Goodness, my list of restaurants was long for this trip. There is no way we could eat at all of them. Especially given the expense of eating out three times a day in New York City. Food is very expensive here and one of my cost-saving measures was to try to eat out only twice a day. I always pack my favorite granola bars so I was hopeful.
Day one: lunch and treats at Chelsea Market
Our first meal in the city was lunch at Chelsea Market. We sat at a community table and watched the crowd pass by in front of The Green Table. We ordered the deviled eggs and a hamburger. Both were delicious and sitting at a community table so perfectly got us into the spirit of NYC. We were tired from travel and walking. We decided on the way back to our hotel to get some fruit, cheese, meat, and crackers so we could take our time getting ready for the Broadway play that was next on the agenda. It was a really good decision that gave us some time to rest and catch our breath.
Day Two: Lunch at the Met and Dinner in Times Square
On our second day in the city, I realized there was no coffee maker in our room. We bought pastries the day before from Amy’s Bread at Chelsea Market for our breakfast, so I was a little irritated that I had to hunt down a cup of coffee to go with my pastry. It was Sunday and the coffee shop across the street did not open till 10 am so settled for fast food coffee. This is and the rainy weather of our last day are really my only disappointments on this trip. It is so minor, but worth noting because I’ve never been in a hotel room without a coffee maker. Also, a coffee shop that does not open until 10 AM on a Sunday? Is this a standard in NYC?
This was our Museum Day and we had a lovely lunch at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. There are several different places to eat at this museum. We chose The American Wing Café and it did not disappoint. The food is served cafeteria style in a glass dining room. Remember I told you it is expensive to eat anywhere in NYC. We each got a cup of soup, shared a sandwich. We drank water and had dessert, all for $50. I will admit that the cup of tomato soup was inspired, and I have been adding sausage to my tomato soup from time to time to remind us of that delicious soup.
We headed back to the hotel in the late afternoon and rested a bit before we headed back out for dinner in Time’s Square. I insisted that we wanted to find something that was new to us so Olive Garden or Chili’s was out of the question. We were looking for something fun with a view of the madness that is Time’s Square. We ended up at Dos Caminos for a massive quantity of excellent guacamole and Mexican food. My daughter still talks about this place. She will say, “Do you remember that Mexican place in Times Square? Wasn’t that just the best guacamole we have ever had?”
Day Three: a lovely cup of coffee and lunch in Chinatown
Our last day in NYC was a great food day. That little café across the street was open for business and I got a good cup of coffee at a place called Fika. I was thrilled since I had just started reading about the Swedish art of Fika. More about that later but let me tell you the Swedes do the coffee break right!
After our morning at the library. We made our way downtown to China Town. It had a very different feel from where we were staying in Midtown. There really are Peking ducks hanging in shop windows and durian fruit in produces bins. We ended up at Hop Shings Restaurant because I asked Trip Advisor where the best place was to eat in China Town. We had never had dim-sum and we were ready for the adventure. It was cold and wet outside and a pot of tea and a plate of warm stuffed buns felt perfect. Our waiter asked in halting English if we wanted steamed or baked and I asked him what he preferred. He said baked and so did we. We got a plate of sweet and a plate of savory and enjoyed our tea and buns while we waited for or beef and broccoli and fried rice. It was a small restaurant with maybe 6 large round community tables and a front counter where people would pop in and get dim-sum to go. Two elderly men sat at our table with us and an elderly lady pushed a cart full of steamed buns through the restaurant to the front for the to go orders. The buns and tea were just right at that moment and we were happy and actually pretty full. We comforted each other with the thankful thought that at least we ordered an entrée to share. So you can imagine our surprise when our lunch arrived and it is a family sized entrée of both beef and broccoli and fried rice. When our food came we knew we had ordered wrong, it was so much food. The meal we ordered to share could have easily fed 4 people and now we had to eat a mountain when we were not even that hungry anymore. It was so good, and we tried so hard, but we just could not eat it all. When it was time to ask for the check, I was dreading the total because no meal we had eaten in this city had come under $50 and this was more food than we had seen in days. I resigned myself to my fate and pulled out my credit card only to be told that only cash was accepted, and we had no cash left after we gave our last $5 to the man on the subway platform playing the accordion. In broken English, the waiter told me that there was a cash machine a block away. I left my baby as collateral and tried to follow his directions to the bank as quickly as possible just sure that she would not be there when I got back. The bank was only three doors down. I was back in no time and my now 16-year-old was sitting there just fine and one chapter farther in her Dorothy Sayers mystery. The cost for that lunch was pretty shocking and not because it was $100 as I was sure it would be. It cost us a little over $20 for that feast. It was the best value in the city and the best Chinese food we have ever had.
We may have skipped Sunday brunch at the Plaza hotel and the Kentucky Hot Browns at Bobby Flay’s, but we ate well and we did not break the bank. We ate memorable food in new and interesting places and we left NYC satisfied.