Outstanding New York Eats You Don’t Want To Miss

There is no place like home, folks!  I get back to New York once or twice a year which is not nearly enough.  However, for the last 11 years, my life has been in Chicago (another fabulous city) and time marches on at a rather fast pace.  I am in NYC for 2 weeks (yay!) and I have wasted no time trolling the streets for the very best of New York eats.  Below are a few of the spots (by neighborhood) which you don’t want to miss whether you are a resident or a visitor to my hometown:

 

Upper East Side – New York Eats

 

Caffe Noi is a cozy little spot that will meet your coffee and free WiFi needs.  I love it because it is not overrun with people.  The baristas know what they are doing here and you will be surrounded with local, creative types who are writing screenplays and such.

 

 

New York Eats coffeehouses

Caffe Noi on the Upper east side in N.Y. is a great, little spot to get caffeinated!

 

 

New York Eats coffee shops Caffe Noi

Americano with steamed almond milk

 

Caffe Noi is located at 1465 2nd Ave.  – 4 blocks north of the 72nd St. stop on the Q train;  2 blocks east and 2 blocks south of the 77th/Lex stop on the 4, 6 trains.

 

 

Sable’s is a New York staple for great bagels, bialy’s and smoked fish from lox, to salmon to whitefish to caviar.  I stopped in for my ritual smoked tuna salad on everything bagel and a pickle. PERFECTION!

 

 

Sable's in New York City

Don’t forget a bagel or a bialy!

 

 

New York Eats Sable's deli upper east side

You want the good bagels and smoked fish when in NYC.

 

Sable’s is located at 1489 2nd Ave. – 5 blocks north of the 72nd St. stop on the Q train; 2 blocks east of the 77th/Lexington stop on the 4,6 trains.

 

 

The Sweet Shoppe is owned by a husband and wife team who will take you on trip down memory lane with their retro selection of hard-to-find candies and chocolates.  I found the “Ice Cubes” chocolates from my youth that my Bensonhurst nana used to keep in the fridge for me! They have great ice cream and gelato from a local vendor, so stop in for a cone or a milkshake.  This place is the size of a postage stamp but it’s so easy to get lost once you’re inside.  

 

 

New York Eats The Sweet Shoppe

The Sweet Shoppe is a great spot to find nostalgic candy.

 

 

New York Eats The Sweet Shoppe

The Sweet Shoppe in New York City

 

 

New York Eats The Sweet Shoppe

Valentines candy at The Sweet Shoppe

 

 

The Sweet Shoppe is located at 404 E. 73rd St. – 1 block east and 1 block north of the 72nd St. stop on the Q train.

 

 

Jones Wood Foundry offers a transportive experience on the Upper East Side at this British-inspired pub.  They serve great pints and some tasty food, including the rotating selection of pot pies, like this chicken and kale version.

 

 

New York Eats Jones Wood Foundry

Jones Wood Foundry on New York’s Upper east side is a cozy British pub.

 

Jones Wood Foundry is located at 401 E. 76th St. – 1 block east and 4 blocks north of the 72nd St. stop on the Q train.

 

 

Mo Il Gelato is a teeny, tiny hole in the wall with big flavors in the form of gelato.  You want to stop in here whether you are having a good day or a bad day because the lovely Italian owner has the flavors you need to celebrate or cure whatever is ailing you.  I love the Nocciolo (hazlenut-chocolate) and the pistachio gelati.  Not into gelato?  No worries, they also have hot soup!

 

 

New York Eats Mo il Gelato

The pistachio and Nocciolo gelati at Mo il Gelato are yummy!

 

 

Mo il Gelato is located at 956 Lexington Ave. – 1 1/2 blocks north of the 68th St.-Hunter College stop on the 6 train.

 

 

Harlem – New York Eats

 

Red Rooster has been on my list of restaurants to visit for some time.  Chef Marcus Samuelsson who is half Ethiopian and half Swedish is the owner and his ethnic influences are evident in the Southern comfort food dishes served at this sexy, Harlem spot.  I loved my dinner so much that I am planning my return for lunch or weekend brunch before I head back to Chicago.

 

 

New York Eats Red Rooster in Harlem, New York

Red Rooster in Harlem, NYC serves Southern comfort foods with Swedish and Ethiopian influences.

 

I recommend that you make a reservation and bring some friends because you will not be satisfied sampling only one dish.  Chef Samuelsson’s Swedish meatballs with lingonberries, pickles and perfectly roasted potatoes are a must-do!

 

 

 

New York Eats Red Rooster in Harlem

The signature Swedish meatballs wit lingonberries, crispy roast potatoes and pickles from Chef Marcus Samuelsson at Red Rooster in Harlem. It’s a must-do!

