- eatfreaks Feb 28, 2013 08:20 PM
Papaya Kings, Ess-abagel, Calexico, Taim, Katz, Pudding NYC, Excellent Dumploing House... self-confessed novice foodies, we are "youngish" first-time visitors to NY in three weeks time. I've been researching NY eateries however am overwhelmed by the number choices and my list is reaching a fulll A4 page.
Hailing from New Zealand, currently living in Sydney, we will shortly be vacationing in the US, before moving to Singapore next month. We only have 4 days (Thurs pm - Mon pm) to explore NY's food scene - oh and everything else NY has to offer! We pretty much eat anything, love to experiment with lots of cuisines, and will be after cheap and cheerful casual eats in NY.
My research on amazing SF food spots (as well as research for eateries in Chicago, NY, and Vegas) is starting to overwhelm me so thought I'd just go to locals for advice. There is nothing more upsetting to me than paying money for a bad meal in a place where good food is plentiful!
I welcome all food ideas and itineraries - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. We are staying in the Upper East Side and also hope to get to Harlem and Brooklyn. We will manage our tourist attraction schedule to our food one (other than our NBA and MLB games). I know asking for a four day eating itinerary seems a little "lazy" however I just don't know how to pick from the dozens of options I have - first world problems huh.
Thanks in advance - I don't think 4 weeks, let alone 4 days, will be anywhere long enough!!
if you want to stick with cheap eats...and visit places that are somewhat memorable in nyc, i'd suggest the following:
-shopsins - food is massive so try and order small. i usually get the pancake sampler with some sandwich that piques my interest.
-taim - their sabich platter and falafel are really awesome. i get the falafel with everything. i have no idea what everything constitutes but im happy every time. get a date shake as well.
-parm - chicken parmigiana platter and the saratoga club...or the italian special but get the chicken parm...with ziti and meat sauce.
-mission chinese - thrice cooked bacon, kung pao pastrami, egg egg noodles. ridiculous wait and the food has been inconsistent but when they are on, they are amazing and cheap.
-ippudo - akamaru modern ramen, hirata pork buns...nothing else to say.
-mile end - smoked meat sandwich and fries...quite good.
-keste - pizza keste...just an amazing pie.
-shake shack - shack burger, fries, chocolate shake.
-artichoke - only get their sicilian slice.
katz's is filled with tourists and im done paying too much for inconsistent sandwiches and brusque service. papaya king is fine for 2am when you want a hot dog but not a destination. ess-a-bagel...fine bagel but not going out of your way for. calexico is mediocre mexican in my opinion...nothing special there. pudding...just didnt like it...especially for the money...try dessert club's chocolate pudding instead.
Papaya King - nix from me. I don't like their papaya drink and nothing else is special about the place.
Taim - Taim is great, and as sam1 says, their sabich is particularly good.
Katz's - Unlike what sam1 says, Katz's is a must. I am a native Manhattanite, and it's OK with me that a lot of tourists go to Katz's, because that keeps the place open in a neighborhood of rising rents. Get a juicy pastrami sandwich. The counterman will give you a taste. If there's anything you don't like about the piece he gives you, tell him what you want different, and he may bring over another slab.
Excellent Dumpling House - I haven't been there in years, but unless there's been some drastic change, it has never been good, let alone excellent. Go somewhere else for dumplings.
Besides, you'll be in Singapore soon. Singapore has fantastic Chinese food. So maybe you're best off concentrating on cuisines that you won't easily find in Singapore. I'm not sure how much Dongbei (Northeastern Chinese, i.e. Manchurian) or other Northern Chinese cuisine Singapore has, so if that's something that interests you, ask on the Outer Boroughs board for recommendations of places serving those cuisines in Flushing, Queens.
I have a suggestion for you, though it's on the West Side of Harlem: Have an Ethiopian meal at Zoma. I was part of a party of 3 there a few weeks ago, and it was probably the best Ethiopian food I've ever had. And it's not expensive. They also have nice tej (mead).
You'll also want to have some soul food in Harlem. I haven't had any since 2011, so it may be best to consult others' opinions. I definitely agree with the suggestion of Patsy's for pizza, though, and make sure to order a margherita pie. Don't get any pies with toppings other than sauce and cheese.
For Brooklyn recommendations, go to the Outer Boroughs board.
I'm sure you will enjoy NYC and all it has to offer.
If you search those ChowHound boards Manhattan and Outer Boroughs you will find many suggestions of Best of Manhattan, or Must go to Places etc. That being said, I will list some must do's,, then you can search the more upscale places if those fit into your schedule i.e. Jean Georges, EMP etc.
I will list the "Ny special" places, maybe similar to Big Al's Steak Sandwiches in Chicago, which is a must.
Katz's is a MUST ,,, Sam is a minority in this city steering you against it , calling it a tourist trap. It is not a tourist trap , it is a tourist MUST. Even movie stars and Bill Clinton eats there.
Shopsin's would be a good one.
For Pizza I would do Motorino, Patsy's for slices, maybe even John's. I do not like Keste at all ( soggy pizza).
Golden Unicorn for it's cart service dim sum , and you get to eat in Chinatown.
Zucker's would be an alternative to Ess-a Bagel.
Papaya King would be fine to try a NY hot dog. They used the same supplier as Nathan's and Katz's ( Marathon) for many years. It's changed now for Katz's and Nathan's . But it's a good hot dog. You might want to go to Brooklyn to the original Nathan's in Coney Island,it's a real landmark spot.
Big Nick's on Broadway, for real NY diner experience or a great Cheeseburger. ( "cheeseburger cheeseburger")
Yonah Shimmel's for a knish.
Nish Nush for hummus or falaffel.
Meat Ball Shoppe for some meatballs
Buddakan for kind of upscale Chinese food, but it's an amazing looking place.
