NY/DC Trip Report: FOOD!

Final post on our trip to NY/DC! If you don’t like pictures of food, I suggest skipping this entry. Or if pictures of food make you hungry, maybe come back later. 🙂 Here’s a random pic of us at Times Square while you decide…

You still here? OK!

So in planning, there were specific food experiences we wanted to have. Like a classic NY bagel. A NY pizza. Street meat. One great table service dinner. And so on.

We had a couple of misses — for us anyway — Norma’s and Burger Joint (both at our hotel Le Parker Meridien). But for the most part everything we tried was memorable if not AMAZING. Interestingly enough, our best meals in DC happened to be quintessential NY. I guess we’ll have to go back to DC to get a taste for their local cuisine someday. 🙂

Beware lots of food pics…

Bagels! Solid bagels from Ess-A-Bagel (top) and the typical bagel sandwich with nova salmon & cream cheese from Barney Greengrass (recommended by Anthony Bourdain!).

The famous pastrami sandwich from Katz’s Delicatessen. OH-EM-GEE. Words CANNOT describe how delicious this was. SO AMAZING. I’m seriously drooling right now just thinking about it.

Of course we had to try a NY hot dog. We opted for Papaya King on the Upper East Side. The hot dog itself was fine but the papaya juice was an unexpected treat!

Pizza! Yet another NY experience. We had a yummy thin crust pepperoni pie at John’s Pizzeria in the West Village. I even folded up my slices like New Yorkers do. RIGHT?!?

Shake Shack is to the East Coast as In-n-Out is to the West Coast. At least I think. I’m probably going to get my California residence revoked but after having Shake Shack 3 times now, I’m partial to their burgers over In-N-Out. The bread is so soft (my preference) and the sauce is incredible. NOMMY.

As far as I know, there really aren’t very many places in southern CA that serve traditional New England lobster rolls (besides the Lobsta Truck which I still need to check out). So we took advantage of our time on the East Coast and tried Luke’s Lobster. SOGOODOMG. Rob & I split a lobster roll and a crab roll and we were in piggy heaven. Seriously drool-worthy.

Ahhhh street meat. The Halal Guys cart on the corner of 53rd & 6th in Midtown is considered to be the best. Since our hotel was only a few blocks away, we made this our first dinner in NYC. Oh, man. Fantastic start. I found the lamb a touch salty but the chicken slathered with the white sauce and the hot sauce? AMAZING.

We are HUGE Japanese ramen fans (no, NOT the instant top ramen kind — the iconic Japanese specialty) so it’s something I keep an eye out for on our trips. Ippudo is a well-known Japanese chain with only one location outside Japan. So that’s where we headed. We have such great ramen restaurants in CA that Rob found it a little underwhelming. But I was happy. 🙂

When I was doing foodie research on Chowhound, one chef’s name kept coming up — David Chang and his Momofuku restaurants. We like to have dining experiences that are unique to the cities we visit so the only question was which one of his restaurants to try. We ended up at Ssam Bar where we got to try his famous steamed pork buns. Probably THE most memorable thing we ate on our entire trip. The mix of all the flavors was like a serious party in my mouth. WOWZERS.

I’m not a macarons connoisseur by any means — all I know is I love them! I first tried macarons in Paris 6 years ago at Laduree and was instantly smitten. Since then I’ve had them at other places (Bouchon & Lette are my other favorites) but have always remembered my first love. 🙂 I was SO happy to hear they opened their first US store on the Upper East Side late last year. Just as fabulous as I remembered.

I also had to make a pit stop at Magnolia Bakery (like Carrie from Sex and the City) to finally try their banana pudding. HEAVEN.

Finally, our one splurge dinner was at Mario Batali’s restaurant in Greenwich Village – Babbo. Rob & I had the pasta tasting menu (5 pasta courses and 3 desserts) and were blown away. Rob even had the wine pairings (8 glasses of wine — I had a few sips and enjoyed the dessert wines :)). A few of my favorites are shown above — beet ravioli (sounds strange but is amazing), a creamy pasta with mushrooms (I already forgot the real name of it), and rhubarb panna cotta (so light and refreshing). It was one of the best meals we’ve ever had. I still dream about it.

So that’s a wrap on our trip to NY & DC! Writing about our adventures always helps me prolong the memories. Thanks for reading! 🙂