 

 

I usually pass on mac ‘n cheese these days because it tends to be too heavy, drowning in cheese and way too underwhelming.  Red Rooster blazes a trail with it’s own take on the classic by reinventing it as Mac ‘n Greens.  This version has less cheese, large rigatoni and savory greens. I thought I detected some harissa in the mix which would explain the spicy and smoky element I loved so much.  Just do it!

 

 

New York Eats Red Rooster's mac 'n cheese

The smoky Mac ‘n Greens at Red Rooster in New York

 

If you love jerk spice, you need to try the “Low Country Cat” which is Red Rooster’s jerk catfish with a wonderful red tomato rice and lima beans.  So heavenly!

 

 

New York Eats Red Rooster's catfish

“Low Country Cat” is a lovely jerk catfish dish with red tomato rice with lima beans at Red Rooster

 

 

Red Rooster is located at 310 Lenox Avenue – Outside of the of the 125th St. stop on the 6 train.

 

 

Lower East Side – New York Eats

 

Russ & Daughters Cafe was the long overdue addition to the landmark Russ & Daughters appetizing delicatessen around the corner.  This is where you want to come to get your lox, whitefish, sable and matzo ball soup.  The sweet side of the menu has you covered with decadent treats like babka French toast and honey cake.  I could go on but you should just plan a visit.

 

 

New York Eats Russ & Daughters Cafe

Russ & Daughters finally has a dine-in cafe around the corner from the historic deli.

 

 

The pastrami-cured salmon with Muenster cheese, sauerkraut and mustard on an everything bagel is a thing of beauty.  Wash it all down with an egg cream!

 

 

 

New York Eats Russ & Daughters lox

Pastrami-cured salmon with muenster cheese, sauerkraut and mustard on an everything bagel.

 

 

Russ & Daughters Cafe is located at 127 Orchard St. – 2 blocks west and 1/2 block north of the Delancy St. stop on the F train.

 

 

Rose and Basil is, quite possibly, the cutest and most original bakery in New York.  The owner is creating cakes, chocolates and coffee drinks infused with rose oil extract from roses imported from her Romanian mom’s garden!  The sweets are organic, often vegan and gluten-free.  She is serving La Colombe coffee and espresso which are my favorite coffee roasts.

 

 

New York Eats Rose and Basil lower east side

Rose and Basil is the cutest bakery in NYC!

 

 

New York Eats Rose and Basil bakery

Rose and Basil makes coffee drink, chocolates and cakes infused with rose petals from Romania!

 

 

New York Eats Rose and Basil chocolates

Chocolate-hazelnut on the left and lavender-chocolate on the right.

 

 

New York Eats Rose and Basil bakery

Rose and Basil in the East Village in NYC is like a little storybook spot!

 

 

 

New York Eats Rose and Basil bakery

Gluten free and vegan cakes are available at Rose and Basil in New York.

 

 

 

New York Eats Rose and Basil bakery

Organic, gluten-free and some vegan chocolates at Rose and Basil

 

 

 

Rose and Basil is located at 104 E. 7th St. – 7 blocks north and 1 /12 blocks east of the 2nd Avenue stop on the F train.

 

 

Veniero’s cafe and bakery has been a New York institution since 1894 and for good reason.  You want to come here when you need a cannoli, tiramisu, Napolean, eclair, cheesecake and much more.  It’s a large place so get comfy, unbutton your pants and don’t feel guilty.  Veniero’s is a rite of passage for New Yorkers and wannabes.

 

 

New York Eats Veniero lower east side

Veniero on the Lower East Side, NYC

 

 

 

New York Eats Veniero's cannoli

Cannoli and other pastries at Veniero’s is a must-do for dessert in NYC!

 

 

 

New York Eats Veniero's bakery

Veniero’s is 103 years old and a New York institution!

 

 

Veneiro’s is located at 342 E. 11th St. – 3 blocks south of the 1 Avenue stop on the L train.

 

 

Chelsea – New York Eats

 

I have family in Chelsea so I always find an excuse to head over to this west side neighborhood for some tasty meals.  Last night, my brother-in-law and I caught up over some Thai food at M Thai which is a sleek space with a traditional Thai-American menu.  The prices are right and the presentations are appealing  I liked the brightspicy basil tofu with brown rice because it is perfect in its simplicity.

 

 

Outstanding NYC eats M Thai

The veggie options at M Thai in Chelsea, NYC are quite tasty and light.

 

 

This place is perfect for a quiet meal or some alone time, as it is apparently never overrun with people.

M Thai is located at 200 8th Avenue – 3 blocks south of the 23rd St. stop on the A, C, E trains.

