New York Hotel Hiatus and Food Fest – part 2

Part 2: Food Fest

One of my very favorite things to do in New York City is eat. I must have been a food reviewer in a past life, or at least distantly related to Adam Richman, the man behind Man vs. Food. I may not be able to put the food away like he does, but I am always up for trying anything! And there is no place like NYC for food diversity.

In part 1 of my New York posts, I noted I have been to NYC no less than 20 times. I could not guesstimate how many places I have eaten – from the corner food stands to Michelin rated, 5-star restaurants that you have to call a month or more in advance to get a coveted reservation. But the one number I am sure of is the number of poor food experiences I have had – zero.

It never ceases to amaze me how many delectable different ways there are to create a food fest to tantalize even the most picky of eaters. If you can’t find something good to eat in NYC – you have serious issues. Thanks to my daughter, who lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan, I am treated to a gastro extravaganza every time we set foot outside our hotel door.

The restaurants are spread as far across the burroughs as the hotels I have stayed in. So do not fear that you need to stay in one specific area to be treated to a top notch dining experience. I can guarantee a great dining experience within walking distance of wherever you are staying. Which is a good thing, as you will want to walk to the restaurant to work up an appetite, and then you’ll need to walk after most likely over indulging.

Since I cannot possibly give a review of every eating establishment I have frequented, I will chronicle the places I ate at from my most recent trip to NYC. And then follow that up with several of my favorite eating haunts.

Wednesday: arrive in NYC at 7 pm. Dinner at Mari Vanna, a Russian restaurant 10 blocks away from our hotel in Union Square. To drink: Can you say Vodka! Sixteen different house infused flavors to be exact. Our table indulged in the “Flight of Five Shots”. To eat: Smoked Fish Plate; Borscht; the most flavorful Beef Stroganoff I have ever eaten; Vareniki (potato dumpling w/mushrooms); Medovik – a light pastry dessert.

Flight of Five Vodka Shots, Mari Vanna, NYC: Honey & Oats, Horseradish, Blueberry & Cinnamon, Black Currant, Apricot

Flight of Five Vodka Shots, Mari Vanna, NYC:
Honey & Oats, Horseradish, Blueberry & Cinnamon, Black Currant, Apricot served with homemade breads to help soak up the vodka.

Thursday: lunch at the W-Union Square restaurant, Olives. I had the place to myself and enjoyed a sizable wood-oven baked flatbread with prosciutto, shitake mushrooms and shavings of parmesan cheese. Dinner at Joseph Leonard, a small boutique restaurant with a wait of 35 minutes – enough time to walk to the book store around the corner and grab a couple of new reads. Worth the wait. To drink: Silky Pajamas and Rattlesnake Lake.  To eat: Duck Meatballs, Julienned Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Marinated Beets and a cheese platter for dessert washed down with a port giving off flavors of fig and cherry.

Duck Meatballs and Roasted Brussel Sprouts at Joseph Leonard, NYC

Duck Meatballs and Roasted Brussel Sprouts at Joseph Leonard, NYC

Friday: lunch at Rosemary’s Italian eatery, where many of the ingredients come from the rooftop farm. A light an airy space, with a rustic touch of exposed wood beam ceiling and brick wall. To eat: Sopressata (spicy sausage) Panini, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Forest Kale Salad – all wonderfully fresh and full of flavor. Dinner at Sorella, another quaint boutique restaurant run by two female chefs with a penchant for unique ways of fixing everyday dishes. To drink: Honeypot – sweet and refreshing. To eat: Broccoli Fritto – no words, a must try!; Agnolotti – pasta with braised oxtail; and an Arctic Char that was done to perfection over a bed of pearled quinoa – “to die for!”

