6 day itinerary in July - Suggestions please!
Hello everyone. We’re coming to NY from Miami for six days in July, me, wife, and two boys 14 and 12. It’s the boys first time on the city and I’d like to give them a well-rounded culinary experience – street food to fine dining. I’ve been reading the boards for a few weeks and have a pretty good idea of how this trip will shape up. Budget is flexible (up to around $350 for the four of us all-inclusive dinner), with an emphasis on variety of dining experience as much as food quality. My preliminary picks below are arranged around the neighborhoods I anticipate being in that day, and our hotel is near Madison Square Park. (good Asian food is hard to come by in South Florida, but no Indian please).
Also, is it true that there is no dim sum comparable to the best on the west coast?
Sun: arrive from week in Boston
late lunch: Kom Tang Soot Bul Kalb 32 W 32 St.
late dinner: Kellari Taverna or near Times Square?
Mon: financial district day
Breakfast: Murrays Bagels
Lunch: food cart or truck in Financial District (with great plaza to eat it in)?
Tue: central park day
Breakfast: Doughnut Plant
Lunch: Brasserie Les Halles Park Avenue? Better option in this area near Park Ave Armory?
Wed: bridges day
Lunch: in DUMBO or nearby – pizza, but where?
Dinner: Xi’an Famous Foods Chinatown
Thu: east to west village day
Breakfast: Clinton St Baking
Dinner: No kids night at Minetta Tavern (is this a fun neighborhood for 40-ish folks?), or Craft + speakeasy or something similar north of Houston that we can walk/weave back to our hotel near Madison Square Park.
Fri: game day
Breakfast: Russ & Daughters
Lunch: return to financial district maybe -
Dinner: Yankees Game – can we bring/smuggle in food?
Sat: soho day before flight home
Breakfast: Ceci Cela
Well we're leaving tomorrow to Boston and have made a change to our NY leg and we're now staying near Washington Square. As I've read through the board I've realized that staying in the west Village suits us more than at near Madison Square. The extra money spent on the room is somewhat offset by the savings in taxi fare since we it seems we're spending most of our meal times around the area.
Comments have been/are appreciated.
Sunday to The Breslin at 5:30 opening time so that after we can walk to Top of the Rock to see the sunset.
For breakfasts we'll still plan on Shopsins and Clinton Street Baking, but will now round them out with trips to Dominique Ansel, Russ and Daughters and maybe Blue Ribbon Bakery(?) or others(?). Had and canceled reservations at Locanda Verde, probably two full service breakfasts is enough.
Lunches: mostly noshing throughout the day, including the Chinatown crawl mentioned above and if it works out a trip to Ippudo. If we eat our big late lunch (3:30) before a Yankees game near the hotel was thinking of Spotted Pig, but since we are doing Breslin maybe somewhere else? I know wrong board but anywhere comparable within walking of Yankee Stadium?
For Dinners besides Breslin on our first day they'll be Babbo and Minetta Tavern, then two days we'll be more flexible. Tuesday night maybe still at Danji or similar unless we'd be better off somewhere in the West Village as walk-ins. For Thursday thinking Keste for pizza, but if we're in the mood for something nicer I'm kind of at a loss of a good place we could walk-in, however I'm sure we will have no problem finding something in the area. Maybe Kin Shop.
Looking forward to posting a report. It will be the first time I've done extensive dining with an eye on reviewing. It may not be too useful for locals, but as a tourist I find reading other "visiting" opinions to be helpful as locals and tourists often have different priorities.
Blue Ribbon Bakery's brunch is only on weekends, better savory dishes then sweet, no pancakes/waffles, good but not great French toast. I'd do Locanda Verde instead, plus, ipthrynserve breakfast every day of the week.
If you're staying in the Village and want a late lunch, you're going to run into timing problems. Spotted Pig does the bar menu from 3-5pm, a smaller version of their lunch menu. Other Batali and McNally restaurants do serve all day (Casa Mono, Balthazar, Lupa) but might be too similar to Babbo and Minetta Tavern. One option could be to do a crawl down Bleecker St instead.
Tuesday night for dinner you could also try to walk in at Fatty Cue, Joseph Leonard, Fedora, Perilla, Tertulia. There are lots of options, maybe too many!
