How to Eat and Drink Your Way Through New York City

How to eat and drink your way through New York city when it's 100+ degrees during your long weekend in the city and you can't bare exploring outside. 

A couple weekends ago, the hubs and I spent a long weekend in NYC. It was an impromptu getaway with girlfriends from college and their husbands. My friend Katie’s parents have an apartment in midtown they split with family (I know, right?? #jealous). We had all sorts of grand plans to explore the city, but it was SO hot when we were there - at one point it hit 107 degrees! So we did a lot less exploring and a lot more eating and drinking to take advantage of air conditioning!

Our view of NYC from where we stayed in midtown. This view lit up at night was everything

Our view of NYC from where we stayed in midtown. This view lit up at night was everything

We went up a day early to visit my family who lives in the city. Our first night we stayed with my cousin in Queens, so after dropping our stuff off at her house, we grabbed lunch at a famous Greek seafood restaurant in her neighborhood, Taverna Kyclades. Astoria is known for it’s Greek food and this is supposed to be the best. George Clooney apparently eats there all the time when he’s in town – luckily for Amal he wasn’t there when I was dining ;) We started of with an order of saganaki, fried cheese topped with lemon. I just LOVE fresh sardines (I know!), so I got their grilled sardines with an order of lemon potatoes while Scott got their grilled calamari with fried potatoes.

Grilled sardines, lemon potatoes and grilled calamari at Taverna Kyclades in Astoria Queens
Grilled sardines, lemon potatoes and grilled calamari at Taverna Kyclades in Astoria Queens

From there we took the subway to Lower East Side, where my family lived when they immigrated to America. We visited my great grandparents old candy shop (now a coffee shop) and explored the neighborhood a bit before taking a tour of the Tenement museum. Tenements were the low income housing that covered the Lower East Side, where immigrants lived tightly packed in pretty awful conditions. The Tenement Museum takes you through a restored tenement that was left undisturbed for 50 years before being rediscovered in the 80s, so it's almost like a time capsule. It's a really cool way to hear the story of America! Definitely gave me just a special appreciation for what I have and where I came from.

The Classic Coffee Shop in Lower East Side
The Classic Coffee Shop in Lower East Side

After a quick local beer and air conditioning break across the street at Top Hops Beer Shop, we walked up to East Village to Coopers Craft and Kitchen for dinner with my family. Scott had a big ‘ole burger and fries and I had their ricotta gnocchi with chicken sausage, mushrooms and (!!!) truffle.

Burger and fries from Coopers Craft and Kitchen
Burger and fries from Coopers Craft and Kitchen
Chicken sausage gnocchi from coopers craft and kitchen in NYC
Chicken sausage gnocchi from coopers craft and kitchen in NYC

The next day we had the morning to ourselves before our friends got in town, so we grabbed breakfast at Pondicheri, a new Indian restaurant in midtown. Seriously, Indian food for breakfast is a thing that needs to happen. I had the morning thali, a big plate with a fried egg over carrot paratha served with lamb keema, spinach salad, saffron potatoes and oats and and fried eggplant thing. Scott, who won the meal, had the beet uttapam, a fried egg served over this crazy delicious beet, fermented lentil and rice pancake with cilantro chutney.

An Indian breakfast from Pondicheri in NYC
An Indian breakfast from Pondicheri in NYC

Then we made our way downtown to hop on the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Between that and the tenement museum the day before I guess we had the whole immigrant experience!

Finding my great grandparents name on the wall at Ellis Island
Finding my great grandparents name on the wall at Ellis Island

At that point, our friends were in town so we met up at Katz Deli in Lower East Side for lunch. Bagel with cream cheese and lox for me, a sandwich piled high with pastarami for the hubs, plus a potato knish and giant plate of pickles to split. Really wanted matzo ball soup too, but a 100+ degrees outside, that just wasn’t happening.

Sandwiches at Katz Deli in Lower East Side
Sandwiches at Katz Deli in Lower East Side

We then made our way back to midtown and spent the rest of the afternoon at nearby Museum of Modern Art, where we admired Van Gough and questioned how a purple canvas with the word “OOF” painted across it could be considered art. Modern art aficionados, please explain this stuff to me.