Broccoli Fritto, Sorella, NYC - broccoli baked and crispy, smothered with a white sauce and cheese shavings

Broccoli Fritto, Sorella, NYC – broccoli baked and crispy, smothered with a white sauce and cheese shavings

Saturday: a day off of eating and a day on of walking – off all the calories inhaled in the last three days. For sustenance to get through the evening, my daughter and I created a plate of specialty meats, cheeses and olives, washed down with a nice bottle of Red Car Rose’, eaten on the rooftop of her apartment in Brooklyn while we watched the sun set over Manhattan.

Plate of heeses, meats, olives, bread and wine enjoyed rooftop

Plate of heeses, meats, olives, bread and wine enjoyed rooftop

Sunday: back to the food fest. Brunch at Seersucker, indulging in southern comfort food. To drink: homemade Blood Orange Sangria. To eat: TN Whiskey Braised Ozark Country Ham with grits and eggs sunny side up; Fried Chicken – need I say more; and a skillet of four biscuits to soak up all the juices and sauces of the afore mentioned plates. Dinner was a late evening event at ABC Kitchen. When we asked the concierge at the hotel to see if he could get us a reservation, all we got was a roll of the eyes from him. But the restaurant was only a block away so my daughter and I walked over on the off chance of getting two seats at the bar. Score! After only a 10 minute wait we were being served. To drink: Sour Cherry Old Fashioned and a McKenzie Rye Manhattan. To eat: Crab Toast with Lemon Aioli; Line Caught Tuna Sashimi Marinated with Ginger and Mint; Steamed Artichoke, Tender Greens and Spicy Oregano Dressing; Mushrooms, Parmesan, Oregano and Farm Egg Whole Wheat Pizza.

Enjoying a brunch of down home southern cooking at Seersucker, Brooklyn

Enjoying a brunch of down home southern cooking at Seersucker, Brooklyn

Other recommended “must tries” restaurants in Manhattan and Brooklyn:

Shake Shack – fresh, juicy hamburgers. Original ‘shack’ at Madison Square Park. $

Tom’s Restaurant – where Seinfeld exterior restaurant scene’s filmed. Good breakfasts – get the pancakes. $

Magnolia Bakery – fresh baked goods. Several locations. Usually a line. $

Il Laboratorio del Gelato – watch the creative curators make a flower of your favorite flavors of gelato. $

Katz Deli – literally ‘melt in your mouth’ pastrami sandwiches. $$ No reservations taken, but be willing to wait in line – it’s worth it!

Lombardi’s Pizzeria – New York Style pizza. Little Italy. Usually a line. $$

Morandi’s – local Italian eatery. Good food – good wine, neighborhood feel. $$ Reservations recommended.

Post Office – quaint Brooklyn bar with great cocktails and appetizers. $$

St. Anselm – Brooklyn boutique eatery with the best steaks. $$$ No reservations taken, and the wait can be upwards of an hour.

The Station – an eclectic mix of foods in a small Brooklyn eatery. $$$ Reservations recommended.

Five Leaves – another great Brooklyn neighborhood restaurant with interesting and fresh dishes. $$$ No reservations taken.

Il Postino – Italian dining at it’s best. Impeccable service. $$$ Reservations needed.

Hospoda – serving Czech foods and beers in a modern setting. $$$ Reservations recommended.

Felidia’s – Italian fine dining and the best Manhattan’s and Old Fashions in the city. $$$ Reservations needed.

Peter Luger’s Steakhouse – world renowned Brooklyn steakhouse, once owned by The Donald. $$$. Reservations needed.

Bar Boulud – one of Daniel Boulud’s French eateries. $$$ Reservations recommended.

Babbo – one of Mario Batali’s Italian eateries. $$$ Reservations needed.

Del Posto – another Mario Batali Italian restaurant. $$$ Reservations needed.

The River Cafe’ – fine dining at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge. Great Thanksgiving dinner. $$$ Reservations needed.

Eleven Park Madison – Michelin Three Star dining extravaganza of a multi-course tasting menu. $$$$ Reservations needed.

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