Saturday, 13 July 2019

Eating Out in New York City


I absolutely fell in love with New York City when we went in May.  I knew I would.  I love London so I guess it was a given that I would with so many synergies between the two. 

Everything from the bright lights, the hustle, the constant soundtrack of traffic beeping their horns, it's a city that makes you feel like you're alive.

I could wax lyrical about the sights, about shows on Broadway, finding quirky film locations, but on this occasion, I’ll champion the food element.

There are thousands of eateries, restaurants and food carts all peddling their produces.  Some of which are world famous, others are well kept secrets.  There aren’t enough hours in the day to go through them all.

However, here is my run-down of where we went and what we found which I hope will provide some inspiration if you’re New York bound soon:





Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Somewhat of a New York institution with its history dating back to the 1800’s and opened by Jewish immigrants who wanted to offer a taste of home.  Known in recent times for ‘that scene’ from the film ‘When Harry Met Sally’, it has tourists and locals queuing out of the door.  We timed it right to go for breakfast so we managed to get served and seated without too much effort.  I hear lunchtime onwards can be a bit of a waiting game. 

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

More for the meat-lovers than for the veggies, however, it still has a number of vegetarian options and as such, I chose to have the Potato Latkes with Sour Cream & Apple Sauce plus a gherkin.  That was a good hearty way to start the day and synonymously Jewish.  MCH went for their signature dish – Pastrami on Rye which he was elated about (but I’ll leave it at that with this being a vegetarian blog)!   


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

A fun place with lots of cute retro memorabilia on the walls and worth venturing into the suburbs for, especially if you want to escape the crowds of Midtown.





Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Now, if I had a dollar for each time someone recommended that I go here…………….

Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
And yes, their recommendations were worth the 40 minute wait to get in.  It was showbiz and milkshakes all the way in this mock 1950’s diner that serves an all Americana style menu of burgers, fries and waffles.  The key to its success is the waiting staff most of whom are wannabe Broadway singers who sing songs and jump on tables as you eat, it’s infectious!  They use their role at the diner as a way to keep singing and perhaps hope to get spotted and signed by a Broadway mogul.  


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

But nevertheless, you’ll be singing your heart out as the confetti streams down from the ceiling.   With nice veggie options available, there are very few places that offer a serenaded version of the Grease Megamix with your spaghetti so it’s a must to go if you can!





Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

What a find!  This little gem is on Bedford Avenue in the uber trendy Williamsburg area of Brooklyn.  With echoes of Camden in London, this is where all the cool kids hang out, where hawkers purvey their wares on the street and the restaurants have open doors beckoning you in.  

A few minutes’ walk from the famous Brooklyn Brewery, this restaurant offers wholesome, Polish home cooking at more modest prices than that of its neighbours in Manhattan.  I had the Golabki (Stuffed Cabbage Leaves) which came with potatoes and beetroot and was perfect after a day of sightseeing to get my energy levels back up.  

The staff are fantastic, the waitress’s family are from the same town as my family in Poland so that made our visit even more special.  Right by Bedford Avenue subway station, it’s ideal for travelling onwards further into Brooklyn or to get back to Manhattan.




Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

A fusion of the Scandinavian word Smorgasbord and the district Williamsburg, this outdoor street food hub is a regular weekend event and must for all foodies.  Two minutes from the North Williamsburg ferry stop, you could easily spend the afternoon here wistfully eating, drinking and people-watching with panoramic views of Manhattan on the horizon.  



Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


Spoilt for choice, but I went for a vegan seitan BLT style sandwich in the end which was very tasty washed down with a watermelon smoothie style juice.


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways







Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Somewhat of a pilgrimage for me as I have watched Veselka’s work from afar, I always promised myself I’d go there if ever I found myself in New York.  



Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

This Ukrainian restaurant started off post-war as a sweet & tobacco shop which then organically expanded into the restaurant that is there today.  I faithfully use their cookbook as inspiration for my Ukrainian Christmas feasts and was thrilled to see they have a Veggie Platter Deluxe on their menu.  


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

This Ukrainian tapas style dish contained a stuffed cabbage roll, kasza (buckwheat), varenyki (similar to ravioli) and came with a small bowl of Borscht (beetroot soup, veggie version) to start with.   It didn’t disappoint and to go alongside with the food, the charming rustic-style décor made you feel like you are in the heart of a Ukrainian village.   


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Again, like with Dziupla, the food is exactly what you need after seeing the sights and leaves you feeling like you can carry on with your itinerary. 





Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


Originally, a Brooklyn stalwart and still is, but they’ve now got a couple of branches within the Manhattan/Times Square vicinity that too herald their renowned orange coloured furnishings set within a 1950’s diner style.    


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


Owned by an Italian family who gained the reputation of having the best cheesecake in New York, their Number 1 New York Cheesecake is a best seller and having a slice for breakfast (I know, I know, but I was on holiday!), it certainly was worth the plaudit.  


