fries at Spitzer's Corner which is a gastropub with a terrific beer list and it's only a few blocks away from the bakery.

          2. Please don't waste your time at Magnolia's. Sugar Sweet Sunshine is really good, my personal favorites are the chocolate or the strawberry- coconut cup cakes from Batch on west 10th street between 6th and 7th Ave. Batch is just about a 5 minute walk from Magnolia

            2 Replies
            1. re: misnatalie

              In that case maybe I'll just have to add Batch to the list too! Thanks!

              1. re: sylvrgirl

                I really would if you can. They have a great ginger cookie too. Don't get the brownies, or the cakes, nothing special there. I think it's their rice pudding that is also really good.

            2. Can't help with the rest of your list, but as a recent visitor to NYC I made it a point to stop at Zabar's. I left feeling it wasn't worth going out of my way for and I didn't really see anything that I wanted to buy and eat on the go. However there was H&H bagels on the adjacent corner and I would recommend that!

              10 Replies
              1. re: Rick

                Perhaps nothing at Zabars was to your taste, but really, there are lots of options. There's a cafe, for one thing... and a takeout sushi section... and lots of prepared foods at the deli counter... and prepared soups across from the deli counter... and rotisserie chicken... and smoked fish, which they'll hand slice for you.... and good bread... and great cheese... and hard-to-find chocolate...

                1. re: cimui

                  Yum! Sounds wonderful! Looking forward to it.

                  1. re: sylvrgirl

                    the only downside is that the place is mayhem defined. it's really crowded at lunch time, past 5 when the after work crowd begins to come in, and on weekends. if you mind crowds, try going at a slightly off hour --say around 11:30 a.m. or after 2:30 p.m. for lunch. Enjoy!

                  2. re: cimui

                    <and lots of prepared foods at the deli counter... and prepared soups across from the deli counter... and rotisserie chicken... and smoked fish, which they'll hand slice for you.... and good bread... and great cheese... and hard-to-find chocolate...>

                    ...and Russian Coffeecake!

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      uh oh, something i haven't tried! (which means i have to, now!) same general area as the babka?

                  3. re: Rick

                    Maybe it's a New York "thing," but I cannot ever go to Zabars without wanting to eat everything in the appetizing section!

                    < I left feeling it wasn't worth going out of my way for and I didn't really see anything that I wanted to buy and eat on the go>

                    Curious what you were looking for? Did you try anything?

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Curious to see the place in person and my list includes: Babka, Knish, Black & White cookies and Baked Lemon Ricotta.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        Chef, I wasn't looking for anything in particular. I'd read all the raves and really wanted to check it out. Please note that my post said there's nothing that I wanted to buy and eat on the run, as the OP was looking for. So the pasta sauces, deli meats, roisserie chicken, prepared foods etc. didn't really do much for me as I was a tourist and not a resident. I'm certain that if i lived close by that I'd be a regular, but there wasn't much there that I would want to buy without being able to take it home to eat/prepare.

                        1. re: Rick

                          fair enough, rick! my barbarian friends and i have bought a rotisserie chicken to tear into at the park on a picnic blanket, but i fully understand if some people are not as barbaric as we are! (it IS a messy affair. sometimes we walk out of the fray with bits and pieces of chicken stuck in our hair. ;)

                      2. re: Rick

                        Zabars is great for knishes, rugelach, struddel, and a number of very particular items.

                      3. I agree with the others that Magnolia is not at all worth going out of your way for, and if you really love italian food I would replace Puttanesca and Scarlatto. I would try to work in at least one meal at Esca and if you must eat in the theatre district I've had serviceable meals at Osteria Del Oge. (Sp?) I would also look into Insemie etc.

                        1. maybe it is just me, but i always found the food at katz's tastes better at lunchtime....

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: thew

                            Hmmmm, maybe I'll have to swap Sunday lunch @ Katz and then dinner @ Otto. Thanks!

                          2. remove Puttanesca. Try Roberto Passon instead.

                            1. another vote for getting rid of both Puttanesca and Scarlatto. There is much much better italian to be had--even in the theater district. I would probably pick Roberto Passon if Esca does not appeal.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: prdct

                                I like Roberto Passon -- but it's more pricey than Puttanesca, isn't it? I think for the price range, OP could do worse than Puttanesca. It's not a restaurant I would go out of my way for, but if she is in the area anyway, and wants Italian in that price range -- why not?

