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October 2009 Trip Research Thread

daveena Sep 25, 2009 10:45 AM

Hey Manhattan CH’ers – I’ve historically eaten extremely well just reading the board discussions without asking for additional input, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to get some help prioritizing/refining my itinerary this time. Coming back for a 9-day trip in October – feeling a little restless. Looking mostly for places new to me this time. I have a strong affinity for quirky, personal places (Prune, Perilla, Degustation, Momofuku Ssam), and a deep love of all things carb. No price range (although I’ve recently found myself eschewing the high end for super-cheap soulful, and creative mid-range.)

One specific question – I’ll need one dinner between NYU Med and Grand Central – under $70 with tax and tip, no drink – I was thinking about Da Ciro (haven’t been in years, but the focaccia robiola was a special treat for me when I was young and broke), and Ali Baba. Any other suggestions for the area?

East Village and Midtown East recs in general are welcome - in the last few years, a lot of my friends have moved either to Brooklyn, or out of NYC entirely, so access to Grand Central or Brooklyn-bound trains has become more of a priority when planning meals...

Have reservations for:
Sushi Yasuda

Planning to return to:
M. Ssam
Absolute Bagel
Kee’s Chocolates

Definitely want to go to:
Taam Tov
Azuri Café
M. Milk Bar
M. Ko

Halal Cart
Kyo Ya

  1. a
    Ann900 Sep 25, 2009 12:47 PM

    If you;re going to hit Brooklyn I can't urge you strongly enough to try Al Di La - really exceptional and one of my all-time NY favorites.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ann900
      daveena Sep 26, 2009 11:11 AM

      Thanks Ann - Al Di La has been on my to-try list forever, and I somehow have never made it. Am going to try to make it there this time.

    2. k
      kathryn Sep 25, 2009 11:28 AM

      I'd recommend Tailor (assuming it's still around, gah), Txikito, the new Stumptown, maybe the new Cupcake Truck, Sugar Sweet Sunshine, Chikalicious / Chikalicious Dessert Bar, Locanda Verde (esp. baked goods), gelato/pastas at Otto, Szechuan Gourmet, maybe Rhong Tiam, Motorino EV (old Una Pizza space), La Maison du Chocolat, Bespoke Chocolates. Maybe Sushi Azabu or Ushiwakamaru? Taim? The new DBGB?

      Oh, and one of the Van Leeuwen trucks now has an espresso machine and does affogato!

      1. k
        kathryn Sep 25, 2009 11:16 AM

        Daveena! So glad you're coming back! Let me see if I can pull up your past trip reports so that we don't repeat anything.

        Spotted Pig
        Little Owl
        Patisserie Claude
        City Bakery
        Taralluci e Vino
        Murray's Bagels
        Balthazar Bakery
        Doughnut Plant
        Lanzhou Hand Pulled Noodle
        Momofuku Ssam Bar
        Caracas Arepas Bar
        Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck
        Alice's Tea Cup
        Absolute Bagel
        Casa Mono
        Sushi Yasuda

        Day 1: Sook
        Day 2: Barney Greengrass, Madeleine, Casa Mono, Tarallucci e Vino, Momofuku Ssam Bar, Tailor
        Day 3: Jean-Georges, Patisserie-Claude, Sushi Yasuda
        Day 4: Katz’s, Cupcake Café, Peking Duck House
        Day 5: Grandaisy (UWS), Le Bernardin, Bar Boulud
        Day 6: Ali Baba, Degustation

        Day 1: Alouette
        Day 2: Pongal, Degustation, Prune
        Day 3: Landmarc, WD-50
        Day 4: Lupa, Sushi Yasuda
        Day 5: DiFara, Lupa (again), Degustation (again), Momofuku Ssam Bar, Room 4 Dessert

        Did I miss anything?

        4 Replies
        1. re: kathryn
          daveena Sep 25, 2009 11:44 AM

          Ha ha! You're the best. I was going to link to those old threads, but couldn't find them. I bow to your Chowhound Search-fu and/or your extraordinary record keeping.

          That's pretty much it for the last three years - I guess I must have missed a few - from your list below, I've been to Tailor, Chickalicious (but not the Dessert Bar, so will add that to the list), Otto, and La Maison. I think my 1998-2002 eats are sufficiently out of date that they probably don't count any more.

          How do you think Bespoke compares to Kee's?

          Is Stumptown your current top pick for espresso?

          Locanda Verde for breakfast, going on the list. I hadn't realized they had a pastry bar - thanks!

          Do you know how Taim compares to Azuri Cafe?

          Thanks for the Txikito rec - I got a little overwhelmed by all the recent tapas recs, and ended up dropping tapas entirely. Putting Txikito back on the list.

          Also - as you seem to be the cocktail guru as well - do you have any particular favorites for gin-based cocktails? I esp love herbal ones, but any citrus ones make me pretty happy too.

          1. re: daveena
            kathryn Sep 25, 2009 01:13 PM

            I think Bespoke is excellent but much smaller selection than Kee's. Kee's stuff is also a bit more straightforward. Both are run by super nice ladies who put a LOT of effort into hand making things fresh, which puts them ahead in the game for me.

            Stumptown and Abraco are in the top for me, although I'm more of a drip coffee drinker lately.

            Never been to Azuri sadly. I tried going on a Fri night at 11pm a few weeks ago, only to realize they had already closed. Drat!

            I love Degustation and Casa Mono, so that's why I recommended it -- I like Txikito a lot (although it's a bit overpriced). It's Basque style, which isn't super common in NY anyway.

            If Tailor is still around I'd hit it up before they disappear, especially for cocktails.

            For cocktails -- have you been to Death & Co, Pegu Club, Milk & Honey?

            1. re: kathryn
              daveena Sep 26, 2009 11:10 AM

              Haven't been to any of the upscale cocktail places - Death & Co seems to be the only one with an online menu - there's plenty there alone to keep me busy. Thx!

              1. re: daveena
                kathryn Sep 26, 2009 11:14 AM

                D&C's online menu is probably old and out of date. Pegu Club doesn't have an online menu... and Milk & Honey is "Bartender's Choice" really -- you give them parameters and they recommend a drink. But I highly recommend all three.

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