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Loved RGR's LES food tour - now what?

I am coming to NY for the 3rd time, in January, with husband and kids (9 and 11). Our last 2 visits were both in April so we are expecting the cold. Last time, we had a great time following RGR's LES tour. We tasted, walked, looked, learned and even had time to visit the Tenement Museum. I also used a lot of other recommendations from this board about other places to eat during our stay - and all suggestions were wonderful!

So now I would really like some input about some other self-guided food walk tours we can do, that will be ok for cold weather. Perhaps around Chelsea or Meatpacking districts, or others.
All ideas greatly appreciated!

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  1. Are you willing to take a walking food tour outside of Manhattan? Much more interesting. If so...post on the outer boroughs board.

    24 Replies
    1. re: gutsofsteel

      Thanks - we have also actually done the Slice of Brooklyn Pizza tour, which was great. This time, I have planned a day in Queens, where we will go to the Queens Museum of Art, then walk along Roosevelt Ave and try some of the ehtnic foods, and then head to Museum of Moving Image. I have that day sorted out so now really looking for some more ideas in Manhattan.

        1. re: gutsofsteel

          The kids are not crazy about Chinese food and husband doesnt eat pork or seafood.

          1. re: jaykat

            Perhaps we could work out a West Village tour for you. You could get pizza at Arturo's or Keste; go to Murray's for cheese; get falafel, sabich, and grape leaves at Taim; possibly get ice cream at Cones or Grom (caveat: I have yet to try either).

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            Grom
            233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

            1. re: Pan

              Neither serves gelato that comes close to the gelato at Otto.

              1. re: gutsofsteel

                I haven't had that, either, but that can be part of a West Village tour. Otto also has good antipasti; on one trip there, I thought the ones I tried were at about the same level as good antipasti at Lupa. (Lupa is also in the Village but impractical for an eating tour because reservations are so hard to come by and going there as a walk-in is likely to come with a long wait.)

                Do you have any other suggestions of places people should visit on a West Village tour? I guess a baba au rhum or cannoli at Rocco's is a possibility, though it's far inferior to really good places in Brooklyn. Any other thoughts?

                1. re: Pan

                  In addition to Faicco's (kathryn below already beat me to the punch here), which came highly recommended to me recently for excellent mortadella and prosciutto, I would suggest Bruno Bakery for cannoli stuffed specially for each order.

                  Note: I've enjoyed personally Bruno's cannoli, but I haven't yet made it to Faicco's

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                  Faicco's
                  260 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  Bruno Bakery
                  506 LaGuardia Pl, New York, NY 10012

                  1. re: uwsgrazer

                    I haven't been to Faicco's, but have enjoyed their sausages at restaurants that use them, so I agree with including them. I find Rocco's consistently better than Bruno's for cannoli, though.

                    To loratliff: Keste is my favorite pizzeria in Manhattan and Arturo's is an excellent classic coal-fired New York pizza place that also has a good old-time feel. That's why. I suggested those, you're suggesting Joe's and John's, and jaykat can decide which of those to choose from. That's what this is all about.

                    1. re: Pan

                      I was just curious, Pan. No need to get defensive. I admittedly haven't been to either, so my questioning was based on the places where I see the food tours go, as I live in the neighborhood and unfortunately see them more often than I'd like.

                      1. re: loratliff

                        No defensiveness here. It's a good thing to give people lots of choices.

                      2. re: Pan

                        I was disappointed my one visit to Rocco's. I can't remember what I ordered, but it wasn't a cannoli. I'll have to try them another time.

                        1. re: uwsgrazer

                          Note that I don't give Rocco's a strong recommendation. It is maybe 1/4 as good as Villabate in Bensonhurst, and perhaps not even.

                        2. re: Pan

                          Faicco is fabulous. If you go and want a hearty snack for several people, try one of their proscuitto rings (from Parisi). So good!...Faicco and Rocco's bakery have been my favorite haunts on Bleecker St. for many years. The quaresimale (almond biscotti) are my favorite at Rocco's, also love the chocolate meringe cookies with hazelnuts.

