A Quick Trip to New York City

La Parisienne

Last week, I had to make an unexpected trip from Paris to New York City. It was kind of a last-minute affair, But I’m always up for a trip to New York, even in the winter, which I remember from my years living on the east coast, how brutal they could be. Fortunately we hit a sweet spot and people were actually wearing t-shirts on the streets – in December!

pastries at Robert

Unlike being able to forget that bitter cold I’d experienced for so many winters in New York, I did forget how civic-minded Americans are and actually saw two people pick up trash on the sidewalk (that wasn’t theirs) and toss it into a nearby garbage can. People are polite, holding doors for one another and excusing themselves when they’re in someone’s way. I also forget how blue the skies are in New York, even when it’s cold, in the middle of December. New York City can be brutally cold, but there’s usually a cheerfulness in the air that’s unmistakably très américain.

blue sky

And I also forget how eager people in stores are to help you, and when I asked at Bergdorf Goodman if they knew where the display of candies from Fouquet in Paris was (the owner asked me to take a picture for him), the person I asked on the ground floor actually took a personal interest helping me, and insisted on taking me up to the top floor and asking everyone up there to find out where they were.

(Interestingly, they said the shipment had arrived a little late and were being put on display the next day, so it’s nice to know that even in America, where Romain marveled a few times, saying “People make sure things work here!” – they still have troubles with deliveries.)

Then there’s that goofy sense of humor in the states, and if someone could explain this sculpture to me, I’d really appreciate it. Bonus points if you can translate it into French since I’ll need to do that afterward.

weird scultpure

It always amuses me when folks tell me that I need to visit the latest outpost of some Parisian bakery that’s set up shop in Manhattan, until I remind them that they probably wouldn’t want to go to a bagel shop or Duane Reade in Paris. Although on second thought, that store has everything you could need, so perhaps they do.


I skipped the croissants and macarons, and rekindled my love affair with flagels, or flat bagels. I happily had one every day from Pick-a-Bagel, except the one morning, when my French traveling companion came home whole wheat bagels (which is hard to describe since the “wh” in French is silent, so it comes out as ‘ole ‘eat bagels.) And I also had to mention that in America, people let other people pass by when walking, and the sidewalks aren’t places where people play “chicken” with other pedestrians. Which is probably why all my back problems miraculously cleared up during my trip*, because I wasn’t twisting and contorting myself to avoid people coming at me, seeing who would get out of the way first. (And I had to explain that people don’t play that game in America. And if you did in New York, you’d probably get decked.)

I didn’t really have time to make any grand plans or see many friends but did plan a few spare minutes (and I do mean minutes, not hours) to restock my larder with pecans, dried sour cherries, unscented lotions and shaving cream, heirloom beans, a winter’s worth of DVDs, toothpaste that doesn’t have fennel in it (bleech!), vintage cookbooks from the Strand – where I thought I had scored when I found a classic Lenôtre pastry book, until I had dinner at a friend’s place and she told me that she sold it to the Strand just a few days before.

I did run into Andy from Nunu Chocolates, in Brooklyn, which had set up a stand at the Union Square holiday market. So if you live in New York, run over there and get some of that gift shopping out of the way. And don’t forget yourself, too. I’m still working on him to open an outpost in Paris. And if you’re from Brooklyn, and you come to Paris and I tell you that there is an outpost of a Brooklyn chocolatier that you simply must visit, you are welcome to roll your eyes at me.

Here are a few places I hit:

The Spotted Pig

Even though I’d heard The Breslin was quite good, though a stroke of luck (which I won’t divulge), I didn’t have to wait the usual lengthy waiting time for a seat in this “hot” gastro-pub. Inside it was ear-banging loud and I’m not sure why so many places in the states are so noisy. Folks, keep your voices down! Perhaps it’s a chain-reaction and the first people to arrive are loud, so the next folks have to talk louder, then the next table has to talk ever louder. And by the time I arrive at 9pm, it’s hitting a fever pitch?

(And now that they’ve banned jumbo soft drinks in New York, next they should ban music in restaurants. And then the tip system, which has jumped the shark – yes, I saw tip jars in dry cleaning shops. Can’t they just raise the prices a bit and pay people that much more, ensuring them a decent and assured rate of pay?)

By the end of the meal, I wanted to find the nearest isolation tank. The famous burger was fine, but the highpoint for me were the chicken liver toasts that we started our meal with. They were unbelievably delicious, as were the griddled prunes – called Devils on Horseback – with smoked bacon. I know you’re not supposed to use the word “yum” on a food blog, but since I’m jet-lagged, that’s the first word that comes to mind. I’ll try to change it later, when I think of a better one.

grilled pork salad


Romain loves this restaurant and last time we were in New York, we ate there at a reader’s suggestion and he said, “Why don’t we have a restaurant like this in Paris?” So he insisted we go there the very first day. Republic is equally noisy, but fortunately we were able to eat outside and had vegetable dumplings, grilled bbq pork salad, and an excellent Asian chopped vegetable salad with little nubbins of tofu scattered throughout while we watched people bustle around Union Square.

chopped vegetable salad

The Meatball Shop

Also on my last visit, we tried to go to The Meatball Shop and it was so mobbed that the host told us the wait would be well over an hour. I like meatballs, but I ain’t waiting no hour for a sandwich. (Unless Daniel Craig or Tilda Swinton is serving it.) So I stopped in midday around 2pm, found a seat at the bar, ordered a meatball sandwich and a cup of pomegranate lemonade.

(Just after I sat down, the man next to me was really excited to see that they offered a lemonade of the day. “How cool is that?!” he said to his friends, with wonder and amazement when he learned about the daily change. I did not realize that New Yorkers were so easily impressed! Or how excitable Americans are! And to get into the spirit, here’s another exclamation mark – !)

My sandwich was fine, but the torpedo roll that my meatballs were on was soft instead of shatteringly crisp, and 47% of the enjoyment of a meatball sandwich is the über-crispy bread, which works in contrast with the saucy, wet meatballs. Part of it may be ma faute since I think I may have ordered a whole wheat roll, feeling that I need to counteract all the Black & White cookies I had that week, and whole wheat breads don’t usually get crisp enough. However since I live in France, I’m going to blame someone else and say it was their fault for offering an ‘ole ‘eat option in the first place. They should not be offering an ‘ole ‘eat option because someone might order it.

On the plus side, I no longer have to explain to Romain what a ‘ipster is, because there were plenty on parade.

soup dumplings

Grand Sichuan

I had a quick lunch with Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet and I first off congratulated him on his new book, which is terrific, then when I saw the food at the neighboring tables, and it was relatively calm, I was happy that I nixed trying to go to Mission Chinese (although I did have a very good dim sum, and pea shoots, which I adore, for lunch at Oriental Garden.)

crisp chicken at Grand Sichuan

We had soup dumplings, which are meant to the slurped, stir-fried green beans, and spicy crisp chicken, which were served with a couple of chili peppers here and there.

smoked coconut cheesecake

Spot Dessert Bar

Afterward we headed just next door to Spot Dessert Bar, which specializes in – you guessed it – desserts. I think it was founded by pastry chef Pichet Ong, although is name isn’t on the website, but if he is responsible for the spectacular French toast-style dessert, of caramelized brioche soaked in syrup, then he deserves beaucoup de accolades.

caramelized brioche

Oddly a few of the desserts had strawberries and blueberries on them – in December – and I couldn’t discern any smoky flavor in the otherwise tasty smoked coconut cheesecake, but we could not stop digging our forks back into the caramelized brioche. But fear not; Adam said that he would get the recipe for you and put on his blog if you all go over there and leave a comment requesting the recipe. Double points if you buy his book. Heck, if you buy a stack, he’d probably come over and cook it with you. Buy a case (and plane ticket for me**), and I’ll come make it with you, too.

JG Melon

What’s so appealing about this place is that they’re not trying to do “The Burger.” It’s just an especially crusty patty (oh, have I’ve missed those) – and real bartenders who know what they’re doing. It was funny because when I was looking for a place to eat on the Upper East Side one night, JG Melon was recommended to me, and when I looked up the address online on one of those restaurant review sites, I was surprised people complaining about a $10 hamburger.

