For years I’ve grown up watching American TV shows and films which filled my mind with some what stereotyped preconceptions about what food in the US is really like. So armed with these preconceptions, I started about making a must eat & drink list that I desired to complete before leaving New York. The same way that any tourist to London might expect to spot tea parlours and fish n chip restaurants on every corner, I came to America with misguided views.
Following Obama’s USA health kick, tracking down the items on my list (in photo below) was a harder food mission than I first thought! Day one, two and three I found myself distracted by the street vendors selling hotdogs and pretzels to passers by on literally every street and avenue. The smell followed my every step and left me feeling a constant pang of hunger and craving for hot dogs on the go! – however my bumper packed tourist sight seeing itinerary, left little room for working out which stand offered the best quality Hot Dog ( picky of me I know!). My first evening in New York I got a bag of free popcorn from the Hotel – a perfect start to my American food adventure…
The third morning I spent in New York, I was anxious to try something on my list, my brother found a café offering Pancakes and Waffles. The Europa café was just a five minute walk from the hotel I was staying at with my family and what a treat those pancakes were. The luxury of ample amounts of maple syrup did go to my head a little- which consequently ended up in pancakes drowning in perhaps a little bit too much syrup.
My next culinary treat took a fair bit of planning and careful research before hand. This enabled me to track down, one of the best renowned places for Cheesecake in New York- Junior’s 1515 Broadway. The selection opportunities for different types of cheesecake, ranged from size and flavour to even offering a diabetic friendly option for customers. I went for a very conservative original New York cheesecake, because I was in New York after all. The flavour and texture was very different to English cheesecakes, it had a much more heavy cake like consistency, with a lack of crunchy biscuit base.
However not to be deterred from my cheesecake experience, I tracked down a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream parlour just a few streets down from Junior’s. Now my experience was just wonderful, so many flavours and cones to choose from even if I did get rather distracted by the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavoured candles. My final selection was clever cookies in a chocolate and sprinkle coated cone – it truly was delicious! I loved every single bite, even if I did get strange looks from passers by in Times Square, who were obviously very jealous of my on the go dessert.
A trip to the Statue of Liberty brought my most successful food opportunities so far during the trip. I was lucky enough to feed my increasing hunger with a Hot Dog, curly fries and a Brownie. This lucky hat trick of experiencing food from my to do list, purely occurred as this tourist attraction places stereotypical foods in its café which satisfy tourist demands.
A dash through the Rockerfeller center brought dunkin doughnuts – a perfect opportunity to relish in sugary goodness! I had a strawberry iced sprinkle which was of course pink, whilst my brother had a chocolate doughnut. The doughnut was the perfect snack much needed to keep my energy levels up during all the sightseeing.
On our final day in New York brought a very strange breakfast option – a Oreo cupcake (far from the normal english fry up as you can get). Grand Central terminal is food heaven for tourists and travellers milkshakes and burgers a plenty. The milkshake I had was a delicious vanilla milkshake ( finally after days of waiting I found somewhere that serves my favourite non alcoholic drink). The consistency was perfect – thick and luxurious. Last lunch in New York was Billy’s Burger at Bill’s Rockerfeller Center restaurant.
Alongside my mission to complete my somewhat stereotyped list of American food, I experienced some pleasant surprises in regards to cuisine and fine dining New York style. The Loeb Boathouse (famed for its iconic presence in Hollywood romantic comedies) served up a sophisticated atmosphere, gorgeous views of Central Park and melt in the mouth crab cakes (a boathouse speciality).
Avoiding the high priced steak houses at $50 a piece, we discovered a lovely Italian restaurant B and Co just off of 5th avenue and close to Central Park. The service was outstanding and we were deemed ‘a lovely family’ the set lunch matched the service as the food was simply delicious- the best of the whole trip. Of course the best part of the meal was dessert chocolate mousse cake.
I’ve learnt a lot from my visit to New York and next time I visit it will be armed with a new list… this time full of unique not typical American food and drink.
NEW YORK I MISS YOU…..
If you’d like to visit any of the places I’ve mentioned please see the list below:
Statue of Liberty Crown Cafe
Ben and Jerry’s (Various locations)
Dunkin Doughnut’s (Various locations)
Shake Shack (Various locations)
Bill’s (Various locations)
The Loeb Boathouse:
B & Co