New York’s Gifts to the World: Gift #1
For the next seven days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities can share with the world – one gift a day for seven days. Being such an important part of world culture, New York couldn’t pass up this opportunity!
Metroblogging New York City contributes to the “Battle of the Bulge” with our fantastic cuisine, unequivocally our #1 Gift To The World.
One of the great things about New York City is cuisine as varied and far reaching as its residents themselves. New York City is home to so many restaurants that it seems you could eat at a different place for every meal of the day for the rest of your life and never go to the same place twice. But above and beyond the sheer enormity of our cuisine choices are the foods that are so distinctly New York; the quintessential New York foods that every visitor should try at least once to get the full NYC experience. Without further ado, our tour of iconic NYC cuisine–make sure to where some baggy pants!
First stop is an authentic NYC bagel for breakfast. I don’t care how many suburban chains of bagel stores and supermarket brands try to pass themselves off as “New York Bagels”–there is only one place to go for the real deal. Some people say the perfect balance between the dense, chewy, doughy interior and the browned, crisp exterior has something to do with the quality of NYC water. Whatever the reason, New Yorkers love there bagels and no trip to the city is complete without a trip to the iconic H&H Bagel Shop on the Upper West Side. Even though this bagels are tasty enough to eat plain, for an NYC specific experience try a seeded bagel with cream cheese and Nova Scotia lox–yummy!
By midmorning you might be a bit peckish and in need of a light snack. How about a $.75 hot dog at Gray’s Papaya to tide you over? Chose from their Hell’s Kitchen, Upper West Side or West Village locations, and experience the grungy storefront, the questionable clientele and one of the most delightfully juicy hot dogs of your life! Say what you want about so-called dirty-water dogs from the street vendors. The ones at Gray’s have the right taste for the perfect price. Hot dogs are also a quintessental NYC food as you can grab one and eat while you are rushing to get where you need to be, stepping over the clueless tourists and crazy hobos in your path!
Right about now you’re probably craving some lunch and nothing says lunch in New York City like pizza. New York style pizza is thinner, larger and generally more flexible than great pizza from other cities, for instance Chicago. The crust is what makes New York style pizza, hand tossed and made from high-gluten bread flour and again that city tap water. While the debate over the best pizza place in NYC continues to rage on, we’ve got two main recommendations for the quintessential pizza experience. First off, you can’t talk about pizza without mentioning the first pizzeria to open in the US, Lombardi’s in Little Italy. Although they have moved from their original location, Lombardi’s new restaurant on Spring Street will give you an excellent taste of NYC pizza history. But if this author had her druthers (and she does) she would venture over to the DUMBO area of Brooklyn to Grimaldi’s, one of the few establishments that can get a resident of Manhattan to trek over the Brooklyn bridge and wait online outside to experience what many consider the best pizza in all of the five boroughs. The choice is yours–but choose wisely.
Another lunch choice is New York style pastrami, and no one smokes and spices beef quite like Katz’s Deli on Houston Street. One bite of their delectable pastrami on rye with mustard will have you faking your orgasms too. For maximum pleasure, get yourself some chicken soup with matzo balls, a potato knish, Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda and plenty of sour pickles to complete your classic New York delicatessen experience. Saucy!
Dinner in New York can only mean one thing and that is steak. And nothing says steak like Peter Luger’s Steak House, voted New York City’s #1 steak house 23 years in a row by Zagat. This barebones, no frill steak house is the place for steak and nothing else, a local landmark for the working man since 1887. Sure, they’ll give you a menu if you ask nicely, but the choices are as follows: Porterhouse steak for two, three or four. That’s it. But that is all you’ll need at this Williamsburg Brooklyn staple where it’s all about the meat. And that meat, well there are just no comparisons. But it you must indulge in anything other than pure, unadulterated beef make sure to check out the German-style fried potato and creamed spinach sides. Delicious! Just save room for meat!
Full yet? I hope to saved room for dessert! We’ve got two outer-borough choices for you. First off, if you just can’t fit another bite down, why not head to the Lemon Ice King of Corona on 108th Street and Corona Avenue in Queens? These light and delicious no-frills Italian ices come in fruit and chocolate flavors and start at just $1 per cup. Make sure to take a stroll around the hood and see the authentic and thriving neighborhood Corona, Queens while you are at it.
But for those seriously dedicated to the NYC food experience (waistlines be damned!) there is no other place for you to be than Junior’s for their fabulous cheesecake. Sure, they now have a location in Times Square and another in Grand Central, but for the real experience head to the Brooklyn location at the extension of Flatbush Ave at Dekalb Ave. Known nationally for their “The World’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake”, this delectable dessert is made from a family recipe that goes back 3 generations since the restaurants inception in 1950. And while they have many flavor choices, a plain Junior’s cheesecake is a time-honored choice that will allow you to fully experience their creamy, cheesy flavor.
Well, there you have it–the quintessential NYC dining choices, NYC Metblogs #1 Gift to the world. I don’t know about you, but I am getting hungry!