Hello friends! I am now over five months into my Colorado adventure, which I can’t believe – I keep telling people I just moved out here, and I also keep claiming the altitude as the reason I get winded climbing steps…neither of these excuses is still valid.
I have a tendency to get so wrapped up in my new adventures that I forget about the ones that came before, so I thought I’d indulge in a bit of nostalgia and share some of my favorite NYC stories. You might see them popping up now and again, and today, I thought I’d start with a post inspired by New York Magazine’s 21 questions feature.
Reading along, I try to answer the questions myself, but there’s one that has always stumped me: “What’s the best meal you’ve had in New York?” How can you possibly narrow it down to just one meal? Lucky for you, I’m not being interviewed by NY Mag, so I can give as many answers as I want. Please join me on a culinary tour of some of my favorite spots in the city.
Filet Mignon at Del Frisco’s
While the food here is good, Del Frisco’s is a sentimental pick. The summer of my 19th birthday, my mom and I were house-sitting in Connecticut and took the train into the city for dinner and a musical (Hairspray, original cast = awesome). A friend had recommended Del Frisco’s, and we had their pre-theater price fixe menu – the first I’d heard of such a thing. The manager came over to talk to us, and my mom said, “It’s my daughter’s birthday, and she’s going to live here someday.”
Three years later, I made it to New York, and every time I walked by Del Frisco’s I remembered how that meal filled me up with more than just filet mignon – it taught me to dream.
Breakfast at Tom’s Restaurant
If you ever find yourself in Prospect Heights in Brooklyn (and you should, to visit the awesome Brooklyn Museum), have brunch at Tom’s. New York establishments aren’t typically known for friendly service, but at this little diner, they treat everybody like a regular. The line is long, but they pass out free coffee and orange slices while you wait, and the classic eggs/potatoes/sausage breakfast is delicious.
Coffee at Black Gold Records
Black Gold Records sells coffee, records, and antiques, and their collection of antiques is at least 70% taxidermy. It is my favorite coffee shop of all time. Where else can you add to your vinyl collection, pick up an actual hyena, and get an excellent pour-over coffee? Nowhere! Plus, the lady behind the counter wears adorable vintage dresses and is very grateful when you pay with quarters.
Fried Chicken at Buttermilk Channel
This charming restaurant is just down the street from Black Gold Records – Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens neighborhood is a hotbed of excellent restaurants. There must be something in the water (hopefully not sourced from the nearby Gowanus Canal, which definitely has some things in it).
The perfect meal at this American bistro begins with their house-made pickles (they’ll bring out pop-overs, warm from the oven) and ends with fried chicken and savory waffles. I thought I loved fried chicken before, but their golden, crunchy, buttermilk-battered version is a palate changer.
Pizza at Lucali
Do you like pizza? OF COURSE YOU DO. Chicago might beg to differ, but New York pizza is king, and Lucali serves the best pizza I had there. It’s also Jay-Z’s favorite pizza, so you know it’s cool.
The owner was formerly making pizza out of his mom’s Carroll Gardens basement (seriously – hotbed of deliciousness) until he opened his tiny restaurant, and if you’re willing to brave the minimum two-hour wait, you’ll see him making pies and calzones behind the counter, accompanied by the classic Italian crooners.
New York Magazine did a fascinating profile of this guy. He once got stabbed outside a local elementary school, and neither he nor the stabber will say why. Did I mention Al Capone was baptized in this neighborhood? Draw your own conclusions. [Side note to the mob: I know nothing and have never seen anything.] I used to see him around the neighborhood, and let me tell you, dark Italian hair and eyes, surviving a stabbing, and making kick-ass pizza…it’s an attractive combination.
I can’t wait to go back for a visit!