[travel] New York Food Tour

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Joe and I just recently returned from our 4-day vacation in New York City. Like all of my previous NYC trips, our itinerary centered around one thing, and one thing only – FOOD! Over the years I slowly built up a list of places to eat in Manhattan and Brooklyn and every time I visit, I get to cross off at least 5 of those places. We visited old and new favorites, and here are some of the places we absolutely loved on this trip. Click here to read about my trip back in 2013.

Katz’s Delicatessen

The famous scene from When Harry Meets Sally took place right here at Katz. It was my second time here but it was just as perfect as the first time. Seriously, come here for the best pastrami sandwiches! Yes it’s expensive for a sandwich but it’s so worth it if you are a pastrami fan. You receive a ticket upon entering (Don’t lose that ticket!), line up at different stations for what you want to order, and pay when you exit. If you’re ordering pastrami or Reuben sandwich, they’ll even give you a couple slices to sample while you wait for the sandwich. Each sandwich also comes with a big plate of pickles. The chocolate egg cream is so delicious as well!

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Come to mama!

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Chocolate egg cream…Mmmmmm!

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Russ & Daughters

It’s right next door to Katz. It’s a small shop but they offer an amazing selection of schmears, smoked fish, and caviar. We picked up some goodies to be enjoyed the next day as breakfast at our apartment. Nothing beats toasty bagels topped with lox cream cheese and smoked salmon. They opened up a sit-down cafe nearby too.

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Try everything!

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Totto Ramen

I’ve heard so much about this ramen shop and am so happy to have finally dined here. We often associate ramen with a nice pork bone broth, but did you know that way back in the days ramen first started with chicken broth? We just got off from a red eye flight and a hot bowl of ramen was exactly what we all needed. The chicken broth was flavorful and SO COMFORTING! Honestly I think I preferred it more than the pork broth because it wasn’t as oily and rich. If you purchase ramen during lunch, you can add a side dish at a discounted price to make it a lunch set. This fantastic uni rice bowl only costed $3.50 as an add-on item. There are 3 locations in NYC, we visited the Hell’s Kitchen location. Our other favorite ramen place in town is Ippudo.

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Joe got the “Mega” Ramen, it came with several varieties of char siu. Absolutely delicious!

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Fabulous uni rice bowl.

Fishs Eddy

This isn’t a restaurant but it’s like a mecca for the cutest dining ware and cookware. I’ve bought some fun things to add to my collections, like this one!

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HAHAHA I love this plate so much.

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Momofuku Milk Bar

Home of the delicious cereal milk soft serve, crack pie, and fantastic cookies! Try the compost cookies, it’s got everything but the kitchen sink such as coffee grind, potato chips, pretzel…etc. Sounds weird but oddly satisfying. We didn’t get to check out the other Momofuku franchises such as Ssam Bar, Ko, and the latest craze, Fuku. Next time!

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Maialino

Legit, LEGIT pastas here. I enjoyed an outstanding plate of cacio e pepe here, it’s really simplicity at its best and let the quality of the ingredients shine. Maialino translates to piglets in Italian, try the pork here! If you are adventurous, please do yourself a favor and order the suckling pig’s face and share with the table. Yes half a pig’s face shows up on a plate, complete with snout, ear, and teeth. But get dibs on the pork cheek and get as much of the crispy skin as you can.

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Dominique Ansel Bakery

The creator of the famous cronuts! The cronut line is still very long every morning, and if you are not in line by the time they open, you probably won’t be able to get one. Luckily we learned about pre-ordering online. Each Monday morning at 11am ET, you can go online to pre-order some cronuts to be picked up in two weeks. The limit is 6 cronuts per person, which is even better than the 2 cronuts per person in-store policy. The slots are very limited but if you know exactly when you’ll be able to pick up the goodies, definitely get online that Monday two weeks prior and place an order. You can walk straight to the register and skip that 2 hour line.

The October cronut flavor was horchata caramel. Each month the flavor changes and will never repeat. Besides the delicious cronuts, you must also try the frozen s’more and the DKA. But seriously, everything we enjoyed was top notch. And the cherry on top was that it’s located right in the heart of Soho – SHOPPING! Didn’t get to make it to Dominique Ansel Kitchen in West Village this time, that’s on our list next time for sure.

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Dessert for breakfast, best way to start the day!

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This frozen s’more is one of the best things in the world!

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Tahitian vanilla ice cream, chocolate wafer, honey marshmallow…you haunt my dreams.

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Small but really cute shop. Everything’s so yummy. Thank you Chef Dominique Ansel!¬†

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I can’t wait to go back and try another flavor. This really puts all cronut-wannabes to shame.

