Hidden gems in New York City

Everyone knows that there are endless restaurants in New York, but every now and then you can end up in a neighborhood where you can’t find a nice place for one, two, three. To help you on your way, today I’ll tell you about my two favorite hidden gems in New York City. The name says it all, these are restaurants that are a bit hidden and that you will not find if you do not know about them, but are very much worth it!

Barbarini Alimentari

The first is Barbarini in the South Street Seaport neighborhood, at the very southern tip of Manhattan. This neighborhood is adjacent to the Financial District, so you see quite a few men and women in suits walking around here. But tourists also come here a lot, they have just taken the ferry to Staten Island or visited the old ships in the harbor. Along this harbor, you will find plenty of places to eat and drink, but you are at the mercy of eateries where mainly hefty Americans in white sneakers and shorts eating filthy cheesesteak sandwiches sit away. Not only is it very dirty, but it is also a shame to settle for a sandwich in a city like New York that will probably last until December 2014. So if you are in this area, walk a little further until you come to Front street, a cute little street with cobbles, where the restaurant Barbarini is located.

The front part of Barbarini is more of a shop/caterer, with beautiful delicacy products from Italy. If you walk through the shop, past the display case (where you can also order their delicious dishes ‘to go’) you arrive at the restaurant area, which is located in a kind of conservatory. The service is always friendly, fast, and helpful. For $ 9 you have a well-filled panini with only fresh ingredients, a home-made pasta you can already have for $ 14. It is not for nothing that this place is always full and has many regular customers, once you have found this restaurant you do not want to go anywhere else!

Wild Edibles 

My second hidden gem of the day is Wild Edibles in the Murray Hill area. A neighborhood where there is little to do and not much to achieve in the culinary field.

I happened upon Wild Edibles when I was looking on the internet for a place where they sold a wide range of oysters. Wild Edibles was founded in the early ’90s with the aim of sourcing the best fresh fish available. Orders were then taken and the fish was delivered to your home. They now have two locations in the city; one fish market in Grand Central Station and their shop/restaurant in Murray Hill. The tent is so small that you can easily walk past it and if you go to you look inside you see at first sight a display case with various fish lying on piles of ice and you still have no idea that you can also eat very well here. At first, of course, I came especially for the oysters, but when I saw their menu I could not resist ordering something from it. Beforehand there was a bowl with all kinds of different oysters, the Kumamoto and the Skookum oysters were by far the best! They were deliciously large and creamy! As the main course, I chose the salmon with goat cheeseburger with fries. My table companion started with the yellowfin tuna tartar which was possibly the best-tasting tuna tartar I’ve ever tasted. As the main course, she chose the skillet seared skate (thin, soft, white fish) with dijon dressing. Not only do they know how to buy the best fish at Wild Edibles, but they also know how to make great dishes! Everything here was equally delicious. The service can be a bit grumpy and rushed, but if you’ve just taken a bite of that delicious Skookum oyster, the waiter automatically disappears into the background and it seems as if all your senses are suddenly in your mouth.

Getting by in New York City on a shoe-string budget

new york city

 

New York City is generally accepted as a very expensive travel destination. How much can a budget traveler expect to spend there? In this article, we discuss how you can see New York for under $50 per day. By the way, in the context of this article, the term “New York City” and occasionally just “New York”, refers to Manhattan. If I’m talking about the other boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, etc.), I will call them by name.

 

To explore New York, you generally need at least $150 a day. While that is true to a certain extent, you can actually explore New York City and have a great time there, for less than $50 per day. In this article, we will look at how you can have a great time at the Big Apple while remaining on a shoestring budget.

 

Before I go any further, I need to set your expectations right. To stay within a budget as tight as $50 a day, you have to be minimalist. That is to say, you have to be prepared to rough it out, forego things, prioritize on what you want to see and do, and have a realistic expectation of what you are capable of achieving. I am not asking you to suffer, but I do expect you to be extremely frugal. If you are willing to do that, then I will show you how you can find accommodation, three meals and transport, for under $50 in New York City.

 

Let’s imagine for a minute that you are playing a game. In this game, you are handed $50, and that’s all you have to survive in New York City. What do you do first?