Luke's for a lobster roll.
Porchetta for a pork sandwich or crispy pork and potatoes
Bar Pitti for Italian Food
Veslka, Stage, or Ukrainian home for Eastern European or Ukrainian Food.( Stage and Veselka also have American hamburgers etc)
Georgia's for Bar-B-Q
Chickalicious for desserts
Pig and Khao it's not NY, but it's trendy, young, reasonable, and on the Lower East Side.
In the same area you have Inoteca ( italian small bites), Mission Chinese, Yunnan Kitchen,
Hero Boy for Italian American sandwiches
Carl's Philly Cheese Steaks ( since you won't be in Philadelphia this is somewhat close to what Philly is famous for)
Grand Central Oyster Bar-- try the Oyster Stew, raw oysters, it's a landmark worth checking out
Paradou for foie gras tasting , it's in the Meat Market Area
St. Marks Place , for lots of little tastes of things at many places
Cafecito for good inexpensive Cuban Food.
Also on Broadway around 200th Street are several Dominican Restaurants. Also on Lower East Side El Castillo de Jagua will be a good example of this food.
Yokocho or Taisho for some inexpensive Japanese yakatori and other Japanese dishes.
Sabrett cart ( with the umbrella) for a NY hot dog
Try all the food trucks.
You're trying to be helpful, but you're overwhelming our friendly visitor with too many recommendations, some of them not that special in my opinion. I'd remove the following, at least, as either inessential or/and not special:
Meatball Shop - it's fine but not a tremendous highlight.
Buddakan - remember, eatfreaks is going to Singapore.
Veselka, Stage, or Ukrainian home - nothing that amazing.
Cafecito - not that inexpensive and merely OK, unless it's drastically improved since the last time I was there a couple of years ago or so. Even their mojitos weren't that good, shockingly.
Big Nick's - worth going to if you're in the area, especially if it's late at night and everything else is closed, but not a big highlight, with the caveat that I haven't had their burgers (I'm not a big burger person).
Yonah Shimmel - unless it's drastically improved since the last time I ate there...wait for it...15 years ago(!), it's underwhelming
The ones I agree with:
Inoteca - not a must but consistently good and in a cool neighborhood for barhopping.
And there are a bunch of other places on your list that I haven't been to.
Finally, there's this:
Sabrett cart - OK, sure, why not, but not in my opinion the most important thing to do.
Pan, with all due respect. The visitors are coming in from New Zealand and never been to NYC. they want several choices.
So, a NY hot dog is a must. whether it be Papaya king, Gray;s or Sabrett.(Nathan's should be open in 3 weeks)
Big Nick's is "so NyC " and has great burgers. it's a must.
The OP seems to be on a budget so I named mostly inexpensive places.
I mentioned Golden Unicorn in case they haven't done cart dim sum, but i'm happy to take it off the list.
Veselka, Stage , Ukr home, are cheap eats with East European taste , that they ain't getting in New Zealand nor in Singapore afterwards.
Cafecito's braised lamb shank is absolutely great. also they are not getting Cuban food in New Zealand., same with Dominican or Puerto Rican food.
I threw Meatball shoppe in because they are young and going to be on LES for sure , and it's kind of Italian American so it's a place to eat , not a MUST.
Buddakan,,,i figured I'd throw in a beautiful busy place.
Yonah Shimmel i'm not a big fan of,,but the knishes and the "ambiance" or "lack of ambiance" might be cool for someone from far away.
Well at least my Katz;s made your list,,, and Sabrett kind of made your list ,,but Sabrett is "real NY" and cheap.
Based on Kathryn;s list at least she mostly agrees on the kinds of foods ,, i.e., burgers, hot dogs, pizza, pastrami etc,,
Anyway, I figured I wasn't overwhelming the OP because the OP said they were overwhelmed to begin with. So I guess i Over-overwhelmed them lol
OK, I do see your points about special New York things. I don't think hotdogs or hamburgers (and I don't mean the over-the-top kinds at places like Minetta Tavern) are anything special, but I guess someone who's never had one in New York might.
So point by point: I admittedly haven't had lamb at Cafecito, but everything else I've tried there has been just OK. I take your point about recommending Caribbean food, but in that case, my recommendations would include El Malecon for Dominican pollo a la brasa (the W. 97 St. location is probably least inconvenient for someone on the Upper East Side), Casa Adela for Puerto Rican pollo a la brasa and other things, and a Cuban place I've been to that has not great but certainly solidly good food, though it's not very cheap, unfortunately, is Guantanamera. They also have good music, though it might be a good idea to bring earplugs because it's sometimes overly amplified. Also, at least within Manhattan, Freda's serves very good Jamaican food (though places in Brooklyn are better). And for South American food, it's best to go to Queens, but within Manhattan, there's always Flor de Mayo for Peruvian pollo a la brasa.
I take your point about Ukrainian/Polish food, though I believe there is some in SF. Stage is the cheapest of the ones you named, I think, but lately, I think Ukrainian East Village/National Home may be the best, and it has that nice somewhat faded old-world charm, so it's really a pick-'em. eatfreaks, if you decide to go to either, I can recommend some things to get.
I think of pretty much all the places we're talking about (except Katz's) as neighborhood restaurants. I liked the Upper West Side pollo a la brasa places when I used to live up there but don't make special trips there from downtown, and I go to Stage and Ukrainian East Village because they're in my neighborhood and the better places of yesteryear like Odessa when it used to be good and Leshko's and Teresa's are gone. But again, your points are well taken.