Kin Shop is a good call.
A night out for just the adults, in a place you won't see children and that includes music-- you might try Birdland-- historical Jazz place in the theatre district-- though the food is not great--I'd go for the show and eat someplace else. Another fun option would be a drink at the Carlyle Hotel-- whimsical, historical art mural on the walls, no children, romantic ambiance, nice jazz-- but you'd need to check the schedule to see when exactly they have the music-- There is also a very romantic dinning room there, but since I've only had drinks there, I don't know what the food is like. Hope you have fun!
They're near Washington Square, so the Village Vanguard is walking distance, whereas Birdland is not. I think the quality of the music is on par, but I actually had a very good dessert and OK drinks at Birdland the last time I was there (several years ago), whereas my experience at Village Vanguard is that they might not really know how to mix a drink, though you're not really there for that.
OK, after some more fine tuning and blog reading, this is what I’ve got.
Sun: arrive from week in Boston
dinner: Soba Totto
Mon: financial district day
Breakfast: Doughnut Plant
Lunch: Vintry or Obao or Adriennes Pizza or food truck depending on mood/crowds
Dinner: Babbo (7:30 res) sharing a desert there and saving room for milkshakes at Stand Burger?
Tue: Central Park day
Breakfast: Murray’s Bagels
Lunch: Mitchell London for picnic food
Dinner: Danji or Caselluna Wine Bar (I’m leaning towards Caselluna for some cheese).
Wed: Soho/West Village
Lunch: Chinatown lunch crawl
Dinner: Minetta Tavern (7:30 res) Holy molé, this could be a high calorie day!
Thu: Coney Island day
Breakfast: City Bakery
Lunch: hot dogs, I suppose, are required
Dinner: Co. followed by Billy’s Bakery
Fri: East Village/Chelsea
Breakfast: Clinton St Baking
Lunch: Spotted Pig
Dinner: Yankees Game
Sat brunch: Breslin
Our hotel is near Co which is why we’re eating dinner in that area after a long day at Coney Island and in Brooklyn.
We may have to chintz on deserts at Babbo Monday night as it looks like the only way to try the shakes at Stand Burger. Hmmmm.
Maybe we’ll pick up some “stash” food for the Yankees game at Chelsea Market or nearby, anything to look for?
I would love to try Ippudo, but I saw a this Chinatown lunch crawl on serious eats that looks fun.
Any on-the-go sweets recommendations in the Times Square area?
My few minor comments:
Monday: in my opinion, the name "Babbo" and the idea of leaving room for something else are simply incongruous. If you're going with the three-savory approach (antipasti, pasta, secondi) - which I'd highly recommend - there might only be room to split one dessert, anyway, and forget about shakes later.
Weds: study the Shopsin's menu online the night before and figure out your order. And yeah, you're looking at a pretty high-calorie day... A tasty one, but... maybe try to go light in Chinatown. (That said, I'll disagree with Ed Levine on this one and say I prefer the sesame pancakes at Vanessa's to Prosperity... and I'd add in a lamb or pork "burger" at Xi'an Famous Foods. Oh, and maybe some hand-pulled noodles at Sheng Wang. And... oh, crap, you could spend all week in Chinatown, practically...)
Thursday: sure, get a hot dog. But go to Totonno's and split a pizza - that's the real treat at Coney. One of the great pizzerias in NYC, if you're in the neighborhood, it's a must. (Not to be confused with the place with the same name in Manhattan, which is related but inferior) - yeah, you're having dinner at Co that night, but they're different styles.... it could be "pizza day"
Otherwise.... looks like some good eating. If I had only one weekend brunch day, I'd personally do Public over The Breslin (or any other place), but it ain't like you're gonna get a bad meal at TB...
Yes, thanks for the sensible reply.
As far as my 11 year old is concerned, all other considerations for our trip to New York are secondary to 1) meeting Kenny Shopsin and having him like us enough to not get thrown out and 2) the toasted marshmallow shake at Stand burger. The first goal comes from him having read and tried the recipes from Shopsin's cookbook, and the second is kind of obvious . . . :-) (My fault really for building it up, but man the kid loves toasting marshmallows!). I was just trying to squeeze the milkshake in where it doesn't belong, but I can't figure out where else it can go. Thanks for the Public rec, will consider - and maybe Stand shake can go later on after Saturday brunch.
