There is so much to see and discover here in my home, New York, that I have always refered to myself as a perpetual tourist.
Even though I walk the streets of Manhattan five days a week and my office is right smack in the center of Midtown, I still find myself admiring the everyday structures and landmarks around me. I look in quiet admiration at the Manhattan cityscape as it greets me every morning I make my way towards the Midtown Tunnel. On the way home, I find myself taking a peek at the Empire State Building to check out what glorious colors adorn it on any given day. I have seen its reflection on the glass canvass of the building on the southeast corner of 42nd and the Avenue of the Americas hundreds of times before, but I still feel like taking out my camera to snap a picture each time I look up.
There is a certain thrill to sharing “my” New York with friends and friends of friends and I’ve always taken to sharing recommended lists of “musts” and a walking tour or two.
A friend of my sister and I from back home is in the city with her husband who is running this Sunday’s ING New York Marathon. Edlynn and Brian are visiting the East Coast for the first time, and I had taken to writing them snippets of recommendations and tips for visiting the big apple. I really must get down to writing them formally to share here.
So let’s start with the edible things you have to try when you’re in New York City — at least per my recommendation:
Bagels from the streetcarts. My personal favorite is the raisin bagel with butter or cream cheese. There’s a different chewy consistency to this all-American favorite and I like the sweet flavor of raisins and cinnamon mixed with butter.
Hotdogs please! Whether or not you’re a health buff or one who will eat anything, the so-called “hotdog experience” is one you must not miss if you are ever in this part of the US. What makes it different is a person-to-person experience, but besides being the equivalent of our usual streetfood back in Manila, it’s an economical way of doing something we everyday New Yorkers do.
Cupcake-wise, CRUMBS takes my vote. I had always thought that Red Velvet was overrated, until I tried their Red Velvet cupcake. The sizing can be dauntingly huge, but I usually share one with the hubby. The medium size is okay for an individual serving, but the minis don’t quite sate my craving. Branches on 42nd between 6th and 5th and on Lexington Ave behind Grand Central
While most others would go to the next “must” on my list for the cupcakes made famous by Sex in the City, I’d vote for the Banana Pudding of Magnolia Bakery as the hands down winner in their category! Creamy pudding with slices of fresh banana and cake bits mixed in… pure heaven! (That’s rephrasing their own description: ” Layers of vanilla wafers, fresh bananas, and creamy vanilla pudding.. heavenly!) They have a branch on the 6th ave side of Rockefeller center.
Going for more sweets, you’ll have to try Junior’s Cheesecake which tops all cheesecakes. They have a restaurant near Times Square w/ humongous inch-thick all-meat burgers and generally great food but the cheesecake is what you MUST try!
Pastrami Sandwich at Katz Deli – well worth the trek to Houston and the line. I’m not a lover of liverwurst but someone told me that theirs is something worth looking into if you’re into that sort of thing.
Although they say Gyros and it’s really supposed to be pronounced “Hee-ros”, these wraps are familiar to us as the once (in)famous shawarma back in Manila. My personal recommendation: KwikMeal (corner of 6th Avenue or Avenue of the Americas and 45th street beside Citibank) or the food carts around 53rd and 6th Avenue which always seem to have quite a line forming behind them. (Must be THAT good!) The chicken, beef and sometimes even lamb can be served in naan or pita or over rice. I personally go for the chicken on pita and I ask that they tame down the hot sauce and slather on the white sauce — yum!
Here’s to the taste of New York!