Fly In, Eat & Fly Out – NYC

I’ve had to travel to the East Coast for work and on both ends of the week, I visited New York City. If you have a weekend to spare, definitely go to New York City for their great restaurants and sights. Here are some ideas for feeding yourself for a weekend in NYC.

Must Eat at Places – Scroll down and read about these places

  • Scarpetta – Italian
  • Golden Unicorn – Dim Sum
  • Katz’s Deli or Carnegie Deli – Delicatessen
  • The Halal Guys – Gyro and Chicken & Rice


    Trip 1 – Bookend Weekends

    Take a Friday Red-eye into NYC. After unpacking, go into the city. If you’re in Stamford, like I was, take the Metro North to Grand Central Station and start your adventurous weekend.

  • Dinner – Midtown East – Cibo – Food was good at Cibo. We didn’t plan our trip around food this time so we found Cibo accidentally. They had good reviews and an open spot for us. The food was delicious and it wasn’t that expensive.
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  • Brunch – Chinatown – Golden Unicorn – Dim sum – Visit Chinatown and after stuffing your face with a shitload of dumplings, burn some calories and walk to the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Dinner – SoHo – Peep – If you have comfortable shoes on and don’t mind walking, continue onto NoHo. Spend the afternoon walking and shopping in SoHo. Then pop into Peep for some Thai food and check out their restrooms. Yes, I’m serious.
  • After Work Drinks and Food – West Village – Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar – As soon as we could leave Stamford, we took the train into NYC to meet up with a friend. She took us to this cute, little place tucked in an alley where we enjoyed wine and small bites of charcuterie plates, mini pizzas, beet salad and pickled veggies.
  • Coffee and Dessert – Upper West Side – Cafe Lalo – We went for a stroll through new neighborhoods and decided to make a pit stop here. It was a clean, pleasant cafe with a good vibe. “You’ve Got Mail” was filmed at Cafe Lalo so that’s probably why there was a constant flow of people in and out of there.
  • Dinner – Tribeca – Nobu – Yum! Nobu’s set menu and their sake flight pairing was awesome. If you’ve never been there before and don’t mind spending a pretty penny on a meal, order off their set menu and have them surprise you. You will not be disappointed but don’t go here for sushi. There’s nothing special about the sushi. They are really talented with their presentation and use of spices.
  • Trip 2 – Quickie but Goodie

    If you only have one weekend before working on the following Monday, take a Friday red-eye into NYC and immediately after unpacking, head over to Scarpetta for a martini. On this trip, we didn’t have much time so we ate at one nice restaurant and two iconic establishments.

  • Dinner – Chelsea – Scarpetta – By far my favorite restaurant in NYC. We have a friend who has to travel on business to NYC a few times a year and she goes to Scarpetta on every trip. Their handmade spaghetti with bone marrow was the best spaghetti I’ve ever had in my life. All the flavors from the meat and bone marrow melded together so well with the tomato sauce. And the noodles weren’t your typical spaghetti noodles. These noodles were the hand rolled kind with a hollow middle. It was SO GOOD!!! Be sure to add the wine pairings to your dinner. Dinner at Scarpetta is totally worth every penny.
  • Brunch – East Village – Veselka– The wait at this Ukrainian 24 hour restaurant was long, about an hour for brunch on a Sunday but the wait was worth it. One, we’ve never had Ukrainian food before and two, it was delicious. We had latkes pancakes (potato pancakes) which were crunchy on the outside and soft in the inside. Their handmade pierogi was crispy but not oily and the stuffing had tasty spices. Veselka is a very popular place. John Stewart ate breakfast with his family two tables over.
  • Lunch – Harlem – Sylvia’s | Queen of Soul Food – The portions here are huge and good so go there hungry. Order the dish that has a little bit of everything and share a few items. I find soul food to be heavy if you eat it all yourself so share that mac and cheese, fried chicken and fall off the bone ribs. Don’t forget to add some collard greens because a soul food meal isn’t complete without some greens.
  • Dinner – Lower East Side – Katz’s Deli – As a New York institution, everyone has to have a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s. Just grab your ticket at the entry, get in line and scan the menu quickly. The workers behind the counter will want you to hurry it up so order and take your food on the tray, get a drink and move down the line to pay. Don’t lose that ticket or else they’ll make you pay a fee. Each person needs a ticket, even if you don’t eat.
  • Trip 3 – Visiting for the Less Pricey Food