Those folks need to come to Paris where cafés regularly charge €15 and up for one. And often not a very good one. (Although I also saw on the same “review” site that people were reviewing public bus lines in Manhattan. Really? A bus line? I guess flavored lemonade is just the tip of the iceberg…) I like that it’s a holdover from another era and the bartenders really know how to mix a classic cocktail, and the friendly host likes the banter with customers. And you can actually hear him talking to you.



I kind of walked through here a few years back, and found it interesting. But figured I’d rather go to Italy and get all that stuff, rather than in a shopping center in the middle of New York City. But I saw people drinking what looked like real espresso (which they pretty much were, although they didn’t taste quite the same as Italy), but I was pretty impressed by the selection of Italian cheeses and salumi, and the Italian breads, which I dare say looked better than anything I’ve seen in Italy.

espresso lavazza

Strolling the aisles and looking at all the amazing Italian products, and seeing this wonderful showcase for Italy, it struck me how great it would be to have something similar with French products. Considering all the cheeses, breads, pastries, olive oils, and chocolates, shouldn’t someone be launching something like this to promote and the hard-working producers of La France? Imagine a cassoulet or duck confit bar, bins of haricots Tarbais, French coffee, chocolates by Patrick Roger and Jean-Charles Rochoux, a green tea Napoléon from Sadaharu Aoki

5 Napkin Burger

A reader directed me here the last time I was in New York and I’d been thinking about it for well over twelve months. (Although I’m jet-lagged, so I might be off on those numbers. Someone is welcome to correct me on that.) The burger was just okay. I don’t know why, but with a name like that, I think I was expecting the most amazing burger ever. I had an excellent cocktail, although was surprised when the waiter asked if I wanted my Manhattan “on the rocks.” Ça existe?

Cobb Salad at Robert


With a spectacular view overlooking Columbus Circle, I had lunch at Robert on the top floor with a friend who is part-owner. I wanted a Cobb Salad, which I got.

Cobb salad grilled cheese

And when I saw a neighboring table eating one, I knew that it was time for Romain to have his first-ever grilled cheese sandwich. And admittedly, it’s been a while since I had one, too. Which is odd because I live in the land of good bread and cheese. I made a mental note to put those in my lunch rotation when I got back to my place in Paris, sans the view, malhereusement.

grilled cheese sandwich at Robert

But on buttered white bread, with a cup of very good steaming-hot tomato soup alongside, and a view of yellow taxis circling Columbus Circle, it’s hard not to fall hard for New York City, again.

columbus circle

Before we headed to the airport, there was a quick stop at The Pastrami Queen for an overstuffed sandwich and half-sour pickles, an espresso at Joe the Art of Coffee, a few bagels to take back to Paris for friends, and a couple of Black & White cookies for me.

Black & White Cookies

*I am thinking the sculpture may have something to do with a remedy for back pain. But it’s not exactly a convincing argument for the treatment, if it is.

**It has to be a ticket for one of those fancy bed-seats if you want me to come, because I just got off an overnight flight where my seat didn’t recline nor did my television/movie system work, and we got stuck in a massive 2-hour traffic jam on the way home from the airport in Paris, so I haven’t slept for 37 hours and I’m not quite ready to climb back into a plane quite yet. Although if I had one of those beds, I think I could be convinced.


  • December 10, 2012 6:06pm

    Great photos! I love the weather here in NYC right now. JG Mellon is still on my list of burgers to try. I’ve only ever heard raves. Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:13pm

    Sorry I missed you on my trip to Paris but NYC is always the best substitution :) I went to Republic on my last trip to NYC and really enjoyed it (though I remember it being incredibly loud, too). I definitely wish we had one here in Milan :( Reply

  • Hillary
    December 10, 2012 6:17pm

    I love making devils on horseback for brunch guests or to take to a potluck – they’re so easy and everyone loves them! I make them with prunes, not dates, and everyone is always like, “yuck, prunes, really?” as they gobble them down. The past few times I’ve stuffed the prunes with goat cheese before wrapping them in bacon… Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:20pm

    How funny. I was in New York just a few days ago (I know the city pretty well but had not visited for a few years,) and my blog post mentions almost exclusively French eateries – and there are many all over Manhattan – Then again, what do you expect, from a French Girl living in Seattle? :-) I, too, was surprised at how blue the sky was, as I took a long walk through fall-colored Central Park. As for people, yes, they are more civic-minded than the Parisians. But I also found many similarities between New Yorkers and Parisians (and other big city folk,) especially in the streets and in public transportation. In fact, I am going to recommend that anyone planning to spend a significant amount of time in Paris comes and spends a week in New York first. This should help “set” reasonable expectations – and ensure less whining about “the rude Parisians” – , don’t you think? :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle) Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:26pm

    I think your sculpture is a chiropractor working on a patient. The sculptor obviously had been in pain and had a “treatment” by one of these health care providers. You might want to make up a term for the chiropractor using the French for body adjustor or back re-aligner, or something along those lines. Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:28pm

    Wow – you sure did pack a lot of eating into your trip. Even though I’m in NYC more frequently than you are, I’m finding myself taking notes from your post on where in NYC I have to go next time. Next time you’re there, if you haven’t been already, check out Sahadi’s on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Although it would require leaving Manhattan, you would be well rewarded and could fill up your larder with incredible dried fruit and lots of other goodies – plus the sandiwhces and pastries from the prepared food counter (alas no seats) are amazing. Reply

  • Rona Y
    December 10, 2012 6:28pm

    I’m pretty sure (especially judging by the knobs on the table) that the sculpture is of a chiropractor and patient. The sculpture isn’t that far off from what really goes on . . . (just slightly exaggerated :-) ). Reply

  • anamarie
    December 10, 2012 6:32pm

    RE: the sculpture – it looks to me like a chiropractor treating a patient. The chiropractor is giving the patient a back adjustment. I have treated with a chiropractor before, and remember the chiro did a maneuver like this. Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:32pm
    David Lebovitz

    Véronique: In spite of their reputation, I don’t find New Yorker’s rude. But you’re right that in major cities, people are more likely to be brusque. (Which is why I tell people coming to France to visit some of the smaller cities and towns.) On the streets and in stores in NYC, people move around each other, and if they are in someone’s way, they’ll move or apologize. Romain was stunned the clerk at the department store personally took us to the top floor and insisted that he help us find what we were looking for. And no one tried to jump the line, which made waiting for things & shopping a little more relaxing!

    Sara: It’s easy to forget how fluid Americans can be with foods from other cultures. True, there are other (and better) noodle bars, but it’s great that such an option for healthy, pretty tasty, and well-prepared food is. The noise is a problem and I notice a lot of people in America complain about noise in restaurants, but I usually find it’s other guests rather than something the restaurant can control. (Although I do with they would turn the music off – what’s the point of going out with friends if you can’t hear them?) Reply

  • Carol
    December 10, 2012 6:33pm

    Someone is getting a chiropractic adjustment. No French here though, even though I am Canadian.
    Did you see the scaffolding around Christopher Columbus – did you go and see it?
    http://www.publicartfund.org/view/exhibitions/5495_discovering_columbus Reply

  • Cindy
    December 10, 2012 6:35pm

    Yes I think the sculpture is either a chiropractor or a boxing coach who is very much enjoying adjusting the boxer’s spine. Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:40pm

    I stopped by and I realized I HAVE TO comment this post:
    1- about the sculpture… I do not really understand it… I mean: It is a doctor, which does some physiotherapy to its patient… in france you would say it is a “kineterapiste”… what I do not really understand is why it should be cominc, neither why there is a little ganesh statue near it…
    2- Eataly in NY. I have been there a month ago, just days after sandy turned NYC off, actually electricity was off on the whole part of manhattan south of it… and I did found some cheese thar are made not far from my home in italy :) it was nice. I didn’t have time to taste the coffee, but as in your picure I would say it looks really good. Finally I want to tell you (but maybe you already know) that eataly is an italian shop, I mean the first have been opened in Italy, Turin, at lingotto a few years ago, and trust me: it is a must to see! They opened also in milan genova and rome in italy (these I know for sure) and in tokyo you can find some info here http://www.eataly.it/.

    If you need someone to go with, at the one in Turin, ask me :) it would be a pleasure.

