Food in New York – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

During our time in New York, we ate out… a lot. It’s the thing you do when you’re in New York. There’s an absurd number of eating establishments, it’s amazing to have the luxury of trying something new, but it can also be overwhelming (and expensive). Considering we were in New York for almost two weeks, we obviously didn’t go to spiffy restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day or we would be bankrupt.

I decided to keep track of the food we had and give my opinion of same. Hopefully this will be useful to those heading over to the concrete jungle in the near future. I apologize ahead of time for the lack of photos… ok, there are no photos… just food talk!

Birch Coffee – Chris and I both drank several lattes from Birch Coffee. Seriously one of the best lattes ever. You can taste the quality, reasonably priced and the staff was always genuinely friendly.

Angelo’s Pizza – We actually ordered from this pizza joint twice because it was super close to the apartment and was convenient for the snowy evenings. The first time we ordered a large pizza with half cheese and half everything, which we picked up and took back to the apartment. It was actually pretty good, but it was $20 for the large pizza (pretty steep).
The second experience was one of our last nights there and we didn’t want to go anywhere, so we ordered for delivery. We ordered a garden salad and a half cheese/half pepperoni pizza. It was not nearly as tasty, the pizza was a small pizza for $17. We meant to order the large, but apparently there was a miscommunication. Either way, $17 for a small pizza is outrageous. The salad was just not good. Overall an inconsistent experience.

Fusia Asian Cuisine – Chris had the Pad Thai and I had the Chinese Fried Rice with Chicken. Both of us agreed that the food was bland. It was unfortunate because the service was great, everyone was very friendly and attentive. We ordered the food and it was brought to our table within 3 minutes, which was a tad concerning to begin with. The food was not bad by any means, just not what we were hoping for. We only tried those two items though, I noticed another table ordered soup that smelled incredible and they seemed to enjoy it. I wouldn’t mind trying the place again just to see if the other items on the menu are more promising.

Sojourn – We made reservations at this place for 9:00 p.m. on a Friday night, even with reservations, we stood in a massive crowd in the entrance and bar area for 25 minutes. However, once we were seated, the magic happened. Probably one of the best meals we’ve had in New York.
It’s mostly tapas and small dishes, so we ordered a few things to try together. We ordered the Burrata, Ricotta and Swiss Chard Ravioli and Pesto Gnocchi. First, the Burrata… ooooh, the Burrata… it was delicious. It was served over a roasted tomato, almond pesto and basil oil puree, Chris and I agreed that we would bathe in the puree if given the opportunity. The Ravioli was very flavorful and creamy, I would have eaten the entire plate if Chris didn’t jump in and grab a few bites. The Gnocchi was also very soft, tasty and decadent. Highly recommend this place.

Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria – This was our Valentine’s Day brunch spot. We could not have chosen a better place. We started off with some coffee, which was unbelievably good and then we moved on to mimosas. The mimosas clearly included freshly squeezed juice, which made them even tastier! We ordered the bread basket, which came with three different types of bread, jelly, butter and goat’s milk brie, all of which were tasty and fresh.
For my brunch, I got the Eggs Al Forno, which included amazing, fresh eggs and prosciutto. Chris had the Waffles with a fresh fruit compote on top. We were both very impressed with this establishment. Not only was the food, drinks and coffee incredible, but the restaurant was beautiful, rustic and modern and the service was great. I definitely recommend checking this place out!

Tony ‘The Dragon’ Dragonas – Holy delicious Mediterranean food truck! This food truck is always nestled on the same corner (62nd Street and Madison Ave). My boyfriend goes here almost every day for his lunch because it’s ridiculously close to his office and ridiculously good. I got the chicken platter, while my boyfriend has tried everything else. We both agree that anything you select from this truck will blow your mind. The grilled chicken on the platter was seasoned beautifully, grilled perfectly, juicy, tender, everything grilled chicken should be. The rice and veggies that came alone with the platter were top notch as well. If you’re ever in the neighborhood, get all the food from Tony’s.

The Plaza Food Hall – This place is a great spot to hit for lunch, there are several options to choose from and everything looks great! Chris and I tried some flatbread sandwiches from Piada, which were so fresh and tasty! The seating area is very cute as well, rustic bar with a chalk board sort of feel. The best part about the flatbreads was that they had few ingredients, but it didn’t matter because the few ingredients were very high quality, plus you could tell that the flatbread was freshly made. Definitely check out Piada at the Food Hall.
On another day, we gave Ora di Pasta a shot. This place didn’t leave us as dazzled as Piada did. It’s basically a fancier, pricier pasta version of Subway (create your own pasta combination). Neither of us were impressed with our dishes, everything was quite bland and not special.