    Book a stay at The Lexington New York City. The boutique hotel is walking distance from Grand Central Station and it’s moderately priced for a very small room. We had with us two large suitcases because we had to pack both work and casual clothes. It was a tight fit and we couldn’t walk around with the suitcases open on the floor on both sides of the bed. That’s how tiny the room was. However, the lobby is nicely decorated and vibrant with a bar and TV’s. There’s a Chinese restaurant and a diner connected to the hotel.

  • Dinner – Midtown East – Avra Estiatorio – This Greek place was packed when we got there for our 8:30PM reservations, which is always a good sign. Avra is unique in that you get to pick your own fish and seafood right off the ice like at a Farmer’s Market. We ordered some appetizers to share and split a whole fish. The tomato salad drizzled with olive oil was very tasty. Everything was great, including the olive oil they served with the bread. I think it’s funny the olive oil left such a fond memory so it must have been DE-licuous.
  • After Dinner Drinks – Midtown East – Whiskey Blue at The W Hotel – Nice place with ample seating. Be on the lookout for people getting up and grab a spot on the couch. The music wasn’t too loud and you can wiggle your ass to the music if you want to without having to get on the dance floor. Actually, I don’t remember seeing a dance floor but I do recall dancing in front of the couch.
  • Lunch – Midtown East – S. Dynasty – New York’s version of San Francisco’s Empress of China. You walk up the stairs and you see old images of dignitaries who had frequented the restaurant many years ago. The food isn’t bad but it is not cheap for Chinese food. The dumplings drizzled with hot oil were good and one of their dumpling dishes comes with a peanut sauce. I hadn’t had that kind of sauce before with dumplings so it was a nice change.
  • Dinner – Midtown West – Sapporo Ramen – Loved this place! I am always on the lookout for Japanese run restaurants. Sapporo is not only owned and staffed by Japanese. The place is rockabilly! They make a delicious broth for their ramen and you can add on gyoza for a cheap price in a funky setting. The soup has just the right amount of everything and the noodles are cooked to a perfect, al dente consistency.
  • Late Night Snack – Midtown Manhattan – Carnegie Deli – I liked this place more than Katz Deli but many would disagree. However, you know just as many agree with me because Carnegie has been around since 1937. I thought their Matzo Ball soup had more flavor than the one at Katz and the huge ass sandwich had juicy meat and enough for at least four to share.
  • Lunch – Nolita – Lombardi’s Pizza – Meh. Yes, it’s home to the first New York style pizza but meh. It wasn’t anything to really rave about.
  • Lunch – Midtown West – The Halal Guys – The Gyro and Chicken & Rice off this cart are both delicious and worth the long line which actually moves fairly quickly. The dishes are cheap and the portions are huge and so good! Be careful with the hot sauces though. The sauces are quite spicy and the Chicken & Rice already has a kick without the sauce.
  • Dinner Option 1- Westport, CT – Tarry Lodge, a Mario Batali restaurant – You can take a train from Stamford to and from here. It’s a nice spot with a menu covering the typical gamut of Italian food. The table shared a pizza for an appetizer, which was outstanding and we each ordered our own entrees. We were all pleased with the overall quality of the food ranging from pasta, more pizza and grilled fish.
  • Dinner Option 2 – Chelsea – Del Posto, a much more expensive Mario Batali restaurant – We decided to cancel our reservations here and go to Tarry Lodge instead. Our friends rave about Del Posto but with the wine pairing, we were looking to spend about $600 so we opted out. Del Posto just didn’t fit in the theme of this trip so we’ll have to try it on our next trip to NYC.