So in light of still not having a kitchen yet, but nevertheless feeling guilty for not keeping the posts up, I’ve decided to post some of my favorite food places here in New York to date – obviously far from a comprehensive list and I intend to attempt to try every great place in all of the boroughs, but for now, these are some of my regulars.
Don’t judge me for my lack of healthy options though, I’m just attempting to blend in!
Overall, I’ve been in the states for two months now, for the last month I’ve been living in East Village, but until a couple of weeks ago I hadn’t found a decent coffee, which near killed me.
I don’t function all that well until I’m caffeined up, so it was a happy coincidence I stumbled into Fresco Gelateria.
This place is still pretty new, but they make a great coffee, the people who run it are fantastic, and apparently they have some pretty fancy gelato…its winter people!
Whenever you buy a coffee in the morning they also give you a mini croissant, and after trying their chocolate croissant they have a customer for life!
I must admit though, there seem to be more Australians in Williamsburg at any one time than there are locals, so I guess I now understand how all of the English and Kiwi’s feel around Bondi Beach.
If you want to feel at home there though, I’d suggest growing a hipster beard and get some funky glasses…maybe one or two tats as well.
OK so this is a food blog.
Mono + Mono is a very cool Korean restaurant down the bottom corner of East Village – its one of those places you could walk past every day and think is a bodgy hole-in-wall little dive.
But when you walk inside you’re confronted with a cavernous wood-lined room, often times a live jazz band, and there’s a long wall of vinyl records for when the DJ’s up in his swiss family Robinson-esque perch.
I think the immediate thing that endeared me to Mono+Mono was the freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (something I was desperately missing every morning), however that was quickly superseded by their chicken wings.
Now you could get the soy garlic, but really its all about the hot and spicy option – from the first bite your tongue explodes from the chili, but then it adjusts and you’re left with a plate of double-fried wings that you already know you’re coming back for.
So in America you have to eat burgers right?
I’ll admit I’ve partaken in many a burger and many a slider since I’ve been here, and while I may have had one or two ‘overall’ better burgers, Rue 57 has the best burger patty going round – hands down.
The ‘Rue 57 burger’ is pretty simple, red onion and Roquefort cheese, but the patty is large, perfectly seasoned, and after having been a few times now, consistently well cooked.
The place itself is always packed, which must be why the maitre d channels the soup nazi, but in spite of that, the burger’s worth the wait and they have Japanese beer.
Another American past time is of course diners.
Yep, I’ve been in a few of these too, and generally vow never to return to another, until I found the Brazilian and Columbian influenced The Coffee Shop at Union Square.
Now I may be accused of regularly going here because of their seemingly discriminatory hiring practice (read into that what you will), but whenever you’re having a BBQ chicken sandwich with cilantro lime mayonnaise, who doesn’t feel like having a mojito at the same time?
Street food? I still haven’t manned-up and eaten from any of the ubiquitous food vendors around NYC, however this is sort of like street food.
Don’t get me wrong, Vanessa’s Dumpling House know how to make good dumplings, and they make a good Wonton, but the thing that probably keeps so many people returning here is the speed of service and the price.
It’s certainly not the quality of service, these guys have adopted some of the less endearing New Yorker traits, but you have to give props to the guys working the kitchen – they seem to be there seven days a week at all hours.
On a side note, I have one particular food mission in life and that’s to find the perfect shredded chicken wonton noodle soup – I’ve come close, but as yet I haven’t found one that has a killer stock, great noodles, perfect wontons, and uses a part of the chicken you should eat and not use for making stock – but am always open to suggestions!
New York is of course also known for its fancy restaurants, and I’ve been to a few, and they were good, but nothing has really blown me away yet.
This may be a result of having been spoilt while living in Sydney and working in advertising.
Having said that, Cafe Boulud was pretty good, and the wine list was special, so I’ll probably try to make my way back there at some stage.
Last but not least, pizza.
I guess if you’re eating in NYC, the subject of pizza invariably comes up.
I’ve had a lot of really bad pizza’s since I’ve been here and probably much to the chagrin of some of my NYC friends, Grimaldi’s so far has been the standout.
It wasn’t necessarily the best pizza I’ve ever had, but it was the most fantastic mozzarella I’ve ever tasted.
Thankfully, a mate of mine has taken it upon himself to rectify that and has taken me to some of the ‘better’ pizza places outside of Manhattan that the locals go to, well the Italian locals, and I have sampled some good pizzas and some very good cannolis, but the search for the quintessential pizza continues…
For those interested, I’ve put some pics of the trip so far up on Flickr
Toby’s photo: gotham magazine
The Coffee Shop photo: Talk Art 2me
Vanessa’s Dumplings photo: jaunted.com
Cafe Boloud photo: CBS NY
Grimaldi’s photo: NY1.com