I gained a kg on my 10 day trip…
Luke’s Lobster & Papaya Dog
Only costs US$17, but I’ve spent at least US$200+ on them in just 2 trips. Everybody has to try Luke’s Lobster, YOU JUST HAVE TO. Sure its fast food, very tight seating, and you can’t linger on to chit chat. So what, all the more reason to go check out one of the many coffee joints in the city.
Perhaps it is the residuals from the 4th July Nathan’s hotdog eating contest, and people are still marveling at Joey Chestnut’s record of 69 hotdogs (heh!) at his 7th win. Either way, its an affordable & yummy eat. Just don’t ever resort to buying hotdogs from random street side carts. NEVER.
Shopsin & Smorgasburg
Ahh, Shopsin. It’s a glorified diner. The staff is rude, the shop isn’t overly cute or comfy but holey moley is the food good. We had the mac & cheese pancakes, and banana bread pudding. A couple notes on Shopsin (all first timers need it, trust me)
- Study the menu before going. It’ll save a lot of time and hair pulling. The menu is so cluttered and badly designed, it looks like a cheatsheet you’d bring into the exam hall, complete with font size 7.
- They do not give recommendations. We’re cute and polite, we tried, we got shot down. He gave us a shrug and a curt “we don’t do recommendations”, as he just continued sauntering past us.
- The entire party has to be present at time of seating. Expect to queue about 20mins or so? Do NOT pretend to be a party of 3, and have your 4th friend drop by later. They WILL notice and they will give you a death stare and give you shit for it.
- Strictly no sharing. There is a minimum order of 1 main per person. The pair of girls next to us tried, and it basically went like this
"Can we just order 1 main & coffees for both of us?"
"No. 1 order per person"
"Okay but we’re not hungry, so can we just order a side?"
"No. I wouldn’t recommend for you to eat here if you’re not hungry."
Chef happens to walk out from kitchen and asks his colleague
"They weren’t hungry"
"Why the fuck did they come for breakfast if they’re not hungry?!"
Going for Smorgasburg is a fun/convenient weekend option where you get to load up on all the yummy food cart options in a single day. You could head to the individual carts or shops during the week & not have to deal with the crowds, but that’s just less fun! Smorgasburg is located either at DUMBO (sundays) or williamsburg (saturdays), facing the manhattan skyline… Perfect city weekend lunch :), for us non-fancy people.
Mighty Quinn’s BBQ & Totto Ramen
Mighty Quinn's is one of those options that you could get from Smorgasburg & at their store in East Village. >30 min queue on a Sunday at Smorgasburg vs zero queue on a tuesday lunch time at noon. FYI didn't care for the pulled pork sandwich, love the ribs & heard that the brisket's really good.
Totto Ramen came up in my google search for best NYC ramen. The store is tiny. I reached at 1130am, wrote my name on the waitlist hanging outside the store, and just barely made it into the 1st lunch seating. The store only opens at 12 noon, and I was the 2nd last person to be seated. Meh, I didn’t love it but Kyna and a lot of other people did, so.
My 4 year old nephew ate his dinner independently, for once. Kept smiling throughout dinner & gave it 10 thumbs up. BBQ marinated Galbi at Shilla’s. Without fail, I gotta go to Shilla every single time I’m in NY.
Pianos & Rainbow Music
I vaguely remember liking the live music at Pianos? But we were too distracted by the cute pilots and air steward.
As for Rainbow Music, I swear it had me stressed out. I wanted to pack it so badly. That said, the owner, aka the Birdman, was really friendly and sweet. He went on about the short film that was made on his store, rattling on about all the different titles that he carries, or that are being delivered to him in the next week. So what if CDs are almost obsolete now. You can’t walk out of the store empty handed, not after he makes such an effort to establish a personal connection with you. YOU JUST CAN’T.
Times Square & Matilda
- Momofuku milkbar & momofuku ssam
- Halal Guys
- Minetta Tavern
- The Plaza Hotel Foodhall
- Udon on West
- Staten Island Ferry