Happy Wednesday!! As many of you may have seen on my Instagram account (@sugarspiceandstylethatsnice give me a follow if you haven’t yet and you can see more daily info from me!) last week I was in New York City for a family vacation. This was my 3rd time to the Big Apple but my first time with my family. The other two trips I had taken were both for school so this time I really got to embrace the full tourist side 🙂
One thing you may know about me and my family is that we really appreciate food! We love to try new things and are always on the hunt for the best food we can find. We also know that often times the best restaurants/bars are the ones that don’t look the nicest from the outside!! During our 5 days in the city we were able to try out a lot of great places and I wanted to share some photos and short accounts from each of them with you. In case any of you have plans to visit NYC any time soon these might be something you are interested in visiting yourself if any of them sound great to you.
These restaurants are in no particular order and I will try to list the district/neighborhood behind them so that you have an idea of which part of the HUGE city we were in. One thing to note: the place we went for dinner on our first night in town to celebrate my dad’s birthday (Virgils) we were lucky to have a waiter who was a native New Yorker. He asked how long we had been in the city and when we told him it was our first night he got very excited and offered us up a lot of great recommendations for places to eat. A few of the stops we made are totally credit to him and we are so thankful!!
Eataly (Chelsea district – right across from the famous Flatiron Building)
As I’m sure you can gather from the name, Eataly is an indoor Italian marketplace. It features a giant building filled with Italian groceries, fresh meat and seafood, in-house made mozzarella, gelato, pastries, and so much more. They also have a handful of sit-down restaurants sprinkled throughout the indoor area the size of a small mall! We were looking for more of a quick lunch on our first afternoon so we opted to walk through the panini and sandwich line and ordered something to take outside. I got a fresh mozzarella and prosciutto sandwich along with a side of pasta salad that had olives and a few other fresh veggies inside. This place was really enjoyable to walk around in and observe all of the different fresh food!
Blue Dog (located in Midtown – not far from Times Square and VERY close to Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center)
Blue Dog was the last place we dined on our trip. I enjoyed a delicious passionfruit margarita prior to my dinner and I may have liked that even better than the food! It was really refreshing and tasted great after a long day of walking. For supper I ordered a Japanese noodle bowl that had peppers and zucchini. The noodles were udon which is a thicker heavier style noodle and I opted for steak as my meat choice. I had been craving noodles/pasta that day so this was a good choice for me!
Levain Bakery (Central Park – 76th and Amsterdam)
Without hesitation I can say that the cookie in the above picture was by far the best thing I ate on our whole trip. This is the double chocolate peanut butter cookie and it is Levain’s 2nd best selling cookie. Their bestseller is their classic chocolate chip cookie with walnuts. Between the 4 of us we tried both and I can highly recommend both but as a peanut butter lover I found this one to be UNREAL. Levain’s was a recommendation from our waiter on the first night and he prefaced the suggestion by asking if we wanted to have the world’s best chocolate chip cookie. That sounded like a no-brainer. And we are really happy we decided to make the trip there after our Central Park bike tour. The cookies are HUGE which might be hard to tell from the photo. They also have the ever coveted but impossible to achieve harder on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside texture…..OK….I have to move on to the next section because this is making me so hungry!!!
PJ Moran’s (also very near Rockefeller Center)
PJ’s is an Irish Pub that we quite literally stumbled upon while searching for somewhere to eat after being turned away at Rockefeller Center due to low visibility. We are glad we did because it was excellent food. I enjoyed one of my favorites: Sheperd’s Pie. I love anything that involves mashed potatoes and this is one of the ultimate comfort foods for me. The presentation was quite lovely as well, if I do say so myself! It was hard to hold off on my first bite in order to take a picture first!
Virgil’s BBQ (quite literally in Times Square – less than a block off)
This was our first food experience in NYC on the first night we arrived. It was my dad’s birthday so the choice was completely up to him on what he wanted to have for his birthday meal! My dad LOVES BBQ so this was not a surprise at all. I enjoyed a nice downhome platter of pulled BBQ chicken, baked beans, coleslaw, and an excellent corn muffin. This was the restaurant where we were fortunate to have the New York native waiter who gave us tons of great food tips!
Mad Dog & Beans (Financial District/Stone Street – near Battery Park)
This stop was an excellent find. Located on one of the first paved/stone streets in NYC (Stone Street) this area is unique and has lots of restaurants right in a row with outdoor seating for nice weather days. We chose Mad Dog because Mexican sounded great at the moment and the indoor decor was very inviting. We shared a HUGE vat of guacamole (pictures above on the left) that was so fresh and delicious. For my meal I enjoyed a margarita (of COURSE!) and a steak burrito bowl. All of the flavors of the meal were fresh and authentic. This is a place I would definitely like to visit again!
Johnny’s Luncheonette (Chelsea district)
Johnny’s was a Yelp find which is something we as a family tend to rely on when we travel. The luncheonette/diner was located only a couple of blocks from our hotel and the reviews remarked the best pancakes in NYC so we figured it would be a great place to try out for breakfast. The restaurant is just as I expected. Tiny and compact with seating for only 18 people total. The 4 of us sat at the counter and got to witness the cooking first hand as the grill was right in front of us. I enjoyed these beautifully fluffy blueberry pancakes, sausage, hashbrowns, and some coffee. The perfect breakfast fuel for a long day of walking!
Any and all New York pizza 🙂
Last but not least, NYC is very famous for it’s pizza. I actually only enjoyed one slice the whole time we were there but it was delicious! I opted for traditional pepperoni and a deeper dish crust. Everywhere you look online you can find different rankings and recommendations for pizza places so feel free to explore in depth if you ever find yourself in NYC and on the hunt for the best pizza in the city!
That wraps up the food diary that I wanted to share with all of you! I apologize if reading this made you extremely hungry. If it’s any consolation I very hungry myself after reliving all of those dining experiences and inserting the pictures. I might have to go hunt down a bedtime snack 🙂 Thank you so much for reading! I plan to be back this Sunday with a post on the OTHER aspects of my trip that don’t include food.
I hope you’re all having a wonderful week!