Originally, the goal for vacationing in 2017 was to “keep it small”. My boyfriend and I agreed that we would love to take a 2 week trip to Europe within the next year or two, so any lavish trips within the states would have to be kept to a minimum in the meantime. It started off innocently, I swear! I do truly think that we have saved money by not spending a week at the beach down in sunny Florida or out at sea on a cruise in the Caribbean, but we certainly have had quite a few adventures so far.
One of our long weekend trips was spent driving to New York City (3 and a half days, to be exact), and it definitely wasn’t enough! This was a first time trip for two of the people in my group, so we spent a large amount of our days visiting all of typical the NYC landmarks.
But the food.
Oh the FOOD.
We certainly didn’t forget that. Between coffee shops, brunch hot spots, hidden gems, and classic New York staples (I’m talking to you, pizza), I’ve put together a list of a few places we were able to visit below, as well as referrals I’ve received from friends/bloggers/etc. If you all have any adds, suggestions, or “classics” to add to the list, contact me. I love adding more to my travel To-Do list. Enjoy!
Luna Coffee Shop
Where: 121 W 29th St, New York, NY
Atmosphere: The front of the cafe allowed a tourist in a hurry to run in for a quick cup of coffee or pastry and be on their way. Sneak a little further back, however, and you’ll discover a plush lounge area surrounding a baby grand piano. After talking to our barista, we discovered that the shop hosts open mike nights to the public in the evenings.
Pricing: I was happy to discover Midtown prices hadn’t snuck their way into this little shop! I paid a total of $12 for a large black coffee, banana, and a cup of chocolate covered espresso beans (yes, they were worth it.) Not bad.
Crave: Even though I was a plain jane with my large black coffee (I needed max caffeine, alright?), my GF BF came in to save the day by ordering something a little more unique. We were delighted to discover a few gluten free options in the pastry case, so he got a slice of carrot zuchinni bread and a caramel iced coffee, just enough to fuel our day.
Buttercup Bake Shop
Where: 828 7th Ave, New York, NY
Atmosphere: Bright and cheery, the Buttercup Bake Shop offered just about anything to satisfy all ages. Cupcakes, layer cakes, puddings, macarons. They had it all! Everything except for a place to sit. I guess that’s a good thing, because we were on a strict schedule and had places to go!
Pricing: A little more than average at $3/macaron, but what else could you expect? Still worth it!
Crave: My morning coffee didn’t keep my sweet tooth satisfied for long, because when we passed by this bake shop on our way to Central Park we had to make a stop. I had recently discovered my love for macarons at Pistachia Vera in Columbus, Ohio, so we had a few while visiting and took the rest for the road. No buckeye flavored treats here (my fav), but the mocha was definitely a hit amongst our group.
Where: 63 W 37th St, New York, NY
Atmosphere: A Chipotle style eatery where you choose your own ingredients and no matter what, it tastes bomb. Except it’s sushi. So, even better?
Pricing: I’m always impressed by the low prices of sushirittos. I paid $11 for a gigantic Ahi Tuna roll and boy was I stuffed.
Crave: SUSHI BURRITO, YAS. Being from the Midwest, sushi burritos are a rare creature to find. Luckily, poke bowls have started to make their way to the 614 food scene (God bless you, Hai Poke) so I’m crossing my fingers that sushi burritos will follow not long after. If you haven’t had one and you’re a fan of sushi, I’d recommend!
Where: Should I really disclose the location of a secret speakeasy? (Don’t worry, we were NYC first-timers and managed to find it with the magic genie they call Google)
Atmosphere: A Prohibition-era themed speakeasy hidden behind a small coffee shop. Trickster bartenders, plush furniture, and an actual copper bathtub. I’ll leave the rest for you to find out!
Pricing: Ouch. $16-$18 for a cocktail meant having one drink and ditching to find a cheaper pub, but the price shouldn’t deter you from having at least one drink to enjoy the unique atmosphere and pleasant bartenders.
Crave: We enjoyed our drinks, pictured to the left. The menu is always changing, so let the bartenders know your preferences and they’ll whip you up something fantastic.
Where: Various locations around the city, but we went to 30 West 24th Street, New York, NY
Atmosphere: Each table was dimly lit by a small candle, so I’ll blame my poor photography of our bangin’ tacos on the lighting. Although the restaurant was loud and crowded at late dinner time (we ended up getting a table around 9:30pm, this place was packed!) we still enjoyed our meal.
Pricing: Anywhere from $4-$6 per taco was the average, so we pigged out and tried a little of everything!
Crave: To order, you receive one long piece of paper of a menu listing each of their types of tacos, entrees, quesadillas, etc. Write down the # of items you want for each, and out they come. I’m not sure if we were just starving from our long day of touristing, but these tacos tasted like a sweet nectar gifted from above. We’d come back!
Where: A few around the city, they have them listed here!
Atmosphere: I stopped at the NoMad location on my way home from a class at PopPhysique for a little post-workout boost to my morning, and ordered my coffee while pretty much still standing on the sidewalk. Although the cafe itself was cute, definitely not a place I could have stopped for a cup of joe while people watching. Maybe my pace is a little to slow for this city, or I’m just used to spacious shops like Fox in the Snow or Mission Coffee Co. in my hometown.
Pricing: Does anyone have standards for a pretty cup of latte art anymore? A (medium-ish?) sized iced matcha latte hit my wallet at $5.25, but I gave in anyway.
Crave: I was excited to find Matcha on the menu when I stopped by, and I was pleased with my latte.
Where: Walk a few blocks from wherever you are standing and you’re likely to find one 🙂
Atmosphere: Okay, so we pulled another “Midwesterner” card and had to try Shake Shack for the first time as none of us had been before. We went to a location pretty close to Times Square so it was pretty crowded, but we found a seat after a short wait and got to muchin’ away.
Crave: We all came to the conclusion that the fries were a crinkle-cut replica of Raising Cane’s (see what I did there), and the burger was nothing extraordinary. Another check marked off on the food bucket list, but I’d take another concrete mixer anytime!
Where: 4 Bleecker St, New York, NY
Atmosphere: Although much smaller than we imagined, we didn’t feel overly crowded as we spent our night sipping on our craft (tequila inspired) cocktails and people watching.
Crave: Nachos, nachos, nachos. Although we went at night, this bar has a full menu and their nachos are to DIE for. They didn’t even last long enough for me to snap a pic!