For my Easter vacation this year, I chose to go to New York!
So, on April 6th, Mirona, Ari and I started on our trip to the city that never sleeps!
Naturally, we made a stop in beautiful Rome, where we thought we’d take advantage of the time we had before our next flight and try a classic Italian coffee. We went to La casa del café on Via degli Orfani, 84! If you are ever in Rome, visit this café, where you will have the best coffee in the whole world! The Italian philosophy is not the same as it is in Greece, for instance, where people can sit around drinking coffee for hours. The Italians go into a café, drink their coffee in 30 seconds and go.
So we had our coffee, Italian style! And decided to go have a classic Panini with slow-roasted ham and some wine at Il Panino Ingegnoso, at Piazza di Pietra 35 and live it up like real Italians!
After a delicious lunch.. it was time to go catch our flight!
After about a 10 hour flight, we finally landed in New York. We made our way to our hotel which was the Standard Hotel. An 18 story tower, overlooking the High Line, at the heart of Manhattan’s meat packing district (848 Washington at 13th street, New York). It was an exceptional hotel with an amazing view!
For those of you who have not visited New York, this is a map of Manhattan, so you can see exactly where I went and the places I’m talking about…
This cosmopolitan, worldly, generously beautiful and tough city is truly an endless source of inspiration! We have all seen parts of it in movies but I can vouch for it myself, that up close and personal, it is even better, more beautiful and full of surprises!
I think I managed to eat all over town and try all sorts of different cuisines in the short time I was there. I’d like to present a complete gastronomical guide of the city!!
On our first night there, we ate at the Momofuku noodle bar! It is one of the best restaurants in America, located on 171 1st Avenue, between 10th and 11th street, New York. This is the menu!
We tried almost everything on the menu! Everything was worth trying but I must admit that what I really liked, were the snacks; rice cakes and pig tails. We naturally tried both ramen dishes, which the restaurant is famous for… and they were amazing! What I wouldn’t recommend is the chilled spicy noodles, because they are really very spicy!! Unless you really love the heat!! All the different types of buns are exceptional and I highly recommend them for everyone!
We ended the evening by trying some interesting beers the restaurant serves. They are quite unique!
We woke up quite early the next day due to jetlag…. and our day began…. What better way to start the day, than by exploring the new city we found ourselves in, which I must admit was very quickly becoming.. our city! We took some time out from all the walking, to refuel and carry on!
Since we had to start off with breakfast, we stood in line from 6.00 in the morning just to try the famous New York cronuts, from the cronut inventor himself.. Chef Dominique Ansel!! The bakery, which of course carries the chef’s name, is located in Soho, on 189 Spring Street (between Sullivan and Thompson), New York.
Cronuts are basically doughnuts made with a special croissant dough. A doughnut-croissant hybrid if you will! That’s where the name came from! Every month they are made with a different flavor. This month, the cronut flavor was a vanilla, thyme and rhubarb. Chef Ansel is also very famous for all his other sweets and pastries, like his éclair’s and cannele de Bordeaux.
After enjoying quite an assortment of sweets, we started walking. We walked all day so we could see as much of the city and as many sights as possible! We visited the MomA Museum, in Midtown Manhattan, which is considered the best museum of modern art in the world. We had to walk around for 3 hours just to see all of it! We also visited the Public Library!
We decided to take a break from all the walking and decided to get some lunch in one of the 3 dining options the MoMA museum offers. We chose The Modern (11 West 53rd Street), which in my opinion is the best value for money dining in New York. Sensational beef tartare and scallops… I found their taste… unforgettable…
For sushi lovers, there is Tomoe Sushi. It is a small restaurant with a casual setting located on 172 Thompson Street, New York. Since t is very famous for its sashimi, we ordered so much of it that we couldn’t finish it all… even though we really wanted to! I highly recommend it…
As many times as you may have seen New York in movies, nothing can prepare you for your first experience with the city.. the first time you walk out onto the streets and are surrounded by the skyscrapers of Manhattan. The Empire State Building, enchanting Little Italy and China town with all its little shops, will fill you with feelings of excitement and enthusiasm!
Today, it has a strong magnetic pull that attracts millions of tourists every year. They come from all parts of the world to get a taste of the most multicultural city in the world. To admire its endless sights, smells and sounds that make you feel as if the city is alive. It doesn’t surprise me that it is the number 1 choice for those who want to journey into the world of taste!
The next day we went to another famous restaurant; Burger and Lobster, which you will find on 39 West 19th Street, between 5th and 6th. We had the pleasure of meeting the restaurant owner and the chef. They took us on a tour of the kitchen… There was a huge lobster tank (as big as a swimming pool) full of lobsters… 3.000 lobsters!! They renew the water in the tank with sea water and basically serve whole lobsters and whatever you choose to eat is priced at $20!!
After filling up on lobster, we were off again, exploring and enjoying every corner of the city. We found ourselves in Eataly (200 5th Avenue, New York), a food paradise… A high-end food mall/market, a piazza full of Italian products, exclusively (cheese, deli meats, pasta…).
