Happy New Year everyone! New year, new changes. This is the first post in a new food series I’m starting this year. Over the summer, I was lucky to visit my best friend in New York City where she recently moved. She is the biggest foodie I know (other than myself, of course), and every month she will share with you some of the best places to eat in the Big Apple. This will include new restaurant openings, neighborhood food guides, food markets, hidden gems, and dining on all budgets. I hope you’re looking forward to this as much as I am. Food posts are my absolute favorite and according to my stats… they are yours as well!
Let’s start this series off with a bang! Here are four unique food experiences in New York City that any tourist or local can enjoy.
“New Yorkers wait too long for brunch. I’m here to teach you how to make the things you’d usually order at a restaurant.”
And so begins our introduction to “Achieving Eggcellence.” Armed with sharp knives, aprons, and a complimentary beer from the local Brooklyn Brewery, we’re ready to make a brunch to remember. On the menu: rustic roasted potatoes, crispy bacon, buttermilk biscuits, and the perfect poached eggs.
Our instructor, Millicent, is a straight-shooter with a dry sense of humor and a heart for what she calls “country cooking” – no frills, just fresh, simple, delicious food. Knowledgeable and easy to follow, Millicent’s authority as a cooking instructor rests not only on her personal passion for food, but also on her experience as a cook at restaurants around New York City, a self-taught pie-maker, and cookbook author.
The 2 hour class is broken into phases based on each component of our meal. Along the way, we learn cooking techniques we can take with us, from basic knife skills, to dough-kneading 101, to helpful tricks for poaching an impressively intact egg (a splash of vinegar and a whirlpool motion in the water). Our class culminates with the twelve of us taking generous helpings of each dish and enjoying every last morsel at our communal tables. The experience is intimate, authentic, and soul-warming. We walk away with full bellies, a killer biscuit recipe that is sure to impress friends and family, and a 10% discount to the Brooklyn Kitchen store, a great find for both cooking beginners and pros.
The final verdict? It’s a must for foodies looking to learn and experience a little slice of Williamsburg, Brooklyn!
#2 FOODS OF NEW YORK: FOOD & CULTURE WALKING TOURS
My faithful readers will know that it’s no surprise I’m including a food tour in this post! I think they are one of the best ways to learn more about a city’s history and culture. Also, who doesn’t want to spend hours eating several different dishes?!
We chose Foods of New York’s Nolita/NoHo Food Tour. Nolita stands for North of Littly Italy and NoHo stands for North of Houston Street which is in the East Village. On this tour, you’re walking the same streets as John Gotti, Martin Scorsese, and will pass by several sites made famous by The Godfather. Even if you’re not a fan of the films, you’ll be able to appreciate these beautiful cast-iron facades, cobblestone streets, and cozy corners of NYC.
Our fabulous guide Annie shared with us some undiscovered foodie spots with traditional recipes and century-old techniques. There are no chain restaurants on this tour! I don’t want to spoil every stop for you but one of my favorites was Emporio Ristorante. They specialize in brick oven pizza and we not only ate a slice (or two..) of this famous pizza, we also got to watch the head chef make it! He carefully took us through the ingredients and cooking techniques. My pizza had prosciutto, arugula, Grana Padano cheese and fresh mozzarella. I’d happily go back!
At $52, this tour offers tremendous value. Over three hours, you’ll experience 6 different tastings and learn an incredible amount about these neighborhoods. This tour, along with several others, are offered 7 days a week.
#3 VIMBLY / TASTE BUDS KITCHEN
On a chilly autumn night, I was searching for a cozy, fun, food-centric activity to do with friends in NYC. Thankfully, a friend recommended Vimbly, a booking site that partners with vendors to offer all kinds of excursions for every kind of traveler (or city-dweller!). From activities for children and families to creative date night ideas for couples, Vimbly makes it easy to find something unique to do in cities around the U.S.
After selecting my city, I was able to choose from six major categories of adventures: Learn, Explore, Eat, Drink, Watch, Date Night, and Fight. It wasn’t long before I came across a BYOB Pasta Making Class called “Handmade Pasta Twist” at Taste Buds Kitchen in Manhattan, and booked it with a few quick clicks. The cooking classes and food experiences were the most tempting to me!
The class itself was casual, fun, and very hands on. A warning to attendees: come hungry and be ready to roll up your sleeves! You might find yourself elbow-deep in pasta dough. We guarantee the hard work will be worth it the second that fresh pasta hits your palate (the wine won’t hurt either!)
#4 CLASSIC HARBOR LINE – AROUND MANHATTAN BRUNCH CRUISE
New Yorker’s take brunch really seriously, it’s practically a religion. Classic Harbor Line takes it to the next level and offers a delicious three hour brunch cruise. What’s better than sipping mimosas and stuffing your face with waffles while sailing around Manhattan? The answer is nothing. Nothing could possibly be better!
Whether you’re visiting New York City for the first time, or celebrating a special occasion with loved ones, getting to admire NYC’s famous skyline from the water is something anyone will enjoy. I know we did.
Brunch will take place on board the Manhattan or Manhattan II which are both 1920’s inspired yachts. Seating is assigned ahead of time so you don’t have to try and scramble for the best seat. Don’t worry, everyone will have a window view! The first course (yes, there are multiple courses) are fresh pastries, bagels, toppings, and a make-your-own waffle station. You can wash down the waffles with a complimentary beverage which includes a mimosa or Bloody Mary. Don’t fill up too fast, because there’s more food on the way. You’ll continue feasting on two house-made quiches, sausages, a glazed spiral ham, kale salad, fresh fruit, and desserts. What more could you ask for?
If you need to start walking off the calories, you can take a stroll on the deck and snap plenty of photos while passing iconic buildings, bridges, and our beloved Statue of Liberty. These cruises depart every weekend from Chelsea Piers and cost $92 for adults and $52 for children.
Which food experience would you choose? Do you have plans to visit NYC soon? Let me know in the comments below!