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6 day food itinerary - please advise.

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  • Alice May 6, 2012 11:29 PM
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hi everyone! we are super excited and travelling to ny from la next week. this is our first eating adventure in new york. tried to do some research, so here is my rough itinerary. i realize it's a bit late to post, but value chowhounds opinions. please advise.

a few notes:
~think we are missing a pizza place don antonio's, grimaldi or lombardi's? haven't researched those yet.
not too keen on long waits, but it seems waiting might be inevitable . . .
~love laduree but not sure we want to wait and heard they don't make them at the location and are shipped over from paris? can anyone confirm?
~serendipity, cheesy, but love the movie and always wanted to go, but not sure if we want to wait so long.

here it is:
sat, arrive jfk at 5pm
~dinner at food hall by todd english? or looking for casual dinner w/o reservation
~or katz?

sun - are these places logistically sensical to
~lunch: maritime parc with friends (reserved)
~snack: dominique ansel bakery for madelenes and pain au chocolat
~snack: bisous ciao macaron
~snack: café habana for corn, not restaurant, around the corner
~dinner: luke’s lobster lobster roll
~mcsorelys?

mon
~lunch: eataly
~ donut planet - (maybe, but don’t want to spoil appetite for le bernardin)
~drink: madeline bar at the carlyle hotel
~dinner: le bernardin! =) yay (reserved)

tues - these reservations could be swayed if this is too much food in one day and to follow le bernardin
~lunch: peter luger – Burger bacon single steak (reserved)
~snack: amorino gelato
~early dinner: annisa (reserved)
~late dinner for in-laws: halal cart, chicken and rice cart (53rd and 6th) (take in-laws when they arrive)

weds
~lunch near Columbia university? Any suggestions?
~snack: russ & daughters bagel and lox
~early dinner: bo ssam pork shoulder (reserved)
~momofuku milk bar

thurs
~lunch at Columbia dental school
~dinner – need a suggestion for 6 people, maybe pizza? Something more casual?

fri fly out in the afternoon
~brunch somewhere? maybe dominique ansel? maybe katz to go for dinner on the plane?

thank you for your valued opinions and appreciate you reading this far. looking forward to all of your suggestions! =)

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  1. For Columbia area places, do some searching on "Columbia," "Upper West Side" and "Harlem," if you haven't already, but I have a few suggestions:

    There's a Jamaican place on the east side of Columbus near 109 called Freda's Caribbean & Soul Cuisine. I had a couple of really tasty meals there, but perhaps the food was a bit rich for my stomach. I'd still recommend it, though. Informal, friendly vibe, but there's a TV on.

    Pisticci, the Italian restaurant on Tiemann Place between Broadway and Claremont is a very good neighborhood Italian restaurant. I don't know if they serve lunch, but I've had dinner there, and I think it's fairly priced, honest food.

    For something really casual, Malaysia Grill on 104 St. between Broadway and Amsterdam actually serves good, honest Malaysian food if you ask. The owner is from Singapore, so when we told him we used to live in Malaysia and wanted everything spicy and with real Malaysian taste, he went into the kitchen and told them to do it right for us, and the results were quite a lot better than in most other Malaysian restaurants in Manhattan. Very informal and cheap, but the number of Malaysian items on the menu is limited. (My only criticism was that the beef rendang was a bit fibrous, I think, but just get chicken rendang; it's fine.)

    If you want Indian food, Indus Valley, 100th St. and Broadway, is good but perhaps overly rich. It's a bit expensive (you're helping them pay a high rent, undoubtedly) but I've never had a meal there that wasn't solidly good. And they, too, will make the food very spicy if you ask, and it'll still have spice in it if you don't ask.

    Sookk, on Broadway between 102nd and 103rd Sts. on the east side of Broadway is quite a decent Thai restaurant.

    For something super-informal, cheap, and very tasty, go to Jerusalem Restaurant on the west side of Broadway near 105 St. and get a shawarma or/and falafel platter. It's really one of the best places for falafel in the city, I think, but it's really super-informal.

    If you want to go the formal, upscale route, Henry's is just north of 105 St. on the west side of Broadway. I haven't been for a while, but they use very fresh, high-quality ingredients, have good cocktails, as I recall, and have a kind of fusion cuisine, and the service is excellent. I don't think they serve lunch, but do check.

    There's also a decent soul food place on 110th St. between Columbus and Manhattan Avs. called Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too. I've been there only once, though. Super-informal.

    To sum up: If you want a formal, upscale restaurant experience near Columbia, you might want to go to Henry's. If you want a relaxed neighborhood place where they won't rush you and you'll have good food and drink but that is not upscale, go to Pisticci. Unless your crowd prefers Indian or Thai, in which case my recommendations are fine for people who want something more formal than formica and the like. (Sookk actually has serious interior design, while Indus Valley has sort of kitchy Indian decor.)

