The only problem with visiting a place like New York City is that it’s so big and there’s so much to do it can almost be overwhelming and you never get to do all the stuff on your itinerary. This is why it’s important to prioritize your trip so you can make sure you get the essential experiences that matter the most to you. With one of my favorite things being food, I prioritized the eateries I just had to visit—and I made sure it could happen even during a short trip. These are a few things to take in that won’t break the bank or waste too much time during your visit to the city that never sleeps.
Did you know that New York and Chicago have the two largest Polish populations in the United States? Are you surprised? Hailing from the Windy City, you develop a deep appreciation for pierogies so tasting the Polish fare you can find in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn was a no brainer. After reading in SeriousEats.com that its interior resembled an “Epcot version of a Polish farmhouse,” I had to see Karczma for myself. It felt proper getting stuffed with traditional Polish comfort food in a setting that’s kitschy and sincere all at the same time.
Like every good American, I love a good brunch as much as the next person. Thankfully, I found an incredible brunch spot in Brooklyn called Five Leaves that serves gourmet takes on New American classics. And keeping with the Eastern European theme, they also have great latkes. The restaurant was originally planned and funded by the estate of the late Heath Ledger shortly before his death, but the show went on and the popular brunch and breakfast spot does justice to the actor’s legacy. The subtle Aussie twists on traditional favorites are a touching nod to the bar’s late benefactor.
I’ll admit, this is totally cheating, but it makes sense to the savvy tourists out there. Why spend your time going to just one restaurant when with a little planning you can eat at dozens while also taking in some live music? I love Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg. We also heard from BritishAirways.com that the Hudson River Park’s Blues BBQ Festival in Tribeca in late August is a terrific way to try some of the best barbecue New York has to offer, so that’s definitely on the list. There are plenty more festivals where you can have a super-sized sampling of cultural cuisine ranging from Jamaica, China and more. It’s hard to say no to a free festival of some of the best food in the city.
Full disclosure, even though I live in and love Chicago, I’ve just never gotten into Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. Since I’m originally from New Jersey, I’ll be darned if a trip to the Big Apple doesn’t include just one slice. That’s why we had to make sure to swing by one of the VillageVoice’s choices for a great pizzeria, Di Fara. When you’re at the top of the list for pizza in New York City, you know you have to be doing something right. The pizza shop run by Dom DeMarco since 1964 is hailed by many as one of the best and most famous slices in the city. The restaurant has its own Wikipedia page for crying out loud! Get ready to chow down on a fresh cheese pizza topped with fresh basil, and let your mind be blown.