Good Eats in NYC

NYC Rain

Well, this pretty much sums up what the weather was like over the weekend in New York. Talk about a monsoon! Drenched clothes, sopping wet hair, and three umbrellas destroyed by 60+mph winds later, I am back in Pittsburgh and staring at sunshine. Ahhh. My mom and sister took me to New York City this past weekend as an early birthday gift (my actual birthday is next week, and I will have a fabulous dessert for you to commemorate the occasion!). I was looking forward to hitting up some bakeries and eating some good food (as well as going to the NHL Live store/studios, which was a close #2 on my list), all of which I accomplished. As I did after my trip to South Florida in September, I’ve put together a run-down of all of the restaurants, bakeries and food shops that I managed to eat my way through over the course of two days. Enjoy!

Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
Location: One 5th Avenue {Greenwich Village}
Review: Otto, one of Mario Batali’s restaurants, serves pizza and pasta dishes in a quaint, cozy atmosphere. I thought that the food was fabulous, but the service left a lot to be desired. While we were perusing the menu I could hear a waitress being not-so-accommodating to the table next to us. Once it was our turn to order, my mom ordered a pizza and asked for no asparagus and the waitress replied, “I can’t do that”. Hmm, really? You can’t leave off asparagus? I got a pepperoni pizza which was fantastic, and I had a taste of my mom’s artichoke salad appetizer which was also phenomenal. I think the food was great, but I would check out the menu beforehand to make sure you are down with what’s being served since it seems like they aren’t willing to make many concessions should you want to alter anything at all.

NYC Otto

Location: West 45th St. between Broadway & 8th Ave. {Times Square}
Review: I first heard of Junior’s during an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay when he challenged the owners to a cheesecake throwdown. It was a few years ago and I don’t remember who won, but I do remember the cheesecake! As many of you know, I am a huge cheesecake fan, so come hell or high water, I was going to make Junior’s one of my stops. I was actually surprised that there weren’t more varieties of cheesecake on the menu (I guess I was expecting something similar to The Cheesecake Factory), but the quality surely made up for any lack of options! I knew I wanted a chocolate cheesecake and decided to go with the the Devil’s Food Cheesecake. A substantial piece of cheesecake, layered with devil’s food chocolate cake and fudge frosting. It’s so rich you’d think that they would serve this in small pieces. Um, not so much.

Exhibit A: Cheesecake the size of my head

NYC Juniors Cheesecake

But I’ve never backed down from a cheesecake…

NYC Juniors

However, there was no way I could finish the entire piece. I went down fighting though!


Katz’s Delicatessen
Location: 205 East Houston St. {Lower East Side}
Review: The deli where the famous “sandwich” scene in When Harry Met Sally was filmed, this is as New York as you can get. On top of wanting cheesecake on my trip, I also wanted to make it a point to eat a corned beef on rye. So off to Katz’s we went, and it was like herding cattle! So many people, ordering at the counter, then off to get fries somewhere else, and a drink somewhere else. Finally sat down and it was some of the best corned beef I’ve ever had, sliced fresh off the bone. Again though with the massive quantities! Do you see that sandwich? I only finished half, and I took half of the meat off the half that I ate. I hate feeling wasteful, but there’s no way I could have finished all of that!

NYC Katz Deli

Max Brenner
Location: 841 Broadway {14th St./Union Square}
Review: Any store/restaurant that has chocolate running through pipes and blocks of chocolate all over the place is bound to be a-ok in my book. It was like a sophisticated Willy Wonka. A chocolatier shop that has a retail section and a sit-down restaurant area where you can enjoy chocolate pastries and/or hot chocolate, the smell as soon as you opened the door was intoxicating. Pure chocolate. I wanted to lick the walls. But seeing Willy Wonka too many times, I was a bit leery of turning into a giant blueberry like Violet. I managed to restrain myself and gladly accepted a sample piece of chocolate (to-die-for).

