Well, I’m officially back from my first trip to New York City! Holy moly you guys. What a trip. I’m not going to lie, I went to New York expecting to have some mediocre food, maybe a few good things, but was pleasantly surprised and blown away from the first bite I took in the big apple!
I went to NYC to visit my best friend since Jr. High, Grant! He’s lived in New York for over a year now so he’s had enough time to pick out his favorite spots. And, thanks to things I spotted on my Facebook feed, we even stopped at a few places that I discovered! So get ready to see a lot of pictures of amazing food and read a lot of yummy food descriptions! Hopefully I won’t make make your mouth water too much! 😉 Bon appetit!
Eli’s Night Shift and Roma Pizza
Once we dropped my bags off at Grant’s apartment we headed to Eli’s Night Shift– located on the Upper East Side. I was so excited to be in the Big Apple, I totally forgot to take a picture of the first thing I ate- but it was delicious regardless! We got the steak nachos and holy macaroni were they yummy! It was a smaller portion as compared to other nachos I’ve eaten, but since it was around 10:00 PM we weren’t looking for anything too big since we were just a little bit hungry. They also had a fun selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. I ended up get the cider they had on draft because I feel like no matter where I go cider or fruity beers are always my go to! The atmosphere was so fun! They have big, floor to ceiling windows that they open which made it feel bigger and got a good breeze going! We sat at the bar and chairs set up along the line of big windows- the perfect spot to people watch! After we finished up at Eli’s we headed back to his apartment to get some beauty sleep for the jam packed day that was ahead of us.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! Before we hit the hay, we ordered Roma Pizza from Seamless. I was overjoyed about trying Seamless because we don’t have anything like it here in Central Illinois. Basically Seamless is a food delivery system, so you order your food on their app or website and it’s delivered right to your door. I know it sounds so uninteresting, but it was one of the top things I wanted to do while I was there (#MidwestenProbs)!
We ordered 3 slices of pizza, buffalo chicken, Hawaiian, and baked ziti (my fave)! I was seriously in heaven. Growing up in the Chicagoland area, I was raised on pizza and I have to say, this was some of the best (if not the best) pizza I have ever had. I’m not even kidding. We even heated the pizza up the next day and it was still just as amazing! Also, these slices were literally the size of my head! So big that I could barely hold the piece with one hand!
Amy’s Bread, City Acres Market, Sushi Gari 64, Beer Culture, and Magnolia Bakery
We got up bright and early to get a jump start on our day because we had a lot we wanted to do! Something that I absolutely loved about this trip is that we had little to no plans set in stone, we simply went were the wind blew us. This is huge for me because normally I am obsessive about planning out every single second of every vacation (which is why my impending trip to Disney in January is my dream come true- so. much. planning.). But I loved the simplicity and “go with the flow” mentality I had during this trip!
After we got ready we hopped on the subway (my first subway ride ever! It was so fun!) and headed down to Hell’s Kitchen for breakfast. We decided to stop at a grab and go place so we could get going quickly. We stopped at the cutest bakery, Amy’s Bread!
We couldn’t decide if we wanted to go the sweet or savory route, so we chose to get the best of both worlds and get 2 things to share- the sour cream coffeecake with blueberries and a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on challah. We also got iced teas because it just sounded so refreshing!
Once we finished breakfast we headed out to explore the city (more on that in an upcoming post!). After we walked what seemed like the whole island of Manhattan, we worked up quite the appetite. We were down in the Financial District and Grant suggested a place called City Acres Market! From the second we walked in, I was in love. It was a quaint place that held tons of vendors, a yummy smelling hot and cold bar, and a wide array of options in their grab and go fridge section! I kept trying to take photos of how cool it looked, but as my mom always says, “you just can’t capture it on film”. More to my surprise, there was a full grocery store located on the bottom level! There were so many options, but we opted to go for pizza and dumplings! The pizza was from a place called Artichoke and it was to die for. We got the Artichoke pizza which featured a spinach cream sauce with artichoke hearts and a blend of cheeses. So. Dang. Delicious.
Like I mentioned before, we also picked up dumplings from a place called Vanessa’s Dumpling House. We decided to get the steamed variety which came with 6 steamed dumplings, each with a different filling. I had never eaten steamed dumplings before, but now I don’t think I’ll want them any other way. They were so soft and filled with flavor! It was actually super fun to taste the dumpling and try to guess which filling it was, Grant and I made a little game out of it. Such a wonderful experience!