 

 

L.I.C. (Long Island City) – New York Eats

 

Before I moved to ChicagoI lived in Long Island City (L.I.C.), which is the Queens neighborhood closest to Manhattan.  It is only 2-3 short stops from midtown Manhattan on the #7 or E trains.  I lived there for 6 years and I loved it so much, I cried when I left for Chicago.  This neighborhood began its boom in 2005 and it continues today.  There are new restaurants and bars stretching from the East River and Vernon Blvd to Court Square.

 

John Brown Smokehouse is slinging Kansas City-style barbecue and it is fabulous.  I tried the ribs, burnt ends (a signature item) and the mac ‘n cheese.  They are all great.

 

 

New York Eats John Brown Smokehouse in New York

John Brown Smokehouse in L.I.C., Queens serves Kansas City BBQ

 

 

New York Eats John Brown Smokehouse in L.I.C., N.Y.

The burnt ends are a popular menu item here.

 

 

John Brown Smokehouse is located at 10-43 44th Drive (at 11th St.) – 3 blocks east of the Court Square-23rd St. stop, along the E and M trains.  The 7 train is just a an extra block west 

 

 

The Mill Coffee Company is right near John Brown Smokehouse and it is a great addition to the L.I.C. neighborhood.  Check out their interesting strawberry-flavored coffee drinks. Interesting!

 

 

New York Eats coffeehouses in Queens

The Mill Coffee Company in L.I.C., Queens is a new addition to my old neighborhood.

 

Mill Coffee Company is located at 44-61 11th St. – 3 blocks east of the Court Square-23rd St. stop, on the E and M trains.  The 7 train stop nearby, too.

 

All of these outstanding New York eats will take you from morning to night.  Stay tuned next week for another post filled with more New York eats.

In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and take the local trains and buses to these outstanding New York eats. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, parking and road rage.  Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!

You Need To Try These Fabulous Celebrity Chef Restaurants

Celebrity chef restaurants have taken us by storm in the last decade thanks to cable T.V. shows like Top Chef and Master Chef.  It is a vastly different landscape than when I grew up in an age when there were only of 3 or 4 T.V. stations.  Julia Child, Jacques Pépin and The Galloping Gourmet  were the only culinary heroes we had to watch back then.  While I am sure Julia Child would delight in our wide-spread food obsession and Instagram documentation of such, I wonder what she would think of the elevation of so many chefs to celebrity status.  I guess we will never know but, in the meantime, below are some fabulous, celebrity chef restaurants in Chicago which you should try:

 

Leña Brava – Chef Rick Bayless

 

This is the latest venture from Chef Rick Bayless who made it big in Chicago with his Mexican stalwarts, Frontera, Topolobampo and Xoco.

 

 

Celebrity Chef Restaurants Latin eats in Chicago cocktails at Lena Brava

Refreshing Mezcal cocktail at Lena Brava.

 

 

Leña Brava, focuses on seafood, although there is Continue reading

10 Fabulous Latin Eats You Should Have in Chicago

Winter is upon us here in Chicago and our thoughts often shift to warmer climates, as well as the food that we associate with them.  But, if you cannot escape the polar vortex, below is a list of “10 Fabulous Latin Eats in Chicago.”  Grab your coat and hop the rails to these tasty, local hot spots! Continue reading

Andersonville, Chicago – 6 Awesome Eats

Andersonville is one of the most charming neighborhoods in Chicago.  Located on the north side of town, it has Swedish roots, beautifully tree-lined streets, pretty houses and adorable shops.  An added bonus, Andersonville has wonderful restaurants, bars and bakeries.  

I spent a fair amount of time wandering around Andersonville during the last few years. So, I thought it was time I shared a few of my favorite food finds with you all.  Below are 6 of my most favorite Andersonville haunts, in no particular order:

 

**Click on the restaurant names for more information and directions.

 

Big Jones 

 

If you love Southern cooking, then you should definitely check out this spot.  Big Jones is serving one of the very best cups of gumbo I’ve ever had anywhere.  Look how dark and rich this roux is!  The shrimp ‘n grits are equally wonderful.  I still need to get here for one of their decadent brunches.  Soon.  Very soon 🙂

 

 

Andersonville Big Jones Cajun gumbo

The darkest, richest roux in a gumbo I have ever tasted 🙂

Continue reading

Amazing Southern Food in Chicago Can Be Found Here

I am a northerner who currently resides in the Midwest but that doesn’t mean I do not have a deep appreciation for foods from the south.  I am no “damn Yankee!”  In fact, I fell in love with low country cuisine in places like Savannah, Georgia and, in more recent years, I learned how to eat like a southerner in Chicago.  There are quite a few places in “The Windy City” where you can indulge in some traditional dishes, as well as some updated versions of southern classics. Save up your appetite and hit the rails because amazing southern food in Chicago can be found at the following spots: Continue reading