My roommate just told me the most devastating news in the entire world: she doesn't like New York City. This is not acceptable. NYC is the best place on earth, the center of the universe, the big apple. It has everything.
So when she comes to visit me over winter break, I am going to make her fall in love with NYC. Yes, I'll take her to the cool sites, but my mission is to make her fall in love with NYC, one bite at a time. Because food trumps everything else.
I'm going to take her on the most epic food journey ever. Here's my list of places that will make someone with the most anti-NYC attitude change his/her mind in a heartbeat.
This 20-plus layer crêpe cake is Lady M's claim to fame. Eating the thin layers of pastry creme and crêpes transports me to another world. It is honestly the most amazing cake I've ever put into my mouth.
Yes, you can get their strawberry shortcake or other cake flavors, but taking a bite of their signature cake is an enriching, magical experience that everyone deserves to have.
Levain makes the most incredible cookies ever baked. They are crunchy on the outside but undercooked to perfection on the inside, and they are served straight out of the oven warm, gooey, and delicious.
The size is perfect too, so you don't need to order a million to get into a chocolate chip cookie coma (unless you're me and bring 10 home for later).
I feel the need to add two pictures here to show the two best inventions ever created: the frozen s'more and the cookie shot. The s'more is a homemade marshmallow wrapped around ice cream and chocolate that is then torched when ordered. The cookie shot is warm chocolate chip cookie in the shape of a shot-glass, with milk inside.
Prepare to empty your wallet at Dominique Ansel because you will want everything. The chef is extremely innovative and creates new concoctions all the time, so by the time you get to the bakery there may be something else incredible in store.
Pokéworks serves my favorite two things in the entire world: pokeé bowls and sushi burritos. Sushi is amazing, but this place allows you to pack so many more ingredients into your bowl or burrito, elevating sushi to a whole new level. And it's also very customizable, you can decide what kind of fish, vegetables, sauces, and toppings you want. The ingredients are fresh and not too heavy, making it a perfect lunch food.
Morimoto makes the most indescribable tuna tartare I have ever tasted (and I've ordered tuna tartare in every restaurant I've ever been to that serves it). Yes, it's definitely on the more expensive side, but the sauces and freshness of the fish make you want to question everything you've ever eaten before that moment. Once you're there, also order the tuna pizza, wagyu beef tartare, and the crispy rock shrimp tempura.
This picture says it all. If it doesn't make your mouth water and think of every way to get to The Smith ASAP, there's a problem. Cheese plus pasta plus breadcrumbs equals life. With four kinds of cheeses (gruyere, fontina, cheddar, and parmesan), nothing can go wrong.
There's nothing better than the gelato panino at M'o il Gelato. The combination of the warm bun and cold gelato/sorbet is indescribable. You can pick any ice cream flavor, but my personal favorite is the vanilla. Simple and classic. It's fluffy, warm, and sweet but not too sweet. And the bun doesn't get soggy!! It's a must-try in Manhattan.
This is the best one-stop shop for anything and everything Italian. Cheese, yes. Meats, yes. Pasta, yes. Fish, yes. Pizza, yes. Desserts, yes. And everything you eat gets better and better. You have to try the meats and cheeses, and also the desserts at the Nutella bar. For a foodie, walking inside Eataly is like entering heaven. It's a magical, day-long experience.
Just yes. Milkshakes with ice cream sandwiches, chocolate covered pretzels, cotton candy, cereal, piled-high whipped cream. What more could one want?! Black Tap revolutionized the milkshake, leading to many copycat restaurants. But Black Tap does it the best. My personal favorite is the cotton candy one, but there's one for everybody! They're extremely sweet, so pair a milkshake with any of their awesome burgers.
If you like cheese, Raclette serves it in the absolute best way. Scraped off a large wheel, directly onto your plate. Served on top of potatoes and bread, this cheese is the most delicious thing ever created. And the Insta video you get is well worth the long wait.
Ramen burgers completely changed the game of food. Instead of a bun, they use fried ramen noodles. The meat is juicy, the lettuce gives a needed crunch, but the sauce ties everything together. It's salty, sweet, savory all at once.
You can get them at Smorgasburg, a Brooklyn Flea Food Market every Saturday and Sunday in the summertime. And while you're there, you can get a Wowful, spring rolls, oysters, ice cream sandwiches, doughnuts, and hundreds of other incredible dishes.
If you want a grilled cheese made with fancy, incredible cheese, served with a tomato soup, then Murray's Cheese Bar is your place. It's a secret blend of four cheeses, so it's impossible to try and recreate at home. Yes, they have mac and cheese, and cheese boards, and cheeseburgers, but this grilled cheese makes my life. It is incredible. I'm having a hard time looking at this picture and not driving all the way to NYC to pick one up right now.
Russ and Daughters is brunch done right. Bagels, lox, whitefish, latkes, and more. It's Jewish food heaven. The best break fast you've ever had, and you don't even need to fast! Don't leave without getting the blintzes. Trust me.
Oh yes. This burger is straight from my dreams. Order it and thank me later. Ainsworth knows what consumers want: mac n' cheese burgers. Any day, any time.
So there you have it. My list of places to eat if you're in NYC. After eating at just one or two of these restaurants, you'll never want to leave the best city on earth. So get in the car, buy a train/bus ticket, or book a flight and start eating!