Friday, January 27, 2012

New York Food Musts

Before even going on my recent trip to New York City I new I was going to write a blog post about New York food. At first I had the idea to compare Chicago and New York pizza (New York is better), but that's already been done too many times. Then I thought about putting Chicago and New York hot dogs against each other (Chicago is better), but that has been overdone also. Instead I decided to just give a overall food tour of New York City's highlights. There are some real gems that anyone planning on visiting the city should consider. And even though New Yorkers may consider some of these places tourist traps, they are famous for a reason - they're just damn good.

My first stop in the city was Papaya King (179 E. 86th Street) for some hot dogs. Its not only one of the tastiest spots in Manhattan to eat but also one of the cheapest. I scored a classic dog with sauerkraut and mustard, a chili dog, a knish, and an absolutely phenomenal papaya drink.

If you hit up Papaya King consider walking over to nearby William Greenberg Desserts (1100 Madison Avenue). I had the quintessential New York black & white cookie and a chocolate babka. While the babka was overrated, the black & white cookies were delicious. You can also order from them online and have stuff shipped directly to your house. 

For breakfast Ess-a-Bagel (831 3rd Avenue) is a great spot to grab a bagel sandwich. I had an everything bagel with cream cheese and a chocolate egg cream soda. Everything is incredibly filling and a great start to any morning.

I was especially excited about the chocolate egg cream soda. You can read more about those in my Review of Jeff's Egg Cream Sodas. Needless to say I was not disappointed and recommend that everyone go by here and try one for yourself.

For great sandwiches swing by Carnegie Deli (854 7th Avenue). Order the Woody Allen, which is a pastrami and corned beef sandwich. Its big enough to feed two people, but save room for a piece of their cheesecake. Also keep in mind that this place is cash only.

Near Times Square there are three great places to eat. O'lunney's (145 W. 45th Street) is an Irish bar with great Irish food. I recommend the shepherd's pie. Secondly, nearby Tony's Di Napoli (147 W. 43rd Street) has fantastic Italian food. This place was recommended to me by a real, living, breathing New Yorker.

Lastly in Times Square is John's Pizzeria (260 W. 44th Street). Its great pizza cooked in a coal fired oven. That means the pizza cooks hotter than a traditional oven, which makes all the difference in taste. The problem is that there are only a handful of coal-fired pizzerias in NYC because they pollute so much, so make sure you go out of your way to hit at least one up while you're here.

And if you can only hit up one coal-fired pizzeria go to Lambardi's Pizza (32 Spring Street) in Little Italy. This place was the first pizzeria in America. I had the best Caesar salad and the best pizza of my life here. Let me also add that the pizza here was way better than all the deep-dish places in Chicago I just reviewed last month - it was that good. The ingredients were fresh, the atmosphere was classy, and real local New Yorkers were eating here. What more could you want? Look at how beautiful this pizza is:

So next time you're in New York City. Give some of these places a chance, and save Applebee's and McDonald's for when you get back home.