After we explored the island a bit more we headed back to his apartment to get ready for Kinky Boots (my first Broadway show!). Before the show we grabbed sushi at the cutest little sushi place I had ever been to, Sushi Gari 46! I looked into it more and it looks like they have locations all over the city, but we went to the location located closest to Times Square/Broadway. It was the perfect stop before our theatre performance, super quick and friendly service! We started with miso soup and got 3 rolls- spicy tuna, salmon roe, and California. Just like pizza, I’ve had a lot of sushi in my life (it is my favorite food after all) and I have to say, this was the best sushi I’ve ever had! I feel like I’ve been saying that about all the food I had in New York, but it’s so true! All the food I had while on my trip was absolutely amazing! After we finished our meal we got complimentary green tea, such a wonderful way to end the meal!
Since our service was so quick at Sushi Gari we had time to kill before the theatre opened so we stopped at Beer Culture, a small bar located next to the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, where Kinky Boots plays. (Shoutout to Google Maps for helping us find this place!) It was super quaint on the inside. They had tables and chairs lining the walls and a bar with stools. We opted to sit at the bar as all the tables were taken- a popular place! It actually reminded me of places back home where there are regulars and everyone knows each other. They had a large selection of craft canned and bottled beer, as well as beers on tap! Like I mentioned earlier, I almost always go with a cider or fruit beer, so this was no different. I got Broken Bow Brewery’s Lucy’s Sour Strawberry Wheat Ale- so yummy! After we finished our drinks, we headed to the theatre which was just a few steps away! So convenient!
After the show my sweet tooth was in full force, so we were on the hunt for something to satisfy it! We first attempted to get cookies from Schmackary’s, but the line was so long we decided against it. We instead headed to Magnolia Bakery and got there right before they closed- talk about good luck! They were out of cupcakes, but had tons of banana pudding left and am I glad they did! Seriously AMAZING! We waited until we got back to Grant’s apartment to dive into it and since I was in awe at how wonderfully delicious it was, I forgot to snap a photo! Between the mix of Nilla Wafers, pudding, and banana slices it literally tasted like sugary banana frosting- fun fact: I normally don’t gravitate towards banana things, but I LOVED this! I loved it so much I was tempted to go back and get some to take home with me and am currently scouring Pinterest for a copy-cat recipe. If you know of one, let me know ASAP!
Sweet Chick, Mother of Pearl, Big Gay Ice Cream, The Meatball Shop
We started off the day at Sweet Chick where I got chicken and waffles, a biscuit with jam, and a cold brew! SO YUMMY! I’ve always wanted to get chicken and waffles when I’ve gone to brunch places, but never have so this was the perfect place to do it! I believe it was their specialty/what they were known for and I can see why! Their waffles were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and the chicken was seasoned and cooked to perfection! I made sure to douse my meal in butter and syrup because butter and syrup make everything taste better, right?! 😉
After exploring Soho and some beautiful parks on the East side, we bee lined to a place I learned about thanks to a Refinery29 video- Mother of Pearl, a vegan restaurant/tiki bar! I immediately fell in love the second we stepped in the door. The vibe was so warm, welcoming, and relaxing! It was not the kind of cliche tiki bar you might be thinking of, it felt like something out of a fancy magazine! Pastel colors were interjected all over the place while beautiful lighting fixtures adorned the walls and ceilings. There was also green palm leaf wallpaper all over and I was 100% there for it.
Now onto the reason we went there in the first place- The Shark Eye! It was a cocktail with passion fruit, lemon, maraschino, dry curaçao, bourbon, rye, and tiki bitters. Normally not something I would choose, but it looked too cool to pass up!
Yes, you’re seeing that correctly it’s in a shark head glass with what I assume is red food coloring dripped around it to look like blood- so fun! Also, super bonus, they use what I call Sonic ice (the ice they use at the fast food restaurant Sonic) aka the best ice on planet earth! I had a wonderful experience and would 100% go back and try the other drinks on their menu!
After our fun drinks at Mother of Pearl, we headed a few streets over to Big Gay Ice Cream! Grant got something called the Salty Pimp (right) and I got the Rockyroadhouse Cone (left)! So Instagramable and delicious at the same time! Bonus: not only did they put the toppings on top of my cone but I they also put toppings in the middle, so when I got to the middle I was greeted with a topping surprise!
Since we ate the ice cream in the early evening we weren’t hungry for dinner before we saw CATS, so we opted to grab food after the show! After we got our minds blown from the amazing dancing and singing at CATS we went to The Meatball Shop!
This place is so neat because you get to create your own meatball bowl/sandwich/whatever! We started off with the Mini Buffalo Chicken Balls and they were to die for! They came in a bath of bleu cheese and had celery on the side!