Their soups are pretty good, generally. I like their mushroom barley soup. The varenyky (pierogi) are worth getting. They will do mixed orders for you if you like (e.g., 4 with sauerkraut and mushrooms, 3 with spinach, or you could ask for a combination of 3 different types). Get them with fried onions and sour cream for a real authentic experience. If you want something else, their kielbasa are fine, their potato pancakes are very good and so are their kasha varnishkes (I like them with mushroom gravy). Other things I've liked have included their goulash (Hungarian or Ukrainian) and their liver and onions. The bigos (sauerkraut and sausage stew) is very hearty. Among their vegetable sides, I particularly like their red cabbage, which is lightly pickled (by which I mean, marinated in a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and salt, from what I can taste).
Pan, I appreciate you understanding where I was coming from .There are better places i.e. Carribean, but I couldn't think of the names. There used to be some Cuban-Chinese places on 8th avenue that once upon a time I went to. I'm not sure if any remain. They also used to be around 101st and Broadway.
Teresa' had better food than Ukrainian Nat;l Home, I was just at Teresa's in Bklyn Heights ( still pretty decent). B&H was a neighborhood one I left out, and i'm not sure if Gem Spa still makes good egg creams. Anyway, thanks for understanding.
Interestingly , when I asked Puerto Rican and Dominican friends of mine what Guantanamera means, they said it's a made up word and means nothing. Can that be right?
Yes, I do get where you're coming from now.
Guantanamera is a woman from Guantanamo. It's also a famous song: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guantan...
La Taza de Oro, a Puerto Rican restaurant, to my knowledge (unless it closed very recently) is still on 8th Av., I believe between 14th and 15th (I may be a block off). It was disappointing the last time I went, though.
La Tacita de Oro, which used to be between 100th and 101st St. and Broadway and then moved a block down, is long gone. The only Cuban-Chinese place still in that area (I think it's still there) is on Broadway just south of 95 St., and I'm sorry, but I don't remember its name (and never ate there).
I haven't been getting egg creams (I'm mostly low-carb now), but Gem Spa was always considered one of the best in the neighborhood, with the tiny storefront on Av. A between 7th and St. Marks its only competitor for that title, according to connoisseurs I know. I can't say whether that's current, though.
If you are going to move to Singapore, I would avoid Chinese, Japanese, Thai, etc. assuming you may choose to travel to those countries from your new home base at some point.
Also I believe that Sydney has a pretty strong Asian food scene?
You can also skip a Momofuku spot if you already go to the one in Sydney.
If you are going to SF and Chicago, get your Mexican fix there, not here.
I would focus on some only in NY experiences instead, or American foods that are maybe less common on the West Coast and Midwest (you posted you only have 36 hrs in Chicago, if you had more, I'd probably steer you towards some BBQ).
Only in NY type foods: bagels and smoked salmon, pastrami on rye, pizza, hot dogs & papaya juice, black and white cookies, cheesecake, egg creams, pickles, halal carts.
American type foods you might want to try here: burgers, BBQ, fried chicken, lobster rolls. You should also probably load up on pancakes and waffles and American type sandwiches on good bread.
The only other American type food you should consider is a nice steak before you go, but I am not sure how often you eat steak in Australia. Or if it's in your budget.
Pizza in NY is definitely a must and VERY different from what you'll find in other parts of the USA. Side note re: pizza
There are actually few distinct styles of round pizza found in NYC: New York gas-oven style, Neopolitan style, and a hybrid style of the two that is also unique to New York (usually coal oven). Then to throw another wrench into things, some places are known more for square pies (like Artichoke).
Because you're visiting NY for the 1st time you should seek either coal-oven pizza (whole pies) or gas-oven (street slices) over the Naples style, preferably. With zero toppings or one topping, maximum. These are minimalist pies. The crust is too thin to support multiple toppings much of the time; newbies to NY pizza sometimes overload their pies with 5 toppings and then are disappointed when the pie falls apart. Don't make this mistake.
Note that lot of famous places like John's of Bleecker, Grimaldi's, and Lombardi's are whole pies only. Patsy's of East Harlem is the exception. They have a sit down/whole pie section as well as a takeout window.
I would also suggest reading this NYC Pizza Primer:
My recommendations below.
Start with sharing a lobster roll from Luke's Lobster, and then share some BBQ at Mighty Quinn's. Both in the East Village, a few blocks apart.
Breakfast at Shopsin's - you must go on either Fri or Sat as they are closed Sun and Mon. Sat there will probably be a line. They don't take down names, you just stand in line. What to order:
Late lunch at Shake Shack - I am guessing your new home will be weak in burgers. Do a late lunch, you'll probably be full from Shopsin's for a while.
Dinner at a pizza place, maybe Patsy's East Harlem (coal oven style), Motorino (Naples inspired, wood fired oven), or John's (also coal oven style).
Brunch - Make a reservation at Minetta Tavern. It's on the spendy side for brunch, but their brioche french toast is excellent. And you'll feel like Frank Sinatra when you dine there. The atmosphere is classic NY.
Dinner: Fried chicken at Pies 'n' Thighs or the Redhead. I'm assuming you aren't going to be able to find Southern style fried chicken in your new hometown...
On this day you should take RGR's famous self-guided Lower East Side Tour. (Don't do it on a Saturday as some places will be closed.) You will hit up Russ & Daughters and Katz's among other places. Sub in Pickle Guys for Guss' Pickles and note that Economy Candy's address is incorrect:
I would not miss Russ & Daughters. Counter service only, though there are benches out front and a park across the street if you want to eat nearby. I'm fond of red onion, capers, regular cream cheese, and tomato on mine. Try a few smoked salmons before you settle on one, they're surprisingly different (and lox is not the same as smoked salmon, because lox is salmon cured in salt brine, and most people actually prefer the more modern, Nova-style smoked salmon). You can get a mini-sized bagel sandwich at Russ & Daughters, too, if you wish.
