Manhattan, New York – The island of Manhattan is roughly twenty-three square miles, and you would think that finding a restaurant would be an easy task. So wrong! In fact, finding a great place to eat that suits your taste buds can be overwhelming, especially for visitors. New York is not short of historic, ethnic, trendy, and fanciful restaurants. You would either need to live in New York for sometime, or visit many times over to start cracking the food code of this gastronomic metropolis.
I have been to New York many times in the last fifteen years, and I have not even scratched the surface, not even a scuff mark. There are always new places opening, and those are mixed in with long time favorites- so which do you choose? I have created several food journals of dining experiences along with my Yelp reviews, that may be helpful to you.
The more I travel to New York and around the world, the more my food journals and reviews will grow. So follow my blog for weekly posts about the world of jetsetting, road tripping and dining!
From having a luxurious champagne afternoon tea at The Plaza to having dinner at the historic 21, my food journal of Noshing in New York – Part 3.
Afternoon Tea at The Palm Court – The Plaza Hotel
I am a fan of what is called a ‘Palm Court’, and there are not many left in the world besides ones in London, Edinburgh, as well as The Plaza in NYC. Choosing to have afternoon tea inside the Palm Court at The Plaza was a win-win situation for me. I was able to experience one of New York’s grandest afternoon teas, as well as checking off a visit to another beloved Palm Court.
As for the afternoon tea delicacies, every bite was heavenly. Everything was served fancifully at once on a multiple tiered serving tray. The colorful array of savories and sweets, plus the delicious scones were thoroughly enjoyed.
This was a special afternoon tea as it was a Congratulation Tea for my daughter, when she had just graduated college. Afternoon tea has been a personal experience that I have shared with her for a decade or so. What a better way to celebrate this milestone with an experience that we love to share.
I love Chinese bakeries like Lung Moon. From San Francisco, to Los Angeles, to Chicago to New York; wherever there is an old Chinatown, you will find inexpensive tasty bakeries.
My favorite here was the egg custard, but that has always been a go to for me at any Asian bakery. When I came into Lung Moon they had just made a new batch, and were putting it out in the front window- great timing. I also picked up a peanut roll, which was made with a sponge cake, and it was fresh and light. The great thing about Chinatown bakeries are the inexpensive prices for what you get. The baked goods are quite simple, but always delicious.
88 Lan Zhou
We were very impressed with 88 Lan Zhou, which was located in Chinatown. This popular restaurant definitely had a hole in the wall feeling, but those places sometimes have the best food. Lan Zhou was not a fancy place, and more than likely you will share a table with a couple of other parties. If you do not mind that, then this will be a great noodle experience. The price point was excellent too, and you can not go wrong with anything you order.
I really enjoyed this place due of my love for fresh hand pulled noodles. You can order different noodles styles, as well as dumplings. Everything was flavorful, fresh, and tasty. The price per dish was less than $10, and in New York that can be quite a deal. We ordered a couple of noodle dishes, dumplings, and a sweet peanut dumplings dessert. It was all fantastic, and we brought some food back to the hotel, since the servings were generous.
Tavern on the Green
This historic restaurant has been a New York landmark since the 1930s. Even for my own family, as my sister had her baptismal reception at Tavern on the Green during the late 1960’s. This whimsical restaurant located in Central Park, has been serving artisanal and delicious classics for decades.
The only time I had been to Tavern on the Green had me wanting to come back for more. My sister is older than me, so obviously I was not there for her celebration. I did come in with my friend who lived in New York, and we dined on fresh seafood. It was a fun girls lunch, and Tavern on the Green will be on my New York list for the next time I visit.
For hours and location, please visit their website: Tavern on the Green
Times Square Diner
Diner food equals comfort food. Times Square Diner certainly serves its share of America’s favorite comfort foods. We had come in because we were craving a Rueben sandwich, which was quite good here. I loved the toasty bread, salty meat, and the melty Swiss cheese. It was delicious.
As well as splitting the Rueben, we also ordered a bowl of Matzah Ball Soup, and the Disco Fries. I guess you can say, we were pretty hungry! The Matzah Ball Soup was pretty good, I’ve had better but this was still a nice bowl. Now the Disco Fries were loaded, and could be meal in itself or shared. It was a pile of crispy fries, with a layer of brown gravy, and then mozzarella cheese melted on top. Not bad for coming in for just a Rueben sandwich!
Magnolia was outstanding, and one of the tastiest ‘Classic American’ bakeries that I have been to in quite awhile. It was good. SO. GOOD. Like everyone else we came in to try their Banana Pudding, but I also chose the German Chocolate Cheesecake because it looked delicious. We were lucky enough to get a small size Banana Pudding, as it seemed like every other person ahead of us was purchasing one too. I think we bought one of the last small banana puddings. With that said, get their early and do not expect their famous pudding to be there when the bakery closes.
I found both items we tried to be equally good. Yes, the Banana Pudding was worth the wait in line, which says a lot because I hate standing in any line. I seriously enjoyed my cheesecake, and wished that I would have purchased a few more items. I suppose that will have to be my next goal during my next visit to New York- how much Magnolia Bakery can I eat?