 

Unless you plan to sleep under a bridge – and I really have no heart to ask you to do that – the first thing is to find accommodation. While many budget rooms in New York City can go for $150 per night, three times your total budget, what you should do is to look for beds in hostels and guesthouses. I say beds, not rooms. In other words, be prepared to sleep in a dorm with other budget travelers. If you are lucky, you can get a bed for $25 per night. You have to be prepared to search hard as you’d find that $25 per night is quite a challenge – but not impossible.

 

At the aforementioned price, I would say you need to forget trying to find accommodation in the Lower Manhattan or downtown part of New York City. However, it is entirely possible to get accommodation in the Upper West Side, which is not too far from Central Park. From there, take the subway to all the sights in New York City.

 

Speaking of the subway, that’s going to be your main form of transportation in New York City. Of course you can forego the subway and walk, but that will severely curtail the distance you get to explore. Each single ride on the subway costs at least $2. If you plan to save money on this trip, it is not sensible to buy single ride tickets. Assuming after settling on your accommodation (say it’s $25 per night), you now have a balance of $25 in your hands. You certainly cannot afford too many rides on the subway if you pay for single-rides. What you need instead is to buy the MetroCard – the stored-value card used to ride the subway – that provides unlimited travel. I recommend getting the 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard (yes, I expect you to be in New York for more than one day, possibly even the whole week) which costs $25, and allows for unlimited rides on the subway and local buses, until the midnight of the 7th day. If you stay a whole week in New York City, that works out to just under $3.60 per day (do the math).

 

By the way, in addition to the 7-Day Unlimited Ride MetroCard, there’s also the 1-Day Fun Pass that costs $7.50. It allows unlimited rides for a whole day, but that’s over twice the price of the 7-Day MetroCard, if you average it out. And I don’t expect you to be in New York City for just one day. Don’t take the taxi. The flag-off rate is $2.50, and then it’s 40 cents for every 1/5 of a mile. As that rate – and under such a tight budget – your money will evaporate before your very eyes.

 

Now, assuming you got for yourself the 7-Day MetroCard, that leaves you with $21.40 in your pocket. The next thing to settle is your meals.

 

I don’t expect you to forego meals, but I cannot recommend splurging on your $21.40. You can certainly blow all of it in one meal, but you’d need the money for three. For your breakfast and perhaps dinner, you can cut down on the cost by getting groceries and preparing your own meal in your hostel. During the day, you can buy pizza by the slice. It costs roughly $2 per piece. There are plenty of hot dog stands in New York City. With a drink, it’ll cost you under $4. On the whole – and I know to some of you, it may sound unrealistic – you can actually survive on $12 for the three meals. Be prepared to consume self-made sandwiches for some of your meals, washed down with nothing but plain water.

 

With a budget of $12 for your meals, you have a balance of $9.40. What you do with it is now entirely up to you. I can honestly tell you that it won’t pay for much – it’s not even sufficient for entrance fees to some museums. You can use it to get better meals.

 

Now, what activity can you do in New York City that does not cost any money? I suggest you arm yourself with

A Taste of Paris in Upper East Side of Manhattan – Le Moulin À Café

Manhattan features several spectacular neighborhoods, but perhaps none better epitomizes the stylish and chic lifestyle of New York city like the Upper East Side. The Upper East Side is popular for its tree-lined streets, classic brownstone structures, world-class restaurants, and museums, not forgetting it’s affluent residents. TV shows such as Sex and the City and movies like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, have enabled the Upper East Side to establish a reputation as a luxurious living, international iconic symbol. The mostly residential area is one of the most in-demand places to live in New York City. The Upper East Side of Manhattan is lodged between 59th Street to the south and 90th Street to the North, the East River in the east, and Central Park in the west. The great popularity of the Upper East Side is mostly due to the area’s ideal location on Manhattan Island. It lies in close proximity to many of New York’s most spectacular landmarks, such as the skyscrapers in midtown Manhattan and New York’s most famous parks. The beautiful apartment buildings and houses found on the Upper East Side have hosted people such as Michael Bloomberg, Madonna, and Woody Allen. The Upper East Side is also home to many celebrated high-end stores and restaurants that serve New York City residents. It is a great place to stay when you visit New York City since it is also served by the metro, including lines 6,5 and 4, which pass through Lexington Avenue. This makes it pretty convenient if you are commuting to work or school or exploring other interesting places in New York City, such as Le Moulin À Café.

