The Big Apple is known for some of the world’s tastiest cuisine. You already know what NYC restaurants were the worst eats from my last blog post. Now, it’s time to share some of the best NYC eats (and drinks) I experienced during my Thanksgiving visit.
I Yelped coffee shops in the East Village so I could finish up some work and grab an espresso since I hadn’t slept since the day before arriving in NYC. Everyman Espresso popped up with some great reviews and high ratings so I ventured over there. The staff was so nice (and funny – see below photo). The male server told me they’re known for their espresso and said their lattes were pretty damn good. It was not only the prettiest latte I’ve ever received (see photo below), but it was the tastiest! So rich and creamy… Quite possibly the best cup of espresso I’ve ever consumed. The only downside to this place is that it’s so great, it’s so busy! I was fortunate enough to grab a table right as a group was leaving, but people were crunched over on the bench working away.
OMG… I could go on and on about this place. My friend, Jen, chose our dinner spot for the first night of my visit. Although I had a HUMONGOUS NYC restaurant bucket list of suggested places to try, I knew Jen wouldn’t steer me in the wrong direction 🙂 So, she chose The Meatball Shop.
This place reminded me so much of what I’m used to when dining in Miami’s latest spots. Communal tables, amazing branding (MEATBALLERS), small and cozy restaurant, friendly staff with a hipster/edgy vibe, and a packed house. I loved their ordering process – review their laminated menu, use a white board eraser marker to indicate your picks, then hand to the server. I liked the menu concept – choose your ball, choose your sauce, choose your side(s). But mostly, I LOVED their menu offerings. I was so torn between chicken, turkey, and beef balls (you can say that again), and then, I couldn’t decide which sauce. The pesto sauce sounded good. The creamy Parmesan sauce sounded amazing. It all sounded soooo delish! After speaking with the server and hearing her suggestions, I chose the traditional beef balls with the creamy Parmesan sauce. I decided I couldn’t go wrong with their special-of-the-day risotto which was butternut squash. I’ve also been on a polenta craze so I added that to my order as well.
The food came out pretty quickly (quick enough that I said, “wow, that was quick”)! What followed were multiple foodie mouth orgasms… One… After… Another… Ohhhh….Myyyyyy….Goodnesssss. I instantly fell in love with The Big Apple after that meal. The meatballs were tender, flavorful, juicy, hot, and perfect. The creamy Parmesan sauce definitely stood up to its name. Thick, rich, and cheesy! Jen had ordered that in her past visit and liked it, but thought it was too rich. I say, the creamier and richer, the better! I was very satisfied with the polenta, and the risotto was delicious too – reminded me of fall. Sadly, we didn’t have enough room in our bellies for dessert. I regret not making room in my stomach for that deliciousness.
On one of my last days, Jen took me to a few local East Village eateries where I could try their small bites, and obviously try more than one restaurant. First, we went to Crif Dogs where I had the chihuahua hot dog. Crif Dogs sidenote: The combination of flavors bursted together and into my mouth. Very yummy EXCEPT for one thing… Why do they ruin their hot dogs with a cheap, plain, cold hot dog bun? It seriously ruined the taste of the amazingness that they created to go inside of it. The bun wasn’t toasted. It was very cheap tasting. And there was too much of it. I ended up peeling off most of it.
On to Baohaus… Again – multiple foodiegasms. I had no words when I chomped into their Birdhaus Bao (pictured below, left). The fried chicken was juicy and covered with some of the best seasonings I’ve ever had. I realize I say that a lot… But seriously! There was just so much FLAVOR. Jen also ordered the chairman bao with pork belly, crushed peanuts, cilantro, Haus relish, and Taiwanese red sugar (pictured below, right). I complimented the staff and they made a huge deal out of it – clapping and making noise like they had never received a compliment in their life. It was fun 🙂 Also, the playlist is pretty freaking awesome. Gotta love some old-school hip hop. I even searched out and subscribed to Eddie Huang’s Spotify playlist (I swear I’m not a stalker).