                                EDIT: sorry prdct and psawce -- you two were right. roberto passon is not very much more (just one or two more dollars for the pasta and meat courses). RP is a good suggestion if OP doesn't mind the small price differential.

                                1. re: cimui

                                  Thanks a bunch cimui! I like the way you put that! :-)

                                2. re: prdct

                                  Crispo is also really good and a short subway or cab ride to the theatre distric.

                                3. Another excellent Italian in the theater district: Orso.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: rrems

                                    I really would recommed Esca for their pastas - they are all under $30. I had the spaghetti with chiles, mint, and a 1 lb. lobster which was oustanding. Puttanesca is nothing to write home about - just a decent run-of-the-mill Italian place.

                                  2. Update, update! We're just a few weeks from our trip and now we've got all our reservations. I'm really looking forward to our adventure!

                                    Friday night arrival – Shake Shack
                                    Saturday morning – Grandaisy Bakery
                                    Saturday lunch – Artichoke Basile’s Pizza
                                    Saturday dinner – We’re taking in a Broadway show and we’ll eat prior at Scarlatto (not dining on prix fixe, but rather a la carte)
                                    Sunday morning – Doughnut Plant & Kossar's Bialys
                                    Sunday lunch – Katz Deli + grabbing a Knish @ Yonah’s Knish
                                    Sunday dinner – Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
                                    Monday morning – Magnolia Bakery
                                    Monday lunch – Papaya King
                                    Monday dinner – Babbo (rez in hand!) :-)
                                    Tuesday morning – right before we depart…..goodies from Le Pain Quotidien

                                    That's it, we're locked in!
                                    I'll report back, after our adventure has concluded.
                                    Thanks again, for everyone's opinion, feedback and input.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: sylvrgirl

                                      Since you are planning to do several spots on the LES on Sunday morning, you might want to consider taking my (in)famous self-guided LES noshing tour, which includes the four you already list as well as a few others. Think of it as brunch. You can easily tack on Sugar Sweet Sunshine at the end as it is just a few blocks further east on Rivington St. You can then do a comparison to the cupcakes at Magnolia.

                                      Here's the link to the tour: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/493333

                                      1. re: sylvrgirl

                                        > Friday night arrival – Shake Shack

                                        Have a backup plan in case it is raining, as Shake Shack in Madison Square Park is outdoors. There is nowhere to go if there is foul weather. Unless you mean the Upper West Side location. Note that Shake Shack closes at 11pm.

                                        > Saturday morning – Grandaisy Bakery
                                        > Saturday lunch – Artichoke Basile’s Pizza

                                        What are you planning to get there? Grandaisy has good Roman style pizza. If you want a bigger selection of pastries I would go to Balthazar, Oro Bakery, or Ceci-Cela (love their chocolate croissants).

                                        Artichoke has good pizza (get the square) but is not really traditional NY thin crust. I would skip the artichoke and crab slices. The round slice is OK, but too bready and too sweet, and there is way too much cheese on that thing.

                                        > Sunday dinner – Otto Enoteca Pizzeria

                                        Don't miss the olive oil gelato, pastas, and salads. It's not all about pizza there.

                                        > Monday morning – Magnolia Bakery

                                        Please don't perpetuate the myth of Magnolia Bakery having the best cupcakes in town. Go to Chikalicious Dessert Club, Two Little Red Hens, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, etc. Don't waste your money on their dry, tasteless, but somehow sugary coma-inducing cupcakes.

                                        1. re: kathryn

                                          In case of bad weather, Blue Smoke is nearby, on 27th St., b/t Lex & Park Av. S., and has an excellent burger. (Same meat as Shake Shack but a thicker burger.) They accept reservations and also seat walk-ins.


                                          Another good option for a burger in that area is Molly's, the Irish pub, on 3rd Av., b/t 22nd & 23rd Sts. Skip the fries and have the onion rings.

                                          1. re: kathryn

                                            i like the crab slice at artichoke. not NYC pizza but a good thing

                                        2. Adding to the cupcake list for comparisons to Magnolia

                                          Pinsi Cafe 128 East 4h St ( getting some great reviews on the board) which you easily walk up to from you LES trip, or down to from Artrichoke.

                                          Sweet Revenge, on Carmine at Bedford which would be a good post Joe's (I like their pizza) or a nice walk along Bleeker from Magnolia.