    Really last but not the least, If you need to search for some nice cheese shop ask me :) I will be happy to give you come advices, and look also at the cheese shop of eataly in turin. you will love it.

    bets Guglielmo Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:41pm

    LOVED JG Melon! Great list overall. Also, jealous about those black & white cookies! Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:44pm

    A French version of Eataly is a seriously good idea! I love New York (live in Jersey now) and I’m warmed by your positive comments. What did you think of the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup? Bouchon Bakery, I assume… I love it and just wondered what you think. Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:46pm
    David Lebovitz

    gu: I’ve been to Eataly on a trip to Torino, although in a country where all those things are pretty easily available, it’s interesting to see so much of the “good stuff” in New York, rather than some of the things that usually get exported. The coffee was fine, but nothing like the good coffee you get in Italy. There are a few coffee kiosks in Eataly, but in general, the coffee is much better in New York than in Paris, so I was happy to try as many as I could : )

    cindy, rona & annamarie: Yes, we figured that’s what it was. But it was so weird, I had a hard time explaining why such a sculpture existed – to me, it’s a little frightening.

    Carol: Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go to museums as it was a pretty quick trip. Although we did have to eat.

    Lindsey: It’s a funny place, and I like the fact that it’s not trying to be fancy. Romain loved it and wanted to go back every night. Reply

  • Mary
    December 10, 2012 6:46pm

    Great trip and great post! Happy Holiday David, to you and Romain! Reply

  • Cindy
    December 10, 2012 6:50pm

    Oh my gosh, that “sculpture”! Rodin – style americain! Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:50pm

    david: and you was speaking about Francily alreasy in that post (at that time I was not yet in paris, and I did not followed your blog, that’s why i missed). Nevertheless I found pretty amazing to see my beloved cheese, the ones made in my very valley, in a shop in the centre of NYC ;) Reply

  • Jessika
    December 10, 2012 6:50pm

    When you come from a country that really doesn’t have tipping, the US can be confusing. How much are you supposed to leave, a service charge would most certainly help rather than being confused over how much to leave. Travel guides says 15 per cent so tourists that have read those guide books leave those 15 per cent. Reply

  • dp
    December 10, 2012 6:54pm

    the sculpture… “oh my aching back” the off off off broadway musical sequel to “how green was my valley” starring danny kaye and roddy mcdowall. Reply

  • December 10, 2012 6:56pm

    I love reading about NYC and learning about new places. Can’t wait to try Republic on my next visit. Thanks for the great read and a picture of your spicy crisp chicken – too funny! Reply

  • Hiromi
    December 10, 2012 6:59pm

    Re: the sculpture – I believe the term in French for a chiropractic adjustment, which is what is being represented, is “manipulations vertébrales.” So you might try using that as at least the opening of an explanation of what the sculpture is about. I’m not sure what the French word for “kitsch” is but I think that would have to be a part of the expanded explanation.

    Thanks for the heads up on Robert, I live close by and will definitely keep it in mind for for future lunch/brunch dates. Reply

  • Shannah
    December 10, 2012 7:11pm

    I think this chiropractor is looking at you (or whoever the viewer is) and asking, “Want to be next? Look – this is fun! My “patient” is smiling while I torture him. And in the meantime, why don’t you just take your shirt off?” Reply

  • Frances
    December 10, 2012 7:28pm

    If you want good burgers, you really need to go to Bare Burger. (http://www.bareburger.com/) Originally started in Astoria, but now has outposts across Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. Its my favorite place for a truly juicy, meaty burger. Not for wimps at all! I recommend the Roadhouse or the Maple Bacon Cheeseburger with bison. Also if you go, the order of fries is better shared than eaten alone. Let’s put it this way, it is not a french portion size! Reply

  • December 10, 2012 7:54pm

    If I’m in France for any length of time, the food I crave most on my return to the states is a vat of fiery salsa and chips. I always pine for good salsa in France. Loved your NYC food photos. Reply

    • December 10, 2012 8:29pm
      David Lebovitz

      The first thing I do when I get back to France is get a baguette. I love bagels and other American breads, but there’s nothing like a French baguette (and they do taste different in Paris than baguettes made elsewhere..) In fact, I’m having one for dinner tonight! Reply

  • Carol
    December 10, 2012 8:20pm

    Not to take up more of your time, but this is not a museum but a scaffolding erected around the statue and you can go up the stairs and sit in this fake room that has been built around it way up high above the street and get a view of C.Columbus that ordinarily only the pigeons get. You can see this in your pictures. I thought it was brilliant.
    I am going to NYC next June and I have bookmarked your post, I’ve been to several of the places on it, but not all.
    My husband and I just went to Momofuku in Toronto (I’ve also been to Noodlebar in LES) and both places are incredibly noisy. I couldn’t hear my husband at all and we had to resort to screaming at each other. I wondered if I was just getting old but restaurants are always so loud and dark now. Reply

  • Sophie
    December 10, 2012 8:21pm

    “Can’t they just raise the prices a bit and pay people that much more, ensuring them a decent and assured rate of pay?”
    Oh David, how French you’ve become :p Reply

    • December 10, 2012 8:33pm
      David Lebovitz

      It’s funny because it’s hard to fathom how odd the US tip system is, until you move away from it. I worked in restaurants for 30+ years in America and it’s just something natural that we do. (Although 2 of the restaurants I worked at in the San Francisco area went to a European-style service compris system.)

      But now, when I get a check in the states, I have to sit there and really think about it – and do some math in my head, which is confusing. Where they give you ‘suggested’ tips when you get the check, based on 15-25%, etc, so it’s figured out for you is always helpful. But all those tip jars in coffee shops and so forth. I’d just rather have them raise the coffee prices to whatever the people who work there are worth, and ensure they will get paid that for their hard work. Reply

  • Lauren
    December 10, 2012 8:31pm

    Your sculpture (read tchotchke) depicts a transplanted Parisian fellow who, after many years circumventing the pedestrian traffic in large cities, namely Paris has succumb to the maladies of back pain which could only be remedied by a Dr of Chiropractic care wherein the Dr manipulates said persons spine and limbs until popping and cracking noises are audibly heard and considers this an adjustment and not treatment and will tell you to come back several more times just to be sure. Voila! Reply

  • Michael Connor
    December 10, 2012 8:39pm

    The French word for chiropractor is either “chiropracteur/se” or “chiropracticien/ne”. But I gather it’s not much chiro-practiced in France, huh? Reply

  • Cola
    December 10, 2012 8:49pm

    Thanks for the NYC roundup!

    I can’t believe you never eat grilled cheese in Paris. My fav sandwich in the whole world is Comte cheese on Pain Poilane – which is much easier (and cheaper) to make in Paris than here.

    On a (another) side note – are you going to do a cookbook round up this year? I always enjoy reading about your picks. Reply

  • trisha
    December 10, 2012 9:00pm

    I’m glad you put a photo up, David, of those ‘black and white’ cookies. They look like Aussie ‘neenish tarts’, except from your photo, your cookies don’t seem to have a thin layer of cream between the icing and the biscuit?

    Interesting about how people walk on the sidewalk/footpath. We’ve noticed the same over the past year that people seem to have forgotten to walk down the street the same side as they drive – to avoid that need to dodge! Reply

  • LB
    December 10, 2012 9:04pm

    This article makes me long for NYC and its foods of glory. And i think thats a doctor whose trying to ‘fix’ and ‘help’ someone’s back problem when really it looks more like a deathlock position. Perhaps satire of american healthcare which, despite being supposed to help, holds you in a ‘financial’ deathgrip? does more harm to your financial stability and necessity than actual wellbeing? Probably not quite. But thats pretty much all I can think of which would remotely make any ironical sense. Reply

  • nina
    December 10, 2012 9:11pm

    Man, I don’t know who is giving you restaurant recs, but 5 napkin burger is like an upscale TGI Fridays. The meatball shop is good but I think there are far more worthy places to eat, Mission Chinese is defiantly among them.

    I also don’t know anyone who actually lives in NYC who would be impressed by a seasonal rotating beverage. This whole account was so different than my reality… Reply

  • Kelly
    December 10, 2012 9:13pm

    I would suggest Shake Shack over 5 Guys or 5 Napkin Burger any day. JG Melon is about the experience more than the food for me.

