A round-up of NYC eats from a food-obsessed tourist. Save up your money, expect to wait, and enjoy every morsel.
Disclaimer: I expected to hate New York. I’m more on the introverted side and not one for crowds. And I definitely don’t support waiting over an hour to eat somewhere. But I was wrong.
I was wrong because all New Yorkers hate crowds and don’t have time to wait for nobody. What I realized is that I strongly dislike tourist culture. There was an easy solution for this. Stay out of Times Square and do as the New Yorkers do. Thank God I had my cousin to direct me in the art of blending in.
Step one: Dress minimally. The more black, the better.
Step two: Look pissed. A “Don’t mess with me vibe” is perfect.
Step three: Increase your walking pace times ten & don’t follow traffic laws.
Like everyone else, I had been advertised to by those Facebook videos of over the top ice-cream sundays and “must-eat” burger joints. As it goes in Austin, if outsiders have heard of it… it’s not a causal dining spot. I told myself to pick just one place I had heard of via social media and that would be it. The rest would be from my cousin’s “must see/eat/do” list.
My one must-eat spot was Levain Bakery and oh my gosh I was not disappointed. I bought two cookies for myself (chocolate chip and peanut butter chocolate). It legitimately took me three days to eat two cookies (and I’m no nibbler). They were SO rich and wonderful and I would have them overnighted to me if I could. PLUS THERE WAS NO LINE! I must have had that first-time visitor luck because when I left, there was most definitely a line.
Other NYC eats I recommend based on local suggestions or Yelp reviews:
Laughing Man Coffee – A tiny charitable coffee shop owned by Hugh Jackman. Great place to sit and watch men in suits and ladies pushing baby strollers in TriBeCa. <—Apparently that’s how it’s spelled y’all.
Zucker’s Bagels & Smoked Fish – Stopped in on my way to the Trade Center Memorial for an original bagel on whole wheat (no capers). 10/10, would eat again.
One fine evening, my cousin and I appetizer-hopped aka went to several different places back to back to sample the best of the best:
Burger and Barrel – for Rosemary Tater Tots. For real, fancy tater tots. I wanted to be like Napoleon and stuff them in my pockets for later.
Tacombi for Corn Esquites. Somewhere I would definitely go back for an all out feast. The decor was adorable and the corn was unlike anything I’ve had before… because I’ve never had corn mesquites and I have no idea why it took me so long!?
Rice to Riches for Rice pudding. Like a fro-yo shop for rice pudding except SO much more filling. My s’mores looked disgusting but was sinfully good. The signs around the shop are seriously hilarious too. You can ship this!
Then we took a break to people watch in SoHo and I started to fall in love with New York. I don’t like crowds, but I do like to be a fly on the wall. There were so many characters passing by and I could have sat there for hours guessing their stories.
La Esquina for drinks. Apparently Speak Easys are a real life thing and I think Austin needs one. Or maybe we have one and I don’t know about it because that’s the point!? My cousin did the whole “we’re coming here for sandwiches – SIKE – let’s go down these back stairs into the kitchen” thing and I must say, I was impressed. The basement bar reeked of cool. I was definitely underdressed and mightily underpaid. Luckily I’m a lady and that means free drinks HEYYY!
My conclusion is that I could devote years of research to the subject of NYC eats. Unfortunately, it is much too expensive for my Texas-adjusted cost of living. Thank god for flight miles and a cousin who is willing to share a bed so that I could devote all of my spending money to the important things in life: food.