New York City – food

9 08 2007

One part of my vacation to New York City that I really liked was trying all the different varieties of food.  The choices of restaurants are very different from what I’ve seen anywhere else I’ve been.  Of course there’s some really nice restaurants that cost over $50/person, but there are small restaurants everywhere (in the Manhattan area, anyway).  And you can find any style of food you want.

We ate New York style pizza a couple of times, and it is different.  The slices are huge, and the toppings were large and plentiful.  There are a lot of varieties, too — chicken parmigiana, chicken marsala, and many others.  What makes the pizza “authentic” New York style was that it’s baked in a coal oven.  So the crust has a smoky flavor, and it was really good.  One of the pizza restaurants we went to was in a building that had been a church over 100 years ago.  It still had the stained glass, and it was really neat.

We went to Little Italy one night, which is an area of town consisting of Italian immigrants, and of course lots of Italian restaurants.  I wish we could’ve went there more.  I had been there an additional time when up there for business, and every time the food was excellent.  The atmosphere is different, too (although it was less so at the place we went this last time).  But if you go to New York City, you should go eat there.

We went to Bubba Gump’s, which, as you might’ve guessed already, is based on the movie Forrest Gump.  There was lots of memorabilia from the movie in there, as well as flat-panel TVs on the wall showing the movie.  I got a shrimp platter, which was really good.

One of my favorite restaurants there was ESPN SportsZone.  In the main eating area (there were several), you could sit at a booth or table, and all seats had a great view of the TVs.  There were two very large TVs and 12 smaller ones, showing 12 different channels of sports.  And the first time we went there, the Braves and Tigers were playing on the main screen, which was awesome.  There were some chairs that were like home recliners with drink holders built in and a tray to hold your food.  The setup of the restaurant alone was enough to guarantee its success, but the food was excellent.  I got a steak and sampled some other foods, and it was great.  I went back there for lunch one day, and the bacon BBQ cheeseburger was one of the best I’ve ever had.  I so wish we had one of these restaurants here in central Arkansas!

We went to a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop and also went to a Cold Stone Creamery.  What made the Cold Stone Creamery different from what we have here in Arkansas is that there’s lots of flashing lights on the marquee (because it’s around Times Square), and inside there were at least 19 people working with two lines (and both lines were going around the store and outside, even at 10:00PM).  Of course the ice cream at those places is great (which goes without saying if you’ve ever been there).

One thing I missed up there is sweet tea.  Apparently it’s not so popular in the North.  Every restaurant should serve sweet tea, and perhaps in two varieties — regular and a strong & sweet version.  But I digress…

At least in Manhattan, there was a lack of fast food chain restaurants that I’m familiar with.  (Not that I wanted to go to any on my vacation, but I’m just pointing it out.)  Instead, there’s a lot of little places.  Some of them have seating for maybe 8 people, but of course they offer carry-out.  There’s no drive-thru, and there might be parking for one or two cars.  But since so many people walk around town, this works well.  We went to a few of these really small places, to get pizza or lamb gyros.  There were a lot more options that we just didn’t have time for.  There were also a lot of street vendors grilling food, which often smelled good but we never tried it.

Overall, the eating experience added a lot to the vacation, in addition to the sights we saw.  (If you haven’t noticed, I like to eat.)  I wish we would’ve had time to try more of the different places.  It is very different from what we have around here.

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