New York City Dining and Travel Notes

pretzels empire state building

I had a wonderful trip to New York City recently and shared some of the places that I visited (see links at end of post), but there were plenty more places that I ate at, which didn’t get mentioned in previous posts. So here’s a round-up of them…

katz's corned beef sandwich


Most of the good delis are gone in New York City, but Katz’s is an institution and I like to believe it’s never going to let me down. I’ve had great meals there, but on this visit, my corned beef was tough and almost all of the meat inside my sandwich was inedible. A sandwich that costs $19.75, plus tax should be stellar.

half-sour pickles katz's sandwich

Of course, the interior is still is great. And the place was packed with tourists, as well as a scattering of some locals. So maybe it was just an off-day.

Katz’s Deli
205 East Houston Street

lobster rolls heirloom tomatoes

Dinner at Adam’s

We laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve shared the tears and happiness over the years. But I could never figure out why Adam Roberts of Amateur Gourmet wouldn’t invite me over for dinner. But after a few not-so-subtle hits, finally the prestigious invite came through. And let me tell you, it was worth the wait. He is going to have to relinquish his “amateur” status pretty soon.

We had a super heirloom tomato salad then on to homemade lobster rolls.

adam roberts craig's feet

As the meal progressed, things got a little strange and Adam did something that seemed so peculiar: he took out his camera and starting taking pictures of the food. Of course, I was mortified. (And I saw a few other strange things that night as well..including a picture of actor James Franco on the coffee table, which I thought might be standing in for his other half, and I was relieved when he joined us later that evening.)

But as a good guest, what else could I do but sit there and smile as if nothing was amiss? And eat.

potato chips cake

Being the genial host, Adam soothed over any rough spots by offering a selection of potato chips. But the night eventually had to end and I was well fed, and was happy to get to see him on his home turf at last.



Most Americans don’t realize how we crave certain foods until we leave our own country. Things we might scoff at normally become nostalgic treats. And while many of them fall into the junk food category (like tortilla chips, M&M’s, peanut butter & cheese crackers, and orange slices), I curiously found myself craving hamburgers in Paris a while back. Interestingly, after I wrote that, hamburgers are a staple on the menus of most Parisian cafés. But they’re not the big, meaty, juicy two-fisters we’re used to chomping down on in the states, and the fries are invariably from frozen spuds. So on this visit, I wanted, no—needed, the real deal.

The best burger I had in New York City was at Prune with Deb of Smitten Kitchen, which she assured me would be terrific—and it was. Everything was in the right proportion and made me realize that an English Muffin does make the best bun for a burger. Old-fashioned types can stick with those towering, puffy buns, but toasted English muffins remain crisp and stand up to all those juices and don’t fall apart. Leave it to the English would provide just the right vehicle for this all-American sandwich.

sweet potato fries & onion rings

I went with pals Matt and Adam to Bill’s Bar and Burger based on a recommendation by a popular food website and the burger (shown above) was fair. The sides were okay, but nothing to write home (or you) about. I was happy to see sweet potato fries, but the company topped the burgers.

I mean, they were better than the burgers that we ate. That is, Matt and Adam. And that’s a different Adam than the one above. Confused yet?

Shake Shack fries

I also went to Shake Shack, which has achieved cult-like status and had just opened a branch near where I was staying on the Upper East Side. It’s not the most inventive or over-the-top burger, which is fine with me: it’s always just-right. And I am truly impressed at how they can crank out a fine burger and fries, and shakes, at a good price and work so efficiently. It’s seems like a no-brainer to me to do things the way they should be done, but it too-often goes wrong elsewhere. Be sure to ask for your fries “well” if you want them super-crispy, which they’ll do, and is a concept I wish they’d adapt everywhere. I hate soggy fries.

City Bakery cookies pretzel croissant

City Bakery

It isn’t a trip to New York City unless I stop in at least once at City Bakery. But the reality is, I usually find myself there at least two or three times. (Oh, and the Splenda packets weren’t mine.)

It’s one of those places that’s beloved by most New Yorkers and when you see all the cookies piled up and the astoundingly good pretzel croissants, you’ll want to move there yourself to be closer to the goods.

City Bakery
3 West 18th Street

sungold cherry tomatoes greenmarket pretzels

Union Square Greenmarket

There are a few cities that are more urban than Manhattan, but the fact that they can have a year ’round farmer’s market featuring produce grown within a hundred mile radius is incredibly impressive. This spectacular greenmarket features seasonal products like goat and cow’s cheese, bins of juicy peaches, sweet corn on the cob and baskets upon baskets of heirloom tomatoes.

white eggplant ginger maple candiesseaweed biscuit greenmarket tomatoes

If I lived in New York, my daily lunch—and dinner, would be a big plate of tomatoes with fresh basil leaves and golden olive oil, along with boiled corn on the cob with butter and crunchy salt. I’d be a very, very happy, and well-fed, person.

selecting peaches heirloom tomatoes

Union Square Greenmarket
Union Square West
(Market is on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday)

bespoke chocolate pretzel coated fleur de sel caramel

Bespoke Chocolates

After my burger lunch with Deb, she dragged me down a dark alley, professing to know of a good chocolate shop. Sure enough she was right, but a fermeture exceptionelle (which I’m no stranger too…) was in effect, so I jotted down the address to go back.

Being the boy-pleaser that she is, at a party I went later than week she slipped me a package of their chocolates which, surprisingly, I didn’t open until I got back to Paris. When I opened the box and read the label, I audibly gasped: Pretzel-Coated Sea Salt Caramels!

Each one had a lovely, liquid-filled center, which unfortunately made sharing impossible. So I had to eat them all by myself : ) So If you go, be sure to get a few extra…

Another place that I’ve heard about is Kee’s Chocolates. The editor of my first cookbook, who knows New York and food better than just about anyone I know (after all, she edited me!), falls uncharacteristically silent for a few moments when she utters its name. For some reason, it always eludes me when I head to New York. And apparently they run out because of the small production, so get there early. Or at least before I do.

Bespoke Chocolates
6 Extra Place

Kee’s Chocolates
80 Thompson Street

Mandoo Bar

In the years since I moved to Paris, although there’s no shortage of fast food-style sushi places have sprung up everywhere (which all carry the exact same thing, which in my opinion, makes them suspect), authentic Japanese food has really moved up on the radar with Parisians and it’s not too difficult to find real Japanese restaurants here. Although a real sushi bar is still elusive, places lining the rue Saint-Anne, and on the various side streets, are now packed night and day.

Korean food, however, isn’t very well represented. Unlike Japanese food which is low-fat and has fairly recognizable flavors, Korean food is wild and spicy—there’s everything going on in those big bowls of bi bum bap; lots of garlic, spicy-hot chili sauce, fermented vegetables, and it’s not exactly what one would call ‘refined’ fare. So naturally it’s one of my favorite cuisines.

