Three years after having moved to Southern California, I am still surprisingly asked where one should eat while in New York City, my home for a number of years. A combination of my desire to continuously try new things and having the most diverse, and some of the best, cuisines represented in the city, made me the foodie I consider myself to be today. New York City restaurants change all of the time, so I put together a list of my classic, always-go-to-when-I'm-home-in-NYC eats!
While I've written about other foodie adventures before, in writing this blog post, the reality hit me that all of these foods bring me back to positive experiences. Taim is what I used to always eat post spin class at the Greenwich Equinox. Levaine's is where I always took my many out of town friends visiting the city, and ordering at Vanessa's reminds me of the beautiful chaos - the yelling, the close knit quarters - that New York City is on a day to day basis.
With that said, every single one of these eats make my mouth water as I write about them and makes me wish I could transport them to San Diego. Every single one makes me say it's the best of its kind in THE world, so enjoy homies and let me know what you think if you visit! xo, Evelyn
The best falafel has a soft center and crispy, but not TOO crispy, shell. Taim gives you THE perfect falafel (in three flavors!) with the freshest ingredients and most flavorful tahini. I love their original location in the West Village. Yes, a little small, but so are many spaces in NYC!
What to order: Falafel sandwhich with the traditional green (parsley, cilantro, mint) falafel, "with everything" being KEY! This gets you pickles (SO. BOMB.) and more. Wash it down with a date, lime, banana, soy smoothie. I actually make this smoothie at home with Greek yogurt for a protein kick AND it reminds me of sitting at Taim, looking out the window watching life go by in the West Village. Sigh.
167 West 74th St. New York City
Levaine Bakery cookies are THE. BEST. IN. THE. WORLD. Every bite has the perfect amount of melty, gooey, chips (whether chocolate chip or peanut butter) Each cookie is hefty, and they should be as they were created by two former triathletes for major substance! They are slightly firm on the outside, perfectly soft in the center, and remain soft even a day or two later. No Levaine cookie has lasted longer than 2 days in my presence :) I always go to their tiny Upper West Side location but as of June 2017, they've opened up a second location three blocks away!
What to order: I love their original walnut chocolate chip cookie followed by their dark chocolate peanut butter cookie. Their bakeries have other options - scones, sticky buns, etc - but the cookies are why you go!
118 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002
There are a lot of amazing dumplings options in Chinatown but I keep going back to Vanessa's! I like a variety of dumpling options and freshness, and Vanessa's gives both of that to you! You literally see the dumplings being fried and boiled as you order them. Do not let the almost always crowded tables turn you off: people eat dumplings quick and keep it moving! Also, ensure you go to their original Chinatown location and not 14th St. Note a theme here: I like the original places of each of my fav places! It's where it all started for these places!
What to order: If you get ONE thing, get the chive and pork boiled dumplings. Those are the ones below and are my fav! If you order a bunch of things, as you should, get the sesame pancake, the pork fried buns, and another order of the chive and pork dumplings, but the fried version! Also, eat them there! Everything is best just a little after they hand you over your order, because everything will be hot!
W 53rd Street & 6th Ave. New York City 10019
$7, chicken and rice. Extra white sauce, please. These two things will bring you great joy and is what you need to know about ordering at the Halal Guys. These carts that are open from 11am to the wee hours of the night (hello, post bar/club food!) crank out the best Halal food! Juicy chicken and gyros! Yessss! While they have several platters and falafel too, I am all about going to mid-town for the original cart experience and sitting near by to eat.
What to order: As mentioned, chicken and rice with the white sauce! The white sauce is clutch! If you like spicy, ask for the red sauce too!