Twenty-four hours. New York City.
My boyfriend surprised me for my birthday with this quick trip to New York. I found out the night before, and asked him about five times if he was kidding. This thoughtful man told me we had one goal—to eat as much delicious food as possible.
The second goal was to walk a lot and see the city. We managed to eat bagels, Chinese, street food, pizza, burgers, seafood, more bagels, brunch, cookies, cupcakes, ice cream—AND walked approximately 18 miles! All this in just 24 hours.
Here’s how we did it.
The night before the trip, we looked up restaurants/bars/bakeries that we wanted to check out. The plan was to split something at each place– allowing us to try as much without being overly full. We embarked on an early flight from AUS to EWR. Upon arriving from the NJ transit around 1pm, we were famished and ready to eat!
Best Bagel and Coffee
Three blocks from NY Penn Station is Best Bagel and Coffee. We quickly made our way there and enjoyed a Whole Wheat Everything bagel sandwich. They are known for their fully stuffed bagel sandwiches so we opted for the special – egg whites, turkey and spinach. Healthy, yet indulgent and carb-filled.
This bagel was covered in ‘everything’ toppings and also had a relatively large salt crystals. We were starving so it was devoured in about 15 seconds– it tasted pretty darn incredible. However, if I were to do it again, I would just get the bagel with cream cheese. But that’s just my personal preference because I looooove cream cheese.
We mosied a few blocks east and captured a photo of the Empire State Building. Since half the bagel sandwich wasn’t enough for this hungry crew, we realized one of the Asian spots was just around the corner!
Xi’an Famous Foods
Xi’an Famous Foods is well known for their ‘bandage-like’ hand pulled noodles with the perfect chewy texture.
We ordered the Cumin Lamb Noodles and they were SPICY! The chili oil made it hot, hot, hot—but it was nom, nom, nom. I couldn’t get enough of the thick, chewy and perfectly textured noodles.
We continued walking north into the beautiful Grand Central Station. We took a glance at the bar menu in Grand Central Station (and quickly turned around due to $17 cocktails), and made our way towards Central Park. He managed to grab a street hot dog on the way.
We passed the famous Momofuku Milk Bar and debated on whether to indulge or not. Because I had eaten there before, we decided to pass. Plus, he had his heart set on the cookies at Levain Bakery.
We took the metro from Columbus Station to 116th, making our way to our airbnb and Levain Bakery. We expected cookies “as big as your face”, however, they were shaped more like scones. Nevertheless, they were still BIG cookies.
Levain Bakery has mastered the ‘crispy on the outside, soft on the inside’ cookie. We got the Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookie and it was soooooo buttery and oozing chocolate.
After dropping our bags off at our airbnb in Morningside Heights, we made our way back to Greenwich Village.
8th St. Winecellar
We met one of my close friends at 8th St. Winecellar for happy hour. We got a bottle of wine for $21. I couldn’t believe it—I don’t even think wine bottles in Austin are that inexpensive! So hey, we’ll take it.
After catching up and hearing all about their New York life, we decided to grab some dinner. As we rounded the corner, we were taken away by the Washington Square Arch. It was lit up and absolutely beautiful. With so many sitings on the TV show, Friends, we had wanted to see it in person!
Little Italy Pizza
Our dinner destination was about 10 blocks away, which was about 9 blocks too far for our hungry stomachs. We decided to stop at Little Italy Pizza to get a pizza appetizer… which turned into TWO pizza appetizers.
After eating one slice of Margherita pizza, we looked at each other and I knew we were thinking the same thing. We got a second piece—Pepperoni this time.
So happy. Just so, so happy.
We could have ordered 4 more pieces it was that good. The bottom of the pizza had a delicious crispy texture that I could not get over. Utilizing much self-control, we walked out and headed to dinner.
Burger and Lobster
There are only three things on the menu here—a burger, a lobster roll, or lobster.
Everything comes with fries and a salad. He got the burger and I got the lobster.
The massive burger boasted TEN OUNCES of beef and in-house pickled cucumbers that complemented the burger unbelievably. The grilled lobster was meaty and came with a dangerous buttery and creamy sauce. The entire meal was way too dangerous. Salad was perfectly dressed and fries were perfectly crispy and salty.
We passed on dessert there because… we had cupcakes on our mind!
We walked over to West Village where we found the quaint Magnolia Bakery.
Walking in, we were hit with the aroma of butter and baked goods. He got the red velvet cupcake with whipped vanilla frosting. I am not a big cupcake fan, but he is and loved it. I was tempted to get their mini-pies that looked SO delicious. However, I decided to get dessert somewhere else.
The streets in West Village were very nice. Which explains why we looked for another dessert place for about 45 minutes. We walked into a restaurant only to find bread pudding (my favorite) for $17. SEVENTEEN DOLLARS! What in the world? Are people just breathing out money?! I’ve never seen a more expensive dessert in my life.
As the dessert search went on, we passed White Horse Tavern and Smalls Jazz Club, which were both quite happening.
Luckily, we came across Grom Gelato right before they closed and oh, my, goodness. I had 2 flavors in my cup—coffee and coconut. These are 2 of my top 3 flavors of ice cream (the third being banana ice cream). So you can only imagine how that went.
I thoroughly enjoyed mine and he also enjoyed his mint chocolate chip.
Sleepy and full of delicious food and sweets, we made our way back to our airbnb. In total, we covered just under 12 miles on foot on our first day!
With only a few more hours in NYC, we hit the ground running, starting at Absolute Bagel.
Here, we got a Whole Wheat Sesame bagel with herb cream cheese to go. We walked a few blocks North to see Tom’s Restaurant, from Seinfield, and ate our bagel.
New York bagels, how in the world are you so good?!? We ate sesame bagel, making sure to enjoy every minute of it. We got a pumpernickel bagel for later, which required some self control. But it ended up being our plane snack.
Our waiter from Burger and Lobster highly recommended Jacob’s Pickles. It was on our way to Penn Station, so we decided to try it out. It was a beautiful day and all the doors were open. From the food, to the brick walls, and even the bathroom sinks, we loved it. The southern menu is covered with biscuits—biscuit sandwiches, biscuit pancakes, biscuit French toast, and more.
We got Banana Pancakes (fluffy biscuit pancakes with caramelized bananas) and the Coop Platter.
Everything was delicious, especially the pancakes. And I don’t typically like pancakes. But they were fluffy, slightly crisp, and the sweet bananas made it too good to resist.
Every dish, and I mean every dish looked incredible. I kept pointing at all the food coming out.
Jacob’s Pickles is a must go.
Here are our happy selves.
As a final conclusion to our trip, we had quite the walk ahead. We were on 86th St. and needed to get to 33rd St. We had one hour to go 53 blocks of crowded New York City with our bags. That was a power walk like none other—and almost a game of frogger (but dodging and weaving around people). By 1:00pm, we arrived at Penn Station, with just a few minutes to spare, and 6 miles under our feet! Good thing, we had to walk off those pancakes and bagel!
It was a whirlwind of a trip, filled with lots of delicious food and drinks. There was no way we could hit everything we wanted, but for 24 hours in New York City, I’d say we did pretty well.
What did I miss? Tell me your favorite places in NYC and I’ll make sure to hit them next trip!
Pro-tip: Before I travel, I use Google maps to “favorite” places and restaurants I want to check out. Even if you are international and don’t have service or wifi, the starred places will show up, and so will your blue dot GPS location. It helps to see everything visually, and also, if you glance at your map every so often, you might find yourself close to something you wanted to see!