New York City, USA
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Hello from NYC #1

In New York, Concrete jungle where dreams are made of…

Hola EST friends! I should apologise for the lateness of my NYC update. I’ve been a little lazy busy in New York City. Firstly, I should mention why there are updates from NYC from me. If you didn’t know, I (Teresa, part of the EatShowandTell crew) took a leap across the Pacific Ocean, bounced over to the east coast of the United States of America and moved myself to New York City. It has always been a dream of mine to live in another country in a city full of culture, and now I’m living that dream.

Living in NYC

Working countless hours in Sydney encouraged me to come to New York with ZERO employment plans. Some may say that was a brave choice, but to me, I saw it as a lifestyle choice. I had plans to just roam around the city, taking photos, eat my heart out and enjoy the NYC lifestyle. And to live this American dream of mine, I may not be able to eat at michelin starred restaurants, but with thousands of restaurants in this densely populated city, I’m probably never going to run out of places to try. (Any recommendations are welcome and I may even blog about it!)

For those that are friends with me on facebook or follow my twitter, I constantly check-in to restaurants via Yelp. Some have even made comments saying that I should be overweight by now. Luckily for me, this city is all about walking and soaking up the NYC atmosphere.

Now 2 months later, and being constantly nagged by the rest of the EST crew, I am here to share some of the fabulous New York City culinary finds in #1 of Teresa’s NYC updates.

Street Fairs

Street fairs are extremely popular in NYC. There is at least one each weekend, mostly during the warmer months. Streets are closed off and you don’t know where one may pop up for that weekend. I usually go to Hester Street Fair during my saturday or sunday afternoon strolls. The stalls sell everything from vintage clothing and handmade jewellry to ice-cream sandwiches and gourmet hot dogs.

Banh mi from An Choi NYC

Banh Mi (vietnamese sandwiches) has been a NYC lunch “trend” with places like Baoguette being a front-runner as best vietnamese sandwiches in Manhattan. At Hester Street Fair, An Choi’s banh mi’s are deliciously cheap.

Hester Street Fair

Bagels

Who doesn’t love bagels? Well I didn’t really eat bagels… until I got to NYC. Famous for their bagels, New York bagels certainly do not disappointed. Thick, dense and boiled (well the boiled part is really to gelatinize the starch so the outer layer remains chewy and hard and then they are baked). And very recently, I heard the new “trend” was bagel scooping. Scooping? Yes, its when you scoop out the inside of the bagel to fill it up with more cream cheese. I mean, before scooping, the layer of cream cheese was 2cms, now it’ll be at least 5cms.

Here’s the 2cm photographic evidence:

Thick layer of fatty goodness

A list of places to try bagels:

  • Murray’s Bagels: Located in Chelsea on 8th Ave btn 21st & 22nd streets. Their motto: “We don’t toast”. Watch out for the bagel that goes with your cream cheese (meaning a mean & thick layer of cream cheese to go with your bagel). There’s a large selection of flavoured cream cheese to choose from as well as a large selection of bagels. If your adventurous, try the fruity flavoured cheeses. They’re actually pretty good with the bagels.
  • Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee company: Also located in Chelsea on 8th avenue btn 24th & 25th streets, the bagels are slightly bigger than Murray’s, and they toast! The bagel that is… The mini bagels here are basically the size of a normal bagel.

A selection of cream cheese to go with your bagel

  • H&H bagels: H&H bagels are sold at many cafes around NYC but they also have a storefront. As their slogan tells us “Like no other bagel in the world”, this may have been true a few years ago but many stores rival and even better the H&H bagels. With my still-young bagel tasting tongue, I can’t really tell the difference except for the fact that some bagels have a harder and crunchier outer layer.
  • And last but not least, Bagels from street carts. To be honest, I was afraid of street carts at first. I didn’t know if they were clean, but I was assured street carts aren’t dodgy. So I tried a bagel with cream cheese and at $1.25 each, it’s one of the city’s cheapest and tastiest snacks. If a regular sized bagel wasn’t equivalent to 3 pieces of bread, it would be my breakfast regular. And whilst your there, buy a boiled egg to go with it.

Cupcakes

I know the cupcake phase has come and gone, but for me, cupcakes will always be that one treat that makes me feel young again.

Magnolia Bakery is one place with a mean, tasty cupcake. I thought the cupcakes here were just a hype, but the cupcakes at Magnolia does live up to the hype. Soft cake, not too sweet and a perfect marriage of cake and icing.

