Other than the shopping (where if you show Bloomingdales visitors center staff your driving licence from outside of USA you get 10% off) the architecture and Central Park, you can’t blog about NY without mentioning the food and drink. And whether decidedly dodgy or mouth-wateringly morish they know how to make a lasting impression with their grub.
One place to try for breakfast is Café28 in Chelsea. This place does a gourmet deli like we Brits could only dream of. After a wildly overpriced breakfast at the hotel on our first morning Cafe28 became our first stop every morning for the rest of our trip.
Fresh fruit platters, yogurts with granola and pastries as big as your head were all available along with a large selection of teas (not bad) and coffees (hazelnut decafe was well worth a try). They’d also cook you up eggs, bacon, sausage and fresh pancakes in minutes (McDonalds eat your heart out)
Cafe28 also catered for a quick and cheap lunch with enough wraps and types of bread rolls to feed an army and a plethora of fillings. If you fancied it you could even get your dinner here, I watched a Japanese sushi chef making fresh sushi in the morning and on the other side of the shop was soups, lasagnes, Chinese, even roast dinners were available. Now I know why you never see Americans cooking on TV, seriously why don’t we have these in the UK?!
Talking of dinner one of the best meals we ate was at was ilili (pronounced i-lilly), a Lebanese restaurant with panache and style also based in Chelsea. Cubed falafels that were full of flavour and herby lamp chops where a real taste sensation. Yes it was quite pricey (meal for 2 came to over £100) and the ceiling was pretty low so the acoustics made it difficult to have a real conversation, but really there is nothing else bad to say about ilili. For a special occasion this is tops.
For something a bit cheaper Lulu & Me was a cute little place (round the corner from ilili). The waitress was a doll and the chocolate torte cake was completely morish.
Over to Greenwich Village and Organika and their herbs salad gave me something else to rave about (no really!). Not one to harp on about greens that much, the food here really stayed with us (in a good way and no it wasn’t because of the mojitos I was drinking that night!). All their food is organic and the salad had an interesting mix of parsley, dill, mint (sounds odd, works a treat!) chives, caramelized walnuts, apples and gorgonzola cheese. I WILL be trying this at home.
If you’re just out for a drink there were two places I would recommend (depending on your sup preference). If its craft beers you’re after Blind Tiger in Greenwich was cool, dark and sold many different types of sweet sweet nectar. The staff were so cool and it was here I met the most laid back bouncer ever, a total honey.
For something a bit more upmarket (and a Cosmo to die for) try 230 5th Avenue for the Sky Bar. Wait till its dark but then haul arse over there before 9pm when the queue goes a bit nuts and falls out the door. Up to the 20th floor and you see the Empire states building in all its glory as you hit the bar. It’s a view and half. And another half.
New York. Doesn’t fail to impress does it?