                          -----
                          Faicco's
                          260 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                  2. re: Pan

                    Pizza at Arturo's or Keste? Why those two? It seems like most of the food tours I see around here go to Joe's (on Carmine), John's and/or Bleecker Street. They also definitely hit up Murray's, Amy's, and Rocco's (the Italian bakery).

                    1. re: loratliff

                      Keste and Motorino are far superior to the others.

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                      Motorino
                      349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                      1. re: gutsofsteel

                        "Keste and Motorino are far superior to the others."

                        I absolutely agree 100% and I am a pizza nut. Great advice.

                        More advice: Avoid Lombardi's. It has slipped since they expanded.

                        Off the trail a little is Luzzo's on 1st Ave. Fantastic pizza!!

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                        Luzzo's
                        211 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                        Motorino
                        349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                      2. re: loratliff

                        The food tours go to Joe's and John's because they're older and famouser and have the celebs on the walls! And are in all the tour books. And are traditional NY styles unlike Keste and Motorino.

                        Joe's - solid slice, not as good as it used to be when it was on the corner (sniff), I'm partial to the fresh mozzarella slice. Wish the crust was slightly thinner. Good for noshing tours.
                        John's - was going downhill for a while, better now, wish the ingredient quality was higher though, sometimes long lines. Whole pies only. I imagine the tour groups are pre-arranged. If the line is long, grab a takeout pie.
                        Arturo's - great atmosphere, nice live jazz, they have some sort of spicing in the tomato sauce that's different from the others. My last pie was only OK, though. Something off with the crust & it was undercooked. We were also sitting by a large group who would NOT STOP taking FLASH photos of their pizza. I think 10-12 FLASH photos is enough of you guys eating dinner in NYC right? Right?! Whole pies only.
                        Keste - Naples style, long lines for dinner, is a bit too wet for my preferences, though. Whole pies only.

                        I think Motorino might be the best in Manhattan right now -- but again, it's not a traditional NY pie.

                        So for a noshing tour, I prefer Joe's for sentimental and logistical reasons.

                        -----
                        Motorino
                        349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                        1. re: kathryn

                          2nd Motorino as the best.

                          I didn't enjoy my recent pie at Arturo's either. I found it bland and too chewy.

                          -----
                          Motorino
                          349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                          1. re: fm1963

                            I agree that Motorino is the best and Arturo's is disappointing.

                            -----
                            Motorino
                            349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                            1. re: Nancy S.

                              I'm sorry to hear from so many people that Arturo's has deteriorated. I have yet to notice this, so if it has, that presumably happened in the last several months.

                              Agreed with filmbomb on Lombardi's - not worth going to, in my opinion. I disagree on Luzzo's, unless it's improved. I had a very bad experience the last time I went (which wasn't that recent) and refuse to go back since then. To be specific, they served me salad that was partly rotten. I hope no-one thinks it's inappropriate to post that.

                              1. re: Pan

                                Thankfully I've never been served a half rotten salad, but Luzzo's does seem pull their pizzas a shade too early. The crust is just too blonde and not enough of the good char.

                                -----
                                Luzzo's
                                211 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                                1. re: ESNY

                                  I think Luzzo's crust needs a touch of salt or other flavoring; otherwise, it's solid but not one of the top in the city IMO.

                                  -----
                                  Luzzo's
                                  211 1st Ave, New York, NY 10003

                      3. re: Pan

                        Pan, does Taim sell stuffed grape leaves, or just the grape leaves themselves? I just called them and they told me they don't have stuffed grape leaves. I would be interested in a shop to buy great stuffed grape leaves (to go, not looking to eat in).

                        1. re: uwsgrazer

                          I thought they did. My mistake, since from what you're telling us, they don't.

              2. What happened to RGR?

                Always loved the updates and the flickr photos....

                4 Replies
                1. re: doubledoc

                  Heard from RGR this past weekend. We're hoping she'll back soon! She is very much missed on this board.

                  1. re: ellenost

                    the amount of emp discussion has certainly decreased markedly

                    1. re: IrnScrabbleChf52

                      I Know!
                      I was especially waiting for her input on the new EMP menu and the new 4 course menu @ The Modern at Moma.