NYC Max Brenner

Chelsea Market
Location: 75 9th Avenue {Chelsea}
Review: Chelsea Market is home to almost three dozen bakeries, wineries, restaurants, and food shops. It is located on the ground floor of the building that houses the Food Network offices, test kitchens and studios (no FN celeb sightings while I was there!). I made quite a few stops inside Chelsea Market, some of which were:

Eleni’s – A cute bakery with tons of cupcakes, awesome cookies, and other candies.

Ruthy’s – Another bakery with a wedding cake display, tons of cupcakes, and lots of pastries.

Amy’s Bread – Gorgeous loaves of bread! I also sampled a prosciutto and black pepper twist.

Buon Italia – An Italian grocery store where my sister found a “bottle” of Nutella for $70

NYC Amy's Bread

Bar Americain
Location: 152 West 52nd St. {Midtown}
Review: This is one of Bobby Flay’s restaurants, and since I am a big fan I was excited to check out one of his places. It was a great meal and the service was superb. For an appetizer I had a bacon and caramelized onion pizza that was drizzled with pesto sauce. For my main course I had a filet mignon which was fantastic, along with “Brooklyn hash browns” – essentially cheesy mashed potatoes baked to get a crust on top. Delish! My mom and sister both ordered a sweet potato gratin as a side dish and neither one of them cared for it, but other than that all of the food was delicious.

NYC Bar Americain

Location: 10 Columbus Circle {Time Warner Center}
Review: This was our lunch spot before departing for home. It is located in the Time Warner Center, has a fun, upbeat and casual atmosphere and overlooks Trump Tower and the entrance to Central Park. The menu was great and I had trouble deciding what to order. I ended up going with a pressed prosciutto and mozzarella baguette, which was insane. I could eat one of those every day. Easily. It was served with mixed baby greens in a light vinaigrette, which was a perfect accompaniment. Something like French fries or chips would have been too heavy. Great dining experience.

Bouchon Bakery
Location: 10 Columbus Circle {Time Warner Center}
Review: The final stop before heading back to the ‘Burgh was Bouchon Bakery, where I got a sampling of cookies, one better than the next. I had a madeline, TKO (which is essentially an imitation Oreo, but much, MUCH better), a chocolate-chocolate chunk cookie, and a nutter butter cookie (two peanut butter cookies full of chopped peanuts sandwiched a peanut butter cream). I think the peanut butter cookie was my favorite, but you’d never know I had a favorite given how quickly all four were devoured 🙂

NYC Bouchon Bakery

I know you’re going to ask… Did you go the whole way to New York City and NOT go to Magnolia Bakery? Yes, it’s true. I never got there. The weather was ridiculous and we stuck to places that were right outside our subway stops or near where we took a cab. We tried to only hit areas where there was more than one thing to see/do. Unfortunately Magnolia was never quite in the right place at the right time!

And lastly, when you’re from Pittsburgh you’re never far from home…

Lo and behold, look who I ran into outside of the NHL store… Why, hello there, Sid!

NYC Sidney Crosby Ad


54 Responses to “Good Eats in NYC”

  1. jaclyn@todayslady on March 17, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Whoa, look at that cheesecake!!! Love the pic of you and Sidney!! Too bad about the weather but it still looks like you had such a great time!!! I can’t wait for your birthday dessert post!


  2. jennifer on March 17, 2010 at 2:10 am

    so many great eats!! especially that insane cheesecake!! i bet that would last me breakfast, lunch and dinner… and maybe even breakfast again! mmmmmmmmm!!
    i love that first pic in this post with the raindrops on the window… 🙂


  3. Becka on March 17, 2010 at 4:03 am

    HOW do you stay so skinny?!?! A weekend like that would guarantee I’d put on about 8lbs!! 🙁
    Very jealous, the food looks & sounds amazing. I wish I could afford a trip over.


  4. Randy on March 17, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Junior’s is some of the best cheesecake in the city, and they’ve been around nearly forever. They don’t do a million cheesecakes – they do one basic one, and do it really really well.