So I found myself a few times sitting at a table at Mandoo Bar on the strip of Korean restaurants that line 32nd street. My friend Carrie recommended it and I loved the fact they make the dumplings, which are their specialty, in the window. Although the wrappers are a bit clunky, the fillings are great and it’s easy to eat more than you think. (Especially if you’re like me, and you order more than you should.) One night we also had a cold noodle dish made with ‘acorn‘ pasta that was fresh and lively, perfect for a hot summer night. And they had bottles of cool sake and beer to wash it all down, too. What’s not to like?

Mandoo Bar
2 West 32nd Street

espresso nyc danesi caffe


I wish I could remember each and every place that I had a great cup of coffee (although none could possibly top our visit to Joe the Art of Coffee when Romain told the barista, “This is the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had.”) I had great coffee almost universally in New York. Of course, a few places stood out, but it’s as if no one will pour you a cup of coffee without letting you know who picked the beans, what method they took to get to New York, the nationality of the person who unpacked the bags and what time they were roasted. Which was always that day. It’s one of the better qualities of Americans; once we latch onto an idea, we tend to take it to the extreme. Hey, if it results in better results, then count me in.

Sonya recommended in my comments Sicaffè which was indeed a good address. But I also liked Tarallucci e Vino, and especially the staff, because when I was waiting for an acquaintance, they asked if I wanted a glass of water while I waited, since it was hot out, and didn’t mind if I used the restroom. (Yikes, I need to get out of town more often…)

new york taxi

Luke’s Lobster

When I was a kid growing up in New England, I wouldn’t eat lobster. I know, I know. If you could reach through this screen and slap me, I’d let you. But back them, it wasn’t considered a ‘gourmet’ delicacy, like it is today. Of course, now all I want is a lobster roll crammed full of freshly boiled lobster. So who knew that was available in Manhattan? (Outside of Adam’s apartment, see above.)

Although I was extremely tempted by the fried clams (but could they be better than Howard Johnson’s tendersweet fries clams? RIP..), I went with the Lobster Schooner, which included a lobster roll, a fancy soda (I took root beer, of course), Miss Vickie’s chips (I don’t know who Miss Vickie is but with chips like this, she should be a Mrs. by now), and a pickle. All for just $16.

The roll was a pull-apart roll, fried in butter, then filled with lobster meat and a dab of mayo and more butter. (There’s a bit of quibbling between New Englanders: I like no mayo and all-butter, but a few argue that mayonnaise is required. Because I’m not from the south, I can’t argue with the bbq folks, but I will take up the fight for all-butter lobster rolls when and where required.) The lobster was a bit underseasoned, likely because the boiling water wasn’t salted enough, and I wasn’t fond of the white peppery mixture sprinkled on top. But those are just minor quibbles because for the price and quality, and the extremely nice guys at the counter, Luke’s Lobster is worth dropping anchor for.

Luke’s Lobster
242 East 81st Street (at 2nd Avenue)
93 East 7th Street (at 1st Avenue)

Fonda in Brooklyn1


You won’t find Mexican or Tex-Mex combo platters at Fonda in Brooklyn, known for traditional, fresh Mexican cuisine. I had a great, and very filling, brunch which started with a big molcajete of guacamole and a Bloody Mary’s. (Although I should use the singular since I only had one and so did my friend.)

bloody mary cocktail enchiladas

Manhattan isn’t well-known for its Mexican food, and even though I had a few fun Mexican meals with new and old pals at Barrio Chino and Mexican Mama (525 Hudson St), coming from California, I’ve need to get black beans and corn tortillas infused back into my bloodstream, which I do whenever I’m back on North American soil. And I was happy to get my fill at Fonda.

black beans at Fonda Fonda chair

434 7th Avenue
Tel: 713-369-3144

potato knish


Unlike Katz’s, the quality at Zabar’s hasn’t slipped one iota. The housewares department upstairs is still relatively brilliant (although they no longer carry my favorite knife), and the food aisles are jammed with everything, from rich halvah to French cheeses, which they sell at prices less than we pay for them in France.

So when someone finds me a two bedroom apartment in New York City for under $800/month, with a doorman, I know I won’t have to give up on eating great French cheese. And I’ll be saving money on both my rent and on my monthly cheese bill.

double smoked nova lox at zabars zabars bagels and lox

When trying to decide, out loud, how many chocolate rugelah to buy (I mean, I was in New York, where kvetching is part of the fun), a nice little old woman grabbed my arm, and said, “Go ahead. Buy yourself a whole pound, honey.”

Aside from the chocolate and cream-cheese pastries, I also schlepped home a potato knish, or so I thought. When I got home I couldn’t find it and panicked. Being an eco-shopper, I dutifully toted my reusable nylon tote bag to Zabar’s. And being a demi-Parisian, I’m used to loading up my own bags, and waved away any help. So I assumed I left it idling in the bag by the register. (And they were probably thinking what a putz I was for not letting them help me with my bag.) The next morning, I found it, so now you can all sleep at night knowing that I was well-nourished.

2245 Broadway

Mast Brothers Chocolate Bars

Mast Brothers Chocolate

I have a particular affinity for American bean-to-bar chocolate makers. Some of my best friends started making bean-to-bar chocolate years ago, which I thought was folly at the time. And now they’re revolutionized the way Americans think about chocolate and I always beam with patriotic pride when I try a chocolate bar from a new upstart.

Fleur de sel chocolate bar Nick Malgieri

After our lunch at Fonda, my friend Nick Malgieri, who wrote a show-stopping book on chocolate, and I headed over to Mast Brothers Chocolate.

Luckily we had a car because I’m not sure how you’d get to the factory without one. When we arrived, the famed bearded brothers were likely in the back making chocolate, and we missed the start of the tour (for which you can reserve online), so we had to make ourselves content with sampling a few of the chocolate bits and pieces they had on offer. We tasted, and talked, and critiqued amongst ourselves.

We agreed that some of the chocolates had the unripe flavor of freshly made chocolate, which happens if chocolate is consumed before the chocolate had time to meld after it’s roasted and mixed. (Chocolate benefits from sitting a few weeks before eating.) But I made quick work the bar of fleur de sel chocolate that I brought home to snack on, which was gone in a (very) short time. I just couldn’t wait the requisite two weeks.

Mast Brothers Chocolate
105A North 3rd Street

Learn to Blog

Some travel tips for New York City, plus a few words:

Airport Transfers

I’ve used Carmel Limo for rides to and from the airports, and their prices are slightly higher than airport shuttles, but the few times I’ve taken shuttle vans, we’ve spent hours circling the city picking people up. (Many of who aren’t ready when the van arrives.) Hence I stopped. A friend recommended Carmel and I’ve used them a few times and found them reasonable (download coupons on their site), punctual, affordable, and clean.

There is public transportation to the various airports, including the Newark Airport Express, the AirTrain to Kennedy (as well as fixed-fare taxis), and buses from LaGuardia.


Even though streets in NYC are numbered, it’s easy to get lost around the winding streets downtown. I bought a NYC Unfolds map, which you can find them in most newsstands and drugstores, or on Amazon. The map unfolds, dividing the city into thirds, so you’re not wrestling with a giant map on a street corner or on the subway.