                      As a relatively new NYCer and a definite newbie to the world of Michelin star dining, her comments and food photos are and were incredibly helpful for me to decide where to go!

                      1. re: IrnScrabbleChf52

                        Well, I can't complain about that development.

                  2. This might help:
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/728356
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/750143
                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/711661

                    East 7th Street Tour: Porchetta, Butter Lane, Luke's Lobster, Caracas Arepa Bar
                    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/05/rea...
                    http://newyork.timeout.com/restaurant...

                    You can also easily add in Momofuku Milk Bar, Chikalicious Dessert Bar, Sigmund Pretzel Shop, Crif Dogs.

                    Greenwich/West VIllage: Pearl Oyster Bar (only if it's a weekday and you can come during lunch, otherwise the wait is long or they're closed), Amy's Bread (slice of cake or sticky bun), Murray's Cheese (for some meats and cheese, good cheese straws, sandwiches), Keste (Naples inspired pie -- off times/non-dinner has shorter waits), Joe's Pizza (regular or fresh mozzarella slice), L'Arte de Gelato (olive oil or spicy chocolate gelato, anyone?), Blind Tiger (chili and beer), Faicco's (Italian subs, prosciutto balls, rice balls), Joe the Art of Coffee (coffee and doughnut plant donuts if you get there early enough), Patisserie Claude (croissants, tarts), Mamoun's (falafel), Artichoke's new MacDougal location (square slice), Gray's Papaya or Papaya Dog (not the best in town but a classic), Rocco Patisserie (freshly filled cannoli), Otto (antipasti, pastas, olive oil gelato) ...

                    In Chelsea/near Meatpacking, I would walk through Chelsea Market. There's Ronnybrook Milk Bar, Sarabeth's, Amy's Bread, Fat Witch, 9th St Espresso, etc.

                    -----
                    Murray's Cheese
                    254 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                    Faicco's
                    260 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                    Patisserie Claude
                    187 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

                    Pearl Oyster Bar
                    18 Cornelia St, New York, NY 10014

                    Caracas Arepa Bar
                    93 1/2 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                    Amy's Bread
                    250 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                    Blind Tiger
                    281 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                    Ronnybrook Milk Bar
                    75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                    Fat Witch
                    75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                    Gray's Papaya
                    539 8th Ave, New York, NY 10018

                    Porchetta
                    110 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                    Butter Lane
                    123 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                    Luke's Lobster
                    93 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: kathryn

                      You're a font of information, as usual. However, I must insist that Taim is way better for falafel than Mamoun's, although the original Mamoun's on MacDougal St. is quite acceptable.

                    2. Thanks so much everyone! I think I am going to go with the ideas in this post: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7283...

                      So, Joe's coffee, Patisserie Claude, Murrays Bagels, Union Square Greenmarket, Grom, Keste, then it looks like there many delicious options on Bleecker St.

                      I think by then we will be pretty full. Any alterations to this itinerary? Dont forget it will be cold in January so we cant venture too far...

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                      Patisserie Claude
                      187 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014

                      Union Square Greenmarket
                      Broadway and E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                      Grom
                      233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: jaykat

                        Go into Otto for gelato instead of Grom. It is many notches above. There is a front bar area which is quick...

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                        Grom
                        233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                          Otto has a front bar area; if you aren't having a full meal they prefer to seat you there anyway. So you can possibly finish up your day with a full meal there or warm up with a snack indoors at the bar.

                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                            If you do go to Otto, I'd make a quick stop at Stand on the way and get a toasted marshmallow shake and then continue to Otto for the Olive Oil Coppetta.

                          2. re: jaykat

                            In January the Union Sq Greenmarket will be a bit sparse but still fun. Get some hot apple cider to keep yourselves warm. Don't forget it's only Mon, Weds, Fri, and Sat, from 8am to 6pm. Though really starts to shut down around dark in the winter.

                            1. re: jaykat

                              Definitely stop into Murray's Cheese on Bleecker St. They have their daily samples so even if you can't bear to buy something something, it's always fun to just stop in and sample and look at all the goodies. If you can handle a sweet, the sticky buns at Amy's are pretty good too.

                              -----
                              Murray's Cheese
                              254 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014