I’m (finally) wrapping up my New York City trip recap – which means that I’ll be done with all my 2015 trip recaps! (Except for Taiwan, of course – but I’m calling that a 2016 trip.) Hooray! One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2016 is to be more timely with blog posts, so hopefully I won’t fall too far behind as life inevitably becomes busier after returning from vacation.
Anyway, I’ll start off the recap with one of our favorite meals in NYC:
Of course, Katz’s. I’ve never been super familiar with pastrami sandwiches, since they’re not common in the South or California. But after learning a bit more about pastrami sandwiches at Firehouse Subs (which makes a pretty good New York Steamer, in my opinion), S and I were definitely interested in checking out the real deal.
We couldn’t decide between the pastrami and corned beef sandwiches and got one of each. These sandwiches are huge – piled high with meat, smeared with deli mustard, and served on rye bread. They were so incredibly delicious – I was awed by the pastrami in particular, which was smoky and flavorful, and so tender that it nearly melted upon each bite. Even though it’s a tourist destination, Katz’s definitely delivered and lived every bit up to hype, and it’s no wonder that they’ve been going strong since 1888.
We have been sorely missing pastrami sandwiches since returning to San Diego, and I have bookmarked a few delis in Los Angeles (e.g. Langer’s) to try next time.
205 East Houston St, New York City, NY 10002
Another meal (well, more like mini-meal) that we loved was The Halal Guys, a popular gyros food cart that inspired many similar food carts in Manhattan.
Lines here could get quite long during peak times, but luckily we only had to wait about 20 minutes since we visited in mid-afternoon.
We ordered a gyro and a chicken platter, which are served with rice, lettuce, tomatoes, and pita bread, and the signature white sauce. This was quite delicious, and even though we weren’t super hungry at first, we still managed to finish everything because it was just too good to put down! The meat was flavorful and juicy, and the sauce was tangy and creamy. My only regret was not asking for the spicy red sauce on our orders… Didn’t do my research properly *sad*.
Recently, The Halal Guys opened a location in Costa Mesa, and we are planning to make a visit soon – I’ll definitely order the red sauce next time!
The Halal Guys
(Locations throughout NYC)
There are so many coffee shops in NYC, but some of our friends recommended Under Line Coffee, located beneath – where else? The High Line.
This is one of their specialty drinks, the SL28 Fizz – made with grapefruit juice, tonic, and espresso. The taste was… unique. I’m not sure whether I enjoy fizzy coffee. I was surprised by the pleasant combination of grapefruit and espresso, though – I suppose the grapefruit enhances the citrus flavors in the coffee.
We really enjoyed the iced pour-over coffee, which was a single-origin bean (I believe from Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia). By the way, their beans are sourced from Counter Culture Coffee, which originated from North Carolina! We used to drink quite a bit of Counter Culture Coffee back in NC, and it was nice to see the little roaster getting nationwide attention.
Our other drink was the almond milk latte, which was not as impressive as the iced coffee. All I could taste was the almond milk – I suppose that was probably the point, but it overwhelmed the espresso taste way too much. Well, at least we checked “visit hipster coffee shop” off our list!
511 W 20th, New York, NY 10011
We couldn’t visit New York without having a slice of pizza, right?
So naturally, we had six slices. We didn’t really get any specific pizza shop recommendations, although Artichoke Basille was mentioned – and there happened to be a location near one of our activities one evening, so we checked it out. We tried a variety of flavors – artichoke, white, margarita, Sicilian, meatball, and pepperoni. Well, I enjoyed most of them – especially the artichoke – but S and A didn’t like this as much. Maybe it’s because this was our second dinner that night? Or maybe they just don’t like pizza as much as I do. If I had a few more days/meals in NYC, I’d definitely go out and explore other pizza joints, but Artichoke Basille was pretty good if not mind-blowing.
Artichoke Basille (locations throughout NYC)
Finally, I do need to write about our last and most disappointing meal of the trip. I debated for a long time whether I should include this, and in the end decided to vent it out. We decided to try barbecue in New York – yes, I know you’re thinking that this is my first mistake. I believe our line was reasoning was, if NYC is really one of the US’s food meccas, then it’d better have decent barbecue… right?
And so, we found Mighty Quinn’s. It had high, raving reviews, and looked so promising. But our second mistake was visiting the location in Brookfield Place – a shopping center in the Financial District, by the Broadway Pier. Of course the meat sold here wasn’t smoked here.
Anyway, we ordered a variety of meats, all of which were disappointing – the brisket was somewhat tough, the ribs were dry, and the pulled pork lacked smokiness and was covered with a sauce that was way too sweet. I was so, so disappointed by the food here, and really wished that we had gone to Shake Shack instead.
I asked S if he would give Mighty Quinn’s another chance, and – he is way more forgiving than me – he said that he would probably want to try one of the locations where they smoke the meat on-site. I really hope that our bad experience here was just because of the location, and that this can’t be one of the finest barbecue restaurants here because it just wasn’t very good. Oh well, at least we can say that we tried.
Mighty Quinn’s Barbecue (locations throughout NYC)
Well, I hate to end things on a sour note, but believe it or not, this concludes my New York trip recaps! It was a really great trip, and I definitely would love to return soon! You can check out my previous recap posts here: Peter Luger Steakhouse, Le Bernardin, desserts part 1, and desserts part 2!