If any of you know me, even a little bit, you know I’m like the worst Asian ever. And I mean EVER. I can’t use chopsticks, I [obviously] hate seafood, I had Korean bbq for the first time from a food truck in Austin two years ago (I’m of Korean descent), and I’m just an all-around twinkie (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) since I was raised in Iowa. So sadly, I had never tried Filipino food until my NYC trip. We ventured out to Grill 21 which was highly suggested by Jen’s co-workers and had very high ratings and reviews on Yelp (our handy sidekick). Since I don’t get too adventurous in some of my eats (chicken liver – no thanks!), I ordered one of their more traditional pork dishes – pork adobo (last picture). My friends ordered a couple other dishes like said chicken liver and a seafood dish. We all got a heaping side of garlic rice to compliment our main dishes. This is a very small establishment and you’re sitting next to the kitchen. Therefore, you are smelling amazing essences of all this exotic Asian food. When everything came out, we were so overwhelmed – it looked amazing! The pork adobo was so tender and juicy. It melted in your mouth. And that garlic rice – my goodness! Never would have thought to put so much garlic with white rice. Ahhh nom nom nom. So good. A super big plus in my book was the service and friendliness of the staff. They were so adorable and helpful. It was our friend’s birthday the previous day and her friend brought her a Two Little Red Hens cake for us to share. The staff turned on this hilarious birthday song through their sound system and made a huge fiasco for her. It was incredible!
I’ve had my fair share of Thai food. It’s one of my favorite types of food along with Italian and good ol’ American. After visiting my Fox News UM buddy, Bryan, we walked over to his favorite Thai place. I’m usually very satisfied with the Thai places I try. How can you really f*ck up pad Thai I mean, honestly. I was very impressed with their extensive menu selection. It reminded me a lot of Moon in Miami (one of my favorite go-to’s during my UM days). We started with the Thai beef jerky appetizer which I had never heard of before. They were thin, spicy and very flavorful pieces of beef that came with sticky rice. Forget the rice – just eat the beef! After consuming the app, I was excited for our chicken pad Thai and I was not disappointed when it arrived. The portions were huge! I really appreciate restaurants that give you a bang for your buck – not only in flavor, but portions. Just like many of the other restaurants, it was a small, local eatery. A hidden gem. A hole in the wall. I left deeply satisfied and was very thankful Bryan introduced me to the place because I’ll be sure to recommend it to other New Yorkers and visitors (hint hint). Sorry no pictures…
After a long day of site-seeing on my final full day in the city, Jen took me to Delicatessen for our “last supper.” She knew how much I love and crave mac and cheese (oh boy, do I!) and kept raving about their different mac and cheese options as well as their truffle fries. Neither of us were even THAT hungry, but of course we had to try a few dishes and indulge a little. We opted for the burger mac ‘n cheese, truffle fries, and the Reuben sandwich. Burger mac n cheese = orgasmic. Why have I never thought to add ground beef to my mac n cheese? I don’t know. Must be because I am an idiot. This is that creamy, don’t-want-to-think-about-how-many-calories-are-in-it kind of mac ‘n cheese. Ohhhh soooo gooood. The truffle fries melted in our mouths. And the Rueben – damn! I was VERY hesitant to order this because who really orders these? C’mon now… Well, I’m VERY glad we did. The different layers of corned beef were succulent with their homemade russian dressing. So incredibly enjoyable. All this amazing food surrounded by a very lovely ambiance – modern but classy with a touch of wood.
I fear if I ever move to NYC, I will gain 20 lbs. just from eating red velvet cupcakes at Crumbs (even with all the extra walking). Myyyyyy gooooooooodnesssssss what an amazing, fresh, moist, succulent, sweet, and creamy cupcake. The best. I’ve ever. Had.
Jen and I decided to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, walk around Dumbo, and explore Williamsburg. As the sun went down, so did the temperature and our patience. After waiting forever for the fairy to Williamsburg, we ran off in search of a coffee shop (something warm to consume and a public restroom). As my hands froze trying to Yelp the nearest coffee shop, we followed directions to Gourmet Guild which ended up being one of our most treasured finds from the week. The GG is a quaint, cute, well-sized marketplace that sells an array of local products. From the fresh brewed coffee to homemade cakes to fresh seafood to infused olive oils to organic food products to cute little knick-knacks. It was precious. The owners were so kind and welcoming too. We weren’t really hungry and we knew we had to get back for dinner soon after leaving this place, but we couldn’t resist trying the PBLT made by The Halcyon Gourmet. It was a nice little compliment to our coffees. Can’t wait to visit this place again!
That wraps up my favorite NYC eats after also experiencing some of NYC’s worst eats. If you have some other NYC favs, please feel free to share them!