Katz's is great, too, and iconic. There is a sit down component with waiter service, as well as a counter component where you stand in line for your food, and are encouraged to tip the counterman. Their bread isn't amazing, but I really like the pastrami. Ask for it fatty. The sandwiches aren't small. BTW, have you seen When Harry Met Sally's famous scene at Katz's? Look for the signs on the ceiling, pointing to "their" table.
For dinner, maybe try a food cart/truck, like the Halal Guys at 53rd and 6th (SW corner at night, SE during the day) though others prefer Kwik Meal more. Chicken/lamb over rice with white sauce and red sauce. If you see references to "street meat" on NYC food blogs, this is what they are talking about.
Breakfast - Pancakes at Clinton St Baking Co. There may be a short wait. I would only recommend a weekday visit here as it is very, very popular.
Lunch - maybe Parm or Defonte's for Italian American.
Really great suggestions on this thread. I have to chime in and agree that you MUST go to Katz's -- best pastrami ever (though I wish they had better rye bread like Langer's in LA). And if you like pickles at all, you gotta go to the Pickle Guys -- they're super friendly and will give you a small sample to try if you ask. I bought a small tub of the pickled okra and regretted not buying a huge bottle to take home.
NYC is better than the other locations you're going to try European (esp. Eastern European) & Caribbean food. And you can compare NYC pizza vs Chicago pizza vs SF pizza!
You'll get overwhelmed here too, I betcha. One way to shorten your list is to work from Zagat's ratings. They're now free on Google+.
Kathryn has given you excellent advice--I don't think you will go wrong if you follow her agenda.
I'll add a +1 for Katz's, I happen to love the place and I am not a tourist. Economy Candy is one of my favorite places, they have wonderful chocolate jelly grahams.
If you want to go to the Upper West Side, then you should not miss Zabar's. Their lox and smoked fish are excellent--on par with Russ and Daughters--and they have so many other choices. Zabar's is a grocery, and upstairs is one of the most well stocked housewares departments in NYC.
Enjoy your trip, and we'd love to hear about where you did end up going!
I had Might Quinn last week. I thought the pulled pork and pork ribs were very good. Good beer selection too
NYC actually has a few good BBQ places. Fette Sau is almost always on point.
I have traveled fairly extensively throughout the south and while those places arent the absolute best they do compare favorably.
The OP is coming to NYC and also Chicago. I recommended Big Al's in Chicago because it's real Chicago. The bbq in NY , such as Georgia's is reasonably priced and pretty good. Since the OP isn't going to NC, TX, or KC,, the BBQ just might be something they would want to try. So I'm all for BBQ,,,at least no one recommended Outback to them. Also, I don't think Chicago pizza is too good, the steaks at Mike Ditkas, Morton's, i forget the other places in Chicago, but tell me one that is as good as Peter Luger's,,i'm curious.
Chiming in here to attest for YES, YES, YES, go to Al's Beef. The best. Not sure if anyone's mentioned it, but at least the one we've been to in the Loop (on Jackson between Wabash and State) is stand up. Get plenty of napkins, the fresh cut (albeit greasy) fries, and if you like spicy, hot peppers. Not healthy, but Americana/Midwestern at its finest.
Wow!! This is amazing and exactly what we are looking for. Much better idea than us paying $50pp to do a food tour I reckon... Love the passion and enthusiasm - we LOVE food and are obviously coming to the right place!
Will go through the replies over the weekend to create our "Food Heaven" spreadsheet, while taking into account locations and also things we already have booked in (Knicks, Yankees, Broadway... excited much?!).
Once again - thank you!
Also, maybe a little curve ball, but the bf works in the boutique coffee industry (in Australia and NZ) - so does anyone has some recommendations for where we can find great coffee on our NY travels?!
Download The Scoop, an iPhone app from the New York Times, which has all of Oliver Strand's recommendations for coffee. Get some Blue Bottle in SF so you're more efficient out here. Try Stumptown (as I see they don't have an SF one yet), Grumpy, Abraco, 9th St Espresso, La Colombe, etc. we have lots of choices nowadays.
If you're going to see the Knicks, Yankees, and a Broadway show, plus all the eating you want, and visiting Brooklyn, you're going to be doing a LOT of traveling around town. Timing may also be an issue, especially for the Broadway show.
Most of the time I recommend visitors fit their food itinerary around the other activities and choose things nearby, not necessarily the best of the best in town. Otherwise you'll be stressed about missing your curtain time or getting somewhere before the game starts. Don't always assume you can grab a quick cab ride somewhere or that the subway won't have a delay.
My feeling is that if you're hitting up 4 big US cities (Las Vegas, SF, Chicago, NYC) in a single trip and your itinerary is JAMMED with activities, you will be exhausted by the end and WAY overestimating how much you can see and eat.
Thanks for the app rec - will do.
Realise that our plans are rather ambitious, which is why we're trying to do as much planning and research as possible (hence the spreadsheets and maps!). Thankfully we can both sleep on planes...
Working with the recommendations Chowhound members have provided and our three locked in activities, we should be guaranteed to have a fantastic gourmastic trip! We fully accept we can't do everything, but will try to get to at least 8 of the recommendations above over our 4 days.
As for the stomach capacity aspect, having a 6 foot 5 partner means that he's always hungry and wanting to snack, and I can always "just have a bite" to taste it!
And it also means we will just have come back another time to try the places we miss...
In the future I think it is better to FIRST post your constraints (theater tix, game tix, sightseeing, etc) THEN ask for recs based upon your preferences.
The best foodie neighborhoods for cheap eats unique to NY do not always coincide w/ Broadway shows, Times Square, MoMA, Museum Mile, etc.
Please report back with your itinerary and then we can point out any gotchas like long lines, excessive travel time, doubling up on similar cuisines, etc.
Because you are staying on the UES, you don't want to end up criss-crossing the city too much if you don't have to. Our subway system is great, especially going uptown/downtown... less so for going across town (east/west).