Magnolia Bakery cupcakes

Sugar Sweet Sunshine was voted by Time Out New York for best cupcakes in NYC and I would have to agree. This little bakery on the LES has cupcakes that rival Magnolia’s. Just as soft and tasty, my favourites are Ooey Gooey and Sassy Red Velvet. Their iced coffee is a also must for those hot and humid days. The interior of the store is very cute and is great for a snack with a few friends.

"Sassy Red Velvet" cupcake

Cupcakes from Sugar Sweet Sunshine

Diners

Diners are everywhere in NYC. They’re your cafes for those late night suppers after going out drinking or if you get cravings for extremely tasty but not picturesque looking food. Many diners are open 24 hours and one I like going to is Veselka’s.

Veselka is a diner, located in the East Village, serving Ukranian soul food. I’ve been here both for breakfast & dinner and I adore the food, the warm friendly service and the atmosphere. This is where I discovered my love for Grits. Grits are a coarsely ground corn, made into a porridge-style dish. If you’ve lived with me or worked with me, you would know I love porridge. In fact, I have spicy cheesy oatmeal for breakfast every morning (does anyone else do this?).

The egg yolk oozing into the cheese grits, flavoured with a few drops of Tabasco… It’s what you see here:

Cheese grits with poached egg

Dinner is also a winner with dishes including handmade pierogi – an Ukraian-style dumpling (similar to gnocchi) – and meatballs the size of large tennis balls. Definately if your out & about in the East Village, pop over to Veselka’s. Or even a diner called 7A – the burgers are highly recommended.

The interior

Brunch @ Veselka

There are diners throughout this city and to experience New York, a diner-meal is a must!

Frankies 17

Located on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, Frankies 17 is one part of the Frankies Spuntino family (there’s another one in Brooklyn). Serving family style Italian food, their menu includes a variety of salads, homemade pastas, plate of antipasti and a large range of cheese. I love the homely dishes from Frankies, and together with the romantic casual atmosphere, this is definately my favourite eatery to go for a comforting dinner with some friends or loved one.

Dinner at Frankies 17

Dinner & Dessert @ Frankies 17

The welcome sign

I seem to get the gnocchi each time I come here (and without realising!). Homemade topped with a simple tomato-based sauce, I could never get sick of the soft, slightly chewy texture of Frankie’s gnocchi.

They also serve Stumptown coffee beans – known for a very smooth and nice coffee aroma. I love a nice cuppa after a delicious meal and I certainly do miss the coffees I used to get back in Sydney.

Frankies Spuntino even release their own recipe book recently, filled with recipes of all their dishes! This is already on my “must-buy” list.

Sushi UO

Another restaurant located on the LES, Sushi UO is one of NYC’s hidden japanese restaurants, literally hidden. The restaurant is a coverted apartment space and any normal person would simply walk straight past it. A relatively recent addition to the LES restaurant scene, what lured me to try Sushi UO were their “live & raw” dishes. (Warning: if you’re an animal rights fanatic, it maybe best for you to skip this section.)

Yes, on the menu, there is “live” octopus and a few other. To our surprise (and thank goodness for this) we were served slices of a large-octopus leg. I was informed by the waitress that it was, infact, live and if I poked at it, the muscles may still move a little.

Live octopus, Octopus confit, Omakase (chef's choice) sushi & sashimi

The sushi & sashimi was fantastic here. Although being so close to the East Village (filled with Japanese eateries), I think the food and dining experience at Sushi UO sits above most of the places you find in the area. The fish is fresh, the presentation is professional and experience being very “fine-dining”. With the majority of the cuisine’s in NYC being more latin american and less asian (as it is in Sydney), I have found myself craving sushi a lot more than usual. Sushi UO is the place I get my “sushi” fix or if I felt like treating myself to a good meal. With the price range being $$$, this isn’t really your everyday eatery.

For sushi cravings.

The potato and spinach soup (picture#3) is probably one of the best soups I’ve ever had. The creaminess and flavour left me salivating for more. At $5 a bowl, I’d definately recommend you try it. And don’t let the size of the bowl trick you.

Baohaus

This is one of NYC’s latest hits. Baohaus is famous for their taiwanese-style snack buns or “baos” if you say it the chinese way. Eddie Huang, the creator/owner of Baohaus, bacame a household name after his recipe was featured on the Food Network as part of the Ultimate Recipe showdown.

Haus Bao and Chairman Bao

The “haus bao”, stuffed with juicy hanger steak, won Eddie his recognition Other baos include the Chairman Bao (oozing fat pork bao) or Birdhaus Bao (fried chicken).

