New York may no longer be my home, but it's still the place my stomach and taste buds go for adventure. There's no where I've been on the planet that serves up such an amazing array of authentic, unique, gorgeous food options.
Our three days there, I think I ate more than I've eaten in,
well, a really long time. But it was there, and I knew I wouldn''t be back for a who-knows-how-long, so I wanted to squeeze in a bite, even just one taste of everything.
I mentioned a few of my favorite NYC food places in a June post for World Blog Surf Day -- which I'll be participating in again come this October 31 -- but actually being in New York, visiting friends, choosing places for lunch, dinners, deciding on gifts to take to friends, well, let's just say the palate opened wide.
Day one, we stopped at H&H Bagels for lunch just before arriving at College Residence on 110th street. I lived in this building for two years before Noah and I married, and I know the area well.
One block away, across from Saint John the Divine Cathedral on Amsterdam Avenue, you'll find the Hungarian Pastry Shop. This place fills with Columbia students and is a local haunt for many well known writers, poets, philosophers and artists. There was one guy, a regular, who, after his coffee and chat, stretched out on the seat by the front window for a nap. I bet he's still there today.
The Hungarian got mediocre reviews on Zagat's, but clearly those people have no souls. Either that, or they don't know what to order. My recommendation? Ask for an almond horn and hot chocolate. The chocolate arrives unsweetened to be perfectly complemented by the sugary crunchy cookie.
Two doors down from Hungarian lives V&T Pizza. It's old school, simple straight forward pizza, and it is wonderful. I'm a pizza purist, so I prefer without toppings, but I can occasionally be persuaded to go for eggplant. It's similar to Sam's Steak and Chops on Court Street in Cobble Hill.
Warning: You don't go to either place for ambience. Unless, of course, you're looking for grungy interiors, badly lighted and worn out. But if you want the best pizza -- neither sell by the slice -- this is where you'll go.
And if you happen to be in Cobble Hill for pizza, head a bit deeper into Brooklyn on Court Street to Monteleone's. We went there to pick up dessert for Rosh Hashana dinner at Aunt Jane and Uncle Cliff's .This is the place that made me realize I do, indeed, love cheesecake. There's plain, chocolate, chocolate swirl and Italian varieties.
Unfortunately, Monteleone's had already closed by the time we arrived, so we swung from Brooklyn to the East VIllage to Veneiro's. Their speciality? Canoli. The best. I repeat, the best you've ever had. Unfortunately, again, canoli must be eaten fresh or the shell gets soggy. We asked the women working behind the counter which cake woudl transport best, and they immediately got the owner on the phone to consult with us. We chose one tiramisu cake and a ricotta cheesecake which we immediately put in our cooler surrounded by ice.
Then we made one last stop before hitting the highway. Two dozen bagels at H&H. We chose H&H, thought, mainly because it's kosher. In truth, I prefer the bagels at Absolute Bagels. If you go early enough in the morning, the windows fog from bagels boiling in the back, and every baked good in the store is hot. The place itself doesn't look like anything special, but if you're ever in Morningside Heights, do stop by.That was all the damage we could do in three days, but there are so many other amazing places in this burg. The Tea Lounge offers a huge assortment of teas. Apricot Floral is my favorite
Fa'an has amazing lychee martinis. Ghang Thai across the street serves the best Thai food of the area, arguably best of the city. Koreatown where even a simple bi bim bop is heaven. I spent many a late night in college over coffees at Tom's Restaurant, known mostly from Seinfeld, but also Susan Vega's Tom's Diner.
Yes, New York City. Lots of aggressive people, but great food. Is there anything I forgot?
Photo Courtesy of Roger Karlsson's Flickrstream