Here is a kick back post to a restaurant that is no longer with us, Republic. This Asian fusion eatery on Union Square offered appetizing dishes using fresh ingredients, and a myriad of savory spices. I like to do shout outs to great restaurants that I have enjoyed, any foodie or gastronome would understand.
Lunch at Republic meant a hot bowl of spicy beef noodles, vermicelli wrapped prawns and slices of salmon in the raw-so good.
No need to worry, there are tons of Asian fusion restaurants just like this in Manhattan. If you know of one or two, comment and let me know.
For as long as I can remember, I had been wanting to dine at 21, which was located in the heart of New York City. Considering that I am fond of anything ‘classic’, the first time I heard of the 21 Club was referenced through old songs and movies. On one of my many visits to New York, I made it a priority to dine here with my adult daughter during the Christmas holidays.
The 21 Club goes back a long ways, as it used to be a Speak Easy during prohibition, and has since held the wine collections of many notables. I was hoping to tour the Wine Cellar while I was there, but it was not available to view. Since the closure during the pandemic, unfortunately I will never get that chance.
I have been a devotee of Maison Laduree for a couple of decades, and have visited their cafes and shops in both Pairs and London. The Maison Laduree on Madison, has been my go to location in New York. I have come in on occasions after museum hopping in the area, and it has always been a lovely addition to my NYC visits.
On one occasion, I treated myself to their Rose Tea which was poured from a silver tea pot, it was a great pairing for this pretty in pink dessert. The Isaphan has been a favorite of mine for several years, and I have also ordered it from Laduree in London. It is a beautiful giant pink macaron with rose petal cream, fresh raspberries, and lychee.
For hours and locations, please visit their website – La Maison Laduree
A Hot Dog in Central Park
How can you not go to New York and not get a street dog? There are carts everywhere, and a hot dog in New York is as symbolic to the city, as pineapple is to Hawaii. Every time I go to New York, I do get a hot dog. You know, just to keep things real.
On this occasion, it was a cold December day in Central Park. I decided on a hot dog with mustard and kraut, just like my mother ate them. She lived in New York during the 1960s, and learned to eat a hot dog like this. So, I learned to eat a hot dog like this too.
New York Pizza Slices
Although I love eating well and indulge in posh dining, I always keep it real with a slice of New York pizza, and a hot dog from a cart. There are plenty of pizza places in the NYC serving a hot slice on a white paper plate. In some neighborhoods, there seems to be a pizza place on every block. It is very convenient because whenever you get hungry, you can have instant gratification.
There is a huge debate on who makes the best slices, I am talking about restaurants that sell by the slice only. You can do extensive research on who makes the best slices, but I always went with what was simply close by or what Yelp suggested.
The first time I had tried Shake Shack was a decade ago while in New York. My daughter and I enjoyed these burgers so much, we had it again on our visit the following year. I will admit that Shake Shack tastes much better in NYC, and did not transfer to the West Coast. That seems to be the same story with a lot of eateries. So when in New York, eat at Shake Shack.
My meal of choice is always the Shake Shack burger with cheese, and an order of crinkle cut cheese fries. It’s always about the cheese. What is your favorite Shake Shack burger?
For locations and menu, please visit their website – Shake Shack
Delta Sky Club – JFK Airport
It is no secret that I am an airport lounge lush, and I will say that this Delta Sky Club at the JFK Airport was a great lounge. We had a night flight, so we were at the lounge when it was not busy. Everyone working the lounge was very helpful and friendly from those who checked us in, to the bar tenders, and the additional staff.
There was plenty of food, and the choices were great. As an airport lounge frequenter, the best thing in the world is when a hot meal is being offered. This location had a nice option for a hot meal- Braised Chicken and rice. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone into a lounge, and was offered Costco type food. This Delta Lounge has got it down right.
As for the complimentary drinks, that is always a plus. I think my daughter downed several glasses of champagne before the flight. She takes after her momma it seems.
Peter Luger Steakhouse – Brooklyn
Peter Luger is a classic American Steakhouse that was established in 1887, in Brooklyn. Since 1984, Peter Luger has been rated one of New York’s best restaurants, earned a Michelin Star, and has ranked up their with American Classic Restaurants. For those who enjoy a great steak, Peter Luger should be on your To-Eat list.
My friends and I had come into Peter Luger to share a steak, which was divided between four people. We accompanied our delicious medium-rare steak with creamed spinach, one of my favorites. The magnificent quality of the steaks served here comes down to carefully choosing only USDA Prime beef, which often represents less than 2% of graded beef cattle. Then the chosen beef are all on-site dry aged at Peter Luger’s. Finally, the short loins are butchered, trimmed, and brought up to the kitchen for broiling. This is what makes the difference in my book with, what a great steakhouse is all about.
For location and hours, please visit their website – Peter Luger Steakhouse
Food is our common ground, a universal experience– James Beard
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