I was born and raised in a suburb of Washington D.C.; however, a lot of my family is lucky enough to live in New York City. I travel to the city often, sightseeing and exploring, with the excuse to also visit the fam. The city has endless food options ranging from cuisines of Chinese, Greek, American, Mexican, Italian... you get the point. While although you can get these foods in Maryland too, they aren't just a short walk away – or as good!

After traveling to NYC for the holidays, here's my viewpoint of the city's food as a Maryland native.  

The Bagels

The island of Manhattan is surrounded by water on three sides and they pride themselves in that by saying "the water" is what makes their bagels so good. The bagels are ginormous and fluffy, making each bite faster and faster.

There are endless opportunities to pack between the two halves of the bagel. You can pull an "original" with plain cream cheese or a bacon, egg and cheese. You can also get creative with veggie cream cheese, even adding lettuce and tomato (for the veggie lovers out there). Many delis in New York City have just about every kind of bagel you can imagine, from cinnamon crunch to a salt bagel or a simple cheese bagel. My Aunt Judy's favorite is an everything bagel scooped then filled with avocado, lox and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper.

Katie Coulson

For some reason, Maryland bagels just cannot compare. The state is located near the Chesapeake Bay, so why isn't there talk about "the water" from there?

The Restaurants

Americans like to eat. Better yet, New Yorkers like to eat, and they like to eat well. On an average night, there are 7,966 restaurants available to choose from. One of these is called Orso, a restaurant my family adores, found on Restaurant Row in the theater district.

Katie Coulson

I ordered the rigatoni and ate it almost too fast, not stopping in between bites to breathe. This restaurant has many options including pizza, seafood (Maryland crabs perhaps?) and spaghetti, but they also have plenty of meat and vegetable dishes to chose from, for someone avoiding carbs. Orso is a favorite of my family's because while its the perfect location for a meal before a broadway show, it's also a restaurant many famous people enjoy. About five years ago, we sat across Bruce Springsteen and his wife.

Each menu that New York City offers, has a unique selection of starters, salads, mains and desserts that usually settle my cravings, and if not, there are 7,965 more options available.  

Katie Coulson

Sarabeth's on Amsterdam Avenue is yet another perfect place to get that seafood craving fulfilled. The owner's mission is to "offer simplicity, perfection and classic taste in her restaurants and through her products". They do just that with their crab meat guacamole and chips and their pan-seared salmon. Sarabeth's puts a New York twist on all of our favorite seafoods, and offers a friendly and warm environment to go along with it. My experience at Sarabeth's was reflective of the wide smiles from everyone that had waited on us.

The Sugar Craving

In New York, the celebration of sweets is unlike something I've ever seen. Around every corner is a bakery, ice cream store, doughnut shop, and of course, a Starbucks (people need their frappaccinos!). 

The first place I go to settle my craving for sweets is Smackery's – famous in NYC by the locals who stop by for either the 'funfetti' or 'lemon poppy seed' cookie. If these sound too fancy for you, the traditional chocolate chip cookie is always a winner. The small cookie shop is located right by the theater district (perfect for an after show snack) and has a wide range of delicacies including, schmacaroons, krispie treats, milkshakes and coffee; leaving each member of my family satisfied.

Katie Coulson

In a small, quiet cupcake shop in the West Village, you can find the sweetest and most unique cakes in all of New York. Molly's Cupcakes creates flavors that exceed expectations, like peanut butter Nutella and peach cobbler. Located right at the end of the famous Bleecker Street, the shop itself is a perfect place to take family that are visiting, or even do work on a Saturday afternoon. 

Katie Coulson

The Winter Season

New Yorkers are passionate about the holiday season. They sure know how to decorate parks, streets and apartments. Every year, markets are set up all around the city to celebrate. Each one has rows and rows of winter accessories, kitchen supplies, sugary foods, jewelry, wall decor and even suitcases. Thousands of people walk through every day, looking for presents or just browsing as an activity. The winter market at Bryant Park surrounds a ginormous Christmas tree which overlooks an ice skating rink. Many people can spend the whole day at the park, shopping, ice skating and grabbing a bite to eat at the many small pop-up shops available.

Katie Coulson

Bottom line, Maryland and its seafood will forever be my home. However, hopefully in the near future as a post-grad, New York may become my new home. Millions of restaurant options and new cultures to learn about, where lifelong memories are made sharing food over a table, this city is something everyone should experience.