Yeah, I’m really confused where exactly I am in the Big Apple. My food travels took me, at the farthest, just outside the Museum of Natural History, and one location on 25th Street. Most, however, were were between 40th St. and 55th St. Between 9th Avenue and 6th Avenue. Again, I’m not exactly sure what the section of New York is called (Snapchat had numerous geotags LOL). However, the one thing I do know is — the food has been AMAZING!
Come take this multi-part food journey with me! Hopefully, next time you’re in this part of New York, faced with the crazy number of eating options, you’ll have a few go-to spots, you know are going to be great!
1. Carnegie Deli and Restaurant – 55th St.
I’m going to start with Carnegie Deli and Restaurant, because it was one of my MUST VISIT places on this trip. Who hasn’t heard of this iconic deli’s homemade pastrami and corned beef? Well, I’m so glad I made time (and, wasn’t deterred by the hour-long line outside the door!)
Because, Carnegie Deli is closing at the end of 2016. Oh, they’re still going to sell some products online, and have licensed the brand out to a location at Madison Square Garden, Vegas, and at the Sands Casino in Pennsylvania, but the original 7th Avenue location will be no more very shortly. The deli has been plagued by issues, in recent years, including being shut down for a year due to an illegal gas hook up and a messy divorce. However, I’m just sad my kids will never get a chance to be bewildered by the mountainous Woody Allen sandwich or any of the other numerous gastronomical delights.
2. Toloache – 50th St.
Toloache was our first venture in NYC cuisine. It’s kind of a running theme in our travels to sample the local Mexican fare. I’ve had Mexican food in Iceland, Greece, Luxembourg, Canada, and numerous other places. So, we had to give Toloache a try!
Named after a flower used to make love charms (pronounced – toe-low-ah-chay), we fell quickly in love with this intimate restaurant! We started with some queso fundido con chorizo – which was divine! And, unlike what we normally get at home, with the crumbled chorizo, these were less greasy but equally delicious chunks of link sausage!
We enjoyed the Chicken Toloache – which was THREE mildly-seasoned chicken breasts on a bed of sweet corn pico de gallo. In addition the classic Chicken Quesadilla. Meant as an appetizer, it was the perfect size after the filling queso! Be warned – the pepper on top is super-hot!
3. Junior’s Cheesecake – 45th St.
Now, I had had the pleasure of enjoying a Junior’s Cheesecake once before. A friend brought one back from the city, and brought it to a party we had attended. It was pure happenstance that I walked randomly down 45th Street, on my way back to our hotel one afternoon. I had to stop! The best cheesecake EVER!
4. Patzeria Pizza – 46th St.
Where do you go to eat after watching a fabulous musical? Well, if you’re me, the best thing for a late night craving, when you don’t want a full-on meal is PIZZA! Although I now call the Chicago area home and LOVE me some deep-dish pizza, there is something wonderful about the ginormous, thin-crust slices of New York pizza, with pizza grease threatening to run down your arm, that simply can’t be beat!
Along with about two dozen other late-night pizza lovers, we stood out in the rain, to enjoy a delicious slice! Now, this isn’t a sit down place. As you can see int he pic above, the place is tiny! There’s a small counter inside you can stand at (if there aren’t a bunch of people trying to order). And, there’s a small counter you can stand at just to the left of the window, where your piping hot pizza comes out. So, either take it to go, or do like we did and just embrace the experience!
Now, you may notice in the pic above also the “B” health code rating on the window. This is not a sparkling clean, kitschy chain restaurant. This is real New York hole-in-the-wall food at its best!
There are SO many diners and bakeries and coffee shops and other restaurants serving breakfast, trying to pick something unique was a challenge. When I go someplace new, I want something different than what I can get at home. I want something local. A place where there might be a tourist or too, but where it’s mostly locals. Johnny’s Luncheonette fit that bill!
Again, this is a small place. And, again, there was about a 40-minute line outside to get a seat on a late Saturday morning. But, I was quickly coming to realize that a line outside a food establishment meant it likely was pretty danged good! And, Johnny’s did not disappoint! (BTW – While you’re waiting to get in, right next store to Johnny’s is a coffee shop, that has delicious hot chocolate – and they made a heart on mine! CUTE!!)
When you go, be sure to order the Curious George. It’s not on the menu. But, it’s this fabulous breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese, ham, and bacon, on a deliciously soft roll! Oh, yeah… and it has French fries in it! It’s big enough for two!
Stay tuned for Part 2!