New York is one of my favorite places in the world. It’s full of an energy that you can’t put your finger on, a sense of the old world and new world working together in a chaotic harmony, a chance to experience the first and best of everything from new clothing stores to new workouts, and there are few places with better food. I’ll go ahead and be honest, the food is what I come for.
It’s hard though because so much of what makes the food in NY great is the hole in the wall spots, and when you don’t live there you end up making up a list of must-try spots purely based on how beautiful their photos look on Instagram. I’ll admit this trip was a combo of those two things, but I never ate a single morsel that was less than great. Becuase that’s how food is in NY, if a restaurant doesn’t serve good food it doesn’t last, plain and simple.
This particular trip was a rather last minute because my husband had to head there for work so we decided to make a weekend out of since we have tons of friends and family and it was a good excuse to pop out of town. We stayed at the Hilton on the West Side because it’s convenient (and close to some good workout spots) but we spent the majority of our time downtown, with one quick jaunt to Brooklyn and stroll through Central Park.
Where I Ate & What I did:
- Jacks Wife Freida: We arrived late morning on Thursday and since the hubs had to work I ended up meeting a good girlfriend of mine for a late lunch at Jack’s Wife Freida. It’s one of my favorites and I always get the same thing, the chicken kabob bowl. This place is always full even at 2:30 in the afternoon on a random Thursday but the crowd moves quickly so grabbing a table in the cozy dining room is fairly easy.
- Nom Wah Tea Parlor: Thursday’s dinner was at a spot I’d been dying to try for years (thanks, Insta!) but it’s been around since 1920 when it opened as the first ever dim sum spot in China Town. Talk about history. The inside is yellow and pink, and you can’t even make a reservation on the weekends it’s so packed but I was lucky to grab a spot that night to chow down on all of my favorite dishes with our friends. We ordered everything from chicken pot stickers to juicy soup dumplings to cilantro scallion rice rolls, to steamed shrimp dumplings, noodles, crispy pork chops and more. It was simple but delicious and lived up to all of my dim sum expectations!
- Rumble: On Friday & Saturday Morning I took this awesome 45-minute boxing/circuits class that keeps you entertained the ENTIRE time with great music and an upbeat workout. The best part is, classes are usually $34 per class but as a first timer, you get an extra class for free to use in the next week! Definitely check it out!
- Sadelle’s: This is my husband’s favorite spot, and pretty much the only place he always requests we visit. Which is fine by me and by our friends that usually accompany us because it’s so freaking good. I adore their chopped greek salad but the bagels and lox, french toast, and scrambled eggs are up there too. We basically ended up with one of everything!
- Quality Eats: Disclaimer we ate TWO dinners on Friday night… the first was around 7pm with my friend Caroline at Quality Eats, a spot she picked that was full of interesting appetizers and a yummy salmon dish that I got plus adorable cocktails like this old-fashioned with a rubber ducky floating in it! The second dinner (see #6) was around 11pm when we met up with our other friends who had been raving about their new favorite spot (which happens to be owned by, and serves the same food as, some of our favorite Chicago restaurants – Gilt Bar & Au Cheval). I didn’t plan on eating more dinner rather I thought it would just be dessert but when you see the pics you’ll know there was NO denying it.
- 4 Charles Prime Rib: This is basically the only time I eat red meat, for the occasional burger and if we are in Chicago and my husband is dying for a burger he knows there’s only one place I’ll eat it from and that is Au Cheval (or Small Cheval) because it’s the best dang burger in the country. We ended up ordering all kinds of things like the prime rib sandwich, the loaded baked potato, the AMAZING simply dressed greens and avocado salad, the french fries, and of course the chocolate cream pie. The best dessert ever.
- ByChloe: After my morning Rumble class we didn’t have lunch planned until later in the afternoon so I needed to eat something to hold me over and I wanted to stock up on fruits and vegan delights – enter ByChloe. The hubs and I each got the daily smoothie bowls, mine was full of things like kale, blueberries and activated charcoal. YUM
- Gotan Williamsburg: On all of our trips to NY we’ve never popped over to Brooklyn (to clarify I’ve been in the past but my husband hasn’t) so I was interested this time in heading over and checking out some of the neighborhoods. We ended up eating lunch at a delicious little spot called Gotan where you walk up to the counter and wait to find a spot before your food comes. It seemed touch and go for a minute there but at the last minute, the sweet Israeli man running the place ushered us into a perfect spot for 4 just as our food arrived. I ordered a breakfast plate that came with all of my favorites, eggs, potatoes, a simply dressed salad and toast with pesto. Perfection.
- Prince Street Pizza: After lunch, we toured around Brooklyn, took some photos downtown and then had to finally grab a slice. Guys, you can’t go to New York and not get a good slice, enter our favorite spot: Prince Street Pizza. You can’t go wrong with the classic or the square but I was in a simplistic mood and that slice of cheese is like nothing else. The perfectly tangy sauce that only seems to exist in new york, the melty cheese, and that crust. I’m currently drooling.
- Quality Italian: This, I admit, was a total Instagram spot. Although I was worried that the food wasn’t going to taste as good as it has always looked online but I was wrong, it was really really good. The best part was, my husband, isn’t a huge foodie and definitely doesn’t follow the NY Food Instagram accounts that I do so he had no idea that the chicken parm was coming int he shape of a pizza and let’s just say his mind was blown. I’d definitely recommend the chicken parm and the garganelli pasta, but I’d say skip the desserts, not our favorite. PS don’t miss out on the insanely delicious and very sweet side of corn creme brulee
- Frank Restaurant: Our last big meal, Sunday brunch. I’d been following Franks restaurants on social media for a few years but just about a year ago I found out that our good friends actually are regular diners at his restaurant Frank and have since met him and exchanged tons of dialog with him on social media regarding his amazing Instagram stories of cooking how to’s. I’ve also since eaten at his restaurants a few times and oh em geeee they never disappoint. My number one favorite is the spaghetti limone but he makes a hell of a chicken parm sandwich too. Literally, everything is amazing. GO THERE!
- Bulletin: On this is the cutest store ever and it’s right next to Prince Street Pizza, so WIN/WIN! It’s chock full of hilarious and heartwarming little knick knacks with a feminist bend and I definitely bought some souvenirs like these stickers and patches!