Funny you mention "pizza day." The first idea I had was to make themed food days before I came to my senses! It's hard enough mixing the twin demands foodie and sightseer. And I guess while at Coney Island we should enjoy the place, my first impulse was to spend as little time there as possible.
Note that Soba Totto has some limited availability items on their menu in the yakitori section that almost certainly will be gone by the time you do a late dinner.
Agree with sgordon on Babbo. Go big or go home, you know? The desserts at Babbo are great.
What to order at Shopsin's:
I also second Totonno's in Coney Island for a great, old school coal oven pizza. Get it plain or with only one topping. NY style pies just can't hold that many toppings, which visitors sometimes find out the hard way.
Then for dinner, do Grand Sichuan or Txikito. Txikito is Basque style tapas and one of my favorites in the city. Great suckling pig, croquettas, chorizo, etc.
For Chelsea Market eats:
For Times Square sugar fixes:
Momofuku Milk Bar - very sweet, creative desserts
Magnolia Bakery - Rockefeller Center, cupcakes, icebox cake, banana pudding
Jacques Torres - chocolates, Rockefeller Center
Bouchon Bakery - Thomas Keller's Bakery, Rockefeller Center
La Maison du Chocolat - chocolates, Rockefeller Center
'wichcraft - Tom Colicchio's sandwich chain, Rockefeller Center
One only in NY and delicious spot I don't see is Momofuku Ssam Bar. Maybe you could do their duck lunch instead of the Chinatown crawl?
Thanks again kathryn. Txikito is on my radar. One goal is to try a range of places, and I thought Co might work as an "everyday" kind of place. Everything depends on how we feel after a long day, so I appreciate all your suggestions!
Before the Yankees game, looking for a great sandwich/something that will last for 3 or 4 hours in a backpack.
I also would like to try Momofuku Ssasm's duck. But that day between Shopsins and Minetta it may be a little rich. I think a lunch crawl in Chinatown would be pretty unique to NY too, although I've gotten in trouble before with missing nice dinner reservations because of too much Chinese lunch. Maybe Ippudo after all!
I'm a little confused by your budget...
$350 ÷ 6 (nights) ÷ 4 (people) = $14.50 per person per meal, approx. If that's supposed to include beverages and tax, that might not be so easy... In fact Babbo could pretty much blow your entire budget in one meal. Or is that $350 per meal?
How much of that $350 for four people is for food? Since people's drinking habits vary considerably (assuming you and your wife drink alcohol), and there is the nearly 9% tax + a 20% gratuity, it's easier to make recommendations with just the food budget.
Btw, you do know that Russ & Daughters is take-out only? There is only one bench outside the shop, but there is a park close by on the corner of 1st Av. & 1st. Of course, if it rains, you should have a Plan B for that breakfast.
For your lunch in the Financial District, you could consider Luke's Lobster.
Luke's Lobster photos (flagship EV): http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391@N03/sets/72157624069151409/
Thanks RGR, I didn't know Luke's Lobster had a branch in the financial district. Wherever we wind up buying our lunch, I'm going to look for a great plaza or spot to sit for a while to eat it and people-watch.
For budget, forget the $350, let me restate that to say our upper limit is along the lines of Babbo, Keens, or Craft.
If we decide to take the kids to both Babbo and Nomad, which seems reasonable, I'm going to look for a place to take just the wife where we're assured of not seeing any kids, would Minetta Tavern fit the bill? Then maybe we could walk someplace nearby to see some live music on a Thursday night?
And don't worry about me and plan B's. To me a plan is just a list of things that won't happen anyway. ;-)
For central park, would seem to me there may be a nice cheese shop and bakery somewhere on the east side near 67th. That's all we would need for a great day in the park.
Luke's Lobster has several locations in Manhattan. In addition to the EV and the FiDi, there's one on the UES and another on the UWS.
We've been to NoMad several times, and I've not seen any kids there. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go there with yours. 12- and 14-year-olds are, in my view, young adults and would certainly be welcomed.