    Katz’s sandwiches are, like, a full pound of meat. They’re not really intended for one person, unless that person is a real fresser (that means piggy eater in Yiddish).

    Glad you had a good time in my city! 😀


  5. Samantha on March 17, 2010 at 7:19 am

    that cheesecake looks beyond delicious! it sounds like you went to a lot of really nice places in new york, places I will have to keep in mind for when I finally get a chance to go. Also I really enjoy your picture with Sid!


  6. Baking is my Zen on March 17, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Great post. I luuuv NYC. I used to work there years ago. Can’t stay away…it’s got so much to offer. Bar Americain, I’ve yet to visit…met Bobby Flay at a book signing…and ate at his two restaurants, Mesa Grill and BBP.

    Great to see photos of you enjoying what you’re always baking!


  7. Aimee on March 17, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Otto is my favorite spot in the city! I even took a wine tasting class there once! What a great homage to home! The sun is out today – time to start planning al fresco NYC places to highlight here my dear!


  8. shelly (cookies and cups) on March 17, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Love the cheesecake and I loved Otto too, but you are right about the service. When I have been there it was never the greatest!
    Glad your trip to NYC was great, albeit wet


  9. Lauren on March 17, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I would just like to thank you for making an itinerary for my next trip to NY. You saved me a lot of time. 😉


  10. Rachel in NC on March 17, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I went to Bar Americain and Bolo (now closed, sadly) a few years ago. I love Bobby Flay!

    I also went to Chelsea Market on the same trip and discovered the fabulous Fat Witch brownie! They are soooo good!


  11. Asha@FSK on March 17, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Michelle, you are from NYC?? I didn’t know that! me too 🙂
    I loove Bouchon & MAx Brener (have you had their hot chocolate? To die for!).. I have to try Otto. Yeah! Juniors is MAASSIVE! It’s a family dessert.. LOL and they won btw 🙂


  12. Genevieve on March 17, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Ooh, just recently moved back to Chicago from New York, and your post is reminding me of some of my old favorites! You can NEVER go to Katz and order something to eat ALONE. Sad but true about the service issue–then again, I’m used to super-friendly Midwesterners, so for a while I just thought everyone was rude!

    Thanks for all that work posting those! If I go back for a visit, I’ll be sure to drag your itinerary along!



  13. Lauren on March 17, 2010 at 9:59 am

    Wow, your trip to NY sound amazing and the food looks fabulous! I have never been to NY and would love to go someday! I will definitely have to remember to hit up some of these great restaurants if I ever make it there! Hope you have a great birthday!


  14. Michelle on March 17, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Hi Asha, I’m actually not from NYC, just visited for the weekend! I wanted to highlight all of the foodie places that I visited 🙂


  15. Maria on March 17, 2010 at 10:12 am

    How fun! Lots of good eats. thanks for sharing!


  16. Stephanie on March 17, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Great trip! I’m glad you had a great time! You went to several places I haven’t been so I’m excited to try them next time. Especially Bar Americain…I love Bobby Flay:)


  17. Jenny Hartin on March 17, 2010 at 10:26 am

    I worked in NYC for years – now I’m a SAHM in Long Island – I just im’d my husband and said, “i want to spend a weekend in the city soon – I miss it”


  18. Andrea on March 17, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Looks like a yummy trip! Don’t fret about missing Magnolia, the cupcakes are way overrated! The banana pudding, however, is delish. Sugar sweet sunshine has better cupcakes.


  19. Cookin' Canuck on March 17, 2010 at 10:47 am

    A girl after my own heart – NHL store and a big picture of Sidney Crosby! You covered some great eateries in NYC. How I miss that city (lived there for a couple of years).


  20. Liren on March 17, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Aaw, now you’re making me homesick! I’m so glad you had a scrumptious time. And I’m glad you liked Bar Americain! Can’t believe how much time has passed since I was there last, seems just like yesterday.