For my entree I went with their meatball special, the chicken pot pie, with mushroom gravy, over rigatoni. I LOVED this meal. It tasted exactly like a chicken pot pie, but in meatball form! My mind was seriously blown! The portion was pretty big, so we took some home and had it for a snack later that night!
Corner Bagel Shop, DTUT, Juice Generation, Empire Hotel Rooftop, Feinstein’s 54 Below
This was the day I felt like a real New Yorker- walking around the city, working on my laptop in a coffee shop, etc.! Grant had to work, so I worked on the blog during the day while he worked! We woke up bright and early to not only get a head start on the day, but to get bagels! We stopped at The Bagel Shop and decided to get 2 different bagels to share!
The first bagel we got was an everything bagel with bacon scallion cream cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. One thing you could probably tell about me is that I love carbs (I mean they are our bodies preferred energy source, so why wouldn’t I?) and this bagel was the mother of all carbs! It was a match made in bagel and cream cheese heaven!
The second bagel we got was a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on a plain bagel. While not as good as the everything bagel with bacon scallion cream cheese, it was still yummy! Also, we got apple juice to drink, because 1. Apple juice is my jam and 2. Apple juice literally goes with anything- seriously. If you don’t believe me, try it!
After we ate our yummy bagel breakfast, we headed to DTUT, a local coffee shop, to get some work done! The neat thing about DTUT is that it’s a cafe/coffee shop during the day and a bar at night! I saw these kind of places a lot in NYC and I loved it! Eli’s, the place we went to on my first night there, was the same way- a cafe during the day and a bar at night! I love the kind of versatility that comes from having a place you can go anytime of day- such a smart idea! While working on my post, 7 Ways to Create a Sanctuary Space, I sipped on a caramel almond milk latte! Also, the view was amazing! We sat at the bar in front of the open, floor-to-ceiling windows (again, the perfect place to people watch and take in the sights and sounds of the city!)
After slowly sipping my latte and finishing up my blog post, we headed back to Grant’s apartment for lunch! Once we got back we didn’t feel like venturing out again so we ordered Juice Generation acai bowls on Postmates (another food delivery service)! I got the Almond Butter Bliss Bowl, so yummy! I was nervous that the bowl wouldn’t full me up, because normally smoothies don’t, but was pleasantly surprised at how filling it was! There was a huge glob of almond butter in the middle of the bowl surrounded by banana and strawberry slices and covered in shredded coconut! I would literally eat one of these a day if we had one here!
After working all day, Grant and I headed out to live my Gossip Girl fantasy at the Hotel Empire rooftop bar. If you’re not a fan of the show, let me apologize in advance, but if you are a fan, you’ll totally understand why I was fangirling the whole time I was there! We got a bottle of riesling along with some truffle tater-tots and a trio of deviled eggs! Both were to die for. The Truffle tots were covered in cheese (my fave) and came with sides of aioli and ketchup for dipping!
Anyone in my family will tell you that I’ve been obsessed with deviled eggs since I came out of the womb, so this deviled trio caught my eye on the menu immediately! The trio included a lobster, jalapeno, and bacon deviled egg, which was the perfect bite! Each egg was so flavorful and the presentation was amazing and so aesthetically pleasing!
Before we headed out to our next adventure, we swung by the hotel bar so I could get the Chuck Bass cocktail (the drink inspired by the Gossip Girl character who owned the Hotel Empire in the show!). Grant also got a cocktail and we enjoyed good conversation over the dimly lit and beautiful ambiance of the hotel bar!
Our last stop on my whirlwind trip was Feinstein’s 54 Below! What a way to end the trip. We bought tickets, but weren’t really sure what to expect. Let me tell you, not only was the food amazing, but the music was amazing too! We saw composer, Kailey Marshall and I was literally moved to tears because her music was just that beautiful. But before the tears started flowing from being moved by her music, I was wowed by the food at 54 Below! We decided to get the bacon mac and cheese and lobster ravioli! I wish everyone could taste that mac and cheese because it was probably the best I’ve ever had, I mean look at that cheese melt on the side of the ramekin! I literally looked like the heart eye emoji when I was eating that mac and cheese.
That’s all folks!
To say that I was blown away by the cuisine in NYC is an understatement. I can honestly say that some of the best food I’ve ever had in my life came from this trip. I fell in love with every bite, sip, and lick I took in during my days spent in Manhattan. I know these may not be your favorite foods or even places you would be willing to try but I highly recommend every place we went! I can’t wait to go back and experience more of what this wonderful city has to offer!
Where are your favorite places to eat or drink in the big apple? Let me know in the comments below so I can add them to my list! Also, stay tuned for an upcoming post detailing all the places we went and the experiences we had!
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