“Some folks like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood. Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood. But I’m takin’ a Greyhound on the Hudson River Line. I’m in a New York state of mind.” – Billy Joel. But how do you have a diverse food experience once you get there? Here’s my new blog series about Eating New York City in 2 Days. Ditch the car and ride the subway to the following restaurants across NYC’s different boroughs!
Day 1 – Eating New York City – 2 days
Start your first day off at Russ & Daughters Cafe on the Lower East Side of Manhattan which is old New York City. This cafe is an extension of the iconic deli two blocks south which has been feeding New Yorkers since 1914. This important Jewish deli has
the finest bagels, lox, matzo ball soup and other Jewish soul food which strongly represents just one patch in the fabric of New York’s immigrant population.
127 Orchard St. – Take the ‘F’ train to Delancey St.
Rose and Basil
Take a walk a bit further north of Russ & Daughters Cafe to the East Village for some coffee and a sweet treat at Rose and Basil. This is one of the cutest and most unique coffeehouses in New York City. On the outside, it looks like a card store but inside you are transported to a rose-centric cafe with exceptional coffee drinks and handmade sweets. All menu items, including the coffee drinks, are infused with extracts from roses imported from the owner’s garden in Romania. Organic ingredients and vegan-friendly items make up the confections at this lovely store.
104 E. 7th St. – Take the L train to 1st Ave.
Oyster Bar @ Grand Central Station
As a New York City girl born and raised, I have always thought Grand Central Station is the most stunning building. I love the astrological ceiling in the main hall. Moreover, no experience eating New York City would be complete without a trip to Oyster Bar in the lower concourse of the terminal. Whether you order a bowl of the legendary clam chowder, some oysters or other fresh seafood entrees, you will feel like you’ve stepped back in time at this New York institution from 1913! I’ve been to some swanky parties here, too.
89 E. 42nd St. in Grand Central Station – Take the 4, 5, 6, 7, Time Square Shuttle (S) trains to 42nd St./Grand Central
Now that you’ve nibbled your way through lower Manhattan and Midtown, plan your dinner up in Harlem at Red Rooster. This phenomenal restaurant/speakeasy is the brainchild of the celebrity chef, Marc Samuelsson who is Ethiopian-born and Swedish raised. Red Rooster’s menu reflects the Chef Samuelsson’s background with the best Swedish meatballs I’ve ever eaten as well as phenomenal cornbread and spicy seafood dishes. No matter what you choose to eat here, there is live music every night. So, you should grab your friends and make a night of it.
319 Lenox Ave. – Take the 2 or 3 trains to 125th St.
Day 2 – Eating New York City – 2 Days
New Yorkers hate when visitors assume that our city is only about Manhattan. There are five boroughs and all of them are wonderful (Well, okay, Staten Island is still the red-headed step-child). I grew up in Queens, the biggest melting pot in the entire city. My mother was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. These two boroughs were always cool but it hasn’t been until recent years that they have suddenly been “discovered” and endorsed as viable places to live and play. During the last twenty years, as Manhattan island started busting its seams, people have been taking up residence in Brooklyn and Queens in bigger numbers. I recommend you start your second day of eating New York City at Lueca in the William Vale Hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The breakfast and lunch menus, in particular, are fabulous. Get the decadent rum-soaked raisin French Toast or the Sicilian baked eggs.
111 N. 12 St. – Take the L train to Bedford Ave. or the G train to Nassau Ave.
Afterwards, walk off your breakfast around Williamsburg on Bedford Avenue and take in New York City’s skyline down by the pier. When you’re ready to continue eating New York City, hop on the East River Ferry from Williamsburg to Long Island City (L.I.C.) for lunch at John Brown Smokehouse. The ferry will leave you a few blocks south at Hunters Point. John Brown is the place for Kansas City barbecue and it’s awesome! I lived in L.I.C. for six years and this joint was not around at the time. I recommend getting the dry ribs, the burnt ends, and the mac ‘n cheese.
10-43 44th Dr.
When you are finished with lunch at John Brown Smokehouse, take the 7 train back to Grand Central Station. If you want more of New York City’s iconic view, ride the ferry back to 34th St. in Manhattan.
Manhattan’s Upper East Side has several lovely options for Chinese food but I have a soft spot for Cafe Evergreen. It’s just the type of low-key, family-run restaurant that provides succulent barbecue spare ribs with plenty of duck sauce and Chinese hot mustard on the side. I am never disappointed here.
1367 1st Ave. – Take the Q train to 2nd Ave. or the 4,5,6 trains to 72/Lex
Top off your tour of eating New York City in 2 days with a cocktail at Bemelmans Bar at the art deco Carlyle Hotel. It is named after Ludwig Bemelmans, the author of the famed Madeline children’s books. His illustrations adorn the walls at this sophisticated, essential New York City hotel. The Carlyle and Bemelmans Bar is a great spot for peeping celebrities and politicians and soaking up a bit of New Yor City’s nostalgia.
35 E. 76nd St. – Take the 6 train to the 77th/Lex
I hope you enjoy these suggestions for Eating New York City in 2 Days – Vol. 1. Subscribe to Feeding Off The Rails and get for additional posts in this new blog series and more.
In keeping with the spirit of Feeding Off The Rails, I encourage you to leave your car at home and ride the MTA subway as you embark on Eating New York City in 2 Days. Save on gas. Avoid traffic, road rage and parking. Reduce pollution. Don’t drink and drive!