I also like the Streetwise Manhattan map, available in bookshops and on Amazon, which is laminated and quite durable.

devil dogs and ring dings

Shopping for American Jeans

Nothing to do with food, but Levi jeans are always a hot item, especially for visiting Europeans. Although some of the models available in the states are cut differently from their European counterparts, Dave’s Army-Navy is the best place to buy Levi’s in New York City. You might find other places that are a bit less-expensive, but Dave’s really has great service and happily accepts returns and exchanges. (Aside from the huge selection of jeans, Europeans can revel in that as well.) Several staff members are fluent in French, and other languages, and I always pick up a pair or two of jeans here whenever I’m in New York.

Subway Passes

The best way to get around New York City it to buy a MTA Metro Card. You can load up the card and it’ll deduct a certain amount for each ride that you take. (Depending on how much you buy, it’s about $2 per ride that way.) I advise getting a weekly card, which currently costs $27, as you will likely take more than thirteen rides during a week. Two week cards are available as well, and those come with a protection program in case you lose the card.


Taxis are plentiful, except when it’s raining, and are inexpensive compared to other cities. Taxis are useful when going in certain directions, as the subway is linear and doesn’t always neatly cross town, prompting transfers and the stations can be hectic. I’ve never had any problems, but many folks prefer to take taxis late at night rather than ride the subway.

Online Reviews and Sites

Lastly, I was vexed when looking up various businesses during this trip by how often a website would come up that didn’t lead or link to the business I was looking for. I understand that all of us, and travel and dining websites, are jumping into the internet full-force. But I really wish everyone would link directly to the site of the business in posts and listings, as I try to do.

And as someone who doesn’t much use online reader-supplied review sites for dining and travel, I was surprised at the discrepancies in many of them. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but the amount of damning and praising reviews for the exact same establishment or service raised my eyebrow at least more than once. For example, I’ve used the car service mentioned above several times (which is not a paid endorsement) and was hesitant after reading a few uncomplimentary online reviews. But each trip I took was great; the car was clean, the drivers were nice, and the service was punctual.

These sites are just taking off in France, and I’m sure many of these ‘reviews’ are not exactly written without another motive. I guess that’s the nature of anonymity and the internet. If you have something to say, if you’re doing it with the right intentions, I don’t see any reason not to use one’s real name. Because when you leave commentary, if you’re going to say something that affects someone’s business, you should do so with conscience. If you have a problem with a company or service, contacting the company first is a good way to find resolution. -dl

Related Posts and Links


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New York Noshing, pt 2


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  • August 24, 2010 10:57am

    Great post David! Soo much delicious looking food! What kind of cake did you have at Adam’s? The texture looks like a cornmeal-blueberry (but of course I see peaches or nectarines) cake I’m hooked on from Arizmendi! I just love the crunchy texture from the coarse cornmeal.

  • August 24, 2010 11:05am

    That was so much fun to read and makes me want to go to New York!
    Thank you for that.

  • Margaret
    August 24, 2010 11:08am

    David, you’re NYC post couldn’t have come at a better time for my October NY trip and thanks SO much for the Carmel tip!

  • August 24, 2010 11:17am

    Thanks for all the tips! I’m hoping to make a trip to NY in a couple of months too, and could certainly do with a bit of guidance seeing as there will be probably so much to see and do.. I mean, eat.. :)

  • August 24, 2010 12:05pm

    Great stuff – thanks David! Have bookmarked it for our trip in October, so this is great timing!

  • August 24, 2010 12:44pm

    I think you did a brilliant job about posting about places in NYC, there are a couple of the places you listed that I have enjoyed. You definitely have me making a list for the next time I go to the city. Advice from a New Yorker when it comes to the cab, get in, shut the door, then say where you are going. I couldn’t agree more about Katz, and the price of their sandwiches and their quality. There are other good deli’s out there.

  • August 24, 2010 12:50pm

    Great post David, you’ve captured the spirit of eating in the Big Apple perfectly, starting with those street pretzels (which unfortunately imo aren’t the same as they were years ago and are now fairly tasteless masses of dough). I’ve never been able to part with the $14 for the pastrami sandwich @ Katz either, but the egg creams & knishes are pretty good ! :) And definitely agreed on the english muffin / hamburger combo. There used to be a great place down on Bleeker St. in the west village years (and years) ago called David’s Pot Belly that initiated us to that treat. Great to eat at 3 am after an long night out, with their potato pancake boules :-) And if you’ve ever tried a toasted english muffin for a tuna salad sandwich, you’ll never go back! One of my galpals in high school told me that’s when she fell in love with me, hehe…. ahh, the powers of food :)
    Bonne journée !

  • August 24, 2010 2:38pm

    What wonderful memories and nostalgia …. yes we expat ex-New Yorkers have terrible longings only satisfied by going back to the city. Though being in Mexico City I can find almost anything.
    Katz’s, they are so expensive but what I long for is their beef salami. When I’m there I buy one of the smaller ones, in the rear there is a to go counter, and then hide it in my luggage in a round poster container…. and did you tip the counter men as they were beginning your sandwich….. yes its out and out bribery.

    David’s Pot Belly on Christopher St. wow that was a flashback…. along with Li-Lac chocolates but not as good now…

    The Riveria were everyone hung out waiting to see who passed by… but you knew you had to go to the Lions Head to rub shoulders with Breslin, Hammill, Mailer ( and then Geraldo), and later Frank McCourt…. but when they closed you went to the 55…
    so good to see Nick and remember the great times at the Beard House when NYACT was still active…
    Well back to my view of the mountains, the volcanos and the tree tops of Parque Mexico – my Mexican Greenwich Village…

  • Gavrielle
    August 24, 2010 2:42pm

    As I’ll be in New York myself in October, I’m less hanging onto your words than I am clutching them in a death grip. Thank you!

    Incidentally, I was in my local gourmet food store here in Auckland today and they had three copies of Ready For Dessert. Naturally, I picked one up. It was gorgeous. But I don’t need another cookbook. In fact, I don’t even have room for (yet) another one as my cookbook shelves are literally overflowing. So I reluctantly put it down and walked away.

    ….yeah, I’m going back to get it. How did you guess?

  • ron shapley
    August 24, 2010 2:58pm

    Hi Dave………True about Katz…….still the pastrami is awesome at Carnegie………Union Square market……grossly over priced for the “swells”… Try Amsterdam Market next time you’re in town…….and thanks for the reminder about Luke’s…I’m going there for lunch today………. Glad you had a nice time in NYC..

  • Sandra
    August 24, 2010 3:00pm

    I’m pretty sure that getting an NYC MTA pass is definitely a lot easier than getting Paris metro pass, with the photo required and only available to purchase certain days and hours ….plenty of grumbling Americans on that….
    As for the food in NYC, there is always great food and more than enough and if you don’t finish, a take out carton is always available……
    You mentioned the lobstah rolls in NYC—feh, come to Boston and do a foodie road show here. We have some really great seafood places and real old classics that are worth your time—some of which date back to before any of us were born!! And the Bostonians reading this know which ones I mean. There are wonderful bakeries and chocolate shops here as well and getting around on the T is just as easy, if not more so than NYC. The north end has fabulous Italian restaurants and bakeries and you can see some wonderful fresh farmers markets all over the area and Boston is easier to walk than NYC anyday—-and take in a game at Fenway, if you come in season when the Sox are in town and check out the foodie places near the stadium!!

