You can't go to New York without eaaaaaating delicious food.
Troy and I have collected some favorite places to dine over the years and it seems like we are always sending out Troy's master spreadsheet to friends and family that are planning a visit to the city.
We hit most of our favorite spots last week, so I made sure to document the deliciousness as we ate our way through NYC.
The first place worth mentioning is the überpopular Shake Shack. We ate at a location in the Financial District, underneath Troy's New York office building, but they have restaurants all around Manhattan now. I think we passed at least four Shake Shacks. There is even a location in the JFK airport. But there's a reason why this growing chain has lines out the door. I'm not much of a burger lover, but I have to admit that mine were delicious (yes, we stopped here more than once). But what really had me sold were the cheese fries, topped with a sauce containing a special blend of cheddar and American cheese. We also loved both the Black & White and Strawberry shakes.
We hit up Ippudo in Times Square before a Broadway show. Troy had eaten there before, but it was my first experience with the homemade ramen noodles. We both ordered the Shiromaru Hakata Classic, and I think that may have been my favorite meal the entire week. It was so filling, especially after starting out with an order of Hirata Steamed Buns.
At the top of Troy's list is Café Habana. He always makes sure to plan a trip to this little Cuban café, regardless of how long he is in the city. They have a sit-down luncheonette located in Nolita, but we always head for the to-go bar next door that has a few tables to sit at. There's no reason to stay for long since everything is devoured quickly. The most mentionable item on the menu is the grilled corn on the cob, rolled in butter, cheese and spices. We keep going back for their Chicken Diablo as well, and have heard that the Cuban sandwiches and tacos also live up to their reputation.
Best thing I ever ate alert! Levain Bakery is a tiny little shop located on the Upper West Side. Hidden down a short flight of stairs, we almost missed the tucked away location. It's not really close to much except The American Museum of Natural History and Central Park, but it is an absolute must. Get the Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie and make sure they warm it up for you. I really want to know how they get their peanut butter chips so smooth, and creamy, and melty. They also have the thickest cookies I've ever seen.
I mentioned Grimaldi's pizzeria in my post about Brooklyn, but it's worth including in this list. The coal brick-oven pizza is irresistible. Their fresh ingredients, handmade mozzarella, 'secret recipe' dough and pizza sauce make them the most award-winning pizzeria in the United States. We equally like Lombardi's Pizza in Little Italy. Both restaurants tend to have long waits, especially on the weekends, so it's best to go on weekdays or dine early to avoid crowds.
No trip to New York is complete without a brief walk through Chinatown if you can stand the fishy smell and endless souvenir shops spilling out onto the sidewalks. But once you make it past all of the hagglers, there is a little gem tucked away on Pell Street called Joe's Shanghai. Their pork dumplings are simply to die for. I'd advise biting a little hole in the dumplings and sipping out the soup before devouring, otherwise you'll end up with a lap full of soup. Their Sesame Chicken is also worth mentioning.
Troy considers Max Brenner in Union Square to be a total overpriced tourist trap, but I simply cannot resist. Their waffle fries and entire menu of main dishes are excellent. We made a reservation online a few days in advance to avoid a long wait.
But the main reason you go to Max Brenner is for their vast dessert menu full of chocolate specialties. You can't go wrong with the Chocolate Chunks Pizza or the Spectacular Melting Chocolate S’Mores Sundae. I ordered the 80′s Milkshake this time. It’s a chocolate milkshake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with a chocolate shell. Perfection in every bite.
I thoroughly enjoyed my solo morning in Chelsea Market, but I especially salivated over Amy's Bread. I was not in any way expecting to be blown away by a simple Grilled Ham and Swiss on a Ciabatta Roll; the precursor to the desserts that I was really there for. But it was out of this world amazing. Especially for a cheese lover like me.
I picked up a few desserts to go. They are known for their rendition of the black and white cake cookie.
What really had me sold, however, was the Yellow Cake with Pink Frosting. I don't usually go gaga over cake, but this buttery-rich yellow cake layered with delicate pink buttercream frosting had me at hello. Next time we're in the city, I want to stock up on some of their bread and sticky buns that have been raved about.
I can't leave out Italian food. We ate at Parm, a cute little restaurant in Little Italy. Their chicken parmesan is most noteworthy. You choose how you want it served; on a sweet roll, as a classic Italian sandwich, or with a side of ziti. We tried the sweet roll and ziti and both were excellent.
Last but not least, if you are not fortunate enough to have a local Pinkberry, this frozen yogurt is a must. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I have a mild obsession. Pinkberry is in no way unique to NYC, but I don't mind walking a mile out of the way to obtain the sweet goodness. Troy may mind, but he always obliges. The unique original flavor topped with fresh fruit is the perfect way to top off a filling meal.
Now, go plan a trip to NYC and make sure to work some of these delicious items into your plans. Yum yum yum.