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Great for breakfast, lots of choices, you can see its popularity by how full it is whatever time of day you go and seems a winner with business people and families alike.  (PS:  Have a whole cheesecake slice for yourself, I made the mistake of sharing mine)!





The Blue Box Cafe
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

Now this is nice.  Not a well-known name but when I tell you it is inside Tiffany & Co’s flagship 5th Avenue store, you may understand the fuss around this.  


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


Eighteen months ago, The Blue Box Café opened its doors to allow people to dine at the luxury jewellery store and indeed for people to boast that they’ve had ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (literally and myself included).  


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


On the store’s 4th floor, you enter a small café decorated in such a way that it is like sitting inside one of their legendary blue jewellery boxes coupled with views of Central Park if you sit in the right seat.  Probably, only being able to accommodate 30 people max, getting a reservation is like trying to catch a unicorn.  Reservations are open 30 days in advance, can only be done online via the Resy website and are open at 14:00 GMT sharp.  Reservation slots go within 1 minute (I kid you not).  After trying each day, by some magic miracle I got a slot for breakfast on the last day of our NYC trip.  


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


It is a chance to dress up at 10am in the morning and feel a little bit glamorous!  Breakfast is a set price of $32 and consists of fruit, croissants and a hot item.  I chose Avocado on Toast which was dressed with edible flowers and micro herbs.  A pot of Tiffany Blend Tea is also included and we upgraded to have a Mimosa.  Served on Tiffany blue and white crockery, it was all very charming and a fabulous experience.  Definitely worth the stress of trying to get a reservation.





Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


I’ve never seen the Serendipity film but friends of mine who have begged me to go here, so on a boiling hot spring day, it was the ideal time to try out their signature Frrrozen Hot Chocolate.  A contradiction in terms, but it is like an ice cream sundae/milkshake all in one that you slurp and eat in equal measure, it is a hot chocolate in ice format. 



Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


After a long walk through Central Park and Bloomingdales just beforehand, this was a welcomed treat to cool down and sit down.  Decorated in all things cute with Tiffany lamps adorning the ceilings and tables, this is a New York eatery that boasts a lot of fans including famously Marilyn Monroe and Andy Warhol.





Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

There are quite a few Sex and the City landmarks within the Greenwich/Soho/Chelsea area of New York to the point that you don’t have to do the show’s bus tour.  One of which is the actual Magnolia Bakery used Series 3 where Carrie and Miranda talk about their love lives over a cupcake.  


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


MB’s fame shot through the roof thereafter and they now have stores around the city.  Purchasing a couple of cupcakes, we ate them when returning to Midtown in Bryant Park which in itself is a gorgeous New York thing to do with locals sunbathing, playing table tennis or just reading there, you feel like you’re experiencing their life, if only for an hour or so, complete with a cupcake in hand.


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways





Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


This is kind of what Borough Market in London is like.  Lots of people who have jumped off The Highline above partake in this food lover’s haven.  Everything from Israeli falafels to Korean ramen it’s all there whether you want to take a seat or takeaway.  Worth a visit to have a wander through even if you’re not planning on eating just to see what it’s like.






Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


This is NASA for coffee lovers, Starbucks on another level and a bit like Willy Wonka’s Factory but with coffee beans rather than cocoa beans.  You can watch your coffee being made using gadgetry and cylinders full of beans that you just don’t get at your local Starbucks at home.  



Photo:  Word In Veg Ways


There are only a few of these in the world and this one happens to be right by the Google office and Chelsea Market.  Ideal for those with a true passion for coffee who want to see what it entails with a tour or equally worth visiting if you just want to gawp at it all whilst waiting for your medium cappuccino with almond milk to be poured.


Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
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There are so many places to try that time didn’t allow (Russ and Daughters being one of them), it’s so hard to do it all.  You can of course just turn up and see where your nose takes you, but if you’re a foodie lover and really want to make the most of your trip then planning ahead and researching where you want to go and how you can fit it into your itinerary is key.   

We earmarked some places ahead of going and then other times we let the places find us which worked well.   Most eateries will have vegetarian options, but unlike the UK where in recent times there are more and more dedicated veggie and vegan sections on the menu, it’s still not in abundance for veggies in New York I found.  Like I said above, if you’d rather not chance the menus, then do your research and also find out where veggie-only venues are as places are still very much geared up for the meat-eater in mind.

I for one would love to go back and because I’d then have more time to explore (having done all the tourist attractions this time round), I would check out the venues time didn’t allow for on this holiday.  I’d go further to the suburbs and find the hidden gems and emulate where the locals go. 

I literally cannot wait until I can get another bite out of the Big Apple…..!!!!

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Have you been to New York?  Where was your favourite place?


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Note:  I paid for all my purchases in full.  None of the venues knew I was visiting or that I am a blogger or that I would be conducting a review/article.