Since we had late dinner reservations, we all went to PJ Clarke's for a drink and met up with my mom, who just happened to be in town. If you're in midtown, definitely worth dropping by! It's been open since the 1880s and has such a cool vibe.

It was restaurant week when we were there, so we got reservations at Chef’s Club, a restaurant by Food and Wine featuring recipes by their best new chefs. Scott’s won dinner once again – grilled octopus with chickpea cakes, preserved lemon and pistachio cream for an appetizer and lobster cannelloni for his main. Although I was not at all sad with my three course meal of calamari with pickled vegetables, Asian short ribs with chili glaze, and buttermilk panna cotta with lemon poppyseed pound cake.

Grilled octopus from Chef's Club
Grilled octopus from Chef's Club
Calamari with pickled vegetables and hummus toast
Calamari with pickled vegetables and hummus toast

The next day we snuck off early to grab breakfast with my cousins at Alice’s Tea Cup, a cute little tea parlor famous for their scones. I had the most incredible vegan dark chocolate chip scone served with raspberry preserves and clotted cream with a side order of chicken and potato hash.

Dark chocolate vegan scone at Alice's Tea Cup
Dark chocolate vegan scone at Alice's Tea Cup

We then took a long stroll through Central Park to meet up with the rest of the group, who was headed to a kitchen store up on 90th. But when we finally got there, absolutely dripping in sweat, the store was closed for the weekend! Womp womp. So we cooled off at a nearby bar, Third Avenue Ale House, per the recommendation of a random guy on the street. And way to go random guy on the street cause they actually had a great food menu and tons of craft beer! And as it turns out, I had actually been there years before with my cousin where I had an epic salad with brie, purple potatoes and peas. This time, I went for the cheese stuffed soft pretzel with parmesan and jalapeno :)

A stroll through central park
A stroll through central park

From there, we headed downtown and walked around East Village. But since it was so crazy hot, we just ended up back at a bar to cool off ;) We stopped by Cafe Standard in the trendy Standard Hotel for girly drinks and a snack of saloumi croquettes with kale and gouda.

Girly cocktails at The Standard Cafe in East Village
Girly cocktails at The Standard Cafe in East Village
Saloumi croquettes with kale and gouda
Saloumi croquettes with kale and gouda

Then we took a walk through NYU, Noho and over to Greenwich Village for more appetizers at Murrays Cheese Bar. Y'all, it's is a cheese bar! A CHEESE bar! Basically heaven. We split a couple bottles of wine and cheese plates filled with the most incredible cheeses and accompaniments. My favorite was the stinkiest cheese on the plate, of course. Oh, and let's not forget the side order of buffalo fried cheese curds. I will never eat another chicken wing again.

Cheese plate from Murray's Cheese Shop
Cheese plate from Murray's Cheese Shop

We continued the dairy fest with a stop at The Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. I'm not a fan of soft serve but theirs was pretty fabulous. I wanted the Bea Arthur because I love her, but I don't love nila wafers, so I went with American Globs, which is dipped in chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate fudge and sprinkled with sea salt.

A cone of American Globs at Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
A cone of American Globs at Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

From there, we strolled through some of the fancy shopping streets in West Village and managed not to spend all our money (pretty impressive considering the buzz we had going). Just as the sun was going down, we made it to the High Line for sunset. The High Line is one of my favorite places in New York and I have to say it was pretty magical lit up at night.

The next day, the hubs and I woke up bright and early for coffee with my mom, followed by breakfast at Black Seed Bagel. It's my absolute favorite bagel shop! They happened to be out of the one I always order so I was forced to try something new, which I was not sad about at all once I had a bite! Scott and I split the sable bagel with lox and dill cream cheese, lettuce and onion and the smoked trout with hard boiled egg, arugula and dijon. On everything bagels of course. And then we spent the next 20 minutes picking seeds out of our teeth.

Bagels from Black Seed Bagel
Bagels from Black Seed Bagel

We made our way over to Brooklyn so I could show Scott the neighborhood I grew up in, Prospect Park South. It's such a cute historic neighborhood filled with lots of really unique homes built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It's my dream to move back there! If you're visiting Brooklyn, highly recommend going on a run through Prospect Park and into our little neighborhood!

Prospect Park South
Prospect Park South

What are your NYC favorites? 

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