One of the lovely things about traveling frequently for LUO is the plethora of sky miles that we have accumulated over the years. I have to admit, that sometimes in the middle of standing in line at security (and knowing every single TSA agent because we are there so much) I get a little tired of traveling for work…but then, we are blessed with amazing weekends like the one that we just had (that would not have been possible with out our sky miles) and I remember how blessed we are to get to do what we do, and have the freedom to travel on the weekends.
That being said, we just had a wonderful weekend adventure with the Reis’ in New York…FULL of taking in the lovely city and eating all of the lovely foods. NYC is definitely one of my favorite eating cities…and we took full advantage of that this weekend!
We started off the eating extraveganza at one of our very favorite places, Murray’s Bagels. Now, we have all had bagels, but you haven’t experienced a bagels full potential until you have had one at Murray’s. They are famous for their perfect chewiness, perfect crispness (no toaster needed) and perfect schmear. They also have pretty stinkin’ amazing breakfast sandwiches…they are customizable! Michelle loves cream cheese, so she made her own perfect concoction…a whole wheat bagel with cream cheese, eggs and bacon. We also had a cinnamon raisin bagel with maple, raisin walnut cream cheese- AM-A-ZING!
Another food highlight (every time that we are in NYC) is Grimaldi’s Pizza. Yes, eating at Grimaldi’s requires you to wait in a very long line on the street, in the cold…but it is completely worth the wait. Everything on their menu is very basic…nothing fancy at all. You wont find a BBQ chicken pizza in this joint, just high quality Italian meats and cheeses (and a few veggies).
We always start our Grimaldi’s experience with an Antipasto platter. You would think that something so basic would be good anywhere, but here, it is just so much better. They use fresh roasted red peppers with tiny pieces of basil, unbelievably fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, tangy salami and crisp olives…so stinkin’ good.
Our next course is always the same as well…a large pizza…straight up, nothing fancy…just sauce (which is ONLY crushed tomatoes…no garlic, no onions, no basil, no salt), basil and thick slices of mozzarella! I like to sprinkle it with a little salt and fresh grated parmesan…YUM!!
The next morning started with a trip across the park and north to West 76th street. Levain bakery hides in the bottom of a brownstone, marked only by a tiny sign in the door. With the amount of praise this bakery gets, I expected it to be a large operations…but it was anything but! I fell in love the second we walked in. The space is maybe 1,000 square feet…850 of them taken up with baking equipment…the last 150, a tiny area with about 4 seats. The highlight, a beautiful counter full of pastries and cookies…cookies that I can not even describe. They are huge…doughey (but not too doughey) and so packed full of incredible, buttery goodness. Of course, we bought on of each flavor…and a coffee cake…and a scone…and my favorite thing (that I had never heard of before) a bomboloncini. It is basically a baked rasberry jelly donut…but it was perfectly light and fluffy…and perfectly sweet!
The final food highlight of the trip came in the form of unbelievable meatballs. Gavin and I both came from Italian roots, so we are really harsh meatball critics. We had high expectations because of the reviews that I read about The Meatball Shop…but honestly, pretty low hopes of it living up to all of the hype. We took a train down to the Lower East Side, walked down another unassuming street, and found a TINY little restaurant with people spilling out the door. We figured it had to be good…so we waited…and we waited…and we waited…2 HOURS for a table!! Now, when you wait that long for a table, after you have been on your feet ALL day…your meal better be knock-your-socks-off good…and this was.
The Meatball Shop offers 5 different types of meatballs and 5 different sauces…served on a sandwich, over pasta, or over “The Kitchen Sink.” To start, we decided to order a sample of every meatball paired with whatever sauce our waitress thought best. After our initial sample…we were all really excited for dinner because every single meatball was perfectly light and perfectly seasoned.
For dinner, Gavin and Chris went with the traditional meatball sandwich. Michelle went for rigatoni and meatballs and I went for “The Kitchen Sink”- and it was lovely! It came with braised kale, caramelized fennel, arugula, white beans, steamed broccoli, and three totally fabulous meatballs. I think this was my favorite meal of the trip….and that is saying a lot considering the wait!
So, all in all, the weekend was full of amazing foods…so, next time you are in the city, I would highly recommend checking out Murrays’, Grimaldi’s, Levain, and The Meatball Shop. You WILL NOT be disappointed!!