We finally went to Minetta Tavern for the first time a few weeks ago. It was brunch, and we were there specifically to have the famous Black Label Burger -- which did, in our opinion, live up to its hype. There was a well-behaved little girl at a table near ours. But as I said, it was weekend brunch. Hopefully, someone who has been there for dinner will chime in to tell how assured you can be that there will be no kids.
Also, despite RGR's very understandable desire to try the burger, don't think you have to have the burger at Minetta. Aside from the fantastic steak, there are always a bunch of great bistro-style daily specials that, IMO, outstrip any similar offerings in New York (not, unfortunately, that the competition is very great in that style).
In fact, my hope is that RGR goes back sometime to try the composed plates at Minetta. I'd really love to hear what she thinks about them.
Yes, well, I can be optimistic until next week when I try for reservations. :-)
Anyway, I'm not married to the idea of Minetta's. It kind of looks like an atmosphere I thought we might like though.
And the fewer kids at Nomad, the more grown-up my kids will feel. They do pretty well, although the younger one's not quite ready for a tasting menu (unless there is a spit-bucket provided) :D.
Do you think Nomad may be a little "boring" for them?
Thanks! Hopefully you understand there is a desire to see no kids during a parent's night out that only other parents can fully appreciate (especially after enjoying two weeks of eating-out with them). Mostly though I mean we'd like to be in an atmosphere that no one would want to brings kids - boisterous in this case rather than businesslike/expense-accountish (Lamb's Club for example), which is another kind of atmosphere I wouldn't expect to see kids. A place like Nomad I'm imagining is staid enough to be welcoming to even younger children, and I did read a review here by someone who's 6 and 8 yo's enjoyed their meal there. It seems Nomad may have more of the "cool" factor that my kids will like compared to Craft.
In Boston for our night-out without kids will probably be a pub-crawl, but in NY I thought we would try for a more sophisticated way to end up in the same condition. :-)
OK, I knew NY wouldn't let us down, it looks like Mitchell London is on our way just 2 blocks from the Park Ave Armory towards central park and will be able to set us up with all the picnic foods we could hope for (but no cheese selections on the menu). Mmmm, fresh fuit pies.
22 East 65th Street
I think Chinatown Brasserie's dim sum is excellent, and would be worth a stop (I find the CA places I've been to be more traditional, CB is more creative). Not sure I understand your question, do you travel to the west coast often, and don't want to eat dim sum elsewhere?
Sunday late lunch: I think the board favorite for Korean BBQ is probably Madangsui.
Sunday late dinner: How about some Sichuan food? How late is late? Cafe China is open until 10:30pm.
Monday breakfast: make sure you tell the Murray's guys to go easy on the cream cheese. The tend to slather it on. Also I find their sandwiches much easier to eat open faced.
Monday lunch: the World Financial Center has a food truck court.
Do know that you'll be competing and standing in line with a lot of office workers there.
See also: http://midtownlunch.com/downtown-nyc/
Tuesday lunch: The Armory area (66th and Park) is rough and Les Halles is not close at all. Les Halles is on Park and 29th, but if you're hanging out in Central Park anyway, go north a little bit and hit up maybe Untitled at the Whitney Museum. Or Luke's Lobster if you are willing to a little out of your way (not sure if you will be having New England style lobster rolls in Boston).
Note also that the Taiwanese food truck Bian Dang parks near 24th and Park Ave on Tuesdays, near your hotel.
Wednesday: for DUMBO, you need to post on the Outer Boroughs board. There's also a DUMBO Food Trucks twitter feed you should keep an eye on.
Dinner: For Xian make sure you don't go to the East Broadway one, which has barely any seating at all.
Thursday lunch: how about some Issan style Thai at Zabb Elee? Or Vietnamese at Sao Mai, which I've been hearing good things about? Dim sum and Peking duck at Chinatown Brasserie? Ramen at Ippudo? The all-duck lunch menu at Momofuku Ssam Bar?
Dinner: unless you're a VIP at Minetta, you'll likely end up with a 6 or 10pm reservation, and the immediate area is geared more towards college students. Go south of Houston or west of 6th Ave, and it gets more a little more mature.
