Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New York Food

In choosing our visit to New York, it was as much about seeing the sights and experiencing the culture, as it was tasting the foods that make New York famous. We love food (if you can't tell from our pics) and New York provided a wonderful place to "Food Tour". Carnegie Deli, Lombardi's, Ping's Seafood, and Chinatown Ice Cream Company were by far our favorite eateries of the trip. We obviously did not go to the $100 per plate restaurants which I am sure "are to die for" but we loved these places the same. Surprisingly, most of these places take CASH ONLY. So make sure you are prepared wherever you go.

We LOVE Carnegie Deli. Let us start out with our very favorite restaurant in New York. We tried 3 of the best delis in New York. Junior's was very good but too "franchisee". Katz's was also great food and just as famous as Carnegie Deli. Even at 7:00PM though, I would not venture back to Katz's deli. The only neighborhood where we felt, "Lets get out of here". Like Katz's deli, Carnegie's walls are plastered with pictures of the rich and famous that have come to enjoy the fixin's. The pastrami at Carnegie Deli was gorgeous. If you try any other pastrami after eating there, it will taste like plastic. It is the best. Even the pickles tasted amazingly fresh and tasty. The sandwiches are as big as dinosaurs. The cheesecake IS New York cheesecake. It is the best. They gave us pieces big enough for King Kong. That is our verdict after trying 3 of the arguably best delis in New York and even the country. Carnegie deli treated us like we were shopping for diamonds. Maybe we lucked out, but they took great care of us. Myrona tried there cheesecake recipe they have posted online and it was very very nice! Cookie dough crust! There are only 2 in the world. One in NYC and one at the Mirage in Las Vegas. The original in NYC definitely has the better ambience. Thanks Tara for reccomending Carnegie Deli. You were right!

Had to include this shot of The Brookln Bagel Cafe. This was right by our hotel. We often grabbed breakfast here and ate on the second floor and people watched. There are shops like this all over Manhattan. Kind of a mini grocery mixed with a mini buffet mixed with a bagel shop. Great concept that works brilliantly in NY.

There is nothing extravagant about Gray's Papaya. There is just something special about 2 hot dogs with the fixin's and a papaya fruit drink. It just hits the spot when you have been walking and are hungry and tired. There are several incarnations of Gray's Papaya throughout the city. They all serve the same concept. Cheap hot dogs and a fruit drink. We even found a copycat place in JFK airport on the way home. Definitely a NY food icon.

We were a little skeptical about a pizza shop that claimed to be the first ever pizzeria in the US. Whether they are or not (an item of debate among some) we loved the pizza at Lombardi's in Little Italy. We ordered a pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, spinach, and garlic. The pizza was very fresh and flavorful. We would definitely return for more. We love a lot of pizza places no one in particular better than the rest. Each one has its distinct style and flavor. We love Uno's Pizzeria deep dish, Otto's in Tempe, AZ thin crust, and definitely Lombardi's fresh flavorful pizza pie. Very nice and relaxed interior and a well-dressed, great-serving staff.

The Chinatown Ice Cream Factory popped up as a New York favorite on many of our online searches. We too enjoyed their distinct fresh ice cream. They have a lot of flavors to choose from. From ginger or lychee to wild blueberry or strawberry shortcake. This was our favorite ice cream shop. Much better than Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Yummy yummy in my tummy.

After lots of walking in Chinatown we stopped at Ping's Seafood for brunch. In our research, Ping's continuously placed in the top 3 Chinese restaurants in the city. We were not disappointed. The dim sum was fresh and heavenly. They are FAMOUS for their dim sum. Very classy interior and service. We loved the carts FILLED with choices in dim sum, desserts etc. They bring them straight from the kitchen on carts for you to choose. Sort of like a "live menu". We loved it and will go back next time.

Virgil's is famous for barbecue in New York. They supposedly scour the country for the best barbecue through Virginia, Carolinas, Texas, Oklahoma etc etc. They choose the best of the best and they try to emulate it. They have been featured on morning shows and have great reviews. Their placemats have a map of all the restaurants they visited in their quest for the best barbecue. Problem. The map stopped at Texas. We ordered a nice variety and enjoyed our dinner before going to see the Mary Poppins musical. I can honestly say that Joe's Barbecue in Gilbert, AZ is just as good if not better than Virgil's. They should have kept on driving. So to all of our AZ peeps. Eat at JOES! and enjoy.

The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory was a fun stop after hiking all the way across the Brooklyn Bridge. Many websites reccommended the place. Great location right on the water under the Brooklyn Bridge. However, the flavor choices were very limited. We did not think it was any better than typical franchise ice cream shops. Still a fun stop to take pics by the water and enjoy some ice cream. I think this is a shot of some brisket we tried.

Grimaldis is a very old pizzeria that we found on the top of many "pizza lists". We visited the Brooklyn location right under the bridge. Their proximity to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Company is also a plus. Very cozy interior including an endorsement from the Godfather himself. Remember cash only here and they don't deliver. We picked up our pie and booked it back to the hotel to get ready for the show that night. Great thin-crust pizza.