I'm not a fan. They use low quality coffee and don't pull their shots very well. Go to Culture Espresso instead - not NZ, but Australian - if you want a flat white.
But since you're in New York, why not go to a local roaster such as Cafe Grumpy? Or to a place like Joe Pro Shop or Ports Coffee & Tea, where you can experience coffee from quality national small batch roasters?
Or if you find yourself in Williamsburg, head over to Parlor Coffee, NYC's newest local roaster, for a great standing-room-only, espresso-only experience in the back of Persons of Interest Barbershop.
re: Peter Cuce
Have heard about Parlor Coffee!! Well actually, just heard about amazing coffee served behind a hairdressers... So this will definitely be on our list!
Agree with your point re sampling what US /NY roasters have to offer... Although if I start getting flat white withdrawals, we now know where to go!
re: Peter Cuce
Peter, I agree with you on Laughing man not pulling the shots very well , Sometimes. It;s weird but the flat white varies on the size you get and the person making the coffee. They are inconsistent. But I usually get the same person doing it. The Tribeca Spot is better than the Battery Park location.
Their espresso beans are a good quality bean from Indonesia. So I don't understand the bad quality opinion. They look beautiful and uniform.
I think Pushcart serves Culture Espresso, if they do , it was very good.
Many Cafe's in NY are supplied by the ex- Tribeca roaster Kobrick's ( relocated to NJ). Pecan is one place that uses them there are about 50 that use them for their private label.
Financier uses local roaster Stone Street ( Brooklyn).
I wasn't thrilled with the coffee at Joe, Porto Rico I like but maybe because I've frequented their shop for so many years.
I had some nice coffee in Wmsbrg, off Roebling, but I don't recall the name.
re: Peter Cuce
Worth noting, unless you're inclined to pay around $5 for a cup of coffee at Joe Pro, you might as well just visit a Joe's location and order their own coffees, which they're experienced in brewing. Joe Pro gets pretty amateurish.
Ports Coffee has a temperature problem, and mostly uses Stumptown beans anyway, so might as well just go to them directly. Or again, plan of an expensive cup of coffee from their guest roasts that doesn't do the bean justice.
One place that does the guest coffee concept right without tripling the price is Pushcart Coffee.
Ports no longer uses Stumptown beans on a regular basis ever since they brought in Urban Eisley to manage the business. They might use Stumptown from time to time if there's something they really like, but nowadays they're using coffee from different small batch roasters including Heart, Sightglass, PT's, and others. What do you mean by a temperature problem?
There are many places doing guest coffee well. What specifically is Pushcart doing that you find to be so good?
re: Peter Cuce
Pushcart (Peters Field) seems to serve coffee that tastes good, with depth, at a fair price. Nice selection of baked goods too.
Is Ports offering Heart, Handsome, Sightglass or Madcap, etc. as a standard $2.50 cup now, or did they do away with the low end option? Ports had a problem of serving coffee under temp at times. Check Yelp.
I like the idea of a guest roasted beans, but there's no reason to charge 2-3 times the price as a premium for something like a poorly extracted version of Ritual's Sweet Tooth espresso (from Joe Pro).
As far as I know, Pushcart serves Stumptown coffee, nothing that you can't get in a lot of other places.
I don't know what Ports standard drip coffee is - I mostly drink espresso and pourovers. Don't know about the temperature thing - I haven't had that issue myself.
Joe Pro is not for everyone. For me, it's great to have a place that often has things you can't get elsewhere. This is a blessing and a curse, because it takes a while to find the right way to prepare coffee when it's changing all the time, but if you have a bad cup, you should let them know. I'm sure they will happily make you a new one or refund your money.
You'll eventually have a bad cup at every single shop you go too. Did the poorly extracted Sweet Tooth happen to you a lot?
The coffee can be pricey, but that's to be expected when you're getting small lots from far away places. They are not trying to make a big profit at Joe Pro - so if something is expensive, I'm sure it reflects the real life cost.
re: Peter Cuce
They rotate too. Madcap and Tas Kafe were recent offerings.
I like the idea of Joe Pro, bringing it outside beans, and I agree, every shop turns out a bad cup here and there, but they're consistently not getting good results from the guest beans in particular. Shouldn't the point be to curate coffees they like, and showcase them? Instead, it's like they're showing off trendy pedigrees instead.
I haven't ordered the Ritual more than once, because I'm familiar enough with what it's supposed to taste like (from Ritual themselves, and the many cafes that use it), to know when it's off. Ritual is notoriously tough to brew, but the Sweet Tooth line is pretty forgiving, and economical.
For the most part, these aren't Microlots, by the way. The California roasters all do wholesale, so there's no reason to sell a cup for $4.75 when the 12oz. bags retail at $14-20
Good to know about Pushcart - I'll have to make it over there more often.
Possibly JP can't get wholesale prices for the small amounts they buy, but even if they can, $4.75 is not a ridiculous price for a pourover if you look around town. When drip coffee costs around $2, does it seem so extreme to pay double or more for something that's painstakingly prepared to order, for one person, of usually more (sometimes much more) expensive beans?
re: Peter Cuce
It just means the concept (which again, I really like) isn't working yet.
If they have to sell bags higher than retail while still not doing the beans justice, then it's not exactly "pro". Like a lot of places, their pour over extractions are typically too quick and without finesse to justify it.
Otherwise, you're right, the trend is towards custom made pour over coffees charged to scale of the type you order. Grumpy and Blue Bottle will sell you a $9+ cup of coffee, if you want it. But this is the equivalent of someone taking a bag of Joe's low-mid range offerings they sell for $2 a cup, or $10-12 a bag, retail, to the West Coast,then treating it like rare microlot stuff. We're talking about coffees that are as prevalent in the Bay Area as Intellegentsia, and Stumptown are in NY. So there's some hocus pocus going on in my opinion, and I'd rather just go to Joe's and have their own roasts for now.