Union Square Green Market

Fun market to walk through. Fresh produce, homemade jam and pickles, dairy, poultry, flowers…etc. In the fall you can pick up some freshly pressed apple cider and apple cider doughnuts. We also got some delicious pear cider and maple candies as well.

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Grand Central Terminal

Not just a train station and bus depot, but this beautiful architecture is also home to awesome marketplace and delicious eateries. You can enjoy Magnolia Bakery, Junior’s, Shake Shack all at one place! Pick up a perfect cup of latte from Joe’s Coffee, some chocolates from Jacque Torres, assortment of cheeses and accoutrement from Murray’s cheese, fresh produce, baked goods, seafood…etc.

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Xi’an Famous Foods

Chinese hand ripped noodles, TOO GOOD! Most things on the menu is spicy even if you ask for mild. But we thoroughly enjoyed the lamb cumin noodle, the beef noodle soup, liang pi (cold noodle), and the pork burger. I craved this for days after returning home to California. This location has limited seating, so we stood and dined alongside the counter, reminded me of street vendors in Asia.

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Tiny kitchen, powerful stuff.

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Halal Guys Cart

We finally had the chance to stop by here to get a chicken rice plate. The line moved very fast so don’t be put off if you do see a line there. It’s all about that white sauce! yum yum yum! We took ours to-go and enjoyed it a few blocks north at Central Park.

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Rockefeller Center

A fun place to walk by and people watch. The ice skating rink was out and we hung out around there for a bit to see if we can catch some talents. Took some pictures of the famous 30 Rockefeller (30 rock = one of my favorite TV show!) We also went around the corner to snap some pictures of the famous Radio City Music Hall, and visited the home of our favorite late night TV talk show – The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. I picked up a Tonight Show mug and Hastag the Panda. (I’m such a tourist! Stop laughing!)

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911 Memorial

14 years ago on September 11th, I was packing up my things at home and getting ready to start college.

I will never forget.

We had to stop by Ground Zero to pay our respects. It’s really beautifully done and the new Freedom Tower is standing gloriously tall.

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Chelsea Market / Highline Park

Chelsea Market is home to some top notch markets and eateries. Come have a quick bite or pick up some yummies to go, and go walk the Highline Park! There is an entrance right next to the market. The Highline is one of my favorite places to visit in NYC, it’s an elevated park/oasis built over old railroad track. The entire walk is a little less than 1.5 miles. It was a beautiful Fall day (which we don’t experience in California), and we walked most of it with ease.

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Brooklyn Bridge 

This was something off my must-do list and so happy we can cross it off the list! The bridge itself is a little over one mile from end to end. It was a very easy walk and took us about 35 minutes (because we stopped frequently to take pictures). Pick a clear day and do the walk, it’s worth it! We happened to walk on the same day as the Avon 39 End Breast Cancer walk, and walked amongst a sea of pink. It was really fun to have bystanders cheering us on.

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Juliana’s Pizza (Brooklyn)

What did we do after walking the Brooklyn Bridge? We got pizzas!!! Juliana’s Pizza is owned by Patsy Grimaldi (of the famous Grimaldi’s Pizza), and voted #1 pizza in the US by CNN. We had to stop by! It’s actually at the original Grimaldi’s location, and Grimaldi’s moved next door. We got the #1 and #4 pizza, also a vegetarian one for our vegetarian friend. Fantastic crusts, simple and quality toppings. I know there are a gazillion must-eat pizza places in NYC but check this place out if you are in Brooklyn! Come early to avoid a wait. After lunch, walk towards the water and take some postcard worthy shots of the bridge. Enjoy some ice cream, go to Jane’s Carousel in the Dumbo area.

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Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Shop (Brooklyn)

I followed their Instagram account and drool over every single pictures they post. So happy to come to this little but mighty pie shop and enjoyed their salted caramel apple pie and chocolate chess pie, with a kick ass Cortado.

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Peter Luger Steakhouse (Brooklyn)

Yes, we spent a whole day in Brooklyn, EATING! Our dinner was at the famed Peter Luger Steakhouse. It made appearances on every travel show, and yes that extra thick bacon slice is really as good as it gets. 6 of us shared a “steak for three” and could barely finish it (maybe because we’ve been nonstop eating all day…), but definitely get the porterhouse steak, try their signature steak sauce, order extra thick bacon slices, and save room for some dessert. Everything is classic and traditional. The steak itself was really delicious and well done but I do have to say that I’ve tasted a few other better steaks before. But overall it was really fun to dine at this classic institution. We thoroughly enjoyed the food and the remarks from our funny waiter. It’s cash only and be sure to make reservation way in advance!

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A few other spots that I love from previous trips:

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