Thursday, May 01, 2008

In case you find yourself hungry in my neighborhood. . .

A friend of a friend is experiencing her first trip to NYC as I type this. Our mutual friend - a shy blogger friend who underestimates the relevance and entertainment value of her quiet little blog - sent her my way to ask for advice and recommendations. Yesterday, the day before her trip, I realized I had neglected to answer her question of where to eat near her hotel in Times Square. I must have been really hungry at 12:30 yesterday (my normal lunching time) because the below is what I sent her. I decided to post it for you after she responded with a very enthusiastic "thank you so much! i love your personal comments about things, you should write a travel blog!" And since I already have a blog where I get to write whatever I want for the world to read, I'm posting it.

If I took more time to think about this list or if I expanded my recommendations further away than my general neighborhood, this post would get way too long so I am going to leave it just as it is and offer it to the internet as a stroll through my personal taste of NYC.

Brunch - Alice's Tea Cup, the closest location is on 73rd Street and Columbus - There is generally a wait on Saturday and Sunday mornings unless you arrive before 10 or 10:30. If you want to just pick something up they have phenomenal scones and an amazing variety of fresh loose leaf teas - best herbal selection I have encountered anywhere. Anything with rooibos tea is my favorite.
Norma's at the Parker Meridien hotel is a very fun fancy brunch. It is located on 57th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue (there is also an entrance on 56th Street). They serve brunch every day of the week until 3 so this doesn't have to be a weekend thing. I love the shrimp frittata and I should warn you the chocolate french toast is like cake - best shared as a dessert. It is best to make reservations.
Speaking of the Parker Meridien. If you don't make it there for brunch at Normas you can check out the burger joint which is a greasy burger place literally behind a huge velvet curtain in the lobby of the hotel. I don't eat burgers but I have been told these are some of the best in the city. Don't go if you don't want a burger though. The fries are good but the only other item on the menu is a grilled cheese and it should be skipped (and technically I don't think it is actually on the menu).

9th Avenue has some of the best ethnic food in New York (in my opinion). Ninth is just a couple of blocks west of your hotel. Do not - no matter how desperate you get - do not eat in Times Square!! Seriously, you will be ripped off and the food will be gross. Just walk over to 9th and walk north and you will find a wide variety of tasty places for a variety of prices. I've listed some of my favorites (all on 9th Ave):

Rice N Beans - east side of the street at 50th - a delicious little Brazilian place, I love just getting black beans and rice with fried plantains.

Eatery - on the south east corner of 53rd Street - excellent eclectic diner with a lot of good comfort type foods. This is another very good brunch spot.

Vynl - 51st street east side of street- I never let a visitor miss this place (and if you read this blog or have ever visited me, you have heard me mention this spot many times). They have a variety of food from wraps to Thai dishes to burgers to 24 hour breakfast. The butternut squash wontons are a must! They also have excellent shakes. Do not miss a trip to the bathroom - seriously, I will let it be a surprise!

Film Center Cafe - between 44th and 45th on the west side of the street. Fun little diner, great grilled cheese sandwiches.

Elyssa's- 45th or 46th on the west side, can't remember the exact location - I LOVE their hummus and the falafal is excellent. Also, the guys working there are super nice.

Puttanesca - southwest corner of 56th St - amazing Italian food. Seriously, amazing! The calamari is the greatest as is every pasta dish I've ever tasted there. Try it!

Kyotofu - this is a Japanese dessert place. I wasn't a huge fan when I went and sat down there for dessert but I've been told the cupcakes at their take out counter are excellent.

Pam Real Thai - on 47th just west of 9th Avenue - super cheap yummy Thai food!

Q2 Thai - between 52nd and 53rd, on the east side of the street, you can't miss the neon pink sign - the best thing about this place is they put avocado in their massaman curry! (I'm waiting for this to be delivered to me at work right now!)

That should be more than enough to keep you well fed! But I still have a few other recommendations and tips - I must be hungry!

Dale & Thomas popcorn (I like to pretend the Thomas is not Isiah Thomas or I could never go back there because I hate him so much) in Times Square - pick some up if you are a fan of popcorn in any way - it is close to your hotel and this popcorn is the only reason I ever go to Times Square on purpose.

Ruby Foos - on 50th and Broadway this is a bit on the pricier side but their sushi is really good.

Haru - my favorite sushi in the neighborhood - on 43rd and Broadway, I usually order takeout so I don't remember exactly where it is located. I love their spicy crunchy salmon roll.

Whole Foods - Columbus Circle (which is 58th and 8th Avenue) - it is located in the large Time Warner shopping center and has a great salad bar. I often pick up dinner there. The Time Warner center is also a great place if you need a bathroom break since there are clean public restrooms.

Carnegie Deli - 55th and 7th Avenue - don't eat here for lunch or dinner and don't wait in the enormous lines if there is a tour bus there. Just get the cheesecake - don't try any other dessert, only the cheesecake. The pieces are enormous so you can just split one or take the leftovers for later. It is seriously amazing and if there are huge lines you can pick some up to go. They only take cash by the way. It is a good idea to keep cash on you since restaurants don't like to split bills on separate credit cards if that is going to be an issue.

By the way, you can order take out at your hotel from almost every place I have listed. Sometimes it is good to just take a break and eat in your room to chill out and regain your energy to go back out!

That's it for today. I feel food is a very important part of experiencing any city so I hope you have the opportunity to try some of my favorites next time you are around. Now you tell me, what are your favorite places to eat in your neighborhood?


Meghan said...

OOh!! I have eaten at the Carnegie deli. I have had their cheesecake. I feel so cool.

emily said...

i MUST fix the background on your blog. working on it...

Tiffany said...

Amen! Hallelujah! Amen!

Beck said...

Dude, I was ALREADY hungry!

katie said...

I need a trip to NYC!

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