Uncle Jesse (fried tofu)

There’s also a new restaurant opening called Xiao-Ye (formerly named Crackhaus), specialising in taiwanese cuisine (noodles, small dishes, etc). All baos are made to order, so the wait could be a little long, but they are worth the wait. The Bao fries (fried mantou topped with black sesame sauce) are crunchy and delicious, especially ones freshly made. Baohaus is definately a hype worth trying, but probably not worth eating everyday though since a bao will cut you back at least US$4.00. I think it’s their quirkiness that brings the back. The menu, the name, even their workers look quirky!

Taureau

Ready for a heartattack? Yes! Well, cheese fondue anyone? I am a huge cheese fan. The stinkier, the better. Taureau is a french bistro in the East Village known for its fondues. Meat fondue, cheese fondue, chocolate fondue, any flavour, it’s probably on the menu. A day of fasting to prep myself for this meal and I’m ready to eat!

Selection of food @ Taureau

The pot of cheese was huge but enough for 4 people. There’s lots of dipping materials from cherry tomatoes to chorizo. We also order a meat fondue, which really was a pot of hot oil (we chose peanut) to deepfry cubes of beef/meat.

Chorizo for dipping into the cheese

With BYOB (rare in NYC), you should visit Taureau with a group of friends for a fun fondue time. It’s a little expensive (as they charge per serving/per person), but it is a once-only experience. Probably also better for the heart and diet to dine at Taureau occasionally.

Outside Taureau

Luke’s lobster

At a recent Yelp event, the lines for Luke’s Lobster was continuously long for the whole night. Sadly I didn’t get to try the delicious, very delicious shrimp roll on this occasion. In the previous month, I went to Luke’s Lobster for a afternoon tea snack. Located in the East Village, the Lobster roll is the thing to try. A soft sweet roll, filled with pieces of lobster and topped with mayo, I thought I could eat 100 of these. Sadly, my tummy can only fit so much… The lobsters are fetched fresh from Luke’s family lobster business in Maine. The lobster is creamy, full of flavour and lots of lobster!

"Taste of Maine" from Luke's Lobster

Cafe Habana

A homestyle latin food (cuban) safe, Cafe Habana serves a great brunch and small eats. Located on the edge of Soho, Cafe Habana also have a takeout store right next door, Habana-to-go. For those that are impatient (like me), I always opt for this option. Their Grilled Corn Mexican style is my favourite. Topped with cheese, mayo and a sprinkle of chilli powder, this is a must-eat in NYC.

Grilled corn Mexican Style

And together with a thirst-quenching Lime-Lemonade = the perfect weekend snack.

Lime-lemonade: Great for a summer's day

Their sweet plaintains (similar to bananas) is a great “dessert”. I never knew cooked bananas would test good, until I had these…

Sweet Plantains and Cuban Sandwich @ Habana-to-go

THE END… for now!

There’s more to come, so stay tuned for part #2. I don’t want to bore you too much with a long post. :) And until then, here’s a few things I’ll leave you with:

This actually exists only in the US… There’s also Aussie brand shampoo. Both of which we don’t have back in Australia.

Australian Gold (?) sunscreen!?!!!

Must do:

Watch a Mets baseball game

Fried chicken with grits & biscuits. I didn’t really know what to think of this…

Fried Chicken with scrambled eggs.

I love Mac ‘n cheese so much that I will order it if it’s on the menu. No wonder my tummy’s a little chubby.

I love mac 'n cheese.

So to conclude #1 of my NYC update, a last thought:

Whilst I have visited NYC a few times, living here feels different. Instead of thinking bright lights, taxi horns honking, tall buildings… I think of this:

Scene from NYC

… there’s really is a different side to the glitz and glamour of NYC and I’m lovin’ it!

Welcome to New York City and many more posts to come.

I’m open to any and all recommendations of great NYC restaurants or speciality foods, so leave a comment or email me at teresa@eatshowandtell.com. I’ll be more than happy and welcome to eat on your behalf :)
Adios!