    Another thought is to go into Central Harlem and go to Red Rooster, Lenox north of 125 St. (walkable from Columbia, particularly if it's light out and you walk through Morningside Park, which is very nice). Opinion on this board has been mixed on their food, but when I went, I thought it was terrific and inventive, and most everyone agrees that their cocktails are great. It's definitely upscale and has more of a crowded sceney feel than a more sedate place like Henry's. Definitely get reservations if you're going; we had none and almost didn't get in because one of the hostesses didn't feel like seating us, but another one was nice.

    Finally, since you're a bakery fan, there are two places in that neighborhood you should consider:

    Silver Moon on 105 St. and Broadway, for delicious American items, some heavily French-influenced (e.g. macarons, tartes).

    Absolute Bagels, 108 and Broadway, for mini bagels - but it would be best for you to get there when they're still hot, which is probably too early in the morning. Still, walk on by and get a few. They're very good, and some bagel fans consider them the best in town.

    OK, on pizzerias - don't go to Lombardi's, and definitely don't wait on line to get it. I haven't been to Don Antonio's. Just do a search on pizza and read through a lot of posts from New Yorkers on where they eat pizza. My current favorite is South Brooklyn, but it helps that it's around the corner from me. Board favorites include Co and Motorino. Kathryn will probably pipe up, as usual, with loads of helpful comments, and her descriptions of pizza styles will help you make decisions about where to go.

    Oh, on Katz's: Sure, go there directly from the airport if you like. It's always a great meal. Very rich! But you'll probably be hungry and tired after getting off the plane. So enjoy and Zei gezunt!

    10 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      If Henry's is the "formal, upscale route" then what would per se, EMP and Le Bernardin, La Grenouille be?

      Henry's is a neighborhood American place. I'd say upscale diner almost in terms of menu. I went there once years ago (Columbia grad here) and it was pretty much sucky to mediocre.

      1. re: thegforceny

        They're not in the neighborhood. This was in reference to places near Columbia.

        Sorry you had a bad meal there. I've had good though not memorable meals there (for example, the duck was too salty from too much soy sauce but otherwise good), and it's arguably overpriced.

        1. re: thegforceny

          Also, to answer your question, I would never call really expensive restaurants merely "upscale." The places you ask about are high-end restaurants. I guess there's a difference in usage here.

          1. re: Pan

            That was sorta my point. You find Henry's on 105th Street upscale and FORMAL?

            You wouldn't use those terms for per se, EMPor Le B though. Those you call 'high-end'? Got it.

            1. re: thegforceny

              Yeah, relatively formal and upscale for the area. Obviously not comparable in any way to real high-end places.

        2. re: Pan

          thanks for all the suggestions. will keep this list in my back pocket.

          rethinking katz from the airport, we will probaby be tired and not want to eat something so heavy. other suggestions for a lighter but ny meal around or easy to get to from midtown (where we are staying)?

          1. re: Alice

            You could go to Gazala's Place on 9th Av. and 49th St. and share a meze platter. Call ahead to check on the wait, though. It's a small place and I don't know if they take reservations.

            1. re: Pan

              Brilliant idea. And make sure to order a spinach boureka!

            2. re: Alice

              What are the cross streets of your hotel?

              1. re: kathryn

                46 and 6th

          2. > ~think we are missing a pizza place don antonio's, grimaldi or lombardi's? haven't
            > researched those yet.
            > not too keen on long waits, but it seems waiting might be inevitable . . .

            Lunch is usually easier than dinner for the famous pizza places.

            Skip Grimaldi's and Lombardi's.

            Do you have a special interest in Naples style pizzas? Otherwise Don Antonio's may be overkill if you regularly eat Naples style pizza in LA, as the scene has really grown there over the last few years from what I have read.

            I would advise a coal oven pie at John's of Bleecker (ask for it well done and don't expect a gourmet pizza -- it's delicious but not artisanal in any way) or a slice somewhere like South Brooklyn Pizza (I believe they are gas oven).

            There are closer to NY style pizza, which I believe is still not prevalent in LA nowadays.

            > ~love laduree but not sure we want to wait and heard they don't make them at the location and are shipped over from paris? can anyone confirm?

            Yes, but it shouldn't matter since the shipments are very frequent, and I believe macarons are "aged" to begin with. Laduree is the best in town.
            http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/1...

            > ~serendipity, cheesy, but love the movie and always wanted to go, but not sure if we want to wait so long.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/772624

            > here it is:
            > sat, arrive jfk at 5pm
            > ~dinner at food hall by todd english? or looking for casual dinner w/o reservation
            > ~or katz?

            Katz's would be fun.

