I love New York. I love New York so much that I would easily move there. Easily. So when the opportunity arises to visit, I naturally have to take it – and such an opportunity came about for a mid-April trip!
I jetted out on Saturday 21st April from Heathrow with Virgin (side note – ever since the introduction of Economy Delight/Classic/Light, I’ve always plumped for Classic… but chose Delight on the way back for more legroom and a smug expression which was well worth it for an extra £50). As per usual, the Virgin experience was fantastic, bar a lady inevitably slamming her seat into my kneecaps without warning (seriously, nothing angers me more!). The food was great, with a vegetarian option always offered, and the entertainment was brilliant (I watched ‘I, Tonya’, ‘The Shape of Water’, and spent a lot of time annoying Mr Roams on the in-flight messaging system). Above all else, however, were the fantastic staff – I’ve yet to meet a friendlier crew than the crews at VA, who always go above and beyond to help you out and make it a pleasant experience. Gold stars all round.
We stayed at the Ludlow Hotel on the lower east side, right opposite the landmark that is Katz Deli, down the street from il laboratorio di gelato (cajeta gelato, what what!), and just a few blocks from Russ & Daughters. In other words, I was in Jewish food heaven. The hotel itself was very chic and hip, with lots of gloomy hipster interiors and friendly staff. There was also a great little restaurant, Dirty French, attached to the hotel, who did almost criminally good food (seriously, I’ve never had a fluffier pancake). By the way, this is going to be a post full of food reviews. I’m back on Slimming World now and writing about all of this amazing food is the only thing stopping me from committing harakiri with a shard of Muller Light pot.
I’ve never stayed in the lower east side before, but I genuinely think it’s one of my favourite parts of Manhattan. There was such an awesome vibe around the place – it felt up-and-coming but still retained some of its old-fashioned charm and tradition (being shouted at in Katz Deli is almost a rite of passage). And the position of the 2nd Ave subway station was super convenient for exploring the rest of the city.
On Sunday, after trying and failing to battle jetlag, Mr Roams and I opted to have some brunch a few blocks from our hotel, to kickstart our day of exploration. Cafe Medi was delightful – a beautiful unexpectedly airy space with a beautiful mural (see below!), where we munched on omelettes, toast, and whatever Mr Roams ate (so observant).
We did a bit of a wander around Soho, including me dragging Mr Roams into various Sephoras (they had 10% off, I was being financially savvy!), and munching various things along the way. This trip had a similar pattern of eating and shopping, so I won’t spend too long discussing the actual days as they’re mostly the same, bar from me taking a little one-night trip down to DC to see my Virginia friends (you can see my DC review here!). Instead, I’ll focus on the amazing food I ate, as well as the various sights and sounds I saw in the city. My subway explanation will come in the next post, for those of you who’d like a runthrough of an initially ridiculously complex system!
First up on the ‘amazing eats’ post has to go to Katz Deli. This old-school deli is probably most famous to Brits as being the setting for that scene in ‘When Harry Met Sally’…
There was even a sign to commemorate the scene!
Other than that, it’s famous for its amazing authentic NYC pastrami sandwiches, as well as its slightly frantic, loud, New Yorker employees (I had some top bantz with the guy with the black cap). I don’t eat meat, but Mr Roams ordered one, and it came with roughly half a cow inside…
I had the egg salad, and a slice of cheesecake for pudding (what? I was in New York, come on!), both of which were slightly pricey but exquisite. The pastrami sandwich, from memory, was extremely expensive at $22, but did come with an insane amount of meat. It’s a classic, we had to!
It’s been a dream of mine to visit one of David Chang’s Momofukus for a good few years now (seriously, the man is a genius!), and Mr Roams and I managed to get to the Noodle Bar one evening, which was around a 15 minute walk from the hotel. We timed it well, arriving at about half 6 – as only around 10 minutes later there were queues around the block. And rightfully so, because dear God this food was insane. We started off with the shrimp bao with spicy mayo, pickled red onion, iceberg ($13 for two), and for mains I had the ginger scallion noodles with pickled shiitakes, cucumber, and nori ($15). It was ridiculously flavourful, with a complex range of textures and temperatures to boot – every mouthful was exciting!
I forced Mr Roams to get the famous Momofuku ramen for $18, which included pork belly, pork shoulder and a dainty poached egg on top. He’s not even a ramen fan and he enjoyed it – the pork belly appearing so tender that it almost disintegrated between the chopsticks.
We couldn’t have come all the way to the East Village for Momofuku to not go to the Momofuku Milk Bar – the brainchild of Christina Tosi. Naturally I went for a slice of crack pie, birthday cake truffles, and a compost cookie – all fan favourites on the menu. Perhaps controversially, I didn’t really rate the compost cookie which was a little stale IMO (also potato chips in a cookie? Sorry, but no), but the birthday cake truffles were great, and the crack pie was insanely delicious. Possibly one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.
The next foodie destination we hit up was Russ & Daughters – an authentic century-old Jewish deli specialising in ‘appetizing‘ – as well as gorgeously decadent lox and schmear with a New York bagel to boot. Which was exactly what I chose, and exactly the reason I’m back on Slimming World now (sob)…
I can’t really explain how amazing this bagel was. Soft, chewy, still slightly warm, and fluffy – perfectly complimented by the salty/creamy lox and schmear. It was wonderful, and R&D deserve all the praise and accolades they’ve received over the years! It was eye-wateringly expensive to boot, but let’s just look over that, shall we?
The rest of the trip was spent bopping around the city on the subway, seeing the sights, trying desperately to book $10 Hamilton tickets (and failing), sneering at Trump Tower, window-shopping at Bloomies, and buying too much makeup (and a new shiny Macbook!). I’ve been to New York a good few times before this trip, and have done pretty much all the classic touristy things, so let me know if you’d like a more in-depth New York 101 post, happy to oblige!
Next post will be about the NYC subway – how to navigate it, what to do at each stop, and info about the Metrocard system. Possibly one of my more boring posts, although hopefully it’ll be useful too!