24 Hours in NYC

November 01, 2011

Posted By: Charlotte Abrams

I don’t get out much. Let me rephrase that: I have a one year old son, I don’t get out at all. My family eats in 90% of the time. When the opportunity arose to spend twenty four hours in Manhattan, all I could think about was being surrounded by, arguably, the best food in the country. I used to be the type of person who would scour the internet and food mags looking for all the latest and greatest restaurants and food spots to check out while visiting. I don’t have the time for that anymore, now I just let things happen naturally. Luckily, no plan is often the best plan. Here’s a recap of where my stomach led me...
1:00 p.m. Union Square Farmer’s Market
This is the most famous Farmer’s Market in the city. It’s not very big, the perfect size really, but it packs in a lot of foodster finds. (Not familiar with the word “foodster”? That’s because I coined it - it’s the new generation of foodies.) What I love most about this farmer’s market is that it’s authentic, no booths selling bulk bags of sterling silver jewelry or boxes of imported bananas. Just earthy goods and farm-fresh foods. Goat’s milk ice cream, every variety of pumpkin and squash you can think of, amazing looking cuts of venison and lamb, homemade jams and breads, and gorgeous bouquets of flowers were a few of the offerings. I settled on some Valley Shepherd’s creamy and perfectly tangy fresh goat cheese smeared on a chewy Italian baguette topped with just made kale pesto from Tweefontein Herb Farm. The kale pesto was the real star. I can’t stop thinking about it. Garlicky and bold. Man oh man. That was my kind of snack-lunch, in the most beautiful setting. My favorite dining atmosphere is mother nature, hands down.
4:00 p.m.   Gramercy Tavern
No trip to New York is complete without visiting Gramercy Tavern. It’s the one place in the city that I will not skip. It’s an institution. I walk in and feel right at home. I fell in love with pork shoulder at this restaurant. Now it’s pretty much the only meat I want to eat. Going during off hours is ideal since there will likely be a couple of seats available at the bar (the tavern). I’ve fought for a table there before, then I figured out this trick and never looked back. The Tavern has the best cocktails.  Inventive without being fussy or trendy. Classic. In fact, my favorite cocktail there is called the Fall Classic. It’s a knock-you-on-your-ass martini made with bourbon and Calvados, an apple brandy. Oh my, it’s retarded good and it makes you hungry. One must have an appetizer to go with it. By appetizer I mean a dish of Smoked Pork Shoulder with Cornbread, but I like to share, so that still counts as an appetizer. I can’t leave that place without some pork. They work miracles on their pork, so flavorful, so tender, you don’t need sauce or fixin’s, just the meat.
9:00 p.m.  Tia Pol Bar De Tapas
This is a teeny tiny tapas restaurant in Chelsea. Very cozy and warm - a quintessential downtown feel. I ate so much food here it’s just ridiculous. To be honest, I can’t even remember everything I ate. But what I do remember, I can’t stop thinking about. The Patatas Bravas, a classic tapa of potatoes with a slightly spicy aioli, was the absolute best I’ve ever had. The potatoes were so crispy on the outside and creamy in the center, like gigantic french fries. F*ck. I want them right now. I’m embarrassed to say that this was my first experience with Pimientos Estilo Gernika - holy crap - these should be on every menu, I don’t care if it’s an Amish Bakery, these should be mandatory. They’re finger sized crispy green peppers sprinkled generously with sea salt. So simple. So amazing.
 11:45 p.m.  Momofuku Milk Bar
If you like food at all and haven’t heard about Momofuku and its ingenious chef David Chang, then you just aren’t even trying. I had the pleasure of eating at Momofuku the last time I was in New York (2 ½ years ago), but I missed dessert. That was a shame because the pastry chef for Momofuku’s Milk Bar, Christina Tosi, is a force to be reckoned with. Her bakeries should be considered meth labs because what she makes is highly addictive and sends people into frenzies trying to get their fix. I was not going to miss another opportunity to taste her stoner-esque creations. The line was out the door and swarming on the sidewalk. But I didn’t let that scare me way. I ordered and stuffed into my purse several compost cookies, b’day truffles, a candy bar pie, and a cookie with a name too long for me to remember. (I ate these intermittently throughout the night as I switched to drinking my way around the city.) The compost cookie is her most talked about baked good, the idea is to cram as much snack foods and sweet treats as possible into one cookie. It’s amazing. And easy to make at home, check out this recipe. The b’day truffles, however, are the real deal, the crack. I’m breaking out in a sweat and shaking just thinking about them. These take the cake balls trend to a whole new level - perfectly sweet and moist (sorry Megan) and melt in your mouth sensational. And they’re ugly as sin, which I respect. 
11:00 a.m.  Eataly
Everything is better when you do it with a glass of wine in your hand. Grocery shopping is no exception. This is no ordinary grocery store, however. In fact, it’s not a grocery store at all. It’s more like a farmer’s market, meets a gourmet Italian import store, meets a really fancy exclusively Italian cafeteria. That was a really bad description. The important thing is that you can get a glass of wine and walk around this indoor market housing the best of Italian everything - meats, cheeses, pastas, breads, gelato, pastries, jams, honey, truffles, tomatoes, seafood, I can keep going, but I’m going to stop. Everything I tried was delicious and I tried just about everything. The star? Speck (a cured and smoked pork, like prosciutto, but even better) and freshly made right before my eyes mozzarella. I love simplicity. 
That’s where my insatiable appetite led me around NYC. Where are your favorite NYC spots? What are you looking forward to checking out the next time you're in the greatest city in the world? Who knows when I’ll go back, but when I do, I want to be ready with your suggestions.


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