    I went to Mission Chinese a week ago and wasn’t so impressed with it. Good not great and it wasn’t very spicy. Reply

  • Paul
    December 10, 2012 9:28pm

    Excellent post! I must try out Republic next time I am in the city. As a native New Yorker, I can attest New Yorkers are generally not rude unless you get in their way. As long as you stay out of their way, they are generally quite cordial and friendly. I think the rude reputation comes from the action of tourists who often get in their way,tourists standing around with heads in air looking at buildings blocking flow, and moving too slowly blocking the sidewalks. If one commits any of those acts, most New Yorkers will lay on a loud and often harsh comment in return. Hence, the reputation of rudeness.

    Also, I have noticed that New York restaurants tend to be quite loud compared to other locales and that is likely due to New Yorkers tending to be loud speakers. The city has lots of noise pollution and citizens get accustomed to speaking louder to be heard. Reply

  • Mario
    December 10, 2012 9:31pm

    Aw this brings memories – my partner and I saw you eating at Republic last time you were here but I was too shy to approach and say hi, although it’s considered gauche in New York to accost celebrities ;) unlike say, L.A. Reply

  • December 10, 2012 9:36pm

    “chiropractors do it better”

    chiropraticiens faire mieux Reply

  • Lorraine
    December 10, 2012 9:38pm

    David, I think your idea of opening a French ‘Eataly’ is brilliant.Definitely needed (or should I say, desired). I would fly from Denver to NYC just to go there. And with your knowledge of French foods plus of American culture, you would be the perfect person to design and stock it. One of your first posts I read was about what to buy in a French supermarket – I still refer to it on trips to Paris. And you could stock it with your cook-books! I can just see a display of them surrounded by the ingredients you use to create the recipes.

    Your friend Sarah took us around St Germain on a food walking tour ten days ago. Loved it and loved her. On my request (and with the enthusiastic approval of the others in the group) we did a detour to Patrick Roger where I picked up some of his caramelized almonds. In fact in my bags was a mini-tour of the chocolatiers of Paris. I would have loved to have come to your book-signing the next day, but unfortunately I was booked to fly out. Reply

  • tunie
    December 10, 2012 10:05pm

    It would be nice if places with tip jars simply paid employees enough to allow the tip jar to disappear – but! – having worked those jobs in the past, I’ve always admired the genius that inspired the person trying to make a living on the $8 or $10 an hour to ask for support from the crowd.

    It’s Brilliant, can-do and pure ingenuity at work. The tip jar brought my wages up to more like $15 an hour, allowing me to actually barely scrape by with at least a shred of human dignity instead of literally starve to death for the dubious privilege of working all day long. The whole point of work is that it provides a living. When people offer jobs that do not do provide a living, then they should be either embarrassed by the tip jar into giving their employees a living wage or, if they are truly a tiny business, they should be extremely grateful to their customers for the support. Whew, wee rant there, sorry! But it’s a fun topic! Reply

  • Kate
    December 10, 2012 10:07pm

    Visiting NYC is always so much fun…yes those New Yorkers are a friendly bunch — I never feel alone when I’m there, everyone is so friendly! I’ve never had a bad meal in NYC either. Yea that Romaine tried grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup — bet that was amusing to watch :)

    I was in France this past summer and it was wonderful to be in a restaurant and actually be able to talk in a normal voice with my companions. In the US my friends and I looks for restaurants to meet at for lunch where we won’t have to scream at each other. Mostly we have to eat outside on the patio to get a normal decibel level — lucky for us we live in south Texas and can eat outside most of the year. Reply

  • jake
    December 10, 2012 10:32pm


    vicarious nyc with food. thnx.

    I was in NYC a couple of months ago, and like you appreciated the genuine ‘niceness’ of almost everyone there. I had an excellent time, without exception people were helpful, cheerful, and decent. My favorite food spots this trip were Buvette, Momofuku Noodle Bar (Milk Bar for dessert), Red Hook Lobster Pound, and a nice lunch at MOMA. Visiting the High Line Park was also a treat.

    Cheers. Reply

  • Lisa
    December 10, 2012 10:36pm

    Yes to the incomprehension about the noise level! During a recent trip back to NY, we had to leave one restaurant before finding ourselves in another just as noisy. We asked the manager to turn the music down so that we could hear each other speak — nothing doing. I lived in NY for almost a decade before moving to Paris, and I don’t remember this being such a problem before.
    I have read that the loud music is designed to keep people from getting too comfortable and lingering, which is counter to every conceivable notion of “the hospitality industry”. You DON”T want people comfortable in your restaurant? Reply

  • December 10, 2012 10:37pm

    Hello David, my name is Mark Lee, GM of Spot Dessert Bar.
    WOW thank you so much for this wonderful post.
    Hope you enjoyed all of our desserts and the experience at Spot.
    Since last October, all of our desserts are designed by the world
    renowned Chef Ian Kittichai. Wished that you try our famous Chocolate Green Tea Lava Cake as well! Please let me know on your next visit at Spot! I will gladly introduce to our new desserts!
    THANK YOU! Reply

  • December 11, 2012 12:04am

    I looked at the sculpture and saw brothers wrestling. Looks like what happens in my living room on a daily basis, if you subtract thirty or forty years from the ages of the men in the sculpture! Reply

  • Jennifer
    December 11, 2012 12:47am

    Hello David,
    Well, you may of seen me picking up someone’s takeout container on 2nd Ave. around 4th St. Sometimes I feel like a complete freak picking up litter in NYC (then again, maybe I am) but when there is something that isn’t too disgusting and I know what trouble my neighbor with MS has negotiating a clean sidewalk much less one with litter, I pick it up.

    NYer’s not playing chicken on the sidewalk? With the influx of the very entitled it seems that that lovely social convention of respecting others space on the sidewalk is diminishing, particularly downtown, home of the hipster (poor dears, they try so hard.)

    Forget Eataly by the way, the crowds are surreal and why not support small and local businesses, particularly when they have a lot of old time character. What about the real deal? Dipalo’s on Grand Street. By the way could you start a campaign on the joys of flat bagels? Not as easy to find here as you would think. (Russ and Daughters would be a great place to start.)

    As a long time NYer of course I could rant on.

    Come back to NY soon. (Where we are all very nice but you people from elsewhere: walk faster and not 4 abreast on the sidewalk. Thank you.) Reply

  • December 11, 2012 1:30am

    What a great post. Actually, I’m exhausted from reading all that you did, saw and ate. I need a nap.
    I’m going to be in Paris for Christmas. Any chance you are doing a book signing between Dec 21 – 28? I’ve made Google maps noting lots of the places you recommend in “The Sweet Live in Paris”.
    Happy Holidays Reply

  • Jane
    December 11, 2012 2:04am

    I love devils on horseback! Delicious and sort of healthy! Reply

  • Becks
    December 11, 2012 2:14am

    I never usually comment on things, but that was an awesome article. “French coffee” – ha! Reply

  • December 11, 2012 2:50am

    Glad you enjoyed the city……can’t stand the noise at The Spotted Pig either, I’m getting old.

    Next time try flying OPEN SKIES (owned by British Airways), they have affordable biz class, reclining seats, 2 x 2, and an ipad entertainment system (only Orly and NY), so comfortable, you arrive home or there feeling mostly human.

    PS love the flat bagels (like a bialy with a hole). Reply

  • nicole kaplan
    December 11, 2012 2:53am

    i am laughing at your choice of photos with the la parisienne coffee shop. it is right by my home and has got to be the complete opposite of anything actually parisienne. i am, however so excited to hear about the fouquet collection at bergdorf’s. i will be there tomorrow to purchase some goodies. Reply

  • E Hsieh
    December 11, 2012 3:30am

    I’m intrigued (okay, maybe crazed for a taste is more accurate, but I’m trying to show some restraint) about those eggs encased in something that must be deep fried (re: good) on the Cobb salad.

