Eating NYC – Foodie Staycation!

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This past week, my parents and sister were in town for my Graduation, and it was quite the week!  The first few days we were busy with graduation things, but starting Thursday we were free to wander the city.  We did all kinds of tourist-y things like walk the Brooklyn Bridge,

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me and the sister.  photos ℅ the sister.

walk around DUMBO,

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hey there, action shot.  (I really need a haircut)

visit Strawberry Fields and the Imagine memorial, and walk around Central Park.

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Of course, one of my favorite things about having family in town (aside from visiting with family, of course :-P) is that I get to play tourist in my own city – restaurant tourist, that is!  I love eating at restaurants, since it’s something I grew up with.  I love trying new places and dishes, especially ones that I don’t generally have the patience or means to make for myself.  Unfortunately, my everyday budget doesn’t allow for eating out all the time, so I take advantage when I can.

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Graduation morning breakfast at the Grey Dog (in SoHo).  Amazing iced coffee with soy, omelet with mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes, side of toast and potatoes.  The omelet wasn’t anything fantastic, but the coffee was delicious, and the company as well.

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We all shared a grilled blueberry muffin.  Mom’s favorite! It’s a New England thing, although not so much New York.  So delicious.

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Sister go smoked salmon toast points – that she thought were quite delicious.  She didn’t even share! (Love ya, M)

Next up, dinner at the Risotteria, a gluten-free restaurant.  I’ve meant to go here for years, but didn’t get around to it until now.

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Gluten free bread sticks.  SO good.  And a hit with the gluten-loving family 😉

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started with a simple greens salad with balsamic dressing.

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I ordered the arugula and mushroom risotto – but it was too rich for me, but not very flavorful.  I ate two bites and really did not want to finish it.  So I sent it back, and exchanged it for the daily special.

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The special was risotto with calamari, roasted peppers, and lemon – which I loved!  I really needed the lemon to lighten the dish.

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Dad and sister split a risotto and a pizzette, which looked delicious.

For dessert, we stopped by the nearby Pop Bar.

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Popsicles of all sorts!  That pistachio/chocolate gelato pop looked amazing, but I was feeling something lighter as dinner was quite filling.

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Mixed berry sorbet pop dipped in dark chocolate.  Delicious, lightly sweet treat to end the night.

For my celebratory Graduation dinner, I chose Ilili, a top-rated Lebanese restaurant.  I didn’t take many pics at dinner as I was more focused on the event (and it was dark), but there were a few images I couldn’t resist capturing.

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Fluffy, fresh, Lebanese pita bread – it’s smaller, thinner, and slightly sweeter than traditional pita.  They brought a fresh batch with every course!

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A sampling of small plates – fattoush salad, grape leaves, hummus, and sautéed snap peas in yogurt foam (AMAZING!).  Other small plates included fluke carpaccio, babaganoush, grilled halloumi and summer squash, and brussels sprouts with walnuts and beets.  We had so much food, it was ridiculous.  But so amazing.

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For out main, my mom and I split the citrus trout with smoked almonds and arugula, served with orange tahini.  Once again, amazing.  I highly recommend this restaurant!!  I got a dessert as well, which was delicious (some berry dish thing), but the small plates and fish entrée stole the show.

Tourist time!  After walking the Brooklyn Bridge, we stopped for lunch at the famous Grimaldi’s.

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But I wasn’t really hungry yet, and was not at all in the mood for pizza.  (I’m not really a pizza person in general, so I didn’t want to force myself to eat it when I didn’t want to, and knew it would leave me with a stomach ache)

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So we stopped for a snack/lunch at the Foragers in DUMBO.  I got some selections from the salad bar and a raw coconut water (it was hot and sweaty out!).  Mom got a delicious smoothie there as well.

That night, it was just the sister and I, so we went for our usual sister dinner – Thai food (!) from Thai Terminal. 

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Started with summer rolls, my favorite light, refreshing appetizer.  Almost like salad in a roll.

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The sister ordered glass noodle pad Thai with shrimp, which was delicious.  I definitely stole a few bites (sorry, M! but not really…).  Glass noodles are one of my favorites! (fun fact – they’re made with mung bean and potato starch, so are naturally gluten-free)

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I ordered green curry with brown rice.  Always a favorite, but I’ll admit I liked M’s pad Thai dish better.

For dessert, we wandered the neighborhood a bit, then settled on Momofuku Milk bar. (if you haven’t heard of it, look it up.  Momofuku is a really cool NYC group of restaurants)

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We shared a compost cookie,

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and a cup of cereal milk soft-serve with corn flakes.  This brought back memories of eating sugary cereal as a kid – but in frozen form.  All of the desserts at Momofuku sound really weird but strangely really good.

Next day!  More tourist-y food…

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Wafels from the Wafels & Dinges cart at Central Park!  Best, authentic Belgian wafels in the city.  Of course I haven’t tasted them all, but these are damn good.  Above is the liege wafel with walnuts and chocolate. Yes, it is intentionally spelled wafel.

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A bite of speculoos spread (aka cookie butter) – my favorite.

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and a mini waffling with strawberries and nutella (good choice, sister).  Mmmm.

Later we stopped at a nearby Pret a Manger for lunch.  Always a fantastic option for a super quick, healthy lunch!

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I got the farmers market salad, with a light dressing.

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and split a piece of their carrot cake.  Really good carrot cake.

On the family’s last night here, we made a reservation at the MasalaWala (the name makes me giggle).  Somehow we managed to drag the sister there, even though she claimed not to like Indian food.  But she was a good sport! And even finished off her chicken tikka masala, so we may have a convert (shh don’t tell).

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I, however, could probably live on Indian food.  I ordered a trio of veggie dishes to share – tadka dal (lentils), baigan bharta (eggplant.  probably spelled wrong), and my favorite – channa masala (chickpeas).  Served with Indian basmati rice.  Also, check out Dad’s lamb kebab – I had a bite, it was quite delicious!

Phew.  That ended up being longer than I originally anticipated (seems to happen often here…), but what can I say, I like to talk/write about food!  And family of course.  I love you all very much, I promise!

Do you like to play tourist in your own city?

What kinds of things would you do that you don’t usually get a chance to?

What are your favorite cuisines to eat in restaurants?  If I had to choose only 3, it would be Indian, Japanese, and Mediterranean.

Ilili on Urbanspoon
The MasalaWala on Urbanspoon
Thai Terminal on Urbanspoon

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6 thoughts on “Eating NYC – Foodie Staycation!

  1. Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen

    I’m just like you – I love eating out at restaurants too! Looks like you guys picked some tasty places. That Lebanese one looks super good.

    My favourite cuisines to eat in restaurants are Japanese and Italian (for wood oven fired pizza!).
    Chelsea @ Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen recently posted..Birthday eatsMy Profile

    1. Rachel Post author

      Yes! I love Japanese food – and although Italian is not my favorite, I do love a good, fresh, thin crust wood-fired pizza.

    1. Rachel Post author

      Thanks, Sarah! NYC is definitely not a cheap city, and in living here I have certainly adjusted my standards for food prices. And to me, I’d rather spend the extra money on food than go shopping or something. However, there are some hidden gems as far as cheap food is concerned – you just have to know where to find them :-)

  2. Pingback: New York City Summer Street Food | Urban Eating

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