Hester Street Fair
Cnr of Hester St and Essex St, New York (Lower East Side area).
Open every Saturday and Sunday 10am-6pm, from April through December.
The Fair happens rain or shine!
Web: http://www.hesterstreetfair.com

Murray’s Bagels
242 8th Avenue (between 21st & 22nd streets), New York (Chelsea area)
Web: http://www.mbchelsea.com/

Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
286 8th Ave., New York (Chelsea area)
There’s also 2 other stores in Astoria, Queens.
Web: http://www.brooklynbagelandcoffeecompany.com

Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleecker St, New York (West Village area)
There’s also 3 other stores: Grand Central Station, Rockerfella Center and Uptown (Columbus Ave).
Web: http://www.magnoliabakery.com/

Sugar Sweet Sunshine
126 Rivington St, New York (Lower East Side)
Web: http://www.sugarsweetsunshine.com/

Veselka
Cnr of 9th street & 2nd avenue, New York (East Village area)
Web: http://www.veselka.com/

Frankie’s 17
17 Clinton St, New York (Lower East Side area)
There’s also Frankie’s 457 in Brooklyn.
Web: http://www.frankiesspuntino.com/

Sushi UO
151 Rivington St, New York (Lower East Side area)

Baohaus
137 Rivington St, New York (Lower East Side area)
Web: http://www.baohausnyc.com/

Taureau
127 E 7th St, New York (East Village area)
Web: http://www.taureaunyc.com/

Luke’s Lobster
93 E. 7th Street, New York (East Village area)
There’s also one on the Upper East Side.
Web: http://www.lukeslobster.com/

Cafe Habana
17 Prince St, New York (Soho area)
There’s also one in Brooklyn.
Web: http://www.cafehabana.com/

50 Comments

  1. omg i want everything in this post in my stomach right now! the last time i was in NYC it was winter and -3C. I love H&H bagels – I find they’re super soft with a lovely chewy skin in the outside. Sounds like you are having a fantabulous time in the Big Apple. Keep up the posts! I am so envious!

    • I'll keep eating on your behalf! And I haven't had a bagel in a long while now (long being 2 weeks lollll!) In fact, I was craving one this morning!

  2. abercrombie says

    OMG BAGELS!!!… i would def be the scooping bagel type.. they NYC’ers are sooo smart, i never would of thought of that… sounds like i have brekkie sorted out for tomorrow morning =))

    0ooo0o0oo maine lobster… always hear about it and for me its a must try if i ever make my way over to the states… those lobster filled rolls look deliiiiiiiish

    subconciously i think i put on the alcia keys song while reading this… ‘concrete jungle where dreams are made of…’

  3. Ooh, what a *fabulous* tour of NYC eateries! Hope you’ll continue doing these, Teresa! I do like how they have the name of the place on the cups, whether they are a diner or takeaway. Have you been to Shake Shack? I’ve heard it’s the best for burgers.

  4. Not sure I will ever grow to like that much cream cheese in a bagel! Looks like you’re having a decadent time in NYC though! Look forward to drooling over more of your posts.

    <3 that Alicia Keys song – got it in my head now!

  5. Hi Teresa! That is very brave of you and I wish you all the best for your adventures. What a wonderful post for everyone back home to be envious of, keep up the great post.

    Happy eating!

  6. I LOVED this post!! This is fantastic and such a great guide to NY eats. I can’t wait to try some of these places when I go :D So glad you’re having a blast over there!!

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    • HAHA Sorry for the long read. They were all bugging me about it!

      And I can never get sick of the mexican grilled corn. And @ $2 a pop, I could have one every day if it was closer!

  8. Awesome post and so great to hear that you're having a great time in NYC Teresa! All the food looks so good and omg how much cream cheese does that bagel have in it?! The Magnolia Bakery cupcakes look fab as well!

    • Thanks Jac :) All this talk of bagels makes me want one for lunch! And the cupcakes are nothing like the ones in Sydney. :)

  9. Woah, food overload! But it all looks so great =)

    Question: is the 'biscuit' what we know here as a scone? (as opposed to a cookie, which is what American call biscuits)

    • The US “biscuit” is very very similar to a scone, but maybe less buttery and they usually have it in a savoury way (with gravy!). And cookie is our sweet biscuit. I love the differences in English terms! It makes living here all the more fun. :P

  10. Love some of the photos from NYC. Looks like you’re livin’ the dream :)

    That bagel dwarfs your hand. Looks like it’s a big enough meal for two!

    I was advised by an American acquaintance that I’d met recently that the almond croissants at La Bergamote Pastries in Chelsea are meant to be awesome. If you ever get the chance to try it, would love to hear what you think.

    • The bagel is feeds me for 2 mornings! Its literally a heartattack!

      And thanks for the rec! It’s near work so I’ll go get one on the way home :)

  11. timbk2 says

    if only u posted this a month ago teresa. lol.. then we’d know where to eat. awesome post though… thanks for recommending me try the bagels… i think the one we tried took at least 2months off my life with the amount of cream chesse on it. awaiting your review of the 3am chicken rice place!