  • August 24, 2010 3:04pm

    Thanks for this great post! I’m a New Yorker and I second everything you have to say, especially about all the great coffee and City Bakery. Next time you’re in town may I suggest more stops in Brooklyn… You may have already been to some of these but Buttermilk Channel, Marlow and Sons, The Red Hook Lobster Pound, Five Leaves, Frankie’s Sputino, and Dumont Burger are all excellent Brooklyn places worth the subway ride.

    Thanks again for the post. I love your blog!

  • Alex
    August 24, 2010 3:17pm

    Some good suggestions in here, even for those of us who live in New York! Definitely second your burger comments and the City Bakery suggestion as well.

    Also, ditto Molly’s suggestion–there are some fantastic restaurants in Brooklyn, and I wholeheartedly second her suggestion of Buttermilk Channel and Frankie’s. I’d add to it Prime Meats.

  • August 24, 2010 3:23pm
    David Lebovitz

    Molly: I was in Brooklyn twice but it was kind of hard to get around by public transit. But there’s always next time : )

    Sandra: Yes, everything is easier in America. Even getting transit passes..but the transit in Paris is less expensive and much faster (although the broiling hot subway platforms were stifling, once you got on the air-conditioned cars, things got easier..)

    ron: I thought the Union Square market was pretty reasonable. I paid $2 for five ears of corn and the handpicked tomatoes were $4/basket. Those white eggplant were only $1/pound and the handmade pretzels were either 3 or 4 for a dollar. (I don’t remember.) But perhaps coming from Europe, the prices just seemed low to me. Or I was just happy to see all that gorgeous produce.

    Ruth & amusette & copykat: I did tip the counterman, and a nice gentleman at my book event said “Make sure you go to the guy with the white hair…he never gives you any gristle.” He wasn’t there and since you’re paying the same price for the sandwich no matter who serves it up, it should be pretty nice. Have a taco for me in Mexico!

  • August 24, 2010 3:33pm

    Pretty nice post, but you insist on perpetuating old saws like “New York isn’t known for its Mexican food.” There’s plenty of very good Mexican food in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park and a huge area of Queens which are populated by thousands of natives of said country. I guess by New York you mean Manhattan?

    And I haven’t heard too many people say that it’s hard to get around NYC by mass transit. It’s pretty comparable to Paris for me. Mast Brothers is only a three blocks from the L train, making it about 8 minutes from Manhattan by mass transit, including the walk.

    Next time you visit skip Katz’s and head to Miles End in Brooklyn.

  • August 24, 2010 3:51pm

    David – Kee’s chocolates is THE most amazing chocolate shop in NYC. I am utterly and hopelessly in love with it. And Kee is a lovely, darling woman who (if memory serves me right) quit Wall Street to make chocolates – I’ve been inspired by her story ever since. The place used to be called “Chocolate Garden”. Next time you’re in NYC, I’d be delighted to introduce you to Kee’s – you’ll love it.

  • August 24, 2010 3:58pm
    David Lebovitz

    PETER: When I asked friends in New York City where to get good Mexican food, they all told me that there weren’t really any truly great options. I did say in the post New York “City”, and did point out a wonderful meal that I had at Fonda, in Brooklyn. When I lived in upstate New York, we were always pretty careful to let people know that the city (Manhattan) was different than the rest of New York state.

    The one day I went out to Brooklyn via public transit, I took a subway then took a bus from there. The person who worked in the booth at the transit station couldn’t tell me where the bus stop was that I needed to go to, so I walked around a bit outside and finally asked a nice bus driver. I waited quite a while for for the bus, which took about 30 minutes to arrive at the stop I was going to. According to HopStop, the trip from the East Side of Manhattan would take about one hour, 15 minutes, which it did, pretty much on the dot.

    I didn’t mind taking the trip, but when you have limited time on a vacation, as I did, it’s really great if you can maximize it. (For that reason, I did take one of those Brooklyn drivers back to Manhattan, which was pretty speedy, and cost $26 not including tip.)

    And yes, you’re likely right about the delis in Brooklyn. Most people in Manhattan warned me that there were better delis outside of New York city proper.

    olga: Yes, Kee’s next time! : )

  • August 24, 2010 4:02pm

    you just killed me, showing that corn beef sandwich. I live in Maine an they think Deli is in the grocery store. LOL
    Zabars is a dream.

  • August 24, 2010 4:13pm

    I’ll put in my 2 pesos worth on Mexican restaurants in NYC. Out of Mexico, it will always be difficult to find the real deal, as true Mexican ingredients are not available. How can you find Mexican cheeses made with raw milk, fresh huitlocoche, or peruano and flor de mayo beans out of Mexico?

    On another note, David, I have to ask after seeing your beautiful photos, how do you stay so slim?


  • August 24, 2010 4:14pm

    New York City is the five boroughs, not Manhattan. Just clarifying.

    You’re right. Will swap that out for Manhattan. thanks!-dl

  • Brandon
    August 24, 2010 4:22pm

    Hi David. I am an avid reader of your blog. I am a Barista in NYC and when I lived in Paris I used your blog on many different occasions. I actually lived right across the street from Boulangerie 140 on Rue De Jourdain. The coffee portion of your post interests me the most with me being a barista. If you ever need a tour or suggestions of the best espresso and coffee houses in the City or Brooklyn, let me know! All I will say is that you haven’t seen anything yet. With the boom that is happening, the espresso craft is something of a sight to see in the big apple. I also wanted to thank you for providing me with a spot to get decent coffee in Paris. La Cafeotheque was like a second home when I lived there.

  • August 24, 2010 4:23pm

    Great info in this post. I know, or have heard of many of these places, but so much of it was new info to me. I’ll be saving this info for the next visit to family.

    About Katz’s … a few years ago my dad and I were picking up holiday food next door at Russ & Daughter’s and stopped into Katz’s for a corned beef sandwich (with pastrami, chopped liver, cole slaw and Russian dressing – YUM!) and I seem to recall a sign or someone saying that they were going to be closing. I was sad, but it keeps on ticking. Maybe they were “saved,” but to continue to operate they took diminished the product? Dunno, but it’s a shame that your sandwich was so poor.

  • hannah
    August 24, 2010 4:24pm

    I used to live in New York and I could not go to the greenmarket without picking up at least a bite of that maple candy in your picture–in every flavor! It’s so sweet and buttery and melts in your mouth. I’m sure you know plenty about homemade candy, but that stuff still tops my list!

  • Molly
    August 24, 2010 4:48pm

    From your hopstop directions I see you went to Fairway (not Baked??). it won’t help you now, but for anyone else – take the free IKEA shuttle bus from Borough Hall. It goes to (obviously) IKEA, but it’s within 5 or 10 minutes of Baked, Fairway, Red Hook Lobster Pound, etc.

