Sunday, April 15, 2018

Best Things to do in New York: A Foodie's Guide

Visiting New York City at the end of last month brought me back to 10 years ago, when I first came to North America. Turning almost 17, my visit to NYC was an enjoyable event that I shared it with other young international students. 

This year I went by myself, in part because of the volcanic wines conference (which I will discuss in an other post), in part because of my past fond memories of this beautiful city. 

First thing I realized: cost of living and accomodation are incredibly expensive, pretty much comparable to London. I stayed in the 'hipster' neighborhood of Williamsburg. A nice and relatively calm area to stay. Taking the subway to Manhattan is a must and there are many places to visit. Being there only a few days I would reccomend for sure walking around the High Line Park, former railway turned into a pedestrian walkway with lots of greenery and views on Manhattan. 


High Line Park: Signs of the old railway


In Lower Manhattan you can find Chelsea Market, featuring all sorts of restaurants and shops, including a wine shop with a wide variety and premium selection of fine wines. Walking around the market one realizes how much cosmopolitan food NYC offers. My sight was especially focused on the spice shop, with an incredible array of blends ranging from Italian to Southern Smoky Barbecue.


Spice Selection at Chelsea Market



Moving south, Ellis Island is worth a visit surely to learn more about the history of immigration in the US. Though, bear in mind that there might be a long waiting time to catch the boat that takes you there. Also, those of you interested in immigration history might want to go to the Temperament museum, which offers guided tours of houses where immigrants lived. I personally opted for the Native American Museum. A pleasant discovery, and it is free. It is not so much about the encounter and relationships between Natives and Europeans, but rather focuses on ancient civilizations across the Americas.

With regards to food and drinks, one has an incredible amount of options in NYC. For those who want to enjoy a nice cocktail (i.e. The Brooklyn, which I would reccomend) with a nice view, going to the The Standard Hotel High Line on the rooftop is definitely an experience worth doing. Live music will entertain you while you watch the stunning view and the beatutiful layout of the bar, which is open to everyone. 


Brooklyn Cocktail at The Standard Hotel High Line


Neapolitan Pizzeria Gino & Toto Sorbillo is a good place if you fancy traditional pizza made with high-quality ingredients. I particularly enjoyed the Calzone with Escarole. The wine selection is also good. I had a Greco di Tufo from Feudi di San Gregorio - mineral, fresh and with a lingering citrus finish - which paired well with the Calzone. For dessert, tiramisu, a classic that here will not disappoint you. 


Calzone with Escarola



Tiramisu



For a great burger, go to Juanchi's in Williamsburg. Great selections of ingredients (I went for the grass-fed beef), craft beer, good price and a friendly service will make the experience one to remember. If you are craving for coffee, Birch is actually a great option. As an Italian, I was quite impressed with their espressos. Also, there is a cozy atmosphere and you will find a few branches in the city.


Walking around NYC is surely tiring, but an enriching experience. I remember having a nice and long walk around Lower Manhattan and enjoying the view at High Line Park at sunset time. Also, simply standing and watching Times Square, with its all commercials and infinite amount of people who come and go, made me realize why this place is nicknamed the "Crossroads of the World". Indeed, nearly 39 millions people visit Times Square every year. I am happy to be one of those this year as I found it extremely interesting from a cultural and anthropological standpoint.


Sunset view at High Line Park


I will be back to NYC soon. There is still a lot to see and discover but this second trip has definitely made me "hungry for more" as New York chef Anthony Bourdain would say.    

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