  12. I wish I had gotten a chance to meet up with you in NYC! :) Looks like you're having an unreal time discovering the city… I would love to do what you do!

    I love the look of Bao haus. Wish I had known about that while I was there, but then again I wouldn't have time! Looking forward to your other posts!

  13. Wow Teresa. You are living my DREAM. I love NY. I have always wanted to pack my bags and move there. Magnolia Bakery Cupcakes. DELICIOUS.

  14. Oh wooowww! Looks like u have a blast and look at all that FOOD!!!! Brilliant photos! and Hee hee TW pride! althought even I haven’t tried fried chicken or tofu in the bao hahah

    • Big TW represent here. I sit next to one at work. ahaha! There’s a new taiwanese place opening up, I will try it on your behalf :P

  15. It's an awesome place. I visited last year having not been to New York for 10 years. I'd lived in London during that time and thought I knew my way around big cities, but really NYC is a city on another level from any other. It can't be beaten for intensity & energy.

    We spent a few months in the US and found http://www.roadfood.com indispensable. It's a guide to the best local cooking all over the US. Obviously New York features heavily. It's brilliant.

    enjoy

    • Thanks for the link! Have signed up and will try out a few places this month!

      The intense and energy is on a totally different (and great) level here. Very awesome indeed! I <3 NY. HAHA!

  16. Great post and has me hankering to visit again. Great coffee can be found at Cafe Grumpy’s in 20st Chelsea I think. They have a website. One of the partners is australian.

    • thanks for the recommendation! I have it bookmarked. :) I found that there’s quite a few Australian-owned coffee shops over here. Finally, I can get a good mocha somewhere!

    • I try not to live on bagels due to:

      1. the amount of cream cheese
      2. All the other brunch foods in NYC

      but it keeps pulling me back for more!! So delicious and quite different to the ones in Aust!

  17. I practically lived at Veslka’s when I was in NYC a cople of years back. Awesome cheap and tasty food, but the people watching is AMAZING! Love that’s you’re hanging on the LES. I loved it there. Oh how I want to go back!

    • I think you mentioned this place to me a while ago, so I always had this place in mind to try out! :) LES and the EV is now my “hood” HEHE! Come visit!

  18. wooooh looks so good! glad you're enjoying it and eating up a storm over there!!
    i think i saw an anthony bourdain show where he had some epic looking corned beef sandwich where the filling was like 5 iches – ring a bell? kat x

    • I think I know which place you’re talking about! I’ll go try it out for you :) Hope all is good in Melbourne!

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  20. Aussie Expat says

    you’ve got to try the banana or chocolate pudding’s at either SSS (the ladies were originally employees at Magnolia’s before breaking out alone) or Magnolia’s – to die for. Looks like you’re based in east village so also try these spots:
    - Emporio (Mott btw Prince / Spring- no frills italian)
    - Desert Truck (Clinton btw stanton / Houston – chocolate bread pudding w/bacon custard!!!)
    - Hencho en Dumbo (Bowery & 4th, authentic mexican, not just burrito’s and taco’s)
    - The meatball shop (Stanton btw Allen and Orchard – but go early or for lunch as lines are crazy)
    - Kampuchea (cnr of Allen & stanton – excellent pho)
    - Felix (W.Broadway & Broome – Sunday brunch)
    good luck!

    • Thanks for the recs.

      I tried the bread pudding with bacon custard one night as they were offering free desserts… it was strangely delicious!
      I’ve heard the Meatball Shop is great! Not just for the meatballs but desserts too.
      Kampuchea for pho? That’s interesting… I should try it but I only see sandwiches and a mix of different asian foods, so I head to chinatown for my pho-fix.

      And I’ve bookmarked all the other places. Thanks so much!

  21. Lizzie says

    Highly recommend L’Artusi in Greenwich Village, The Stanton Social in the Lower East Side, Sanctuary T in Soho, and Salt, also in Soho. Breakfast? Clinton St Baking Company (just not on weekends if you actually want to eat!)
    Fancy some beverages? Try Pegu Club on W. Houston or Jane Bar and Restaurant (South/Greenwich Village).
    It sounds like your having an amazing time!

  22. I went back to read your post after visiting NYC for a week in Christmas. And I happened to stay 1 block from Cafe Habana, and went there for a Cuban sandwich that was THE best! and to my pleasant surprise it was listed on your blog. Looooved NYC!

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