One of my best girlfriends Julie recently asked me where I ate when I was in New York a few months back. I got to recalling the trip and realized I really hadn't lamented adequately on what a delicious (and fun) journey we had. Having eaten there a few times before, there are a few haunts we know and love, starting with:
Our absolute must do when in NYC. Worth the hour wait to get in. Just pull up a spot and people watch. Located in the absolute heart of maybe my favourite neighbourhood in the world (Mott & Prince in Nolita), there is no better people watching paradise than this, short of sitting at a cafe in the Marais in Paris. I have heard that Vancouver's own Medina took inspiration from this funky little spot - and it turns out Medina has my heart as one of my favourite spots in this fair city!
Expect Moroccan/Tunisian/Mediterranean goodness with lots of great vegetarian options - veggies, feta, all made right there in front of your eyes. I should say that Cafe Gitane is the only place I have ever seen that offers my all time, world's best, favourite food: avocado on toast! I swear every cute girl and guy (that is who tends to eat there) was eating this. I almost died as I did not remember this from my last visit there in '07. Major win!
More Mediterranean influence :) The site of my first meal ever in New York City. The restaurant where we enjoyed the meal following the closing of the purchase of our home, and my first foray into experiencing New York. More (surprise) Moroccan food - couscous, salad, hummus - a wonderful oasis! It's been there forever. Warm, cosy, inviting and highly recommended.
I need my coffee! The folks at Ninth Street Espresso are hipsters in every sense. Coming from the coffee scene here in Vancouver, which hosts one of the most vibrant and hardcore coffee cultures in North America, Ninth Street offered a home away from home in the East Village. We went to the one on Ninth and hung for about an hour each morning. Heaven.
We also enjoyed lunch at the Moma Cafe - high-quality fare with a nice glass of white wine (a must at lunch when vacationing). We also discovered a pretty cosy little localvore wine bar in Nolita call Ten Bells. Packed with locals, this place was super cosy to stop and enjoy a glass of wine and a few bites of local cheeses.
Our trip was just what we needed - a quick getaway from kids and work life. I swear if I didn't have such a great life here, I would live in Paris or New York - of course, if I could manage to make enough money - there is so much to see and do. I think to survive I would have to live in Brooklyn, which we also enjoyed with an afternoon coffee at El Beit (serving a West Coast coffee but not ours) and dinner in an old apothecary turned lively Italian joint.
So much inspiration comes out of a place where anything goes, and as usual, I was impressed and inspired by the general state of being in folks living in that city. Everyone walks, and there is a fruit stand on every corner. It's not a hard gig to eat well in a place like NYC, and I am inspired by the health and wellness community there. And no, I did not shop. (That much). But that's another story.Alas, we returned home to take stock after our break. No matter where you go, there is no place like home. I can't wait to go back again though, sooner rather than later. What are your favourite food haunts in New York? Care to help Julie out with your recommendations - I am sure she will be grateful!