Le Moulin À Café is one of the restaurants in New York city that integrates style and minimalism to create an irresistible combination. In a city as heavily-inhabited as New York, it can be quite a hassle to locate a restaurant where you can find a readily available table. Le Moulin À Café ensures that you have a seat whenever you want to enjoy an exquisite meal in New York City. Le Moulin À Café is the go-to place in Yorkville for a taste of Paris during breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. The Le Moulin À Café has a very charming French atmosphere, and the fireplace on the upside adds a very cozy touch to the Upper East Side establishment. The services are excellent, and the staff is very hospitable. They certainly excel in the water glass exam.

The menu features a savory and fresh selection of dishes that are ideal for a fine meal or a quick bite. The selection features fine pastries, snacks, bistro meals, and simple classics, alongside a well-curated selection of beverages and French wines. Le Moulin À Café’s Pause Cafe comprises a salty and sweet selection of items such as delicate pastries, freshly baked viennoiserie, savory quiches, sandwiches, salads, soups, and much more. Le Moulin À Café’s shelves of Épicerie feature some of the most delicious and classic French delicatessens such as famous gourmet items and delicious treats. In addition to its restaurant services, Le Moulin À Café also offers catering for private events. The cozy spaces of Le Moulin À Café can be tailored to any event. From dinner events and cocktails, concerts and exhibitions, wine and food tastings, Le Moulin À Café can adapt to a broad range of concepts, ideas, and setups.…

Italian restaurants in New York – Valence lists the best!

Italian restaurants in New York
Italian restaurants in New York …

… You have them in all shapes and sizes. I may have suggested it before, but Americans can’t get enough of the kitchen where pasta and pizza come from. You have chic Italian tents like Del Posto in Chelsea and Babbo (where the Pope eats when he’s in New York) in Greenwich Village. You will also find endless pizza places, such as Keste on Bleecker street or Da Mikele in Tribeca, where you can eat the best pizzas for next to nothing. But don’t expect too much from the decor and don’t be surprised if the television is above the bar. Somewhere between the chic and the low key version of Italian cuisine, you will also find a different genre in NY; refined Italian cuisine for a reasonable price, good service, and a beautiful (yet sober) entourage.

Two of my favorites from this genre are L’Artusi and I Sodi, both happen to be in the West Village.

L ‘Artusi was on my list for over a year before it finally happened and that was two weeks ago. (Small note; I had reserved a month in advance via OpenTable, I had tried calling before without luck. If your name is in their system, because you have eaten there before, you will get priority.)

A month after making the reservation, the two of us stand at 5 to 9, looking hopefully at the hostess who immediately accompanies us to our table. From the outside, it is hard to imagine that this place has a nice large restaurant with a huge bar (where many people are eating) that extends all the way to the back where the open kitchen is located. A very friendly waiter brings us the menu and wine list and quickly walks away to get our proseccos while we study the menus. The menu for the food is not large, but every dish seems equally attractive. We choose the carpaccio and asparagus in advance and the ravioli of the day and a branzino for the main.

Choosing the wine is a bit more complicated given that the wine list consisted of a thick book, classified by Italian province. While I have almost finished my prosecco and the person opposite me has already got his iPhone out of boredom, I decide by chance for a dry white Orvieto wine from Umbria. Thank God, the book can be closed and it turns out to have been a good choice not much later!

Just like the food, by the way, the carpaccio is wafer-thin, bright red and so soft that you hardly need to cut it. The asparagus comes with a poached egg and flakes of Parmesan cheese. DELICIOUS!

The main courses do not disappoint either, are fresh and very refined in taste.

Somewhere between the starter and main course, the restaurant gets busier and you can’t believe your eyes. To our left is a bachelorette-like group of ladies dressed up in their strapless dresses talking uncharmingly loud and to the right of our table a couple of whom we can’t agree whether it is a young/creamy mother with her son or an old woman with her younger friend. To be able to enjoy both the food and the atmosphere around us a little longer, we also go for dessert; the hazelnut torta with salted caramel ice cream. Just like the rest of the food, the dessert is delicious, the ice cream fortunately not too salty (I was a bit afraid of that). When we walk outside satisfied and happy, I find myself already planning my next visit to L’Artusi in my head.