The problem with trying to do a speakeasy after dinner, is that all of our speakeasy style bars are very popular. You might end up waiting to get in, which is no fun. I'd suggest a drink beforehand, especially if you get a late MT reservation. Pegu Club is near Minetta. Flatiron Lounge and Raines Law Room are closer to both Craft and your hotel. The NoMad hotel on 29th and Broadway also has an excellent lounge area called the Library, which would be perfect for after dinner drinks.
Friday lunch -- see my suggestions above for Thursday lunch.
For the Yankees game, I believe yes, you can bring in food, best to ask on the Outer Boroughs board for tips.
Saturday: I would recommend making reservations to have brunch at Balthazar. A very New York-y place. Then you can drop by Dominique Ansel, Kee's Chocolates, Birdbath, etc for snacks for the plane.
Or if the weather is nice, go to Hester St Faire, which is a small open air flea market with food vendors.
Yes on Madangsui, and Don's Bogam is the #2 Korean barbecue place, which also has other excellent dishes. At both places, it's best to stick to cuts of beef for your barbecue, and especially marinated ones.
For Xian, why not go to the East Village location? It's an interesting neighborhood that your boys will like.
Wow, thank you Kathryn for the detailed reply, your suggestions are just what I was looking for and have helped a lot!
First, re: dim sum – yes, we occasionally spend some time in SF and have had some life-changing dim sum there. From some of the comments on this board it seems I may do better trying to find some new flavors instead of having to compare to our SF experiences. 6 days is looking a little tight right now to fit in all the food choices.
Korean BBQ: I made a couple of mistakes from my notes. I didn’t mean to list the Korean BBQ place at 32 W 32 but Arirang upstairs to get some noodles. Seems that is very well reviewed for what it is and may provide a lighter meal.
Yes, we do need Sichuan, how could I forget! For Sunday dinner what about Szechuan Gourmet vs Café China?
Great link for downtown lunches, thanks!
My other mistake was putting Les Halles near the Armory. Don’t know why I did that. We’ll be leaving the Armory around noon and the plan is to enter the park and start a circuit north before hitting the Museum of the City of New York and going back south through the park for dinner at Danji (or in that area). So lunch at the Whitney would work, or this might be a good day for street food, Will we find it in or around central park east?
Ippudo sounds like a great idea for lunch on Thursday, as does Ssam. I may collect a few ideas as there’s no telling exactly where we’ll be on our east to west day when we hungry for lunch.
Re: Minetta: ah, I thought the area might be a little young for us by looking at google street view. I had looked at the Raines Law Room and it looked liked something for us. Craft or Nomad looks appealing to us. Looking for something intimate but casual, maybe something more Bohemian . . .
Balthazar for brunch on Saturday also sounds like a winner since I misplaced Les Halles on the map and need a replacement bistro. ;-)
Dinner: Szechuan Gourmet
Breakfast: Murrays Bagels
Lunch: Finacial District ??
Breakfast: Doughnut Plant
Lunch: carts in central Park?
Lunch: Brooklyn pizza
Breakfast: Clinton St Baking
Lunch: Ippudo, Ssam or similar
Dinner: Craft Nomad or something funkier – no kids
Breakfast: Russ & Daughters
Lunch: not sure where we’ll be!
Dinner: Yankees game
These are great choices. For pizza in Brooklyn you might try Grimaldi's (if you are willing to wait in line) or Roberta's. OT for this forum but you might want to try a Brooklyn restaurant like Marlow and Sons or Diner (open for lunch) at some point. This could be for the night you don't have the kids...although Craft and Nomad are amazing too so I wouldn't want to knock them off anyone's list. At Nomad the seafood platter, poached egg with quinoa, and roast chicken for two are lovely. Craft we once had a bluefoot chicken (not always on the menu) that still haunts me. If you're here on a Saturday you might also want to look into going to Smorgasbourg in the morning.
Re: lunch in the financial district, I work right by WTC and I often find it worthwhile to walk to Tribeca or Chinatown for lunch (depending on where you are, possibly a quick taxi or subway ride). Locande Verde would be especially nice for a relaxing lunch.