            > sun - are these places logistically sensical to
            > ~lunch: maritime parc with friends (reserved
            )> ~snack: dominique ansel bakery for madelenes and pain au chocolat
            > ~snack: bisous ciao macaron

            I think he is more famous, though, for his Paris-New York (his version of the Paris-Brest), Gâteau Battu, and DKA (his take on a Kouign Amman), than his pain au chocolat. I think he has macarons as well but I haven't tried them.

            If you're down by Dominique Ansel anyway, you might want to try Payard, Mille-Feuille, and/or Bosie Tea Parlor.

            > ~snack: café habana for corn, not restaurant, around the corner
            > ~dinner: luke’s lobster lobster roll
            > ~mcsorelys?

            McSorley's is fun in the afternoon, I'd switch it around and get there at like 4pm. Also if you stay on East 7th Street you can also visit a lot of other fun places: Porchetta, Butter Lane cupcakes, Luke's Lobster, Caracas Arepa Bar, the Big Gay Ice Cream shop, the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream shop.

            > mon
            > ~lunch: eataly
            > ~ donut planet - (maybe, but don’t want to spoil appetite for le bernardin)
            >~drink: madeline bar at the carlyle hotel
            > ~dinner: le bernardin! =) yay (reserved)

            One cake doughnut at Doughnut Plant shouldn't really spoil your dinner at Le Bernardin. You could also eat it for breakfast, before lunch at Eataly.

            > tues - these reservations could be swayed if this is too much food in one day and to follow le > bernardin
            > ~lunch: peter luger – Burger bacon single steak (reserved)
            > ~snack: amorino gelato

            Luger is known for their ice cream sundaes for dessert, not sure you need Amorino in the mix.
            http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2010/0...

            > fri fly out in the afternoon
            > ~brunch somewhere? maybe dominique ansel? maybe katz to go for dinner on the plane?

            Maybe brunch at The Breslin or Clinton St Baking Company? Shopsin's?

            4 Replies
            1. re: kathryn

              If you end up having pizza at John's of Bleecker Street (my favorite pie), you should duck around the corner to Bosie Tea Parlor, as Kathryn suggested, and try their macarons. Their chef came from Laduree and I think theirs are just as good. Might save you a trip uptown too.

              1. re: kathryn

                i like the idea of ny style pizza, never had it and definitely want to try it. i do love neapolitan pizzas too. maybe we'll do bleecker street (pizza and macarons) instead of eataly for lunch and just go to eataly for snack. the space seems really cool.

                thanks for the macaron and serendipity link. i love macarons, so will try and pop by some of these if the wait isn't too long. =) or try and go during off times as RGR suggested.

                thanks for the tips on dominique ansel. depending on stomach capacity, will take those into consideration.

                we have a soft spot for amorino from our trips to europe. but the ice cream sundae at luger looks good.

                will look into the breslin, clinton st. baking and shopsin's.

                lots more to read up on! =) thanks!

                1. re: kathryn

                  You should get the steak for 2 at luger.

                  1. re: tpigeon

                    thanks.

                2. "~dinner: luke’s lobster lobster roll"

                  The E. Village location has only a few counter seats.

                  "~snack: russ & daughters bagel and lox"

                  Strictly take-out. If the weather is nice, you can eat in the nearby park on the corner of 1st & 1st. But if it's raining, you'll need a Plan B.

                  "~love laduree but not sure we want to wait...."

                  We passed by during the week (I think it was a Tuesday) around 1:30 p.m., and there were only three or four customers inside. So, if you time it right, you will have not wait.

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: RGR

                    thanks for the tip. we are crossing our fingers for good weather. typically, does the rain deter the line's?

                    1. re: Alice

                      For Laduree, there's a fair amount of space inside the shop to wait. Just because the line isn't out the door, doesn't mean it's short.

                      1. re: Alice

                        My go-to plan for eating Russ and Daughters immediately is inevitably to take it to the Whole Foods cafeteria nearby on Bowery. It's about a 2 block walk....and you just go upstairs, look for seating, and plop down.

                        If it makes you feel better about eating there, you can always get a drink there.

                        Otherwise, when you're at Russ & Daughters, definitely check out the lox. Have them give you a taste of ones you're not sure about. And, if you like whitefish salad, absolutely get a Super Heebster as well (whitefish salad + wasabi caviar on bagel of your choosing). It's divine.

                        If you don't have enough room, they make minis as well.

                        1. re: Rafie

                          thanks for the tip. trying to plan for rain in the forecast, so this definitely helps.

                    2. The halal cart? Really?
                      You will LOVE the bo ssam!
                      Yes, the macarons at Laduree are flown in from Paris/not made here.
                      ...If you love macarons, might I suggest Ceci Cela? I prefer them to Bisous Ciao.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: LeahBaila

                        hmm a few friends have suggested the halal cart and said the chicken and rice is not to be missed. are you not a fan and why?

