Eating the World, New York, USA

Eating the World: New York City

March 1, 2014

As you’ve probably noticed, I have a conflicting view on whether or not to research restaurants when I go on trips. Sometimes I do, other times I don’t. My last jaunt to the Big Apple falls under one of those times where I did a limited amount of research (read: I wrote down Daniel’s and Gaby’s addresses and a couple of places and called it a day). Luckily for us, we went on a Greenwich Village Food Tour with Free Tours by Foot, where we learned about all the local establishments in the area; information that eventually came to be very handy as we ended up spending the majority of our time in the Village! As a follow up to this post and to prove delicious food don’t have to be expensive, here is a list of the places we ate in while we were in NYC this past December.

Breakfast 

Murray’s Bagels 

500 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10011
Cost: $6/person

Eager to start our first day in the city, Julia and I left the apartment rather early that morning despite coming in at such an ungodly hour the night before. We hopped on the F-train from Brooklyn and got off at one of the stops on 6th Avenue. Our food tour wasn’t going to start until the afternoon, so we had plenty of time to explore Greenwich. But, as always, first order of business was breakfast! We walked for a little bit before passing by Murray’s Bagels, a tiny establishment that was hopping with customers that morning. Local place? Check. Popular? Extremely.

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Julia ordered us a couple of NY bagels toasted with original and vegetable cream cheese and of course, coffee. The bagels came with, I kid you not, a MASSIVE mound of cream cheese. So much so that both of us had to scrape some off before being able to put them in our mouth. I’m not complaining, though – they were delicious!

Nikki’s Cafe 

434 Kings Hwy, New York, NY 11223
Cost: $5.39

Located just a couple of blocks down from where we were staying and recommended by Daniel, we decided to give Nikki’s Cafe a try for our breakfast on our last day. With big portions and budget prices, it was well worth it and very delicious. The $5.39 Hungry Man breakfast did its job and kept me full until much later in the afternoon that day.

The Hungry Man

The Hungry Man

Snacks 

Pasticceria Rocco

243 Bleecker St. New York, NY 10014
Cost: $3.25

RoccoCannoli

During the food tour, Meredith, our guide, pointed out that Pasticceria Rocco has the best and most authentic cannoli in all of New York City. It was not a stop in our tour, though, so we made a mental note to come back and have it as a snack after the tour. What I failed to realize was how full I would be AFTER a food tour (DUH!). Nevertheless, it was rich, creamy, freshly made, and all-around delicious, especially when consumed with a cup of Latte!

New York Pizza Stores

Cost: $1/slice

The Hungry Man breakfast above was more than enough to tide me over until early afternoon when I started getting hungry. Considering the streets of New York are always lined with pizza stores, I simply walked into one and grabbed the classic $1 cheese pizza for snacks.

Lunch

A Salt and Battery 

112 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011
Cost: $13.07 for the Haddock and fries

We were on our way to the Chelsea Market and the High Line when we decided that it’s probably a good idea to eat lunch first. Standing on the intersection waiting for the light to change, Daniel (being the random guy that he is) suddenly mentioned he had been wanting to try a fish and chips place around the area. In fact, it was only several blocks away from where we were standing. After getting a consensus from the group, we trotted to A Salt and Battery (Hah! Get it?!), a hole in the wall place with limited sitting area on Greenwich Avenue. I had the Haddock and shared the fries with Gaby. The cashier had a very thick British accent, the air inside smelled of frying oil, and we all came out feeling satisfied albeit smelling a little bit like the food we just ate.

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Dinner

Meskerem Ethiopian

124 MacDougal St. New York, NY 10012
Cost: $16/person

After walking up and down the length of Broadway and going in out and out of stores like Muji, Madewell, and Uniqlo, Julia and I were more than famished – shopping should really be considered as a form of working out! Tired and hungry, we put our heads together to have a quick discussion on where to go for dinner. Both of us remembered Meredith showing us an Ethiopian restaurant when we were devouring Mamoun’s Falafel on MacDougal Street and we had mentioned to each other that we should go there for dinner. So we did.

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Best. Decision. Ever.

The place is TINY, so we had to wait quite some time before getting a table. Once we got a table, though, we were more than happy taking our time to eat our food. We ordered 2 dishes that were served on top of the injera – the flat sourdough bread. They also added a couple huge dollops of chickpea stew and an extra plate of injera. The generous portion made it hard to finish everything on the tray – no complaints, though!

Photo by Julia.

Photo by Julia.

I know it doesn’t look all that appetizing from the picture, but oh-my-goodness, it was delicious! Trust!

Dos Toros Taqueria 

11 Carmine Street, between Bleecker and 6th Ave, on Father Demo Square
Cost: $~10ish

Strolling 5th Ave. to see the Christmas lights on display as well as checking out the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Centre are two activities that were high on our list. Determined to do this, we started from the Central Park Circle and walked up 5th. Alas, “snow” started falling in the middle of our stroll. I use the term “snow” loosely here because in New York, snow is not the fluffy white things that we get here in Canada. Rather, it’s wet, sloppy, and generally icky. It felt like you’re being rained on by a 7-11 slushy machine. Anyways, once we got through the whole ordeal (verdict: the Christmas tree is so darn pretty, but the crowds turn me off – surprise, surprise!), we were wet and hungry. We made our way to the Village and walked through MacDougal Street again hoping to try a different restaurant, but nothing tickled our fancy. That is, until we crossed to the other side and passed by Dos Toros Taqueria. I was sold as soon as the idea of eating burrito popped into my mind. I LOVE burritos. For roughly $10, you get a huge burrito and a (refillable) fountain drink. Amazing.

There are also other random things we had but are not included in the list above, namely Dunkin Donuts (skip it – Tim Horton’s is much better), Currito Burrito at the Newark Airport (it was OK), and some coffee cakes from a gathering after Sunday Mass. Otherwise, I thought we did a pretty good job in finding sustenance for ourselves. The Food Tour certainly helped us very much, so make sure you check them out next time you visit the Big Apple!

Any thoughts? Have you had Ethiopian food? Eating it is such a cultural and community experience! How about those cannolis? I need to find some in Toronto! Onto a more relevant topic, do you research your restaurants before you go? Or do you rely on fate to guide you there? If you research, do you trust Yelp/TripAdvisor/Urban Spoon? Spill! 

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