Actually it's nothing like that at all. Or maybe I misunderstand you. You can't conflate what Cafe Grumpy is doing, for example, with Joe Pro making pourovers using coffee from the West Coast.
Cafe Grumpy is doing Direct Trade with farmers in all of the best coffee-producing countries and paying them enough money to make it sustainable for them, forming relationships with them and purchasing coffee that rates high on the specialty coffee scale. This little chain of shops in NYC actually has their own green coffee buyer that travels around the world and buys coffee, then they import this stuff, figure out the best roast profiles for every coffee, roast it, and sell it. They are not making a fortune, believe me. There's no hocus pocus.
re: Peter Cuce
I'm suggesting that Joe Pro is using the same rotating market price menu, for entirely custom made coffee approach that is becoming more commonplace. It's different from the standard places offering a drip of the day, or similar for the average customer or giving the option of paying a premium for a special order, custom brewed.
Grumpy is an example of where it's justified, and your post explains why. No hocus pocus in their case, though they started the market pricing strictly for coffees made on their Clover machines, and evolved in the direction of microlots later.
Joe Pro just makes mediocre versions of West Coast roasted coffee, and gives people the chance to pay double market rate, or more, for this supposedly advanced coffee drinking experience.
I don't want people following along to think I agree with you completely. It's true that by always rotating coffee you don't necessarily understand it in such a way as to present it in the best possible way, but sometimes they do get it right. I realize that sometimes isn't enough for some people, but if you want to try coffees you normally wouldn't get a chance to, it's a good place to go. I think they oftentimes get the espresso more right than the pourovers, but I've had good and bad of both there.
It isn't all West Coast roasters either. Recently they've had Parlor Coffee (Inwood), Phils and Seb (Calgary), Ceremony (Maryland) and many others.
Since you're already overwhelmed by options, I'm not sure offering you more suggestions is the way to go here.
What often works is offering up a sample itinerary and asking for feedback, or saying something like "on tuesday we wanted to try a hole in the wall in harlem" and then requesting ideas.
Of the places you mentioned:
Calexico - Wait to have Mexican in SF. Fonda Nolita would be my alternative suggestion for tacos. Dos Toros if you want a burrito, but they pretty much attempt to emulate California places, so best to wait. Calexico's rep was built from good timing opening before there was as much passable Mexican as we have today. It's just ok.
Papaya King - I prefer Gray's, but they're all the same idea. I wouldn't go out of my way for one the way I used to, but they have a lot of New York character. I'd prefer this over a NY hot dog from a cart.
Katz's - Not so cheap. The reason to go is for the experience of it, which has no equal. If you want superior food, I'm in the camp that will tell you to go to Miles End instead.
Pudding NYC - I think the hype has died down with this one. Chikalicious was a great alternative suggestion.
Ess-A-Bagel - I used to love this place, but haven't had a great bagel here in years. I sometimes eat my bagels plain, though, so it takes a special bagel to hold up. I think with schmear it's still good, but then you could also go to Russ & Daughters instead, which I'll suggest. I've had better luck at Brooklyn Bagel or even Kosar's. Just to prepare you, I think our bagel scene has seen better years.
Others have mentioned Patsy's in Harlem, and Economy Candy. Both live up to all the praise.
Which NYY game are you going to? You can eat like pigs in the stadium :). The stadium's "eat street" is at field level, it takes time and since it's stadium food, you'll pay $$ more for a hotdog but worth checking out all the venues since it's like a massive sampler at your disposal.
There's one venue location that sells only fries (chips) with different flavors and toppings. This would make your giant husband proud, lol.
If it fits your schedule w/ the Yankees, you can try to visit Arthur Ave./186th and 187th Streets for Italian-American style cookies, cannolis (cream-filled pastries), Napoleon (rainbow) cookies and sandwich cookies that are filled with apricot jam, dipped in chocolate and sprinkles.
Gino's and Madonia Bros. are two great long-standing pastry shops well known for their cannolis. If you have never had napoleon cookies, def. try them as long as they're not dried out.
The area is the Italian section of the Bronx and a really great detour if you have the time since your up in that area anyway. Lots of shops, restaurants and cafes, butchers, etc. also!
Btw, Yankees vs, Reds, that's awesome. Be aware that the stadium might be giving away collectible souvenirs like pins, towels, bobbleheads, etc.
Which part of New York did you grow up in? I haven't come across that usage before. Also, in my experience, it's only in the US (maybe parts of Canada or somewhere else outside of Europe; I don't know, but definitely not in France or Italy) that a mille feuille is called a "Napoleon."
According to Wikipedia, you're right, but I've got to agree with the sentiment that in NY, they're called Rainbow cookies, or also, Seven Layer cookies (I've also seen Six Layer). Outside of NY, I've seen them referenced as Venetians, or again, Rainbow/Layer cookies. Wiki also references Tricolor Cookies, which I haven't heard in a long time, but remember from the Italian bakeries, pronounced as "try-co-lore". Greek and Jewish bakeries also make them.
Sydney and Singapore have great food scenes too (I'm from Sydney and my sister lives in Singapore) so while you're in NYC I'd expect you'd want to eat in those places you can't find there.
This is the information I give my visitors.
Decide what tourist places you want to go to- I expect it would include statue of liberty, empire state, flatiron/madison sq park, central park, fifth av shops, times square (?), brooklyn bridge among others.There are a few places to eat near there Korea Town on 32nd (near empire state), eataly, shake shack, hill country chicken, murray hill indian restaurants (near flatiron), 9th av hells kitchen restaurants (times sq).
