If a trip to New York is on your bucket list then I can almost guarantee that you have thought about all the glutinous goodies you can inhale whilst there. New York cheesecake, fresh street cart pretzels, mammoth stacks of pancakes, pastrami sandwiches, deep-fried… anything. The list really is endless, but there are certain things that you really cannot miss. Here are your top eight must-eats whilst in New York City
1.An Everything Bagel from Russ & Daughters
We have far too few Deli’s in the UK for my liking and that is something The Big Apple does very, very well. Russ & Daughters has a 100-year history in NYC and has become a well-loved part of the City ever since Joel Russ, a Jew who emigrated from Poland, got his first Bricks & Mortar store in 1914. Today, his legacy is adored by many. Oprah herself included. The Everything bagel is something us brits also seem to miss out on – A white bagel with poppy seed, sesame seed, pretzel salt, onion flake, garlic flake, and pepper topping. A little bit of everything. Pop into any one of the many locations across Manhattan and order one of these bad boys. There is an overwhelming amount of fillings to choose from so if it all gets a bit much for you, opt for the pastrami smoked salmon, scallion cream cheese and don’t forget the tomato, onion, and capers. A bagel truly made for the Gods.
2.New York Cheesecake
A food of much contention. Personally, I often prefer the *buttery* biscuit base variety topped with the chilled cheesecake filling that we often get in Europe but you can’t possibly visit New York and not try the cheesecake. This American counterpart, however, is often baked and comes with a sponge bottom. For the best in the City, there are a few contenders for the top spot but there is one major standout and you don’t have to break the bank for a taste. Eileen’s Special Cheesecake opened up in 1976 and is still serving up a dazzling array of lovingly homemade cheesecakes in every flavour you can imagine. Eileen offers up the large scale cheesecakes to share but the best part of this small corner shop in Little Italy is the mini cheesecakes on offer in over 25 different flavours, including seasonal varieties. After all, why have one cheesecake when you can have three?
3.A Hot Pastrami Sandwich from Katz’s Delicatessen
“I’ll have what she’s having” goes the immortal line. Well, unless what she is having is the Hot Pastrami Sandwich, I’m not interested. Many tourists flock to Katz Delicatessen as fans of When Harry Met Sally and THAT scene but there is so much more to this venue than a little taste of Hollywood. Katz offers up the best damn sandwich I have ever had in my life. Seriously, Joe genuinely spent the rest of our holiday talking about that sandwich and looking at photos of that sandwich. It was like he was having an affair… with a sandwich. There are many things that this delicatessen has lacking; the decor hasn’t been changed since what looks like the 50s, the ordering process is manic and the service is lacking in, well everything, BUT, it is all worth it for that sandwich. I recommend getting the meal combo of a bowl of soup and half a sandwich. That may not sound like much but when the giant matzo ball soup is placed in front of you along with a sandwich packed with what is a mountain of hot pastrami, you won’t be disappointed.
4.A Dollar Slice
It’s simply an NYC institution. I’m sorry but you cannot visit the Big Apple and not have one (or several in my case) dollar slice/s. there are seriously countless stops dotted around the city where you can get your fix of hot pizza but it really is a tale of the good, the bad and the greasy. For some of the best $ slices in the City check out Percy’s in Greenwich Village or Joe’s Pizza near Times Square. Ok, you pay a little more for your slice at Joe’s but I promise you it’s worth the extra $1.75.
5. A Huge Stack of Pancakes or French Toast
I feel like something the city does really well is their brunch! So don’t book a hotel with breakfast just because it’s more convenient, get your butts up early and find yourself a breakfast worth having. For that quintessential American diner vibe, you have to get yourself over to Big Daddy’s Diner. Whipped cream-topped milkshakes, bright fifties decor and pancakes the size of dustbin lids just packed to the sky with whatever topping you choose. the Hunka Hunka Burnin Love comes stuffed with chocolate chips and piled with sliced banana and whipped cream. The real showstopper though has to be the french toast at Upper west side, Maison Pickle. If you want to have brunch here you are going to have to book. Their Challah french toast is well known and it is not hard to see why…
6. Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding
Yes, the cupcakes are iconic but the banana pudding is the real superstar here. For the Brits amongst you, pudding is not referring to the term we use for basically any dessert! It’s more like a hybrid of custard and cake. I can’t even explain it but, Oh my god it is next level. The Magnolia Bakery banana pudding is pretty iconic and there is a justification for that. A banana and vanilla pudding cup swirled with pieces of vanilla sponge and banana chunks. Its heaven in a pot. The store also does a monthly special which are total one-offs, most recently chocolate hazelnut, pumpkin gingersnap, and red velvet. Don’t offer to share a tub, I promise you will regret it.
7. Cheap but very Cheerful Chinese Food
Some of the best eateries in the Big Apple leave much to be desired when it comes to decor and that rule is no exception when it comes to getting some of the best Chinese food. Chinatown might not be top of your list of sightseeing but you may change your mind when you hear about the food on offer. Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles Inc, Bo KY, and Xi’an Famous Foods are all fantastic stops for some very high quality and very very cheap dim sum or noodles but the top of the charts has to be Nom Wah Tea Parlour. It’s worth the queue. Serving dim sum and dumplings since 1920, Nom Wah with their Argos order style menus and dirt cheap dumplings is phenomenally popular for a reason – The food is insane! Oh, and it’s insanely cheap. Four dumplings? $4. It doesn’t get better than that.
8. Anything from Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is without a doubt one of the best food markets in the world. It is truly a treasure trove for any self-respecting foodie. Fresh oysters, hand-rolled sushi, wine bars, doughnutterys, Korean soups, matcha porridge, and lobster rolls. The list is truly endless. You can get anything your stomach desires all under one roof. It’s also home to a fantastic vintage store – Artists & Fleas (well worth a visit for some very cool souvenirs). This is all about the food though after all and there is no shortage of choice. A little tip – Please do not skip by Los Tacos No1. They serve up fresh authentic tacos that you will struggle to beat. My fave? The Adobada (Marinated pork).