    BTW, I am passing along an award to you. I really love what you do and how you capture it in your blog. You can read what I wrote about you and my other favorite food bloggers here:


  21. Emily on March 17, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Katz is fantastic! And I think I need to take a trip to NYC just for a slice of that cheesecake. Happy early birthday to you!


  22. Melissa on March 17, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Hi Michelle! Looks like you had an amazing time–NYC is the best! I am definitely printing your post for the next time I go! And don’t worry, Magnolia bakery is sadly not the cupcake paradise I had hoped it would be. Well, it is, but the cupcakes don’t deliver. Sad. I would be all about that cheesecake, though!


  23. S on March 17, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Ohh those look so good! I wish I had time to travel and eat good things. 🙂


  24. Dolce on March 17, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Looks like even though the weather was going crazy this week-end, you have a good time in NY. Next time, head to Brooklyn to the Chocolate Room if you have time 🙂

    Max Brenner and Bouchon are two of my (many) favorite chocolate places in NY !!


  25. Shannon on March 17, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Try Levain Bakery on the Upperwest Side next time you’re in the area. Best chocolate chip cookie you’ll ever eat. And Gramercy Tavern is one of New York’s best restaurants, you’ll never have a bad meal or bad service. Love your blog! And Andrea- I couldn’t agree more; that banana pudding from Magnolia is heavenly.


  26. Suzi (flourpants) on March 17, 2010 at 11:57 am

    THANK YOU! I cannot tell you how EXCITED I was when this popped up in my reader. My hubby and I are heading down to NYC this weekend and we had NO IDEA where to eat. Okay, we (I) knew about ‘smac, but we can’t eat mac and cheese all weekend! This is awesome. I asked my NYC friends for tips but they were all hesitant to recommend anything (“it really depends on what you’re looking for.. there are so many choices..”) this post is EXACTLY what I needed. I plan on hitting up as many of these spots as we can this weekend, they all sound so good! Thank you!


  27. Daphne on March 17, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I am soooo jealous!!! NYC is one of my favorite places and I want to go back so bad. I am determined to go to one of Bobby Flay’s restaurants one of these days. Have you seen that Throwdown that the challenge is blueberry pancakes in NY??? I WANT those pancakes! One of these days……..


  28. Allison on March 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I’m so glad you had such a wonderful trip! Happy Birthday! Bummer you were here on such a miserably soggy weekend! Looks like you hit a lot of great places, though! And Magnolia cupcakes are overrated…I suggest ‘Crumbs’ or ‘Burger’s and Cupcakes’ next time!


  29. Lauryn on March 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Michelle, looks like you had a blast and hit up a ton of great spots! I live in NYC and I work in the same building that Bar Americain is in! A magnolia bakery just opened up one block from bar americain! I wish I had told you before your trip! Chelsea Market is my favorite place! I love it there so much!


  30. Lauren Norris on March 17, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Love the review – and I see that my Nutella photo didn’t make the cut! haha thanks for such a great time 🙂 Love ya and Happy 29th + 1 😉


  31. Stacey Lowe on March 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Glad you had a fun trip. My sis and I have a standing NY trip in November. We never come home with a ton of bags but we have fun. Speaking of cheese cake, (My favorite!), this past November we went to a deli for lunch and oh my,I think there was a pound of bacon on my BLT! Although the lunch was yummy and huge, not being big sandwich girls we decided to dine on cheesecake on our next visit. So, your cheesecake pic put a big smile on my face! That’s what I love about it big cheesecak ,big smile! Happy Birthday!


  32. Fuji Mama on March 17, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Oh yum, now I need to get back to NYC! I love Max Brenner’s. I’ve been to the one in Singapore and would love to get back to one! And um, Otto’s would leave off the asparagus? Uh, that makes absolutely ZERO sense.