Try your best to find time to see other areas. The lower east side is worthy of an explore on its own. Such rich history, great food and cool shops. RER's tour seems good. I'd snack, not eat when you're there, too many things to eat. Don't miss Katz, Russ and Daughters, doughnut plant, Yonah Schimmels knishes. Economy candy is good if you like candy- not usually the first stop for NZ/AUS visitors.
Another area that I'd snack, not have a full meal is Soho/Nolita. Most visitors go there to shop. I'd have corn & a taco at La Esquita (don't go to Calexico, its no better than the new mexican places taking over Sydney), sandwich at Parm, coffee and pastry at Balthazar (overrated, yes but they do the faux-french thing much better than sydney).
East Village is another area to snack and wander. All the chowhound suggestions are great. Yes to Vaselka.
Dinners, I'd choose one really nice restaurant - no doubt you have many choices on your list and for the others find out the more interesting NYC options. Good food in Sydney and Singapore is on far with with high end restaurants here. I like to go to at least one "old school" restaurant with friends, Keens, Minetta Tavern are two of my favs.
UES doesn't have much (I've worked up there as a chef for a few years). Grey's papaya is worth a snack on route somewhere but its not great. Infact I don't love the hotdogs here (except at Bark and other more interesting places) but you have to have one. There are some ok places in the UES but its worth the effort to go out further. Earls beer and cheese is good, but that up near Harlem.
Harlem, love it. You can go old school (Amy ruths, sylvias) or new school at Red Rooster. A walk along 125th is interesting.
Brooklyn is a big place. Are you thinking williamsburg, or south brooklyn. Being here 4 days you wont' have much time to see much. Maybe you could get the train to clark st and wander around brooklyn heights and then across the bridge to manhattan. There are some good places in Dumbo (Julianna;s pizza http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2012/12...). Not much in downtown brooklyn. All the good places are in wburg, cobble hill, fort greene, park slope, prospect heights but you won't get there.
Coffee- there are lots of Antipodeans working here and honestly they are making some of the city's best (cafe grumpy, culture expresso near bryant park, surf in soho, bluebird in EV, lots of places in BK) in fact Tobys estate is here now). All the suggestions are good. I'd def go to Stumptown at the ace hotel and sit in the lobby. You can find a good coffee in most areas if you know what to look for.
Chinatown- yum cha is better in sydney and singapore. There are interesting regional chinese restaurants that you can't get in AUS but eat that in singapore. Its a fun place to see though. If u eat there try nom aha.
And yes, 4 days or 4 weeks isn't enough. We've been here 4 years and I haven't been to all the places I want to go!
Nom Aha - I think you mean Nom Wah.
Have you been to Ukrainian East Village/National Home and Stage Restaurant, as well as Veselka? Because I think both of those plus some other places are better than Veselka.
I think you'll get some pushback on Sylvia's, too, but I haven't been there in ages (probably 25 years, and it was fine when I went there), so I have no opinion.
Okay, so here is our initial draft of our New York feasting extravaganza… it's long, so bear with us... comments in brackets are what we plan to be doing activity-wise:
Late Lunch - Shake Shack, UES
Coffee – Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Midtown
Dinner – Share a lobster roll at Luke’s Lobster then BBQ at Mighty Quinns, East Village
Bfast – Katz Deli, LES
(have a downtown Manhattan tour that will use most of day, can’t plan lunch stop)
Early Dinner: Gray’s Papaya (pre-8pm show), Time Square area
Late Dinner: Halal Guys, Midtown West
(Line up EARLY for SNL tickets… realising that despite the early wake up, we still may not get them - sad face)
Bfast – Russ & Daughters, LES
Lunch – Patsy’s Pizzeria, Harlem
Snack – Two Little Red Hens, UES
Dinner – undecided (torn between Casal Adela, Ukranian National Home, El Castillo de Jagua…may just decide on the day )
(Early morning Central Park visit)
Early bagel – Zabars, UWS
(Statue of Liberty Cruise)
Brunch – Minettas, Greenwich
(Brooklyn and Bridge)
Snack – Juliana’s Pizza and / or Brooklyn Icecream Factory
(Knicks Game 7.30pm)
Late dinner (if we feel like it) – Miss Korea BBQ, Korea town (or any other late night recommendation in the area?)
Breakfast – Clinton St Baking Company, LES
Visit to Economy of Candy, LES
Lunch / Snacks pre Yankees game – Mike’s Deli / Gino’s Pastry Shop / Madonia Bros, Arthurs Ave Area
(1.15 Yankees Game)
Dinner (if we can fit it) – any recommendations at JFK T3
I know it’s a lot of food and a lot of activity... and we may have bitten off more than we can chew (ha, excuse the food pun). But this plan isn’t set in stone and we will just roll with it if things change. I’m sure we will be back! We don’t intend on having full-on meals at every place we go to and will often share or grab a snack to go. I have written down all the coffee spots above and will swing by if in the area.
Welcome any suggestions for improvement.
Thanks again everyone for their input - I wish we could go to every place recommended!
And if anyone ever needs Sydney, Melbourne or NZ recommendations, please let me know :-)
It's like 8 minutes away.
To eatfreaks, if you're going to be on the lower east side in the morning, you can hop the #4 subway line up to Fordham Rd (if you decide on going to Arthur Ave) and its a quick walk to Arthur Ave. You can take a cab back down to the stadium for ease.
Just keep in mind that from the LES to the Bronx is a good 40 minutes by subway. it would be a shame to miss out on a classic italian-American neighborhood, esp. for snacks or sweets, a big plus that the cookies, breads, are easily portable for your plane ride.
Also your Friday and Saturday itinerary, if your Friday tour does not include the Union Square Greenmarket, try to squeeze it in if your going to head downtown anyway. It''s like The Rocks, only with fruits and vegetables instead of jewelry, lol. :)
It is a lot longer than 8 minutes away. The subway ride itself is another 12-15 minutes past the stadium and then you are going to have to walk another 15-20 minutes.
