Besides a fantastic Italian meal at Malaparte in the Meat Packing District, a decent lunch at The Spotted Pig, and fresh and enjoyable bar snacks at Soho House, we had a few other food experiences worth noting. This is where we ate:
New Yorkers love a bagel. I don’t mind a bagel myself, but if I’m honest, I don’t really understand the fuss. A great continental crunchy bread roll is what floats my boat.
We asked several people where we can get an excellent New York bagel and were told on each occasion: Murrays.
Murrays is a chain with several dotted around Manhatten. We went to one close to 6th Ave in West Village. It was a bit like an Australian sandwich shop – nothing really to report about the premises, besides the great display of different varieties of smoked salmon.
This was our breakfast, so Zorba choose a bacon and egg on a wholegrain bagel. I went a traditional New York bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers on a white bagel. Poppy seed was recommended, but those little black poppy seeds annoy me when they get stuck in my teeth.
Zorba said my bagel tasted heaps better than his. And my bagel was fine. It filled a gap but failed to wow me. The salmon was gorgeous, the combination of ingredients pleasant, and the bagel was like plenty of other bagels I’ve had in my time. Nice, but not memorable.
Verdict: If you love bagels, then you’ll love Murrays. 7/10
500 Avenue of the Americas (close to 6th Ave), New York, NY 10011
Tel: +1 212.462.2830
Now we’re talking – Eataly is my idea of foodie heaven outside of Italia. It’s a gigantic mall with different zones for fish, meat, pasta, delicatessen, cheese, vegetarian, sweets and my favourite, a Nutella Bar. There was also a fruit and vegetable market. Each zone contains a shopping area and most have a restaurant where you can sit and eat. Each zone is separate and one must settle the bill in a zone before moving to another. Slightly cumbersome – I’m sure they can come up with a better system that would encourage diners to try more zones.
I chose vegetarian – feeling a need for something healthy. On the menu was ribolito, which translates to reboiled. It’s like a minestrone soup and hails from Tuscany.
It was exactly what we were craving. Good, healthy, and warming. It came with plenty of bread and we asked for olive oil and balsamic to make our own dip. A thoroughly enjoyable dish and I could have eaten two portions of it.
Of course for dessert, I had to go to the Nutella bar. I ordered a Nutella crepe – it was very nice. Although the Nutella inside was scorching hot, which was not pleasant. When I had a Nutella crepe at the President Wilson market in Paris, it was the perfect temperature.
We didn’t get overly excited about the zones, the produce, products or offerings only because we’d just come from Italy. But had I be missing Italia, I would have wet my pants in Eataly. It’s awesome.
Verdict: A must visit for any Italian loving foodie. 8.5/10
200 5th Ave New York, NY 10010
Tel: +1 212 229 2560
Sadly, we only had a quick walk through Chelsea Market and I was wishing we had more time. It’s awesome! The lure of the best coffee in NYC is what brought us to Chelsea Market – Ninth Street Espresso.
The coffee at Ninth Street Espresso was good. I ordered a cappuccino and it was scalding hot – so hot in fact that I needed napkins to wrap around the cup so I wouldn’t burn my fingers. Once it cooled a little, it was good.
Inside Chelsea Market there’s a massive seafood market complete with oyster and sushi bar, and olive oil dispensary (BYO container), organic green juices, artesian chocolates, a specialist cheese shop, Italian delicatessen, sweets, bagels, and a whole host of other cool food related shops. There’s also a heap of retail shops, including pop up designer stores holding flash sales.
Well worth a visit – and I’d definitely recommend giving it more time that we did.
Verdict: Ninth Street Espresso – good coffee but too hot for takeaway. 8.5/10
Shake Shack is a New York institution. It’s a fast food burger place – the flagship stand is located in Madison Square Gardens. The day we were there happened to be Shake Shack’s tenth birthday. As a result, they was a stage set up and festivities planned. Each day of that week a different celebrity chef shared his burger menu and Shake Shack served up 1500 of those.
I was confused when we got to Madison Square Gardens – what are all these people doing?
There were really long queues everywhere. I went to investigate while Zorba rested his weary feet. On talking to a security guard, I learned that today was the main birthday celebrations for Shake Shake and the day’s celebrity chef had a restaurant on 5th Avenue and his burgers cost US$30 in his restaurant.
Security guard: The queue is three blocks long and they are only serving 1500 burgers.
Me: Really? If you really wanted to try this chef’s burger, why wouldn’t just pay US$30 for one instead of wasting all day in queue?
Security guard: Well, thirty bucks is a lot of money for some people…
Me: Maybe, but my theory is that we live in a first world country and as such, we shouldn’t have to queue for food…
I thought it was a bit ridiculous to be honest. Queuing for three blocks for the chance of getting one of just 1500 burgers? It’s this sort of bollocks that makes me shake my head at Americans.
Needless to say, we didn’t queue and never got the chance to try a Shake Shack burger. It was just all too hard and didn’t seem worth the effort.