    Another long winter here in Alaska- stumbled upon this blog last weekend after rummaging around my pantry and finding a lost can of almond paste, so I made Mr. Leibovitz’s almond cake and ate it with raspberry jam while I enjoyed his other posts. Reply

  • Jen
    December 11, 2012 3:40am

    A week in NYC is my limit…especially if it is raining. The last time I was there a dog pooped right in front of me in Soho in the rain — ugh and I said “get me out of this city!”
    And New Yorkers are not always friendly. I remember going from NYC to Montreal and what a pleasant surprise to be among soft spoken people who were not in such a big hurry as NY-ers But it is exciting to be there and food is always good. Just can’t stay too long…guess I’m a country girl at heart… Reply

  • December 11, 2012 6:16am

    Welcome back to the states David, even if only for a quick trip. Looks like you got to eat at a lot of great places. My wife and I definitely want to get to the Spotted Pig soon, heard it is amazing. Reply

  • December 11, 2012 6:19am

    i say this with a great love for france in my heart, but things in paris must be pretty bleak if new yorkers seem polite! :) did everyone else already say that? Reply

  • December 11, 2012 6:49am

    I think that sculpture is depicting some sort of intense deep tissue massage. Though I’m not sure what all the knobs on the massage table are all about. Reply

  • December 11, 2012 7:19am

    Let me know if you need anything from SF next summer. We are doing a house swap with a family in the 17th arrondissement next August and I would be happy to pack you a thing or two! Reply

  • Mariam
    December 11, 2012 8:30am

    Great article, really want to visit America, NY in particular! Lately i’ve been testing a lot of your recipe I tried the Racines chocolate cake, Chez Pannise Gingersnaps, Chocolate Biscotti and your Salted Butter Caramel Ice-cream. All turned out EXCELLENT, even though whilst making them I made some major blunders (got egg yolks in the whites for racines cake – egg whites didn’t reach desired volume and I misread TABLESPOONS for teaspoons whilst making the gingersnaps, I managed to scrape out a little but most remained yet they still turned out fabulous and surprisingly not overly heavy on the spice)
    PS i’m only 15 and your a great inspiration for my baking adventures, I will continue trying out your recipes :) Reply

  • Kirsten
    December 11, 2012 8:48am

    I hope next time you’re here in NYC you’ll have enough time to do a book signing or something so I can say hello (and can we persuade you to come uptown some more?). I have to say, though, that you got a bad tip from someone–I’m vegan and even I know that Five Napkin burger isn’t anything to be excited about. Come back soon! Reply

  • Suneeta
    December 11, 2012 9:09am

    Hi David, been following your blog for almost 10 months now and I wait for it every Sunday night (I am in India). You’ve also been a huge inspiration for all the baking that I do. It’s amazing that an American like you, also notices the friendliness and the sense of humor when he goes back. I am guessing Paris isn’t anywhere close to that. The couple of occasions I traveled to the US, I was struck by how friendly people are and how they seriously they take their jobs and go out of their way to help you.

    Do you plans to travel to India? Reply

  • Ann
    December 11, 2012 9:21am

    What I would like to know is, how do you stay so thin eating as well as you do? Reply

  • Claire
    December 11, 2012 10:15am

    It sounds like a fantastic trip and makes me want to go to NYC even more. But I can’t get past toothpaste with fennel. I mean I like fennel. A lot. And I like brushing my teeth. But I now want to post you the largest amount of toothpaste without fennel – if it wasn’t for your stories of receiving parcels that is. Reply

  • Sylvia
    December 11, 2012 10:56am

    Your blogs always put a smile on my face! :) As for the statues, I came up with “un peu plus que vous négocié avec le chiropraticien” (a little more than you bargained with the chiropractor). Reply

  • December 11, 2012 11:03am
    David Lebovitz

    nicole: I like the contrast, too!

    stacey: I have flown Open Skies and interestingly, the only time I took it, my in-seat entertainment tablet didn’t work either (I hear now they had iPads..) I used to bring movies for my computer, but the 7-9hr flight is a fun time to catch up on American tv shows for me…when it works : (

    Ann: I only eat fresh food, and avoid junk food. (Except peanut M&M’s…once in a while.) Here’s a post about it: What I Eat. Reply

  • December 11, 2012 11:58am

    I always get that chicken dish at Grand Sichuan when in NY. Love the few chilis here and there! And yes, I settled on a chiropractor when I saw the sculpture, after other initial thoughts. Reply

  • Balisand
    December 11, 2012 1:10pm

    Your funny little chiropractor sculpture is very similar to pompier (firefighter) ones I bought in a brocante in Languedoc Roussillon last Easter. Long story – friends had escaped a fire in their Paris apartment block on the first day of their holidays, the statues were a stress-busting memento, still displayed in their kitchen in Sydney. About 6 inches high, resin? Plastic? Maybe there’s a whole world out there of little statues of various metiers? But why? Reply

  • December 11, 2012 1:33pm

    A French version of Eataly? You just made my day with just the thought of that being a possibility. Eataly is good and fine, but to see Patrick Roger chocolates, Jacques Genin caramels, and oh so much more would be heavenly!

    And I totally agree with you on Five Napkin Burger. A place with the word “burger” in the title should have really outstanding burgers… but it’s just not the case. Reply

  • EB Black
    December 11, 2012 3:30pm

    My Midwestern 72 year old mother imbibes a VO Manhattan on the rocks every day at 5 o’clock. I blame Ohio. Reply

  • December 11, 2012 3:33pm

    Reading your posts always makes me feel like I’d like to travel around with you Reply

  • Corey
    December 11, 2012 5:20pm

    A French version of Eatly would be great! Also, as a New Yorker constantly fed up with how clueless and self-centered people in stores and streets are, I was glad to be reminded that those behaviors are way more indulged in other places. And I hope you got Buddha’s Head at Chelsea Market while you were in NYC; I picked some up and made citron, per your recipe. Reply

  • December 11, 2012 5:24pm

    Just ran into a Parisian who was flying home the next morning — my first thought was “Oh, I should ask him to mule a few pounds of pecans for David.” Then I had to explain what a pecan was. Glad you were able to stock up. Reply

  • Renee
    December 11, 2012 5:56pm

    Sounds like you had a great whirlwind trip! We’ve been lucky to have a mild winter so far. February the snow will come. Maybe I will get to escape to Paris then! I love the idea of a French Eataly! But I think I’d still rather be in Paris. I was happy though that they actually had everything I wanted from my summer trips to Italy but didn’t buy there. There’s only so much one can pack into a suitcase!

    I also used to really like Republic, but it’s so crowded and noisy, its sensory overload. So taking out is a great idea! Reply

  • Jane Ridolfi
    December 11, 2012 6:02pm

    Another great informative post! Glad you had such a good time…… Reply

  • Cheryll
    December 11, 2012 6:17pm

    I thought I recognized those images from Columbus Circle as Robert! Did you get to see the Columbus ‘living room’ installation. Unfortunately, we were in NYC too early and it will be gone before we return.

    http://realestate.aol.com/blog/2012/09/20/columbus-circles-iconic-statue-centered-in-living-room-art-exhi/ Reply

  • Naomi
    December 11, 2012 6:24pm

    David, I was wondering where you bought the black and white cookies that you brought back to Paris with you? I’m always on the lookout for the best version whenever I’m in NYC. My favorite (so far) is from William Greenburg Desserts. I treat myself with a box every year for my birthday (which is this week!). Reply

  • December 11, 2012 6:25pm

    New York sounds as friendly as I remember it!