If you have a lot of time then sure go explore Arthur Ave but if you have a baseball game and a flight later in the day it does not seem worth it I frequently shop on Arthur Avenue (I have a car) but I don't think it makes sense this trip.
I think the only thing you may be missing is fried chicken.
After the Knicks game...There's also the Breslin which is kinda close to Madison Square Garden, it's a neighborhood not known for food in general. Let alone late night food.
Not sure why Russ & Daughters and Katz's are on separate days when they're so close. Share a pastrami sandwich at Katz's, get a bagel sandwich to go at R&D, and that's your lunch during the tour?
Same for the Metropolitan Museum of Art & Central Park. The Met is basically in the park.
You're also staying on the UES, so take a stroll when it's convenient and the weather is nice.
Keep in mind also the weather could affect your cruise, bridge (if you were planning to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge), park, and food cart plans.
Thanks Kathryn - any recommendations for fried chicken other than Pies n Thighs? (not sure we will make it to Williamsburg...)
Good idea re Russ & Daughters to go - didn't think of that.
And will put Central Park + Met together on the Saturday - brilliant. In which case, any ideas for a spot for breakfast (between our ridiculous early morning line up for SNL and the Met)? I'm looking at the list of suggestions from above and don't think any of the breakfast suggestions are in that area...
Praying to the weather gods for sunny (albeit cold) weather!
Maybe you could go to Hill Country Chicken before the Knicks game?
If you're at Rockefeller Center anyway, stop into Blue Bottle or Bouchon Bakery for a snack; they give out the SNL tickets around 7am right? Because most sit down restaurants will be doing brunch on Saturdays, you may be too early. I've also been hearing good things about Maison Kayser on the UES.
Yeah I would second the warning about Arthur Ave.
It's not a convenient destination even if you didn't have other plans that day. Plan on extra time getting to Yankee Stadium from the LES to begin with.
Luke's Lobster as an amuse bouche works, but it really will be a light bite when shared.
The Gray's Papaya location in Midtown, nearest Times Square would be most convenient for you, but it's the least tasty of the locations. Moving Shake Shake to that day, or considering Schnipper's instead, might be an option.
Katz and Clinton Street are on our list to return to next visit, I was poorly with a cold first few days and so did not really taste the Shake Shack Burger and my Husband was drooling over it so would like to try that again.
Also Eisenburgs Sandwhich shop near the Flatiron, the Bagel was great but the whole experience sitting at the counter having breakfast in NYC the first day.
Rugelah from Zabars was delicious, as were the pastries from Rocco's, and the Knishes, we don't have them here.
Not sure whether it might just be the fact I have been losing weight for two years though so all these things were treats.
Thought I'd quickly give a recap of our NY eating experience - it's only 2 weeks since we were there but the diet is in full swing :-) Unsurprisingly, we didn't get to as many places as I would have liked to, but having said that, I think we made a fair dent. And it just means we have to go back!
Shake Shack - I loved the shakes, bf loved the burgers. Prefer the straight cut chips (traditionalist)
Luke's Lobster - delicious but pretty pricey for a small roll. It was actually a concept we would like to steal to take back to NZ :-)
Mighty Quinn's - same with this, great concept! Bf was in carnivore heaven. I really enjoyed too but going at 7.30pm on a Friday was a bit of a nightmare - wait for tables then long wait for carvery... not sure if best system. Amazing value for LOTS of meat
Katz Deli - great experience and at $17, thank god the pastrami sandwich was big enough to share
Russ & Daughters - this would be our preference of the two delis. Had the salmon, cream cheese and dill bagel for lunch later and it was so yum!
R-Lounge at Times Square - this was recommended by a friend and is the most amazing bar with a view! Service so-so but what an experience drinking cocktails and looking down at the Time Square action. Seems relatively undiscovered as wasn't overly packed?
Halal Guys - another one of those "I'm really in NY" moments. 11.30pm, freezing cold, but lining up with the masses for a giant bowl of rice and meat. Carefully of the red sauce - it's hot!
Maison Keyser - french bakery and cafe. I was craving savoury and did not realise they actually had rolls in their deli/bakery hiding in the fridge so ended up doing the whole brunch thing. Decent
Gray's Papaya - more for the experience, I guess a hot dog is a hot dog, but the recession special is value for money ;-)
Sylvia's - soul food in Harlem!! After a long day and tired feet, unable to find a taxi to get to Patsy's, this was actually perfect. Meant we got to eat fried chicken too :-)
Some bagel place in UES - love NY bagels! You guys are so spoilt...
Minetta's Tavern - another great experience but I thought the service was really average and actually detracted a bit from my enjoyment of the meal. Good breakfast cocktails and some unique brunch options
Juliana's Pizzeria - great salad and massive pizza. As we joined the masses lining up for 45 mins + on a Sunday afternoon, there was much debate on which pizzeria is best in NY... I enjoyed it
Clinton St Bakery - okay, sorry to say it, but while they were good pancakes I'm not entirely sure what the major fuss is about!!! We were lucky to just miss the rush, and nothing "wrong" with the pancakes but I"m not sure why the hype?
Stadium food at Yankee Stadium - well I don't think I need to elaborate but we did the cheese fries and the hot dog and bought the big finger!
Blue Bottle Coffee was frequented multiple times and we also tested Bowery Coffee and Cafe Grumpy. Was quite gutted we didn't get to Stumptown or the Barbershop one in Williamsburg but there's only so many waking hours in the day.
Thanks everyone for the recommendations and even those recommendations we didn't make aren't wasted! I have more friends heading to NY this year and will forward on the url for their reference. Plus I would like to be back sooner rather than later :-)