Sunday, 13 June 2010

Munching my way around New York

I didn't really want to go to New York, spoilt little madam that I am. It was a work trip that had meant I'd had to rush around a lot in the week running up to it, so I was a bit frazzled. And I hadn't had a weekend at home, just hanging out with Mr Splorer, for ages. Plus, I wasn't sure about hanging around a big, scary, strange city by myself. I really think that if I could have swapped the ticket with someone else, I'd have done it. 
But my God am I glad I went. I just LOVED it. And it was actually a great city to hang out in by myself - plenty of people watching and street food eating, not to mention tootling around the gorgeous Central Park.

I only had a couple of days of holiday, but I did my best to eat as much as I could! Unfortunately the 30C heat kind of took away my appetite, so there's still a long, long list of things I want to try. Luckily, what with Mr Splorer being Costa Rican, New York is a handy stop-off point for trips home. I'm thinking winter, so I can stuff myself stupid in the name of warming myself up!
Anyway, I didn't do too badly. Here's a little summary:

First up, Lansky's Old World Deli was just around the corner from where I was staying (in the Upper West Side) and served me up this Lansky's Special - a triple decker sandwich with pastrami, corned beef and coleslaw, with extra coleslaw and pickles on the side. I am very rarely, if ever, defeated by a sandwich, but I only ate half of this. And then had no dinner. Also, I have no idea how you're supposed to go about eating it. I guess one of the advantages of travelling by yourself is that no one can see you spill coleslaw and corned beef all over the tablecloth! 

My parents had hit town a couple of weeks before and recommended the Taco Grill, again right around the corner from the flat I was staying at. I had an extremely tasty chicken burrito served to me by a Chinese couple. And in fact the restaurant opposite offered a Chinese-Latin menu. I was a bit disappointed when on closer inspection it had two parts to the menu, rather than combining the two in one. It could have made for some interesting dishes.

The Upper West Side is really a great place to stay, as also just around the corner was this fantastic shop, Zabars. It was a culinary wonderland - downstairs was full of cheese and bread and all kinds of good things. I picked up some rugelach for the office, which went down very well. Upstairs had loads of cooking equipment - my Mum was unbelievably chuffed with the lemon squeezer she got there. 

This is a mere fraction of the cheese available in Zabars. No longer can I moan about the American continent's lack of interest in decent cheese - turns out it's just not true. (Though Costa Rica still has a long way to go in that department...)

I went on one of those hop-on hop-off bus tours, which gave me great views of the city streets ...

... and one of the tour guides (possibly the grumpy old lady who told a couple off for talking while she was talking!) mentioned the farmer's market at Union Square, which had a fantastic selection of things to eat - including some all-American apple pies.

And I came across a nice guy called Felix drawing a really long line of faces on the ground.

We also went past this sign, which I took a picture of because I thought it sounded like a good idea. Then, catching up on the Food Programme on iPlayer, they mentioned it as a really great place to eat. So I'll add that to the list of places to go next time! 

Next up was the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, recommended to me by the lovely Hilary. It's obviously a popular spot, as there was a massive queue, even at 4.30pm. In fact, the queue is obviously a permanent fixture, as you can have a look at a webcam on their website to see how long it is before you go.

So, was the queue worth it? Well, the beer was pretty standard and the chips were OK, but the burger was fantastic! It's the first time I've had a sweet bun with my burger and it worked so well. The meat tasted so meaty and savoury - just delicious. I'd queue up there again! 

Finally, on Sunday I went to an area called Flushing in Queens (end of subway line 7) for some Chinese food. I based my sampling on a map from the New York Times that I found via this post from The Wednesday Chef. It was a great place to get street food, but the problem with being by myself is that I had to eat all of these 12 won ton with spicy sauce by myself ...

... which was extremely pleasurable, but rather filled me up! I picked up some pork buns and spring onion pancakes and ate them a bit later in Central Park. Yum.

I also took a few bagels from H&H back home, so that Mr Splorer could get a taste of bagels. We had our poppy seed bagels with salmon, brie and cucumber. Blooming lovely.

Just so that you know that it wasn't all good, I ate a disappointing red velvet cupcake from the Magnolia Bakery (all icing and no taste) and a tiny $10 sandwich at JFK airport. No photos of those, I'm afraid. But apart from these blips I had such a great time eating my way around New York and am already planning my to-eat list for next time!


  1. Oh I love New York and Shake Shack burgers are so so good - I crave them all the time and it's our first call whenever we go now!

  2. Very lovely. Favourite picture? The deli!

  3. I love reading about my city through others' eyes! I can't believe you were in Flushing ... I live in North Flushing and have yet to enjoy the authentic Chinese food offered in the heart of the city. I am quiet jealous! What shop did you purchase the wontons and pork buns from?

  4. Looks like you had a fantastic few days and found some great spots to eat. I want to go exploring myself now.

  5. Wow, I've wanted to go to New York for ages but it will have to wait until my boy is a bit bigger. Looks like you had a fabulous time.

    Welcome back to blogging - we've missed you!

  6. Gemma - I'm not surprised. It'll my first call next time!
    Joy - ha ha, it is an amazing sandwich.
    Maria - have a look at the New York Times map I linked to. I followed their recommendations. (I got the won ton from 'White Bear' and the others from the sidewalk stand corner 28.) There's so much more on that map I want to try.
    Katie - You really should go there - food paradise!
    Sarah - thanks for the welcome. So lovely to hear I've been missed! And you should definitely take the family there in a few years - I bet there's a lot of potential spots for dinner with crayons.

  7. Hi Nora,

    I have never been in New York, but pictures of food which you present...honestly...make me soo hungry :)!
    Lovely blog :)
    I will pop in more often :)

  8. Hi Nora

    Wow- that is some sandwich!
    NY has been on my 'to visit' list for ages but I've still not made it and really want to go now!

  9. Nora, I'm jealous. I've never been to NY and now I want to go just for the cheese! ;-) Ok, the burger and sandwich and wontons and... really all of the food is convincing me I need to go. mmmmmm! I'm glad you had a good time. What did you think of the people?

  10. Aleksandra - thank you and glad to hear I'm making you hungry!
    Ireena - you should definitely put it at the top of your 'to visit' list. :D
    Sarah - the people were SO nice - friendly and helpful. My parents said that they saw men in business suits helping lost tourists. That would never happen in England!

  11. Oh yumminess, I love the New York food scene. Thanks for letting us know about the Chinese food in Queens - that is definitely a place to check out next time I go!



LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs