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What kind of predictable tourist plans a vacation out of travel guides? Not me. Used to be that being in a new city meant wandering around aimlessly or going where the guidebooks told me, which would always land me in places swarming with tourists! Yuck. So on my last trip to New York, I decided to follow my chubby little tummy around instead, sampling the various chow that the town had to offer. That way, I got a real taste of local color, avoided tourist traps, and got to eat tons of yummy chow, which is my first love.

I walked from one dining establishment to the next when I could, and that way I got to see and experience the city. Sometimes I took public transportation or a taxi when the distances were too great or when I was scared of getting mugged, and that rounded out the trip nicely.

I transformed a whole city into one big tasting menu! That means lots of little bites, pacing yourself so that you don't get too full to keep going. Forget about the "Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner", that's for saps! If you travel with a mate, share one burger at a burger shack. Split the drink. This is a marathon after all, not just a meal.

I've done the homework for you with the Metro-Menu, so you can just follow what I did if you want. Or use my experience as a guide for your own custom-made menu. Have fun, and happy traveling!


Day 1 in New York City:

  1. Library Hotel
  2. Doughnut Plant
  3. Kossar's Bialys
  4. Dumpling House
  5. Honmura An
  6. ChickaLicous

1st course

The Library Hotel
299 Madison Ave.

New York, NY
Toll free: 877.793.7323
made of money: 212.983.4500

This is the place to stay!

Okay, this isn't a restaurant, but you have to sleep somewhere between bouts of eating. The Library is a lovely boutique hotel with a literate twist. The Dewey Decimal System organizes the thousands of books that live everywhere throughout the building. There's a big communal reading room and a poetry room. Each guest room has it's own theme. I was in the Technology floor in the Advertising Room.

The nicely priced rate includs a continental breakfast, coffees, and wine and cheese in the evenings.

From 299 Madison Ave.
To 379 Grand Street means

3.5 miles (5.6km) to breakfast!

Map with directions

2nd course
Doughnut Plant
379 Grand Street

Mmmmmm…donuts. Cute little funky, modern donut factory uses top quality, natural ingredients to produce small batches of yummy dough gobs.

Be warned: The open at 7 in the morning and close when they run out (so go early.) But don't go on a Monday when they are closed all day.


(Human hand included to show scale of giant doughnuts)

Valrohna chocolate donut: ($1.75)
My personal favorite. A big, fluffy, chocolate enrobed vehicle for fat and sugar. The taste is “eggier” than I'm used to, but I adjusted quickly enough to eat the whole thing.

Cinnamon Bun: (about $2)
Pretty good, but it would have been even better if it was filled with more raisiny gooeyness.

Raspberry jam filled vanilla donut: ($1.75) not pictured
This isn't like a jelly donut that's filled up like a cream puff. It has a hole in the middle like a tire but instead of being filled with air, it's filled with a nice raspberry jam. Very tasty.

Coffee was okay they ground it up and brewed it fresh, but it was on the weak side and you didn't get your full force sugar/caffeine one-two punch.

From 379 Grand St.
To 367 Grand Street means

only half a block from sweet to savory!

Map with directions

3rd course
Kossar’s Bialys
367 Grand Street

Old school Bialy making.

Just a couple of doors down
from Doughnut Plant is the home of more bready early-morning snacks.

I get the feeling that I didn’t come at the right time. All they had at 7:30 a.m. were plain bialys. I wanted one of the onion ones but they weren’t due out of the oven until half past donut. I got a plain one and gnawed on it unimpressed – but it was cool to watch the baking dude.

From 367 Grand St.
To 118 Eldridge Street

takes you a fifth (0.3km) of a mile
right into Chinatown.

Map with directions

4th course
Dumpling House
118 Eldridge Street
5 Bangs for your buck!
5 Pork Dumplings: ($1)
That’s right, one buck. They are super delish. Nicely browned on the bottom, these juicy, crispy, doughy morsels are potstickers done the way potstickers should be.
Sesame Cake: (.50¢)
That’s right, half a buck. Yum. A generous wedge of a sort of sesame encrusted pancake with scallions served toasty warm.

From 118 Eldridge St.
To 170 Mercer St. means

about a mile (1.4km) to noodles.

Map with directions

5th course
A walk up the stairs under a layer of floating flower petals. Wood walls are draped with paper. There is a glass encased soba making booth in the back. The perfect level of warm lighting that is bright enough to show they aren’t hiding cockroaches, but dim enough to smooth out the years before you discovered SPF45.