    I own that Lenôtre cookbook in French, and in fact on Saturday I’m making my own birthday cake — “Le Concorde” — from it. Reply

  • Naomi
    December 11, 2012 6:26pm

    Sorry, it should be William Greenberg desserts. Reply

  • Jeanette
    December 11, 2012 6:27pm

    You make it seem like so much fun to be you! Thanks for sharing. Reply

  • Rick
    December 11, 2012 6:30pm

    David, the ceramic? Really? Honey, you better turn in your Gay card. Looks like Sean Penn wrestling with I don’t know whom. I was in New York recently too but between seeing friends, museums, a play, a book event, and meeting re the next I felt almost too tired to eat at night. Friends steered me to quiet neighborhood places they wanted to go to. Reply

  • Fran
    December 11, 2012 6:32pm

    forget the chiropractor guys.

    clearly the patient is due for his prostate exam.

    the only question is-

    does the wrestling add or detract from the procedure? Reply

  • Vicki B
    December 11, 2012 6:32pm

    I was thinking chiropractor! Out of all those scrumptious looking things, the grilled cheese with tomato soup spoke the loudest. It was our weekly Sunday night supper after the proverbial roast beef and potato post church dinner. Reply

  • Cynthia
    December 11, 2012 6:33pm

    Hi, lived in NYC for 38 years. After 9/11 moved to Newport, RI. Read every blog piece they are great fun! Will be in Paris in Feb for over a week. What to do? Winter in Paris, sounds lovely to me. Reply

  • Tiffany
    December 11, 2012 6:34pm

    Oh how I miss New York! You hit tons of my best spots as well. :) It’s interesting how in NYC (maybe the USA in general) one demonstrates one’s influence by showing your ability to make things work, to get something done for someone. While in France I have a certain sense that influence is demonstrated by showing one’s ability to be a roadblock if so desired. Haven’t totally worked out the sociocultural analysis yet, but the difference in philosophy is palpable here in France vs. NY. That said, the fromage is definitely better here, and the wine cheaper :) Reply

  • Tags
    December 11, 2012 6:45pm

    A few times, I’ve read something about how Lyons has the best charcuterie in the world, yet I never see anyone advertising anything from there, or even in that style. It seems that nobody wants to sell cured meat without attaching the word “Tuscan” to it. Seems a shame that Americans can’t try the best ham or dry-cured sausages without a plane ticket. Reply

  • Jenny
    December 11, 2012 6:47pm

    There was a realist painter named George Bellows who worked at the turn of the century and was known for his bold depuctions of urban life in NYC, mostly violent fight scenes. The little sculpture you saw may be a take on his work. Reply

  • Jenny
    December 11, 2012 6:49pm

    should have been …bold depictions …sorry typo! Reply

  • December 11, 2012 6:53pm

    Aw….now I’m all sad we’re not going back to the States this year for Christmas. One of the first places we head to is Republic. I usually don’t even notice the noise, since I’m so tired from shopping.
    You’ll have to come down to Rome to see the Eataly here. I know. You’d think it would be overkill, but this one’s really great. A totally different animal from the ones in Torino and NYC. Reply

  • Robert
    December 11, 2012 6:55pm

    Regarding playing chicken in the street with oncoming pedestrians, have you tried the “looking down as if you’re not paying attention” method? Not sure about the rest of the world, but here in the USA it works nearly every time. Say you are walking alone and a group of four are walking and talking while coming at you. Just avoid eye contact, look down sternly, and keep your path. It’s amazing how people clear the way for you. Reply

  • Heschel
    December 11, 2012 6:55pm

    That was some”short trip!” Seems like all you did was eat! (exactly what I did in Paris 3 weeks ago). I enjoy reading your posts.. You have just the right tone ( voice) that makes each a pleasure to read. Reply

  • December 11, 2012 6:58pm

    Love your writing style. Life is too short not to enjoy yourself.
    Cheers! Reply

  • December 11, 2012 7:22pm

    are you sure you don’t want the demitasse translated???? Because I sure like anything have no clue what the statue has to do with the über-kitsch demi-tasses!!!
    your writing style is so overwhelming that I feel like booking a flight to NY myself just on the strength of your prose AND of course the photos featuring croissants, Lavazza caffè and not last the delicious looking bagel… Thank you so much – and if you’re really into demi-tasses, forget it – they are really bad taste, so unlike you.

    Hearing you rave about all things French I’m rather pleased in a strange way that you too get still upset about the missing manners of Parisians. I came back from Switzerland late on Friday and I had my cultural shock in Switzie when every bus- and tram driver greeted their passengers and wished a good day, or when a sales lady accompanied me – same as you – to a different floor in a Globus store, or when people greet you on the street. It’s a shock I will easily get used to again once I shall be back in my home country. Reply

  • Sarahb1313
    December 11, 2012 7:40pm

    Ok, after so many posts, I wasn’t going to add, but I was so moved by your description of NYers. As a native to Manhattan, I have been more impressed than not by the way people interact. That’s not to say there aren’t exceptional days, of course.

    The subway is a good example- the only “underground” where I am not completely intimate with fellow riders.

    After 9-11, this was even more apparent. The level of concern and courtesy was at an all time high. Much needed in those weeks.

    I have also found that the reputation of the French has been a bit over exaggerated- I have found with a little effort to speak in their language, the French, even in Paris, have been delightful. Perhaps not on line, though… Reply

  • December 11, 2012 8:00pm

    United.Airlines.Sucks. Reply

  • dianne
    December 11, 2012 8:05pm

    Great post!

    “I just got off an overnight flight where my seat didn’t recline nor did my television/movie system work”
    I didn’t think Air Canada flew from NY to Paris ;-) Reply

  • suedoise
    December 11, 2012 8:16pm

    What is this rambling about rude Parisians and their “missing manners” ?
    I have lived in Paris for some 15 years now and Parisians strike me as kind, attentive, helpful. Taxi drivers are real darlings.
    My busdriver always says bonjour to his passengers.
    Your taxman is a nice fellow if you arrange a rendez-vous and address him kindly.
    Indeed Paris is a mild hell so comfortable that it resembles heaven. Reply

  • Adrienne K
    December 11, 2012 8:22pm

    I think that bizarre statue is a chiropractor and patient. Reply

  • December 11, 2012 8:28pm

    The weather has been wonderfull! Reply

  • Adrienne
    December 11, 2012 8:53pm

    That bizarre statue looks like a chiropractor and his patient. Reply

  • December 11, 2012 8:58pm

    I also had to mention that in America, people let other people pass by when walking, and the sidewalks aren’t places where people play “chicken” with other pedestrians.

    I got so tired of this when I lived in Chile that I got to the point where I would just come to a complete stop on the sidewalk and force the oncoming traffic to walk around me. Chileans blesstheirhearts think nothing of walking three abreast on the sidewalk. Reply

  • Linda H
    December 11, 2012 9:04pm

    About the noise in restaurants–I saw a feature on TV recently on that subject. The owners are behind it. They want a “buzz” and some actually have devices that recycle dining room noises back into the place to keep the noise level up. Crazy. Chicago also has some popular places where you can’t talk over the noise. Reply

  • Marne Rogers
    December 11, 2012 9:08pm

    The curious little statue in the photo offering bargain demitasse sets is of a chiropractor engaging his trade on a patient’s spine. Although it may seem somewhat suggestive, it’s just an exaggerated portrayal of a-day-in-the-life of 2 guys taking care of business. Reply

  • Franci
    December 11, 2012 9:51pm

    And now I’m thoroughly homesick for NYC!

    When I saw your second photo, I knew you’d been to Robert! A lovely setting and excellent food. I was also unimpressed with 5 Napkin Burger, despite all the rave reviews.

    Looks like you had a fun time, which is not difficult when visiting NYC. :-) Reply

  • Camille C.
    December 11, 2012 10:32pm

    Re: friends wanting to take you to a French bakery in NYC. It reminds me of the time I was in Perigueux with my French BF (long gone) and his family way back when. Mama wanted to surprise me with a real American meal. Guess what we had? Hamburgers. I appreciated the gesture but who wants to eat burgers when you can have something so much better! Mama had grown up on a farm and everything she prepared was divine no matter how simple. Burgers, indeed! Reply

  • Susan Marcus
    December 11, 2012 10:32pm

    a chiropractor, a’ mon avis Reply

  • Claire Callaway
    December 11, 2012 10:39pm

    I think the little statue is of a chiropractor working on a somewhat uncooperative patient! Reply

  • Mike
    December 11, 2012 11:38pm

    “It always amuses me when folks tell me that I need to visit the latest outpost of some Parisian bakery that’s set up shop in Manhattan, until I remind them that they probably wouldn’t want to go to a bagel shop or Duane Reade in Paris.”

    I may have amused you with my suggestion (though I most definately would want a Duane Read in Paris, why would I not ?) a few days back, but I am equally amused at the places you found worthwhile to try out when you were here. Particularly Republic and JG Melon. As for The Breslin, among the worst meals I’ve had in years. I truly disliked that place though the ski lodge vibe was interesting, I suppose.

