The first time I went to New York in 2005 I felt under the weather and only had one full day in the City to really explore. I spent that day walking all the way from the State Island Ferry all the way up to Central Park, it was November and the weather was exceptional. I was wearing a spring coat (ok, it was a velvet man style blazer, but don’t judge, it was 2005!) and I remember being very proud of myself to being able to navigate a city by myself.
I knew that I would go back and weeks ago when an email regarding a flight sale from Porter landed in my inbox, I had the perfect excuse to go back so we decided to go for Homer’s birthday.
Essentially it was a eating tour of New York.
The big birthday dinner was at Maze
, the less snooty Gordon Ramsey property in the London. We had the tasting menu and I think my favourite part was the veal carpaccio and foie gras combo pictured below.
Of course the service was great, it a little fraught with a sort of superficial politeness. And despite hearing that it was near impossible to get in at either restaurant in the London, when Homer emailed to book he was given a choice of about 10 times on a Saturday night.
Moving on, we also ate at the Little Owl
, a restaurant I had heard about through the food blog world. A very cute little place in the East Village, known for their meatball sliders
, which Homer had for our Saturday brunch (they lived up to the hype), but the eggs you see below were just great too (poached eggs with sausage buns, fontina, greens and hollandaise).
Totally worth a try.
While I hadn’t planned this when I booked the hotel (Hotel 17
, great cheap spot), we were dangerously close to the Union Square green market. We happened to find ourselves there on Saturday morning, where the spread was incredible. Homer bought one of the whoopie pies you see below.
Our other big (and sort of unexpected) dinner was at Babbo
. I had heard that reservations were tough and that it almost makes more sense just to show up (preferably early in the evening) and take your chances as they nearly always have cancellations.
We swung by on Sunday night at around 5pm (just shortly after the opened) to find the place hopping but we managed to get a deuce right away (albeit in a corner squished against another couple but still). Babbo is dark and cozy and hard to take a decent picture in. But suffice it to say we had a pasta tasting menu, which is about the most full I have ever been. Good thing since it provided me with fuel to stand outside for two hours waiting to get in to an Upright Citizen’s Brigade
Some smaller places we checked out include Artichoke Basille
(the rumoured best pizza in NYC aside from Di Fara), and the Stand
(hamburger place with the infamous Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake). At Artichoke I had the Sicilian and Homer had the artichoke and spinach, he was the clear winner. Mine was totally burnt on the bottom (should have headed NY Mag’s warning) but it was still pretty tasty, and Homer’s was creamy delicious and just right.
The Stand (see first photo) was another gem, but we got there on Monday, the last day of our trip. While I won’t post the photo of me eating there, I will tell you that it is not one of my most attractive. Big dark circles, sitting like a lump behind what was actually a delicious turkey burger. Homer had the marshmallow milkshake and my few sips truly were heavenly.
And finally we had to try Magnolia Bakery
, and all I can say is that I understand what Samberg and Parnell were talking about.