WARNING! This post will likely make you hungry. You should probably have a snack in hand while reading.
I look for any excuse I can to spend a long weekend in Manhattan. Most recently, mine was the New York Times Travel Show to get the new adventure buzz and see where my 2016 travels might take me. Each time I’m in the city, I attempt to create a completely unique experience for myself and this weekend was no different. Exploring with my friend Jessica, the Dining Traveler, we curated and filled our time with gastronomical flavors and experiences that lie within Manhattan’s mapped lines.
Where you locate yourself in the city can make all the difference on what your weekend will look like. Choosing a good hotel can be a bit like choosing a good travel partner. I look for flexible, fun, and easy accommodation. Jess and I shared a spacious suite at The London NYC which included a most dapper staff of well dressed bartenders, bellhops, and housekeepers. Anchored down in midtown, The London was a mere five minute walk to Central Park and easy access to trains up or downtown. This all suite accommodation honestly felt more like my spacious studio back on Nantucket than a hotel room in the city.
As we ventured out to begin our tasting tour, one neighborhood I fell in love that I’d never explored before was the Flatiron District. Before dinner, we ducked into The Flatiron Room for a whiskey. This fine spirits neighborhood parlor will keep your bottle for you and pull it out each time you return along with something interesting to snack on while listening to live music.
Just around the corner, we tasted an array of apps over dinner at izakaya NoMad. This gastropub is excellent for the late night eater who likes to sit in a bar style atmosphere (or at the bar) as the kitchen is open most nights until 1 or 2am. With about 80% of the menu Japanese, our table filled with tapas and interesting tastes included Shishito Peppers, Pork Belly Skewers, Mochi wrapped in Smoked Bacon, Avocado with Dashi (Fermented Zuzu and Chili Peppers), Gingko Nut, and a prime assortment of Sashimi including Maguro, Hamachi, Toro, Taco (octopus), and Salmon, likely the most fresh cut salmon I’ve sunk my teeth into. We washed everything down with Sake between bites and saved plenty of room for Mochi Ice Cream.
I loved the diner feel and dimly lit ambiance of this spot: perfect with the Segura Cava Rosè which was poured…the tiles on the walls reminded me of the subway halls, lighting fixtures above reminiscent of my primary school, and red leather seats with picturesque views just above at the bar. Small but furious, I was dreaming about the Kung Pao Brussel Sprouts I tasted on the special that evening (Shaved Brussel Sprouts with mint, lemon, pine nuts + ricotta salata are on the regular menu) for weeks after I left. The East Coast Oysters with jalapeño and beet mignonettes too!
And desert was divine.
A restaurant that really brings you back to a destination you’ve previously explored, we had an early dinner at Kiin THAI Eatery in the East Village on Saturday. Simple and modern design elements, an upbeat playlist, and authentic tastes from Northern Thailand.
As soon as I got a whiff of the Sai Oua (homemade grilled spicy pork sausage with chili, coriander, ginger, lime and peanuts) just as the owner of the restaurant placed gently on the table, my mind immediately drifted back to Chiang Mai reliving my visit two months prior with Thailand Insider.
Every bite on the KIIN menu was a home-run of flavors. My favorites also included the Som Tum Seafood: a traditional spicy papaya salad with surimi, lemongrass, cherry tomatoes, hand-pureed bird’s-eye chilis, lime and garlic with spicy chili-lime dressing, Tom Yum Soup, and the Ho Mok: creamed red curry custard made of Stripe bass, cabbage, coconut milk, and duck eggs. DO NOT PASS THIS PLACE UP.
At the end of each of these tasty evenings, we found ourselves bellied up back at The London Bar sipping our way through the cocktail menu, and one evening, even sharing my favorite scotch (JURA) with Jess (the second bar I’ve found in the city who carries it!) just before making our way up to the room.
Mornings were comfortable and loungy just like the robes in the rooms. Salmon, capers, the fresh daily smoothie, orange juice, and a Café Mocha were on my London breakfast menu each morning. The Energy Bowl with red quinoa, honey yoghurt, fresh cut fruit, and mint was another standout among morning tastes on the menu. Thank goodness for the gym and its little extras like a punching bag for bruising off all of the food I consumed.
Third time must be a charm because I’ve been trying to make my way to Morimoto for the past year and finally did. What a meal to end on! The textures of the walls, celling, and even the depth of the walls inside the restroom stalls had me in design awe. We sat upstairs at a table near the bar with a translucent glass wall separating us from our neighboring diners. After tasting so many countries and cuisines over one long and flavorful weekend, Morimoto was the perfect palate pleaser to put it all to bed. I experienced three dishes to die for. The melt in your mouth Toro Tartare with caviar, sour cream, wasabi and dabhi-soy.
The “yu-burrata” with black truffles, dashi soy, fresh wasabi, grilled sourdough was the BEST burrata I’ve ever eaten. And the Miso Glazed Roasted Bone Marrow with sake ikura, mitsuba chimichurri and grilled sourdough.
An Incredible weekend. Now I’m starving from writing about all of this and must go eat!
What’s YOUR favorite place to eat in NYC? We’d love to check out some new spots next time we’re in town! Leave a comment below and let us know!