    I did go to Baked, and will post that write-up in a bit. I was doing a lot of NYC write-ups and thought I’d break them up with some other posts. And btw: Baked is amazing! And worth the trip… -dl

  • Alyssa
    August 24, 2010 5:02pm

    What a great round up, thank you! (And what a great trip you had.)

    I’ll add my voice to the chorus for Kee’s, too. Be sure to try the balsamic vinegar truffle.

  • Linda
    August 24, 2010 5:35pm

    Great post – Mandoo is my fave dumpling bar anywhere (except Korea) hmmm kimchee mandoo. I’ve never seen a review of Mandoo and it certainly deserves more accolades. Nick sure looks fit and trim.

  • August 24, 2010 6:46pm

    Great writeup David. As a newcomer to NYC, I have been writing these type of guides for my foodie friends in Australia. It’s hard to review everything eaten here! I’m sure to definately try some of the place you’ve mentioned. Thanks and come back again!

  • August 24, 2010 6:48pm

    Katz’s is one of my all-time favorites. When I was a little girl, I used to go there on Sundays with my parents, who loved to go bargain shopping on the Lower East Side, and then, as fortune would have it, our daughter lived around the corner from Katz’s for a few years, so there were more corned beef sandwiches than we ever dreamed possible.

  • niche
    August 24, 2010 6:58pm

    thanks for the summary. I will be going there in about a week for a few days of shopping and eating. So excited to try the places you mentioned, especially City Bakery!

  • August 24, 2010 7:10pm

    Your post couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m going to NY this week and already bookmarked many of the restaurants you talked about and also made my reservation with Carmel. Thank you.

    I can’t wait to get my hands on some of those pretzel-coated sea salt caramels!

  • cj
    August 24, 2010 7:18pm

    Peter does have a point about the other boroughs and food options. The Mexican food in Woodside, and all along Roosevelt Avenue is fantastic. Continue along this avenue and you will find brilliant Filipino, Korean, Indian, and Peruvian food. Flushing is known for its Chinese cuisine, and please don’t tell me you have never heard of Astoria, and its huge population of Greeks. Come on David, oh you the worldly traveler, the next time cross the border and LIVE A LITTLE!

  • August 24, 2010 7:26pm

    The Union Square Greenmarket is one of my all time favorite NYC places. I always make a point, no matter where I’m staying in the city, to head down there on Saturday morning’s. I usually swing by The Strand while I’m down there too :)

  • August 24, 2010 8:25pm

    Ah, I am so envious that Adam cooked you a meal, even if you refused the whipped cream on dessert. And truly, is any table complete without a picture of James Franco on it?

    I always enjoy your writing–my favorite little tidbit from this piece is about the quality of Miss Vickie’s chips, and that if she keeps it up, she’ll be vaulted to Mrs. status. Gold!

  • Sandra C
    August 24, 2010 8:30pm

    Can’t wait for my next trip to NYC to check out some of these spots, especially Mandoo Bar.

    Will throw out there that Barney Greengrass the Sturgeon King in the UWS is a great deli. Their pastrami sandwiches are not piled high like a food dare. They’re normal sized sandwiches. I usually order a sturgeon plate and the challah french toast though. I would go there straight from the airport after a redeye if I hadn’t discovered Doughnut Plant, which now demands the first stop.

  • Amy
    August 24, 2010 8:46pm

    I’m a Brooklynite and have been loving all your New York posts. Sometimes it takes a fresh eye to make you fall in love with your hometown (and its food!) all over again. I also thought, “Oh my gosh, what if I walked into Fonda and saw David Lebovitz!” I think I’d plotz.

  • Kamilah
    August 24, 2010 8:46pm

    Kee’s is a MUST for anyone visiting New York…or living in New York. I developed a slight addiction to the lemon basil and black rose truffles a few weeks ago when I had to run errands downtown a few days in row. Though at $2.45 per truffle, my addiction quieted rather quickly. But if you’re visiting, price should be no object; just indulge.

  • August 24, 2010 9:27pm

    That lobster roll alone would make me want to go to NY (I still don’t know how I have managed NOT to go there after all these years – and friends there too)!

  • August 24, 2010 9:30pm

    Another great source for keeping courant with NYC dining is……love following you and always look forward to your take on food!!! :))

  • ritanyc
    August 24, 2010 9:43pm

    Hi David,
    Thanks so much for gracing our fair city with your presence. It was awesome to catch you at Borders. You are still the same cool dude I remember from our days (and nights) at Monsoon, yes 22 years ago.
    Looks like you amassed enough material for a book sequel, The Sweet Life in….?!

  • Idalina
    August 24, 2010 9:46pm

    Je rentre de NY où j’ai passé un mois de vacances. Nous (5) avons pris une Limo pour aller jusqu’à New City (notre point de chute), c’est effectivement un bon rapport qualité/prix.
    D’autre part, nous sommes allés chez Katz’s, Carnegie Deli et chez Abe 2nde ave : j’ai préféré le pastrami de chez Carnegie Deli (moins gras et en plus grande quantité).

    Je suis une fidèle lectrice de Paris et j’aurais aimé avoir toutes ces adresses avant de partir. Ce sera donc pour la prochaine fois.

  • August 24, 2010 9:48pm

    You’re making me really really hungry. And my desire to visit NY again just went up about 100 percent. Looks like you had a great visit!

  • August 24, 2010 10:46pm

    Thank you for this post! I love armchair traveling with you, but I’m planning my own fun trip to NYC in November, and this was of great help. So sad to hear that Katz’s has lost it; it used to be a must-do on my prior trips… will probably save myself the heartbreak this time. However… Kee’s! Was on my list (I’m visiting every stellar chocolate shop in the city this time), now with a star next to it. And Zabars, well, Zabars just makes me… happy. :)

  • bumblebee611
    August 24, 2010 11:43pm

    I’ve been loving your New York posts, but also deeply envious. I have lived more of my life in Manhattan than in any other place, and now I live on the West coast and miss it terribly. I have to say, though — I can’t believe you didn’t get a lobster roll at Mary’s Fish Camp (or at least Pearl Oyster Bar)!

  • August 25, 2010 12:36am

    i’ll be adding these to my list of places for my wishlist when i visit new york in october. thanks for sharing. great photos :-)

  • Josephine
    August 25, 2010 3:05am

    Hi, I’ve only recently subscribed, but I’m so glad I did.
    I’m enjoying your style very much, and can’t help but feel that a guy who will gasp over pretzel-coated sea salt caramels (with an exclamation point) is someone I could follow anywhere.
    When I do eventually manage to make it onto that big bird and get to some of these places I’ll be sure to go to as many of these places as my meagre budget will allow. Thanks for being so entertaining.

  • Thea haines
    August 25, 2010 3:06am

    Hi David,

    Another yummy post, as usual. I especially enjoyed your note on Miss Vickie’s chips! A Canadian ‘invention’, they are hands down the best grocery store potato chip. I highly recommend the sea salt and malt vinegar flavour. Really salty and zingy!

