My NYC Food Safari; Top 10 Eats
I recently made a last minute trip to New York and spent 10 days eating my way around the city. I generally started the day with a green smoothie or fresh fruit but come lunch and dinner time I would seize the opportunity to eat somewhere I hadn’t been before. From burgers, doughnuts, pizza, pastrami reubens, ramen, Jamaican jerk chicken, Brazilian banana fritters, scotch eggs and disco fries to Dominique Ansel’s Frozen S’mores, Momofuku’s cereal milk soft serve and Michelin star restaurant, The Musket Rooms’ New Zealand red deer with flavours of Gin, I covered a lot of food territory. These are the top 10 places I ate during my time in New York, in no particular order.
1. Shake Shack
Let’s face it, Shake Shack is the main reason I went back to New York. I fell in love with the Shack Burger, cheese fries and concretes at Madison Square Park on my first visit to NY in 2012. There are several Shake Shack locations throughout NY but my go-to is the Madison Square Park restaurant which features an outdoor setting among green gardens and when the string lights turn on at dusk, it is the prettiest burger joint you have ever seen.
Called ‘The Woodstock of Eating’ by the New York Times, Smorgasborg is a food lover’s heaven. It is the food spin-off of Brooklyn Flea where every weekend from April through November, upwards of 10,000 visitors gather to feast upon packaged and prepared foods and beverages from purveyors from New York City and across the region. Featuring 75-100 vendors you could go to Smorgasburg every weekend and still try something new. Popular items are Dough doughnuts, Ramen Burger and Home Frite Truffle Fries. You also can’t go past grilled corn on the cob, scotch eggs and homemade lemonade. There are now three Smorgasburg locations; I made it to the Brooklyn Bridge Park location which has incredible views of the water and Manhattan.
3. Momofuku Milk Bar
This hole-in-the-wall bakery shop in Soho is the dessert derivative of Momofuku. There are six locations throughout NY however I quite liked the novelty of ordering at the window and eating on the street bench at the Soho shop. I made a mess of the cereal milk soft serve with crunch, but boy it was tasty. Next time I go back, it will be for the Crack Pie. #milklife
4. Dominique Ansel’s Bakery
Famed for being the birth place of the Cronut, Dominique Ansel Bakery has been ranked as the best bakery in New York. A Cronut pastry is a croissant-doughnut hybrid that is made by frying a laminated dough in grape seed oil. The fried pastry is then sugared, filled and glazed. The Cronut craze has spread throughout the world (I have had many a cronut in Sydney), however the name has been trade marked and the only way to get an original Dominique Ansel Bakery Cronut is to line up before 7:30am at the Soho Bakery and be served before the daily batch runs out at about 9am. Another genius Dominique Ansel invention is the Frozen S’more. With one bite I had died and gone to food heaven. A custard ice-cream that is covered with crispy chocolate wafer crisps and enrobed in a modified frozen marshmallow, the Frozen S’more is blowtorched to order on a wood stick that has been smoked in the bakery using applewood chips that bring out the smokey aroma of a campfire. Gimme S’more.
5. Miss Lily’s + Melvin’s Juice Box
Being a fan of all things Jamaican, Miss Lily’s was high on the list for my NYC food safari. I visited the Soho cafe and Melvin’s Juice Box. The Jerk Chicken Salad was absolutely delicious and Melvin’s Juice Box’s Orange Pop was tasty, organic and refreshing. I had the privilege of meeting the juicing legend himself and was inspired by his passion for living a healthy lifestyle. Melvin was the friendliest guy I met in NYC and he has a nick name for everyone, even random passers-by. After spending some time with this full-of-life character, it was clear why he has garnered a cult following. Miss Lily’s, a Jamaican-style diner has a colourful interior featuring blue and white checkered floors, white vinyl booth seating with red, yellow and green stripes and walls covered in Jamaican album covers. Miss Lily’s is a good time and a slice of the caribbean in the concrete jungle that is NYC.
6. The Musket Room
I originally found out about The Musket Room via pinterest images of the interiors. Designed by Alexander Waterworth Interiors, The Musket Room is an award-winning space featuring rustic and contemporary design elements including lime-washed exposed brick, mid-century brass chandeliers, moody blue leather upholstery and rustic timber flooring that merges with intricate concrete floor detailing around the bar. The Musket Room is the youngest NY restaurant to receive a Michelin Star after being open just four months. After tasting the New Zealand Red Deer with flavours of gin and the Berkshire Pork, it was clear to see why. The food was cooked to perfection and presented in a simple, creative manner. The combination of Red Deer with meringue still blows my mind.
7. Frying Pan / Pier 66 Maritime Bar and Grill
Lightship Frying Pan is an historic ship built in 1929 that is now docked at Pier 66a in the Hudson River Park. At Pier 66 Maritime Bar and Grill you have the option of eating and drinking on the pier or on the Frying Pan itself. The views of the city and the river are spectacular and the atmosphere is buzzing. Seasonally open from May-October, Frying Pan is a must-do during the Summer time.
8. Alta Linea, Highline Hotel
Alta Linea is a new italian-inspired restaurant located in the lush green courtyard of the Highline Hotel. It is the perfect spot for a summertime drink and evening meal. The service is great, wait staff are friendly and the atmosphere is magical as the string lights create a romantic mood amongst the green gardens. Joe Campanale brings a vibrant beverage list of aperitivi cocktails including spritzes and negronis along with a contemporary Italian dinner menu.
9. Katz Delicatessen
Famed for its pastrami reuben and for the filming location of When Harry Met Sally, Katz Delicatessen is New York’s most iconic deli and considered as one of the best places to eat in New York. One look at its instagram account had me prioritising a trip to Katz for a corned meat and pastrami reuben. Luckily you can order half corned meat and half pastrami because it was too hard to choose and the portions are so massive even someone with a bigger appetite than me could only eat one sandwich.
10. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza
Have you ever seen an 18″ pizza? This alone is a drawcard to Artichoke Basilles. The pizzas are absolutely huge, fresh and tasty. Artichoke Basille’s Pizza in Chelsea fast became our local. My food Safari was christened here, with the meatball pizza being the first meal I ate when we arrived in NY, and I also ended it here, ordering an 18” meatball pizza on my last night in NY.