Honmura An
170 Mercer Street
New York, NY


Housemade Soba in a chic setting.

Scallop soba: (about $16)
perfectly cooked scallops skimmed the surface of the broth over the buckwheat noodles. They were accented by the fresh wasabi, daikon and scallions. It’s tricky to make a dish like this in which the delicate scallops don’t overcook due to their continued cooking in the hot broth when it’s brought to the table. But they did it just right.
  Duck soba: (about $16)
This had a shoyu enriched broth. The duck was succulent and not too fatty. It came with a little plate of chopped scallions and freshly grated daikon. A hearty contrast to the subtle scallop dish. Delish.

What kind of anti-slurping bowl hater doesn’t like a great noodle? Not me. When I heard that there was a cool place to go for soba, I didn’t noodle around.

As the bottom of the bowl started to make it’s way to the top, the waitress brought a lacquered pot of broth. She explained that it was the cooking water from the buckwheat noodles. It is poured into the last bit of soba at the end to extend your soup experience. It is a slightly starchy broth that calls for a bit more of the Japanese pepper to be added (also in a beautiful container on the table)

Drink: Delicious green tea. Perfect for a chilly night.

Service: attentive, welcoming and efficient

Bathroom: like the restaurant, flowers are placed carefully around the room. Clean and nicely decorated

Premium Oshinko: ($12)
House made and imported picked vegetables. Refreshing and simple. You rarely find this as a starter option in Japanese restaurants.

Asparagus Salad: ($8)
Cold asparagus and endive with mayo based sesame sauce. Even though I’m not big on mayo sauced dishes, I really liked this.



3 carrots out of 4

Fat Albert's friend would say: "It's so-ba good-ba."

From 170 Mercer St.
To 203 East 10th St.means walking

just over a mile (1.8km) off your future dessert.

Map with directions

6th course
203 East 10th Street
This cute little jewel box stays jammed in the evening. There is a counter and small area for table seating. It’s minimalist/modern design is sleek without being cold and uninviting. It attracts a lively youngish crowd of mostly women.

What kind of sourpuss wouldn’t like a tasting menu of only desserts? Not me. When I learned that there was a restaurant that cut to the chase, I chased it down.

Service: warm and over extended. There was one waiter and two cooks for 3 tables and a fully seated counter.

I was concerned about coming here after a full dinner but even though it’s 3 courses, it’s three hello kitty sized servings. There is also a wine pairing option for $7.

This is not dude food. You will want more when you are done. The good news is that New York is so full of great food that you WANT to have room for more.

Three course dessert prix fixe menu with a choice of “main course” ($12)

Amuse bouche:
Yogurt sorbet with a slice of kiwi in a lavender soup:
Beautifully presented in a eye shaped mini bowl.
Light, fresh start to get the tastebuds going.
Here are two of the main course selections:
Carmel panna cotta in prosecco bubble bath:
A scoop of silly putty colored panna cotta was topped with a dice of coconut gelee. There was a scoop of pineapple sorbet alongside. The chef carried a bottle of prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) to the table. She poured a drizzle over the top to form the “bubble bath”
Very nice contrasts of tastes. Nothing was too sweet. The panna cotta’s milkyness was yanged by the pineapple sorbet, the coconut gelee added an al dente texture (so that everthing didn’t seem like it was for someone who recently had all their teeth knocked out) and the prosecco unified all the flavors into a bubbly sweet, tanginess.
Warm Chocolate tart with red wine sauce and pink pepper ice cream:
A perfect little tartlet warm and oozey in the middle with a red wine sauce to accent the chocolate flavor. The pink pepper ice cream had some freshly ground pink pepper on top as a garnish. I would have like it even more if it had a stronger pepper hotness to this ice cream.

Coconut marshmallow: pretty with the toasted coconut – but I would have preferred it nude.

Cranberry cookie: heart shaped and cute in it’s buttery goodness.

Rosewater truffle: I’m afraid that I am too much of a heathen to be able to discern the taste and aroma of the rosewater in this delicious, dark chocolate coated, wonderfully bitter, perfectly sized morsel of yumminess.

Coffee: ($3.50)
A little coffee press full of fresh coffee – yum. Served with the cutest lil’ cream containers you’ve ever seen.


  Whew! That's it for day one. Go to a club or to bed or both. Then click for the...


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