    Eataly is the only place you went that I go back to time and again. It is a great place to shop and a good scene. And the cheese station is excellent — maybe not Murray’s overall but for Italian I would guess it is and the staff is knowledgeable and helpful. And I doubt you can get better cheese in Italy. It’s like suggesting you get the best lobsters in Maine. They may catch the best lobsters in Maine. Then they send them to NY, Chicago, Vegas etc… because those places will pay for the best lobster. And the Eataly restaurants I’ve tried — pasta and fish — were both quite good on multiple visits. Though Batali would probably agree with you on scrapping the tipping system as it seems to get him in trouble:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/24/del-posto-lawsuit-mario-batali_n_1911146.html ($1.25 million)

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/07/mario-batali-lawsuit_n_1325304.html ($5.25 million) Reply

  • MaryAlice Denson
    December 12, 2012 12:38am

    I see two chiropractor responses, but I am sure it is our local chiropractor. I went to him only once. That was enough, as his moves are duplicated in that little sculpture. Reply

  • Sarah
    December 12, 2012 12:58am

    Dear David,

    Your travel photos are great-do you take your good camera with you when you travel, or do you travel light and use something that is clearly good as well? May I ask what you used for these photos? I use a Nikon at home but find it bulky for travel. My ipod does not take great photos, but it is the most I want to worry about while traveling, If there were a light and good option, I would try it. Would love to hear what you use when you are on the road. Reply

  • Debra
    December 12, 2012 1:01am

    Love your idea of a French version of Eataly. Should be called Paree, and should be located in Washington, DC. Reply

  • Catherine
    December 12, 2012 1:07am

    It seems that a lot of popular restaurants have become exceptionally noisy. “Background” music is loud, so people have to talk loudly to each other to be heard. I have heard that owners do this purposefully, to encourage patrons to leave more quickly after eating, rather than lingering to chat after dinner. The quicker that people leave, the more turnover the restaurant experiences in a night.

    As someone with a hearing “challenge” when I am researching restaurants to go to, I look for ones that are specifically listed as “quiet atmosphere”. Noisy restaurants are just misery for me and I have to strive to avoid them. Too bad that owners don’t learn that more and more people are seeking restaurants that are quieter, which makes the experience more enjoyable and memorable. Reply

  • Tim
    December 12, 2012 1:27am

    You bought dried cherries? David, do you not know about Cherry Republic? http://www.cherryrepublic.com. Everything made from cherries you can imagine. They ship internationally. And if you ever visit, go to Art’s Tavern for a good bar burger and a beer afterwards. And the Lake Michigan beaches are close by. Reply

  • December 12, 2012 2:00am

    You are so charming and your love of NY comes straight through your heart.
    Speaking of hearts, where is the best well debated best NY burger? Reply

  • Linda
    December 12, 2012 4:21am

    Please report on a French version of Eataly when it comes to New York. I will be there! Reply

  • wendy
    December 12, 2012 5:05am

    How come you’re not fat?

    Thank you for sharing all this great information!

    You are wonderful, by the way. Reply

  • Terry
    December 12, 2012 6:36am

    Either a chiropractor or a masseur doing some Rolfing. Reply

  • December 12, 2012 6:38am

    Republic is always too noisy in my humble opinion. 5 Napkin, though, is a solid choice ;) Reply

  • December 12, 2012 7:59am

    Funny, my husband and I tried a life in Sweden. I grew up there and always had a desire to return (with some reservations). After four years living in Sweden we left … for all the reasons you just so well described. Life is way harder in America in oh, so many ways but there is such SPIRIT…. people actually wish each other well. Smile. Open doors. Don’t knock you over on the sidewalk. There is service and shop keepers that are helpful and glad you came! You can have great food of ANY kind at ANY time.. oh I could go on and on Reply

  • December 12, 2012 10:19am
    David Lebovitz

    agneta: Yes, one can easily forget how helpful people in America are. Every time I have to go into my bank, a shop, they are all happy to help me – it’s so different and as Romain said, so much easier. It’s something we take for granted.

    wendy: Check out How I Eat : )

    Catherine: I think a lot of it is loud customers, which is hard for restaurant owners to control. We’ve all been near people speaking loudly on cell phones, with no regard for others. But yes, some places are designed to be loud, with music and hard surfaces. I just find that I can’t enjoy myself if I can’t hear the person next to me.

    Sarah: I take my smaller Canon with me. Here are more details.

    Camille: I was in Japan a few years ago and had an excellent meal of tofu skins, served at a restaurant that put a steaming pot of soy milk in the middle of the table, and we pulled off the skins as they formed. It’s was lovely and beautiful. At the end, they brough me (no one else) a bowl of melted mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce – ! Reply

  • December 12, 2012 10:47am

    Dear David,

    Well, this might be out of the entry’s topic, but I couldn’t find anotherway to leave you a question, even though this might me a bit intimidating for me to ask in public,since I wanted to ask “kinda” privately, but, well, *beep* that S*beep*t, I’ll ask anyway.xD.But first, to further explain things, I’d like to tell you something first.

    I’ve always had a complicated replationship with food. I truly loved it. But I did not know what good food actually was, and was drowing myself in stuff like KFC and Pizza Hut, and blah blah blah. But the good thing back then was, I got the free will to eat whatever I wanted, and not being afraid of anything. But one thing led to another, I started caring more about my body image, of which I was nowhere near happy with, and started dieting. I became anorexic before I even realized. But let’s not get too deep into that.

    After a number of months of fighting agaisnt the desease, and my crooked way of thingking, I revived my body. But the mental illness from being scared of getting fat still sticks with me, till today.

    I did not regret being like that. Firstly, I lost tons of fat; and secondly, it turned me from someone who knew nothing, and care nothing about cooking, to a some what food obsessed. All day I think about food. But I deprived myself from some, even now. I started research about the food world, and came through numbers of blogs and recipes, but your blog truly was the one that helped me appreciate the art of good food, and making me throwing away those fat free pudding cup once and for all, to understand, what ” healthy” actually means.

    I’m not a cook, nor I;m a food blogger, but I’m a writer, with the love for food thisss big. And I wanted to start a book, somewhat a journal, to share about my story, to atleast, make crash diet attemptees don’t fall in the same mistake I did. But most of all, I want to showcase my appreciation for good food, what I sincerely don’t know how to express it, since I can’t write a recipe or whatsoever. Any ideas?xD

    Sorry If I blabbed too long. But, hey, thank you, for starting this blog.

  • December 12, 2012 2:40pm

    I have been living in NYC for a few months, but because of being in grad school haven’t been exploring at all. My parents are visiting for 15 days starting next week, and I was wondering if you have any suggestion for a tour, a little bit different of what guide books suggest. My parents are a bit hipstersy hehe.

    thanks Reply

  • December 12, 2012 3:11pm

    The dream of my life : To go in NY…. It will stay a dream, for sure, but we all need dreams to make you accept our “normal life” :) Reply

  • December 12, 2012 7:20pm

    people do let others pass in the states, thanks for pointing that out! im always running into people here in ireland. but i didn’t think it was a courtesy thing, i just thought i had forgotten how to walk right! or that the whole driving on the left translated to footpaths, as well! your trip to ny looks great Reply

  • Catherine in SF
    December 12, 2012 8:22pm

    Whoever did that chiropractor piece seems to have been influenced by Thomas Hart Benton or Paul Cadmus. Reply

  • CHN
    December 12, 2012 9:27pm


    (Glad you enjoyed.) Reply

  • Shannon
    December 13, 2012 2:08am

    Looks like a fun trip! Is that a fried boiled egg in the Cobb Salad? Whatever it is, it looks delicious. Oh, and if my two cents matter, I would like to join the chiropractor bandwagon! Reply

  • Michael Duffy
    December 13, 2012 2:45am

    David —
    Thank you again for your wonderful blog. I always enjoy reading your stories and your adventures … sometimes even more than I enjoy your recipes. And I l-o-v-e your recipes. Your array of eateries in New York made me want to go back and visit again, even though I was just there. You had much more fun eating than I had! I want to know the next time you come to New York, so I can just tag along behind you. You could probably charge people a fortune for that opportunity.