  • Suzette
    August 25, 2010 3:13am

    We went to NY for the first time last year, (we are 66), and our first stop was Katz’s. Oh, were we disappointed! The meat was fat, grissly and salty. The pickles were not “pickled” but tasted like cucumbers. Never again.

  • new york state of mind
    August 25, 2010 3:22am

    You hit so many of the places all we spoiled New Yorkers love! I would follow
    Smitten wherever she would go, and I can’t live without the pretzel croissants at
    City Bakery. It’s such a good thing I don’t live nearby it. Well, not such a good thing.
    Next try the Baker’s Muffins. Fabulous and fun to eat. And in closing, stopped going
    to Katz’s years ago. It’s really so sad. If not for the tourists, I don’t think they would
    still be here. There is no reason for them not to deliver the good product they knew
    how to make. Glad you had such a great time here. We love Paris too!

  • August 25, 2010 3:27am

    A year round farmers market is an amazing achievement – and the produce looks fantastic!!

  • Jonathan
    August 25, 2010 3:50am

    Great post. Many of the places you visited are part of our regular routine (it doesn’t hurt living a couple clocks from Zabar’s). On your next trip, try Levain Bakery, 167 W. 76th St. Amazing chocolate chip cookies, perhaps more decadent than City Bakery.

    There is good Korean in Paris. Try Han Lim, 6, Rue Blainville 75005. The tofu is amazing (although I typically don’t get much when my 5 and 8 year old French nephew and niece refuse to share).

  • Jonathan
    August 25, 2010 3:51am

    Oooops…..Levain is 167 W. 74.

  • August 25, 2010 3:56am

    I’m so devastated that I couldn’t find Mast Brothers chocolate when I was last in New York, and now I have no idea when I’ll be able to return. (Damn expensive 30 hours trips from Australia). But mostly I’m finding it hard to remember anything from this post besides the sea salt liquid pretzel caramels. GET IN MY BELLY. Sigh.

  • J A-H
    August 25, 2010 4:15am

    Your pictures of the tomatoes are just gorgeous.

    Totally agree about Katz’s. So sad.

  • August 25, 2010 5:20am

    I understand Katz’s is an institution, but the best corned beef sandwich I have had was at Michael’s Deli in Brookline Boston.

  • August 25, 2010 6:24am

    Great post as allways , this is a very good guide for a trip…just wanna tell you that in the Fonda post there is a typo in “mojcajate” the correct word is “molcajete of guacamole” …hehehe…sorry

  • August 25, 2010 6:33am

    david… you seriously rock… every time is read a post from you… i feel as though i am sitting down with a wonderful novel… and LOVE your sense of humor… i was in nyc last week and had those pretzels in union square… yum. i cannot wait to try some of your suggestions on my next trip. thank you for always sharing so much… you are so generous. xx pam

  • Henry
    August 25, 2010 6:54am

    I have always admired New York, but it lacks many things I love about my hometown of Toronto. However, with a place serving Miss Vickie’s, that’s one down!

    It’s a shame about Katz’s. I’ve only been eating there for about 8 years so I can’t comment on any decline in quality. I have a close friend that has been working there since he was in high school and has always been my hook up to one of my favourite sandwiches and better yet I don’t have to wait in line and get a good rate. But on the next visit I would like to figure out how the ticket system works though.

    And on your next visit to New York, take the 7 into Queens, a lot of great surprises and home to my favourite neighbourhood in NY-Jackson Heights!

  • August 25, 2010 7:42am

    If you want Mexican food, come visit me in L.A. Seriously.

    And in L.A., Langer’s pastrami is way way better than Katzs – much as I love the ambiance of Katzs.

  • Oakjoan
    August 25, 2010 7:55am

    So I post and never get feedback because of time deficiencies – West Coast…

    Katz’ has really gone downhill. The best deli in the U.S. now is Langer’s in Los Angeles where their slogan is “When in doubt, try Langer’s hot pastrami” – they even have tee shirts.

    I’m taking my son and DIL there next week on our tour of L.A. They’ve never been except to airport hotels for conferences.

  • Skippy
    August 25, 2010 8:17am

    I’ve lived near Zabar’s for years, and I have to admit, I loathe the place. It’s always crowded and they don’t sell good chocolate. I always preferred to go a few blocks more to Fairway.

    One tip I always tell people who are visiting NYC–if you’re lost, ask directions from someone who is walking a dog. That means that person actually lives in the neighborhood and knows where things are. Otherwise you’re likely to find yourself asking someone who’s as lost as you are.

    Can’t wait to read your write up on Baked…

  • August 25, 2010 8:47am
    David Lebovitz

    Jose: Thanks. It looked screwy to me, but the post was getting so long and I got lazy and didn’t look it up. Appreciate the correction : )

    oakjoan: It’s funny when I go back to the US because I realize that I’m in sync with everyone back there, rather than here in France, where everyone in America is just waking up at 3pm-6pm my time. Unfortunately it’s made for some rather late nights for me, staying in touch with everyone.

    And you’re right about LA. I like Nate & Al’s in Beverly Hills, too.

    Skippy: I got lost in the lower west village (all those windy streets) and was almost in tears because I was late and this lovely women pushing a baby stroller AND walking a dog gave me directions. So yes, that’s good advice!

    Jonathan: Thanks for the tip…will give it a try..

    Henry: Yes, it is a shame. Because I don’t mind paying a premium for a great corned beef sandwich, and sometimes they can be fatty, but this was something that was just impossible to eat. I considered showing it to the manager (I mean, I used to work in restaurants and I would be mortified if I sent something out that a customer could not chew) but after living outside of the states for so long, I’m not so confident about returning things ; )

  • linda
    August 25, 2010 10:26am

    hi david,
    seems that you had a wonderful nyc time…& you “hit” all the right “notes!”
    i adore mast bros chocolates (& found the bros. chocolate making tour so interesting)…my fav is also choco w/sea salt…
    & i just took a great workshop w/nick @ ice…
    come back again soon & perhaps you can schedule guest workshops for all of us that want to meet & bake/cook with you!!

  • August 25, 2010 3:02pm

    Shalom David! I really liked your blog (sent by Maria Springer). I live in Baltimore and frequently travel to NYC. You mentioned some great sounding “new-2-me” places to eat. I am a Food & Travel Journalist and write mainly for the Jewish Press. I would love to interview you about what foods you ate or do eat in France for the upcoming High Holidays. But my article deadline is tomorrow for Rosh Hashona and the follwing week for Yom Kippur. I would also mention your pastry book if you like. Please try to contact me via email ASAP. B’tayavon! Ilene Spector

  • Martha in KS
    August 25, 2010 4:37pm

    What is it with all the chefs getting skinny? Jasper White and Joe Bastianich are hardly recognizable & now Nick Malgieri appears to have shed a pound or 20. I’ve got nothing against being healthy, but I live by the motto “never trust a skinny chef” present company excepted. Your travel pictures show you to be svelte as ever. Luckily I can count on my other favorite David, Mr. Leite, to carry the torch for chefs who love to eat & show it. Glad you enjoyed your trip across the pond. Come to Kansas City sometime!