                        1. re: Alice

                          I work in the area and the Halal cart is fine for a weekday lunch or dinner but I certainly wouldn't take anyone, certainly not my in-laws out of the way for this cart. Is your hotel nearby? If so then I guess it's an ok late night option.

                          1. re: ukitali

                            ic. we're near 46th street, so not sure if that is considered nearby? hmm maybe we'll look elsewhere then. any other casual options you would suggest to take the inlaws to since they will be tired?

                            1. re: Alice

                              Tuesday night, what time for a late dinner? What are the cross streets of your hotel? Midtown can be pretty wide....

                              1. re: kathryn

                                Around 9pm. 46th and 6th

                              2. re: Alice

                                In that area, I think Carnegie Deli (55th and 7th) would be a lot more fun/enjoyable than waiting in line at the halal cart. The cart is fine if you're in the area or looking for cheap eats, but I don't know why people make it a destination.

                                Of course, Carnegie Deli is a classic tourist destination, but I've grabbed late night food there on many occasions and it's quite good for classic deli-style fare.

                        2. Sorry this is a bit all over the place, but here are my general impressions of the things we ate. We ate very well for the few days we were in NY and we had a great time.

                          SWEETS:

                          ~~Macarons
                          1. Laduree caramel fleur de sel and pistache were my favorites. We had no line at 4pm on a Tuesday. Maybe because it was a bit rainy.
                          2. Bosie jasmine, chocolate, caramel a little too buttery, great texture
                          3. Ceci cela pistache and chocolat, tasty as well but maybe a day old.
                          4. Dominique ansel, poor texture and taste for chocolate macaron
                          5. La Maison du chocolat - too sweet overall, too chocolaty. Pistache and caramel did not need chocolat, but I understand it is the maison du chocolat.

                          ~~Madeleine’s
                          1. Dominique ansel - heavenly pillows of lemon bite sized goodness, made fresh to order.
                          2. Bosie - dry, not too good
                          3. Laduree - even drier, no good

                          ~~Serendipity frozen hot chocolate. No line @ 5:30 on Monday. It was everything I always dreamt it to be and we sat on the second floor, just like in the movie. I know, I’m a cheeseball. =)

                          ~~Milk bar – good but a bit too sweet for me. Here’s the order which I liked them. Funny, but I am totally craving this now.
                          1. Chocolate chocolate
                          2. Blueberry
                          3. Compost
                          4. Corn
                          5. Crack pie wayyy too sweet

                          OTHER HIGHLIGHTS:

                          ~~Pizza
                          1. Bleecker street pizza - slice of fresh mozzarella and tomato sauce. Thin crust, delicious – craving this now. Could have eaten this again had we been in the area.
                          2. Johns pizzeria on bleecker street - more expensive and thicker pie crust. Mushroom and basil. Still good. Brought this back for the in-law’s on the first night. Worked out well, since they were tired.

                          - Xlb soup dumpling from Shanghai Asian manor, may be the best i've ever had (pork dish way too salty, crab Xlb not as good)

                          - Uni amaebi chawanmushi from le bernardin

                          - Mexican corn from cafe Habana – delicious! Nice to not have to wait by ordering around the corner as well.

                          - Foie gras dumplings from Anissa, miso cod was delicious and fluke appetizer. Fun sighting: we saw anita lo walking her two dogs before we arrived at the restaurant.

                          - Peter Luger damn good cheeseburger and steak sauce with rib eye

                          - Shake shack cheeseburger good. In n’ out better. Portobello mushroom and cheese burger ehh. Fries ehhh. Strawberry shake good

                          - Eataly prosciutto was good. Two kinds.

                          - Bo ssam pork with butter lettuce, oyster and sauce – nice family meal. A bit tired of eating pork at the end of it for me.

                          - Todd English - lobster salad, grilled artichoke and crab, grilled octopus - a bit chewy. It was fine.

                          ~Maritime parc- lobster pasta, good oysters, pickle plate, octopus with pork belly (tiniest dish)

                          ~Mcsorelys was fun in the afternoon around 4pm as suggested. 2 beers $5. Fun vibe. Good deal.

                          ~Iroha near times square – mom in law wanted japanese food after graduation. not memorable - pork katsu, chicken salad, Cali roll.

                          - Halal cart - good white sauce chicken and gyro over rice. Good hot sauce. Great to take to the airport.

                          FOR NEXT TIME:
                          - Doughnut plant, Russ and daughters bagel, lobster roll, Katz, Bemelman’s bar

                          Thank you all for all your help and suggestions! NY eating is tasty and a lot of fun.