Food is everywhere in NYC. There’s a reason fashion editors crack jokes about the “Diet Coke and Cigarettes” diet and everyone counts calories like crazy. It’s not because we’re hyper-aware, it’s because if you wanted to, in New York City, you could literally never stop eating. The tall shoes keep us further from the feast, and the black clothes mask spillage from amazing meals. It’s a rouse, I’m sorry to inform you.
And on this list of amazing, fantastic places to manga, I’ve got a few favorites. Recently, when an out-of-town buddy came into the city, I spent a weekend shuffling from one to the next.
Starting out slowly, we sat down at OTTO. For all the Italian charm this place packs in, it also packs in tourists, thanks to the big fat Mario Batali stamp on the front door. Yep, it’s Batali’s restaurant, but you probably knew that already. What you might not know is that it contains one of the best snacks of all time, olive oil gelato. Stop in, if only for the gelato, like I did, and savor the salty sweetness in a slightly toned down setting than Washington Square Park (nee: Needlehead Park) is known for.
While still in Manhattan, we headed across town to my all time favorite foodie jaunt, Chelsea Market. Among the cubby holes of fantastic treats you can score fresh lobster, crusty bread, and sweetened figs. You can also sit down for a lunch at The Green Table, part organic eatery, part people-watching mecca. My guest and I, not yet full off Batali gelato, opted to share crudites and soups, a light lunch suitable for a walk on the Highline.
We packed it in for the night, food wise, but picked right up again the next day in the borough of my existence, Brooklyn. I was born in Bensonhurst and have been keeping watch over my hometown’s development and accolades since 1983. So, I love Flatbush Farm. Using mostly local purveyors they’ve created a brunch menu chock-full of tasty bites like Buckwheat Pancakes and Duck Confit. They’re also located on a fun nexus of Flatbush Ave, within walking distance to my apartment (huzzah!), Target, and Brooklyn Museum.
No trip to Brooklyn is complete without a stop at the sideshow circus called Williamsburg. Visitors love the spectacular waterfront views, spacious parks, and ridiculous people watching. Locals remember the quaint mom and pop shops and tenement buildings that used to line the streets. That nabe’s rate of growth has been both amazing and terrifying, and what will be the outcome is yet to be determined. Until then, there are some great places to grab a bite, including Marlow & Sons. Grab either a meatplate to share, like we did, or the sea bass, which is surprisingly flavorful and fresh for what you’d consider New York seafood. The wine menu is also impressive, and you’ll wanna give both the house wine and Metro Normandy, a special cocktail, a try.
Before leaving the area, my guest decided to visit the Bedford Cheese Shop to grab gifts for friends back home. While there is a staggering array of gourmet goat, cheese, and cows cheese, they probably won’t hold on any sort of plane ride. Instead, they offer Cheese Subscriptions based on the very best in their portfolio. I won’t tease you with prices, but your giftee better really enjoy cheese.
Sufficiently stuffed, we sauntered into Bay Ridge for one last epic battle of good and stomach: desert. I’ve been visiting the Mona Lisa Bakery since I could walk. Back then we were both much smaller, and these days we both have better taste. Walk past the adorable cafe tables and into the bakery where the scents will assault you and you’ll swear you’re in Italy. If you yearn for Roma, grab an espresso at the authentic coffee bar, but if you’ve got a one track mind like me, head straight for the gelato counter. Yes, gelato two days in a row. I’m sorry, I’m Italian. Skip the weightier flavors for the light sorbets. Lemon, lime, berry, any will do. It’s a sweet way to end the night and, for me, a great way to send off a friend: gelato in hand, Verrazano Bridge views in the distance, Sinatra on the speaker.