    Stay well. Stay healthy. Come back and visit again. Reply

  • Dana
    December 13, 2012 3:49am

    I agree with Catherine in SF, the little sculpture was probably inspired by Thomas Hart Benton or Paul Cadmus. Reply

  • December 13, 2012 4:46am

    What fun to read about your NYC adventures! Consequently, I was in Paris the week you were here and the weather was, well, not dreadful, but close… Reply

  • Mariam
    December 13, 2012 7:58am

    PS, you should totally come to Sydney, Australia! Reply

  • December 13, 2012 8:36am

    Drooling over your food pics (as usual)! It’s been almost two years since I have been home to NYC and green with envy as you hit some of my favorite places to eat! I LOVED 5 Napkin Burger when I was in NYC in 2011. But was also catching up with my bestie who I hadn’t seen in a while so the company may have influenced my experience. Have been dying to get to Spot. Hopefully next time I am home. This is a great mini guide though on where to eat now. What food items did you bring back? Reply

  • carla
    December 13, 2012 9:29am

    Hi David,

    nice post.Just wanted to tell you: The black and white cookies have a funny name in germany: “American” in the singular sense. (Amerikaner) :) I don´t know why. Reply

  • Diane Madden
    December 13, 2012 3:05pm

    David…enjoyed NYC blog!!! Where IS the Best Burger in Paris???…Met you in June at Petite Palais with Joanne and George… Will be in Paris 23-1 Dec with my pal Paul..you met…and at Hotel Montelembert (around corner from Joanne’s…sort of)… Can we treat you and Pal to a Manhattan??? Best…DCM (Dee)… Reply

  • December 13, 2012 7:13pm

    Wow, NYC has some amazing food! I haven’t been there in years and my stomach is growling. Thanks for all of these (tasty) great pictures! Reply

  • Mel G.
    December 13, 2012 7:29pm

    I love eating my way through vacations! Thank you so much for sharing your mini NYC adventure!! Reply

  • nic
    December 13, 2012 8:59pm

    That sculpture looked like John Lydon from PiL (aka Johnny Rotten) dressed up as a Dentist. Reply

  • Ceres
    December 14, 2012 12:52am
    • December 14, 2012 8:23am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for sharing – now I know what to start saving up for.. ($522?) Reply

  • bhw
    December 14, 2012 9:36pm


    When your parents come to visit, I would recommend getting the book “New York Neighborhoods, 3rd: A Food Lover’s Walking, Eating, and Shopping Guide to Ethnic Enclaves throughout New York City” (easily found on Amazon). This book guides you to a lot of non-tourista food sites that most New Yorkers know nothing about. You will have a ton of fun. Highly recommend it :-)

    Love your blog. I love that you post frequently and I enjoy everything you write. Keep up the good work!! Reply

  • December 15, 2012 4:53am

    I just recently introduced a French expat colleague to the grilled cheese (accompanied by tomato soup, of course) – he’d somehow never had one after living in NY for five years! I still can’t get my French husband on board with them, but I couldn’t live without them. On your next trip, swing by the Brooklyn flea market – there’s a vendor that sells the most amazing grilled cheese sandwiches at the best price I’ve found in NY. Reply

  • DanaNYC
    December 15, 2012 7:11am

    Gotta tell you, the fact that you have a photo of the Parisienne Diner (near Columbus Circle) as the first photo is hysterical (also considering you visited some of the best eating places in the city)/ I’ve only been there once – ordered a half cantaloupe. That is definitely the kind of place you order your bagel toasted (anything to up the flavor). :) Reply

  • Jennie
    December 16, 2012 4:23am

    Love your blog, love your cookbooks (my husband and children are very happy that The Perfect Scoop just arrived), and as if I didn’t have enough reasons to love you, you have all these kind things to say about my hometown, which most Americans seem to regard as a bastion of bad manners. Reply

  • December 16, 2012 4:24am

    Pichet left Spot awhile ago, but the best sellers are still kept on the menu. Do you like matcha? You should try the matcha creme brulee next time, as well as the yuzu ice-cream. :) Surprised you didn’t fit in any ramen run on this visit. THere are so many ramen shops on St. Mark nowadays. Next time, right? :) Welcome back! Reply

    • December 16, 2012 8:48am
      David Lebovitz

      Thanks for the clarification on the pastry chef situation at Spot. I do like matcha, but it’s done almost to the extreme here in Paris so it’s not something I crave when I travel. And we have plenty of good ramen places on the rue Saint-Anne, so I skip things like that in favor of Sichuan cuisine and off-beat, creative desserts. Reply

  • December 16, 2012 10:55pm

    Tomato soup + grilled cheese may be the new ‘burger’ in New York.
    I see it everywhere.
    Check out Eat-ily in Bologna – a shoebox next to the American version
    Love that hokie La Parisienne on 7th Ave… Reply

  • Craig
    December 18, 2012 6:41pm

    David, you may know this anyway, but a lot of those products that you can’t find in France (dried sour cherries, unscented lotion, fennel-free toothpaste) are readily available in Britain — and London is only a couple of hours away by train… Reply

  • peter
    December 20, 2012 4:43am

    David, you have a bit of sense and knowledge.I don’t think that of about 99% of those writing on the internet or otherwise, pro or amateur. The Meatball Shop is idiocy personified. Not that aren’t other entities that are just as awful but that lemonade bit sums up the standards of the rabble. Amazed by something that is so low brow, it is painful.Very surprised you would waste your time there. While there are barely a handful of acceptable bakers in NYC(I understand your argument about it), going to the best of them is a far better use of time than paying $10 for a bit of ground meat on some very middling bread.
    It is the same disappointment as the success of Domino’s, Subway, etc. Granted it is a higher level but it is nothing special or even good at all. From quality or value, it makes no sense.

    And to poster ‘ad’ about the parents. They are certainly not hipsterish. I promise. The French love Billyburg and Bushwick, by the way. I don’t really understand why but it is so.

    And the tip system is for the birds.

    Are you really going to recommend Nunu’s for chocolate when there is P. Roger(I think my fave) and all the others in Paris? That is far worse than someone telling you to go to Bouchon for a baguette or cookie. Best baguettes in Manhattan used to be Petrossian in case you ever need one though I think the recipe has changed some.
    French ingredients for grilled cheese === Tres bien. Reply

    • December 20, 2012 11:12am
      David Lebovitz

      Nunu chocolates are excellent American-style chocolates, in which I mean the fillings are a bit more substantial than Parisian chocolates. But they are not overly-sweet and are very well-made. Many of the flavors they use highlight the creativity of American chocolate makers that are not timid about experimenting (like the bean-to-bar chocolate makers in America, who have opened the doors and offer a whole new range of chocolates that didn’t exist in America 10 years ago, and is what a French chocolate expert calls “The American Revolution”) – and are open to using a wide palette of flavorings for their chocolates. There are some great chocolatiers in Paris, like Patrick Roger, Jacques Genin, Jean-Charles Rochoux, Foquet, M. Chaudun, but there are some quite talented people in America, such as Michael Recchiuti, Christopher Elbow, Andy and Justine at Nunu, and Kee’s. Reply

  • Gary Morris
    December 22, 2012 2:29pm

    Dominique Ansel’s bakery is on Spring Street. It would be worth going out of the way to visit in any city! Reply

  • Sandra
    December 22, 2012 6:52pm

    We were in Italy last month visiting family—-outside Naples. They had come back from Sicily with a recently purchased suitcase of the freshest best cheeses, olives, and pistachios we had ever eaten…..maybe you should head to southern Italy for some of those fantastic treats!!! Reply

  • Jennifer
    December 24, 2012 5:52am

    I have to say that I was catching up on your blog and feeling sad and missing Paris (we were there in April) and then I came upon this post and felt much better. I currently live on the very last stop on the Metro North which means that I’m less than 2 hours from Grand Central. Must keep reminding myself that people in Paris long for what’s accessible to me by a pretty easy train ride. Though I still can’t wait to go back to Paris. Reply

  • December 25, 2012 2:42pm

    My husband is pretty much fixed on finding the best burger and one of his favorites is the Burger Joint (hidden in the Parker Meridian hotel). You need to try that on your next visit! Reply

  • January 1, 2013 12:15am

    Spot Dessert Bar is fantastic! Their Golden toast is fabulous, but I think the best is the green tea-ramisu. Oh wait: the chocolate lava…Well, everything is spectacular! Reply

  • Kathie Allen
    January 1, 2013 7:08pm

    How did Romain like the grilled cheese and tomato soup?? Reply

  • January 2, 2013 1:11am

    The bread you were eating looks amazing,. I want a piece right now. Reply

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