  • August 25, 2010 5:14pm

    If you haven’t put on at least 14lbs while away, life is unfair!
    I’ve probably gained at least 5lb just looking at the photos. Wish I had a trip to the USA planned!

  • August 25, 2010 5:22pm
    David Lebovitz

    sandra: Well, I probably would have gained a few pounds if I was able to eat that corned beef sandwich. So I guess it was a mixed blessing.

    Martha in KS: I don’t know if Nick lost weight or not but I’ve always thought he was great because he’s such an amazing baker : )

  • stephanie
    August 25, 2010 5:25pm

    Just back from a week in Brittany where I ate the most amazing food of my life. Every time I ate Bordier butter or cheese, I thought of you. Mmmmmm…….soooo good!

  • August 25, 2010 5:46pm

    What a great roundup; wish I had something similar in my hands a few years ago. I’ve only been to NYC once for a couple of days after a week long vacation in Boston. Let’s just say it made me miss Boston and Denver. You have to have more knowledge than my sister and I did to enjoy it the way you did, or maybe have friends there? For me? Could not wait to leave; have had no desire to return. May have changed my mind!

  • August 25, 2010 5:57pm

    What a wrap-up! I totally understand the weird food cravings when living out of the US – when I lived in Morocco, I felt more cravings for McDonald’s than anything else – and I haven’t eaten there since I was about 13. There’s something about the familiarity (they look and smell about the same everywhere) … and I have to give McDonald’s credit for having the cleanest public restrooms in all of North Africa.

    Oh, and if you’re missing Mexican food – you need to get over to L.A.! Since starting to eat meat, I’ve been loving the Grand Central Market downtown for tacos, tortas, and every animal part you can imagine.

  • lisa
    August 25, 2010 6:28pm

    Yay for Bespoke Chocolates! (and Mast Brothers too).

    Next time you’re in NYC, I agree, venture out in Brooklyn. It’s not hard to get around at all. The F train will take you to Boreum Hill and Carroll Gardens (Court & Smith Streets). Lots of excellent restaurants and wine bars in the area (Jakewalk, Frankie’s 457, etc.). Another excellent hand made chocolate store is on Atlantic Ave. called Nunu Chocolates.

  • August 25, 2010 6:32pm
    David Lebovitz

    lisa: I was in Brooklyn twice during my trip; once to the places mentioned and another day to Red Hook. It was fun!

    margie: I know. Goofy foods that we’d never touch back in the states (Lipton onion soup dip, Kraft Mac & Cheese, etc…) suddenly become exciting. I think that’s why all those stores around the world that cater to American expats stock all that stuff. Oh, and the long shelf life, too.

  • lisa
    August 25, 2010 6:43pm

    I, too, look forward to your write up on Baked. :)
    I hope you tried the Apricot Rosemary bars…b/c they are divine!

  • Abby
    August 25, 2010 8:12pm

    I’m ready to move to NYC just for Zabar’s. I was there for the first time last month, and I’m going back next weekend!

  • Carolyn
    August 25, 2010 9:09pm

    Hi David — I super appreciate your info on destinations. I’m planning a trip to Paris in October and I’m wondering if you can recommend a chocolate tour (half day). There seem to be a few and if you have one you’d recommend (I know it won’t be as good as yours) I’d really appreciate it.


  • Rosanna
    August 25, 2010 10:53pm

    Okay, this post made me hungry again and I just ate lunch! Thanks David!

    It’s funny that they are doing burgers on an english muffins at Prune because that is how I ate them growing up! My Mexican step-mom didn’t see the point of hamburger buns and found them quite disgusting so she would use english muffins instead and we never complained;)

  • Lauren
    August 26, 2010 12:02am

    Thanks for validating the lobster roll with melted butter instead of mayo…I lived for many years in CT and that’s how it was served so it became the way I enjoy a lobster roll, but it’s hard to find that preparation. Love your view of NYC and the food scene there. I enjoy hearing what a “tourist” thinks of the city.

  • August 26, 2010 1:27am

    Hi David,
    Sorry I wasn’t able to see you at Borders, or even bake you a loaf of bread!
    Your guide is very informative and spot on about Katz’s, unfortunately the Deli world is a thing of the past, no good rye or smoked meats! Not enough Old Jewish cooks or waiters, the kids became Doctors and whateva!
    Hope you visit soon and we could finally chat!


  • Ms B
    August 26, 2010 1:31am

    Loved the photo of the maple ginger candy at the Union Square Greenmarket! DH and I visited the Greenmarket when we were in NYC this winter and thought that the maple sugar candy stand was one of the market highlights. Eat it quickly, because it does lose something after about ten days (and get moldy after about a month).

    Also, we have not hit Luke’s Lobster, but did go to Caracas Arepa Bar (next door to the downtown location) on our trip. We did not have reservations at Caracas and had quite the wait (especially because the hostess seated a couple ahead of us who also did not have reservations, but who seemed to know the hostess) and gave definite consideration to hitting Luke’s for a little pre-meal snack (because only in my world is half of a lobster roll of that size a snack).

    Finally, we hit Katz’ on our trip but found the meat to be its usual succulent self. I am convinced it all comes down to which counterman slices the meat. But seriously, if you were disappointed with Katz’, you should have just walked a few more blocks and gone back to Donut Plant (and then to Yonnah Shimmel’s for a knish that beats out Zabar’s any day).

  • Patricia Zhang
    August 26, 2010 3:42am

    I agree, Miss Vickie’s potato chips are the bomb. The pretzels look so appetizing right now, oh my gosh.

  • Nina
    August 26, 2010 5:56am

    I have a question-
    Did you try the ginger maple candy that you photographed? I was curious as to whether it was more like fudge or maple sugar candy with ginger added.

    Describing lobster rolls was beyond cruel. There are many good things to eat in the southwest, certainly no shortage of quality Mexican restaurants, but now I am craving lobster rolls in the worst, worst way. Those looked so delicious.

  • linda
    August 26, 2010 12:41pm

    did you get to “baked” bakery in red hook?
    hope so…
    all the best!

  • August 26, 2010 3:14pm
    David Lebovitz

    Ms B and Nina: Yes, I love those maple candies! I bought some last year and kept them in my kitchen cabinet, trying to make them last as long as possible. They when I pulled them out, I found they got moldy : (

    (They kind of fell into the Too Good to Use category…)

    The company, Deep Mountain Maple I don’t think delivers—which in my case, is probably a good thing because otherwise I’d be in the poorhouse. But I do buy a big bag whenever I’m at the Union Square Greenmarket.

    Lauren: Yes, everyone knows a lobster roll should have only butter on it. (And clam chowder does not have tomatoes in it.) But some folks insist on adding mayo. I remember when I move to California, I was shocked to see people putting mayo (ie: oil and egg yolks) on their hamburgers, too!

