You can’t go to New York City and not eat well. Actually, scratch that. You still can, but it’s not hard to find delicious food in the city.
Even though my visit this time to New York was short and I was busy with various graduating events for my brother, I still managed to try some new places that have been on my radar for awhile and even revisited a few favourites.
Madison Sq Eats
We arrived in New York City under the cover of darkness. By the time we were settled in our apartment, it was quite late and I knew ahead of time I wouldn’t want to go far for food. Luckily, nearby Madison Square was hosting a pop-up food market for the month of May. Perfect timing.
Even though it was pouring rain, my dad and I ventured out for some food adventures. There were lots of great options making it hard for me to choose. In the end, I grabbed three arancinis from Arancini Bros, a pear, walnut & gorgonzola (a combo I’ve recently come to LOVE) crepe from Bar Suzette Crepe and for dessert, a crack pie from Milk Bar.
I had never had an arancini before but who can’t love what is essentially a savory filled doughnut? Yum! I’m a big fan of fruit, nut and cheese combos lately in my sandwiches so the crepe was a no brainer for me when I saw it. The crack pie was really cloyingly sweet and dense. I shared it with my mother and brother. There’s no way one person could eat the whole thing.
Momofuku Noodle Bar
I’ve been following David Chang for a while and I was disappointed that I didn’t get a chance to go to Momofuku on my last visit to the city (but really, who wants a steaming bowl of ramen when it’s 30C and humid outside?). I dragged my family with me down to the Lower East Side with me for a food adventure this time around.
When we arrived it was prime dinner time. Mistake #1. There was a wait of at least an hour. We left our number, but we decided to just wait it out. Mistake #2. In hindsight, it would have made sense to find a nearby bar for a drink or even another restaurant altogether. But stubbornness in me and my family won out.
I love ramen and have it regularly in Vancouver so I was really looking forward to this meal. I had heard lots of mixed reviews. Some people loved it and others not so much.
I’m with the latter camp. Sure, the ramen is decent. Almost good, but it’s not worth the wait. There is definitely a lot more hype to it. I ordered the Momofuku ramen and some steamed buns with mushrooms. Shockingly, I liked the steamed buns more than the ramen, but they were expensive. $10 for 2 teeny tiny buns is not worth it, but the depth of flavour they were able to pull from just mushrooms was amazing. I’m going to try and replicate it at home.
Prior to this meal, I had debated trying some other ramen shops I heard were good – Ivan Ramen and Ippudo – and now I wish I had. Not to worry though – I’ll get to try Ippudo when I’m in Japan later this year!
171 first avenue
New York, NY 10003
Russ & Daughters
Everyone tells you that you need to get a bagel with lox and cream cheese from Russ & Daughters. A New York institution in the Lower East Side, Russ & Daughters have been purveyors of smoked fish, caviar, herring and bagels since 1914. What originally started as a business catering to the Jewish immigrants in the city has passed down 4 generations of Russes.
I picked up an everything bagel with Norwegian Smoked Salmon and regular cream cheese. I love smoked salmon and if it weren’t so pricey and I could eat it for every meal I would. This bagel was really good. Smoked salmon flavour all the way through.
Be sure to grab a number when you walk in. This location is a take out location and can get quite busy I’m told. However, I was there early on a weekday morning and there was virtually no line. There is also a Russ & Daughters Cafe located a couple blocks away if you’re after a sit-down meal.
P.S. Want to know what makes a good NYC Bagel? Serious Eats has you covered.
179 East Houston Street
New York, NY 10002
I previously visited Katz’s Deli on my first visit to New York City and absolutely loved it. I went home and raved to my mom about it and she told me that she wanted to try it this time. I dragged her with me to Russ & Daughters down the street so we popped over to Katz’s as well to pick up a sandwich.
I had forgotten how awesome the sandwich was. The pastrami was melt in your mouth perfection. It was expensive (and the price went up from 2 years ago!), but considering the size, it easily can be turned into two or three meals for one or a shareable meal for two.
Because it was so early in the morning, the deli was completely empty save for a few eager tourists that didn’t want to fight the crowds. The process was much the same as my previous visit. You get a ticket that needs to be returned, you order at the counter and pay as you leave. Visitors take note! If you have no issues with having sandwiches for breakfast and want to snag a table here and not fight the crowds, go early and go on a weekday.
205 E Houston St
New York, NY 10002
Sentosa Malaysian Cuisine
My brother and his girlfriend were heading out to Flushing, Queens for a baseball game and wanted to grab food beforehand. My parents hadn’t been to Flushing before, so they invited us to come along. We ended up wandering around and picked this restaurant at random.
What came were dishes after dishes of Chinese and Malaysian goodness. I’m not too familiar to Malaysian food so I don’t really have any major comments about this restaurant.
3907 Prince St
Flushing, NY 11354
11 AM – Midnight
Artichoke Basil Pizza
C. kept on raving about this place before my trip to New York City so I made a note to try it. Even without him talking it up, it was already on my radar with lots of great reviews out there. With multiple locations, I went to the one in Chelsea. My original plan was to pick up a slice and enjoy it along the High Line, but it was really chilly and the wind was strong.
At first glance, I thought the restaurant only offered a sit-down option, but towards the back, they had by the slice counter. I went with their namesake and ordered the Artichoke Pizza.
At $5 a slice, it’s a bit expensive, but you definitely get your money’s worth. One slice was HUGE and really filling. This slice is not your typical thin crust New York Style pizza. This slice had height. I really enjoyed the creamy sauce and the thick pieces of artichoke. I normally don’t like artichoke, but this was good. I couldn’t finish my slice and had to take it to go with me. It’s definitely a slice worth sharing and very very indulgent.
114 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
12 PM – 5 AM, Tuesday thru Saturday
12 PM – 12 AM, Sunday & Monday
On my last morning in New York City, I knew I wanted something good so I paid another visit to Absolute Bagel which I discovered last time I was here. I went with my regular order (well as regular as visiting a place twice can be) – an everything bagel with smoked salmon cream cheese. I enjoy how there are chunks of salmon in the cream cheese. A perfect way to end a relaxing time in the city.
How do you choose what you want to eat in a city? Do you make a point of seeking out local institutions? Has anything stood out as either living up or not living up to the hype?
P.S. See what I ate on my last visit to New York: Eating New York City 1.0
If you’re new to Pack Me To, welcome! Stay on top of my