  33. Lori on March 17, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    Perfect timing on this post. My huzzy is in NYC right now, and I wanted him to bring me a care package of goodies – French macarons mostly, but I think I will have him head over to Bouchon. It’s probably easier for him to find!


  34. Cari Snell on March 17, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Oh my! That cheesecake looks amazing! Michelle!!! How do you stay so thin!?! I think I gained a pound just looking at the photo! Love NYC and can’t wait to get back. You sure did a good job of pointing out the many fab hotpspot. And happy to see you are a fan of our homeboy, Sidney. We LOVE our Canadian boys!


  35. Mary Poppins in Heels on March 17, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I went from drooling at the beginning of the great post to totally stuffed by the end! It looks like you had a fabulous time.


  36. Chaya on March 17, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I enjoyed this. It is interesting to hear about all these places. I am a New Yorker but being kosher, don’t eat in these places so I learn from articles, like yours. Thanks.


  37. Alyce on March 18, 2010 at 1:20 am

    What fun! So glad you had a good time. Happy Birthday


  38. Hope on March 18, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Awesome post!
    I am going to NYC tomorrow for a long weekend and I’m looking for a places to eat. Thank you and I’ll let you know where we eat!


  39. Michele on March 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I lived in NY and now live in NJ and haven’t been to any of those places! I’m going to try some of them this summer though! Great Post and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


  40. Whitney on March 19, 2010 at 4:11 am

    We visit NYC annually to visit my sister and her FH. This past year I made it a point to stop a Bouchon Bakery. I thought it was just okay. My guy, though, deemed it necessary to go to Katz Deli. It was the best pastrami (and my first, honestly) ever!


  41. merry jennifer on March 19, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Okay, now I want to go back to NYC. I’m having great flashbacks of my own trip there last year. Thanks for sharing (and, I’m really glad I found your blog – it’s wonderful!).


  42. Erica on March 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I miss NY! Moved to FL in August and am craving my fave NYC places. I used to live near Time Warner Center. Brunch at Bouchon with the boyfriend = bliss!


  43. renae on March 20, 2010 at 8:16 am

    This post makes me want to go to NYC all over again. Why does the US have to be so far away! The corned beef looks divine!


  44. Erin on March 20, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Looks like a fun trip! I went to NYC, but I was only like 11 or 12, and I’ve been wanting to go back and experience the food now that I can appreciate it! I think you should totally try to recreate that cheesecake and post the recipe in your blog 🙂


  45. Pam on March 20, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Wholly Yumm!

    Congrats on the foodie blogroll!



  46. Nastassia Johnson on March 21, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    These are all some of my favorite spots! I love Max Brenner all the hot chocolate options are to die for! And Chelsea Market, I could spend all day there. Or a simple ham sandwich from Bouchon so perfect. I want to fly to NY now, what a tasty time you had!


  47. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction on March 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Looks like you stopped at lots of great places! Personally, I think I like Bouchon Bakery better than Magnolia… Good choice! I have been wanting to go to Bar Americain for a while, but haven’t made it there yet. Hubby and I just had dinner at Mesa Grill, though, this past weekend!


  48. Priscillia on March 30, 2010 at 7:15 am

    I think Magnolia is waayyy overrated… The frosting is pretty good – but the cupcake itself is very dry… Their banana bread pudding – on the other hand – is amaziiing… My recommendation for cupcakes in NYC would be Baked by Melissa in soho… Their bite-size moist cupcakes are to die for… =)


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  51. Cate on April 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I’ve been to most of the places you listed and I have to say OTTO and Landmarc are among my favorites. I’ve been tempted multiple times to buy the ginormous jar of Nutella!


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  54. stephanie on May 10, 2012 at 4:17 am

    We are planning a trip to New York soon and your cheesecake looks fabulous! I bought a recipe book, New York Cook Book by Molly O’Neill from my local library a few years back. I haven’t cooked much from it but one I’ve made several times. It has a recipe for Junior’s Cheesecake in it that I love! Now we have to go!


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