Carrying on… We visited Central Park and walked all the way to Times Square, taking in all the huge neon signs that light up the sky and turn night into day.
In the evening we felt like a sandwich, so we decided to try the best pastrami sandwich in town, at Katz’s Delicatessen. I can’t even begin to describe what a great tasting and filling sandwich it was!
We found our way to a music stage with 3-4 different artists and stages. Their music literally ran through your body. So our evening couldn’t have ended in a better way!
We woke up the following morning and started off our day with some reeeeally tasty bagels and some amazing coffee, called… think coffee!
We decided to head over to Brooklyn… where we stopped the best barbeque restaurant in the whole of the States, called Fette Sau (354 Metropolitan Avenue, Brooklyn).
The building used to be an old garage, where they started cooking on the barbeque and before they knew it, it turned into a restaurant. The food actually looks burned but it isn’t… it’s the marinade. The meats are smoked for 1 week and take on a dark color. On the inside, they are very red and melt in your mouth. They have various cuts. The largest cut… ribs. Right behind the ribs is where we find… brisket. They also serve beans, corn and sausages. They serve generous portions of meat and vegetables on thick greaseproof paper, piled on according to how many are being served.
After all that food, we decided to walk it off and made our way to the Brooklyn Bridge. It is one of the oldest bridges and it connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, spanning over the East River.
We decided to rest the next day, since we had plans to go see an NBA game. The Knicks VS The Bucks!! We also wanted to see our very own Gianni Antetokounmpo. It was unbelievable! Quite an experience and I urge you all to go! There is so much energy in the stadium while the game is going on and there is a very phantasmagoric appeal to it!!
The following morning, we went to one of the most famous places for brunch… Baltazhar. We enjoyed a wonderful brunch and were all powered up and ready for aloooot more walking… again!!
We boarded the ferry boat and crossed over to the Statue of Liberty. It should be noted that this colossal statue was taken apart, broken down into 350 pieces in order to be shipped to the United States in 1885, and then it was put together again, piece by piece.
At night, we had dinner at Momofuko ko (8 Extra Place, New York), where you can only make a reservation 15 days ahead, and can only stay for 5 minutes! Everyone waits in line until 2-3 seats are available and only then are they allowed in. As you can understand, we really had to fight to get those seats.
There is a bar separating the diners from their chefs! There is a chef, with his assistants, in front of each table, who serves 3-4 people. The staff is double the amount of the people dining!!! This particular restaurant is the only restaurant that I found it difficult to say that even one dish was mediocre… they were all sensational!
We started our day by visiting the High Line! It is an elevated train station that has been transformed into a park!!! Yes! You heard correctly.. It is really beautiful and when the weather is good, you’ll find so many people taking walks or reading peacefully reading their books!
After such an enjoyable walk, we decided to try something a bit more casual but very tasty. We went to Bleecker Street Pizza (69 Seventh Avenue South). This is where you will find the best pizza in New York! Crispy even though quite rich… It certainly isn’t recommended for those of you who watch your diet, but it is definitely worth trying at least once!
Feeling full of energy after the pizza, we thought we’d walk around some more to take in all the magical sights of the city since our days were running out...
The next day we had breakfast at Freemans! A wonderful restaurant on the Lower East Side that is really worth trying!
In the afternoon, we took the train to get to Harlem and more specifically, the Red Rooster. The best fried chicken in New York. I can’t say I was that excited with the food since it isn’t really suited to my tastes, but the atmosphere was amazing! Jazz music accompanied our dishes and we drank that sensational smoked brandy. In this way, another evening came to an end…
Whoever travels to this beautiful city should get a bicycle and ride down the whole beach! The best time to do this would be 5-6 in the afternoon, just in time for magic hour… that magical hour when the sun goes down and the skyscrapers start to light up. That’s exactly what we did! We met up with some friends of Mirona, got some bicycles and were on our way! I must admit, it was one of the nicest feelings I’ve ever experienced!
When we got back from such a great ride, we were very hungry…. ofcourse! So we thought we’d try some Mexican food this time! We went to Toloache (251 West 50th Street, New York), which had the lightest dishes I’ve ever had. Everything was very impressive and they also had a large variety of margarita’s and guacamole!
For our last night, we thought we’d try one of the best restaurants in the world.. Eleven Madison Park! We had the honor of being allowed in the kitchen and enjoying the cuisine from there! All of the dishes were exceptional and of course gourmet!
Like I said from the start, we went to New York to explore and get our fill of food and culture… and we did just that! I wanted to share my gastronomical experience with you!
New York is unforgettable, no matter what season you decide to visit! Through spring and fall the weather is very sweet and offers the perfect atmosphere for long walks in the park and through all the neighborhoods…
It was a trip of a lifetime that has truly left us with the best impressions and I hope that the same happens to you when you visit!