  • Joanna
    August 26, 2010 6:33pm

    David, next time you are here you really should get something from Pastrami Queen. I know there are many naysayers about this hole-in-the-wall place because of the complete lack of ambiance, but this place really isn’t meant for “eat-in”. Better you should get your (kosher) sandwich, chopped liver, Dr. Brown’s and potato knish for take-out. Find a good place to plotz and enjoy. It is so far superior to Katz’ and Carnegie Deli (tourist traps deluxe) it isn’t funny. It is one of my go-to’s when something is happening at the 92nd St. Y. Bring a friend to share whatever and you’ll be in Jewish deli heaven. 1125 Lexington Ave. in the ’70s.
    Russ and Daughters-fabulous
    For good Jewish bread of any kind on the Upper East Side-Orwasher’s Bakery E.78th off of 2nd Ave.
    I really enjoyed your talk at Borders! And ritanyc, it was great fun to gab with you and your daughter before the event…

  • Renee
    August 27, 2010 2:38am

    At Katz’s, I always look for the guy who looks experienced…and tip in advance. I’ve never, ever had a bad/dry sandwich there, and have even gotten lunch for free a couple of times!

  • Jill Appenzeller
    August 27, 2010 6:46am

    David: We used to use Carmel cars until their broken armrest destroyed my jacket. There are way better companies for the same $…love the info on eating in NY can’t wait to try Porchetta – my upper east side girlfriend says they have about three seats but well worth it…is there something comparable in Berkeley?

  • August 27, 2010 9:26am
    David Lebovitz

    Renee: Yes, I am aware of (and participate in) the giving of tips at Katz’s. However if you’re paying that kind of money for a sandwich, regardless of whether you ‘sweeten the pot’, the sandwich should be edible. Having worked in restaurants for 35 years, I think paying customers should expect to have good food, no matter how experienced the person is creating it. If there are novices in the kitchen, their work should be overseen by the more experienced.

    But you got a free lunch? WIN!

    Jill: I’ve taken them a number of times and found the cars clean and in good shape, but of course, in the thousands of rides they give, I’m sure there are the less-than-positive experiences, like yours, too.

  • August 27, 2010 11:18am

    Je vais à NY en avril prochain, et je garde précieusement vos adresses gourmandes, merci beaucoup !

  • August 28, 2010 6:00am

    I’ve always found that Schwartz’s deli in Montreal was much better than Katz’s. Just don’t go at meal time, go for a late lunch instead and avoid the long lines.

    Oh, and don’t fall for the ‘lean’ option, it’s just too dry. ‘Smoked Meat’ as it’s called up there tastes so much better with a little fat on it…

  • August 28, 2010 1:23pm

    I always look forward to a good chuckle when reading your posts- this time it was in the coffee paragraph.

    I will get myself over to Bespoke for those insanely amazing pretzel caramels. (I should have known that B&J’s Chubby Hubby idea of pretzel and sweet could be expanded. After reading your Amnesty Cookie post and hearing lots about the Compost Cookie, I followed suit with a RoloRoldGold Cookie.)

  • August 29, 2010 2:23am

    David! I love your blog and this post is really informative. My eldest daughter and I LONG to visit New York and this is a fabulous post for first-timers – I will print and keep!
    Thank you,
    Jude ;)

  • Vivilicious
    August 29, 2010 4:39am

    Oh David, say it ain’t so about Katz’s! I dream about that place over here in Singapore. Maybe you should have had a pastrami sandwich? I agree with Ms B about finding the right counter man to make your sandwich though…
    Mast Brother chocolate, on the other hand, is “da bomb” as they say. I’ve even got my 3 year old hooked on it (after all if a kid is going to have sweets why not give them the best eh?). Great, envy-inducing write-up of one of my favourite cities, thanks.

  • Sarah
    August 29, 2010 4:29pm

    David, I have so appreciated all your posts about your NYC trip. I live in Philly (hey, maybe a Philly foodie trip needs to be next on the list!) but spend a fair amount on time on the Chinatown bus back and forth between here and New York. The bus I take drops off and picks up AROUND THE CORNER from Babycakes, yet I had never managed to get myself in there… until yesterday. I think it’s now going to be part of my routine to immediately stop in and slough away the bus yuck with something sweet and (relatively) virtuous. Love that place!
    Like other readers, I could not get the Bespoke caramels out of my head, so I tried, desperately, to find the shop. After 3 trips around the block, and increasingly alarming comments from the old men hanging out on 2nd St., I gave up. But only until next time. Maybe I need more detailed directions.
    And if Brooklyn Larder hasn’t gotten a mention yet, it ought to be on the Brooklyn list! Can’t wait to hear about Baked…
    Thanks for everything!

  • August 29, 2010 6:33pm

    I love love this post and now have it bookmarked for my next NYC trip. Just thought I’d let you know though that the link to Rub BBQ directs to the Flagels post. Now I’m off to search for that BBQ place so my friend can go there!

    I fixed the link, thanks! -dl

  • August 29, 2010 8:47pm

    Great round-up of your NYC trip, David (I’m looking forward to checking out Mandoo). Glad you liked Sicaffe – it’s true, as someone commented above, that there is a growing coffee culture sprouting here (finally)!
    Thanks for the mention :)

  • August 30, 2010 8:14pm

    Gosh, I wish I’d been armed with this article when I went to New York last year. Even though we had a tremendous culinary experience, I’m itching to go again after reading this. Craving a cup of Joe now…

  • August 31, 2010 7:52am

    (May I call you David? I know we’ve never met, but I use your recipes to wow my friends and cook-off opponents, so I feel like I may love you {I’m always the winner by the way}). Although I have not been to New York as an adult (and I hated it as a teen), this post makes me want to go, if only to eat.


  • Toby Martin
    September 2, 2010 4:03am

    OK David, I just came back from a day trip to NYC and the lower east side. Made my way to Katz and had a pastrami sandwich. It was like buttah, perfect in every way! Then walked over to Yonah Shimmel for a couple of knishes. They’re sitting in the fridge waiting for tomorrow’s dinner.

    I’m going to Paris to meet up with my daughter for a mom/daughter trip!!!! Can’t wait!!!! I’m reading up on all your posts abt Paris.

  • Sheila Hanson
    September 3, 2010 12:48am

    Thanks for validating my opinion of Katz Deli. It was the worst eating experiences. I made a special effort with two rebellious teenagers in tow just so they could experience a real corned beef sandwich. Oh gawd, it was so awful we couldn’t eat them. So much for trying to teach the young what good eating should be. They could do with some soap and water and clean the place up too. Too bad, too sad!

  • September 8, 2010 12:16am

    A eastern Canadian’s tip about maple syrup – freeze it! Works for the syrup and probably the candies, too – prevents growth of mold. I live on the west coast now and still put my maple syrup in the freezer when I bring it home, but it should be in a hard plastic container. Mayo on hamburgers is a west coast thing in Canada.

    Three years ago I had the same bad experience at Katz’s and was so disappointed since we have no kosher delis where I now live. On my upcoming visit I’ll check out the tips in your blog and reader’s comments. Thanks!

  • September 8, 2010 2:12pm

    Totally agree with you about Katz’s. And their chicken soup with matoh ball was bleh. I would never return there.

  • November 16, 2010 7:28am

    Great travel and dining to NY David.