Red 58 – This place was quite convenient for us because it was on the same block as our apartment. We fell into this place at about 9:30pm on Valentine’s Day. Chris and I already had a lovely brunch, a stroll around the city and come relaxing at the apartment, but then we decided that going somewhere for a few drinks would be great. We walked by the few spiffy looking bars/restaurants on 6th Avenue, but they were completely packed. We were thinking our idea to grab drinks at this time on Valentine’s Day may not happen, when we took a look at Red 58… only a handful of people were in there. At first, this seemed like it could be bad, I mean, the one restaurant in New York that was not packed?! Not to mention, the entire interior is black, red, dark and romantic, I would have assumed it would be the place to be. Either way, our concern for it being almost empty faded away quickly when we realized how nice it will be to actually hear each other speak in a New York restaurant! So, we grabbed a high table in the bar area, grabbed some cocktails and ordered the truffle fries. We ended up staying there for a good 2 – 2.5 hours, just enjoying our drinks, eating some truffle fries and talking sweet nothings. It was great! The drinks were moderately priced (for New York) and the fries were delicious.
We decided to check it out again on a different night, hoping that their entrees would be good too…. eh, not so much. Chris had the Red 58 burger and I had the buffalo chicken salad. Chris described his burger as bland, plus it only had two toppings. My salad was just not good. It was big chicken strips drenched in buffalo sauce on top of a spring salad with a vinaigrette dressing. The vinaigrette dressing just did not work with the buffalo, it was an odd combo. So, this place is nice for drinks and appetizers, but we were not impressed with our entrees.

810 Deli Cafe – This is a nifty little place. Usually a cafe with 100 items on the menu scares me because it just feels complicated and unnecessary. This place proved me wrong. We went here a handful of times because it was priced pretty well, had a big variety of items to choose from and it was all tasty! Everything tasted fresh and we were never disappointed in any of the items we were ordered during our visit.

Fika – Ok, so before anyone brings it up… I’m aware that this place mostly where you go to get the chocolate balls. I know this, but I didn’t get the chocolate balls (I don’t have a good excuse as to why!). I only came here a couple times for croissants and lattes, so this “review” is only based off of those things. First, the latte is very good, not Birch good, but good! The croissants are great, very tasty, flaky and soft, everything a croissant should be. The one thing that kills me about this place is how expensive it is. One morning, Chris and I got small lattes and one croissant each…. $17.00. Rough.

Roberta’s Pizza – So, there’s a story as to why we ventured all the way out to Brooklyn to try the pizza at Roberta’s. When Chris and I lived in Northern California, we discovered a restaurant called Oak & Rye, which is the best pizza either of us have ever had. Chris discovered that one of the chef’s used to work at Roberta’s, but then joined a new team in Los Gatos to cook at Oak & Rye. Considering Roberta’s is essentially the mother of Oak & Rye, we had to try it!
First, once we received our array of pizza’s, it was clear that this was related to Oak & Rye. There’s just a certain look and smell that Oak & Rye always had, Roberta’s was the same deal… basically, we were excited. Now, the only pizza that was the exact same pizza as Oak & Rye, was the Margherita pizza. Every other pizza had it’s own funky name and toppings. We tried the Lamb of God, La Dusseldorf, Speckenwolf, Margherita and Good Girl. They were all very unique and tasty, but… not as good as Oak & Rye. 🙂

Melt Shop – I didn’t discover this place until the second to last day that we were in town and I’m super bummed I didn’t find it earlier! It was reasonably priced, cute place and yummy food. It’s basically a fancy grilled cheese sort of joint. I ordered the maple bacon grilled cheese sandwich and the tomato soup, both were scrum-diddily-umptious! The maple bacon bacon was sweet and paired so nicely with the mix of cheeses in the sandwich. The tomato soup was clearly made in house and was quite tasty. I would have loved to have tried the other items on the menu!

Cafe Oliviero – This was my last meal in New York. I was packing up all of our luggage at the apartment and realized I needed some breakfast, but didn’t want to go out in the cold again! So, I ordered an egg sandwich and a coffee from Cafe Oliviero for delivery. Ten minutes after ordering, they were at the door. Super fast service! The egg sandwich wasn’t bad, but it filled the void in my stomach. The coffee was super hot, which I found surprising for a delivered coffee! Was the coffee great? Not really, but again, it filled a void. This place wasn’t very memorable, so I probably won’t be ordering from here again.

Overall, the New York trip was a success! We had some great food, drinks and coffee. There will be some go-to staples that we will be checking out every time we got to New York (Birch Coffee, Tony’s); however, I cannot wait to try other restaurants! What are some of your favorite places to eat/drink in New York? Restaurant recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

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Recipes from other bloggers that I’m itchin’ to try!

When I’m burnt out on my same old recipes, I do one of two things. I pull an idea out of my butt and roll with it, or if that turns out to be a disaster, I know I need some inspiration. Here’s a couple recipes that really caught my eye, not only do these items sound amazing, but they come from very talented bloggers! Check them out!

1.Bakerella’s “Baked Banana French Toast.”
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Who doesn’t love french toast? Especially when thick slices of fresh french bread and banana’s are involved. I have all of the ingredients and nothing will stop me from recreating Bakerella’s recipe Sunday morning!

2. Jamie from My Baking Addiction’s “Sweet and Spicy Baked Chicken Wings.”

I never used to like chicken wings, I was plagued with “picky child syndrome,” I didn’t start enjoying good food for quite some time. Now? I love me some hot wings! In fact, I’ve been craving them for weeks now. Such perfect timing stumbling upon this recipe. The only thing better than hot wings, has to be homemade hot wings.

3. Chef Dennis from Katrina’s Kitchen’s “Toffee Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies.”

Chef Dennis was a guest blogger on Katrina’s Kitchen and I’m so happy he shared this recipe! A nice mix of my favorite snacks, tossed into one cookie. I can only imagine the sweet and salty goodness, I’ll definitely make these happen in my kitchen soon!