Good Monday morning friends! I got back from a jam-packed trip to NYC on Saturday and I'm so glad I went. Did you guys see on Snapchat or InstaStories? Y'all know how hard it was to leave Jordan, and I swear she grew three months in three days! While I was gone she went from pulling up and standing to pulling up and standing and letting go! Girl, slow down! This mama can't keep up!
We certainly crammed a lot into those three days away. I was there for the Better Homes & Gardens Stylemaker event, which was a beautiful day filled with blogger friends and classes and ending with a rooftop party and guest of honor, Padma Lakshmi, whom I officially have a major girl crush on. I'm a huge fan of Top Chef (have watched every season), but Padma is truly even better in person! On the show she seems so reserved, but in real life, she was so vibrant and energetic and genuinely warm. It made me like her even more.
I'll recap the BH&G event in more detail later, but today, can we just talk about the food?!?! New York is home to such culinary goodness and I was so looking forward to partaking! My 40-Day Challenge ended the day before we left, so I was on no restrictions and indulged in whatever I wanted! I may have left the city with a big ole stomach ache, but it was worth every bite. I'm calling this Part 1 of "What We Ate" because we also had lots of other goodies I'll share soon.
I learned on this trip that a great way to get to experience many places in a short time is to do a food/culture tour. I'd never done one before, but Cassie (miss you already roomie!) recommended Foods of NY Tours because she had. The company has been touring people around NY for over 15 years and they know the ins and outs of the city, giving you interesting tidbits of info while popping you and a small group in and out 8 restaurants/cafes/shops and includes small pre-selected tastings at 7 of the places. It's the best way to discover little gems you may have never found otherwise. Our tour was $52 for 3 hours, which included the food and coupons for future visits to the restuarants/shops.
Foods of NY Tours offers different tours, each featuring a specific part of town or cuisine and we did the "The Heart of the Village" in Greenwich Village. I was careful to take pictures of everywhere we went with my iPhone so I could share the experience with you! Let's go!
We started at Artichoke Pizza on MacDougal street where the Staten Island cousins offer pizza by the slice or whole pie.
Of course, we sampled their signature artichoke pizza and it was delicious with a creamy white sauce.
You better come hungry to these tours because they give you a lot of food. Don't mind me stuffing my face below!
My all-time favorite jean jacket was honored to be along for the ride.
Second stop, Masala Times, featured Indian cuisine and we sampled a roll that tasted like an Indian breakfast burrito. To wash it down, we were given a chilled mango yogurt drink. It was delish!
Did I mention Jen and Grace went with us? I was glad Jen brought that umbrella, made them easy to spot if I lingered behind taking pictures!
Next, we popped into Porto Rico Importing Co., a coffee lover's dream! They had fresh roasted coffee beans in every flavor imaginable in row after row of rustic burlap sacks. I love that smell! And they have a coffee bar and souvenirs. We got chocolate covered coffee beans there.
Along the way, we went down the quaintest side street where movies are often filmed.
At Montes Trattoria, we sat down at a table and relaxed, while enjoying hand-rolled pasta with bolognese sauce. I only ate about half of my pasta because I was still good from the pizza and Indian roll. You could order a glass of wine for an additional $10.
We peeked our head inside Cafe Reggio, which hosts the city's oldest cappuccino machine (on display, not in actual use). After the tour ended, Cassie and I went back, took a load off and enjoyed some strong cappuccino. It's a good thing because we ended up staying up until 3am that night! I'll share more on that soon!
Oh my gosh, don't even get me started on the goodness at OatMeals! This is my kinda place! The oatmeal cookie we had was divine, but the cute, young blonde owner was there and she makes all kinds of muffins and sweet and savory oatmeals. It's a teeny, tiny place, but so charming inside. I fantasize that if I were a New Yorker, this is the type of place I'd have my morning breakfast and coffee and read the paper before heading to the subway to get to work. #dreamon
This tour included a
lovely wet walk through Washington Square park and the famous square arch and gardens. I had to laugh at one of the outfits I packed to wear on this tour:
Compared to what I actually ended up wearing:
Ha! #wishfulthinking After all my outfit scheming, I threw in this plaid shirt at the last minute, and I'm glad I did. With the jacket, I was warm enough for the cool, rainy day and my trusty black skinny jeans were comfortable, even with all the eating! I will warn you that on a walking food tour, you definitely want to wear shoes that you are comfortable walking in for a long time. #captainobvious
The tour lasts three hours and, while it's a leisurely pace, we only sat down at two restaurants. The rest of the food we ate while we stood so my Nikes were perfect for being ultra comfortable, but my unfortunately my feet got wet. Don't tell anyone at the next Cuban restaurant that I took my shoes and socks off in the restaurant bathroom and held them under the dryer to dry them off! #justbetweenus
If you do a food tour in dry weather, these walking shoes would be a great choice:
I've held off buying rain boots because good ones seem so expensive and I always talk myself out of them. But, coming back from this rainy trip and because Houston gets a ton of rain, I'm rethinking that. Cassie wore rain boots, that smarty! She was saying I'd be surprised at how often I'll wear them, so she gave me that final nudge to take a look again. #whatarefriendsfor
Back at home, I got online and was carefully reading all the reviews when I came across a woman's review for the Hunter Original (tall) boot that said she is petite (5'1) and the kids Hunter equivalent fit her height and foot perfectly. I'm gonna try it! The kids Hunters are about half the price! Nordstrom has a shoe size equivalent chart that says a 6.5 (my boot size) is the same as kids 4.5. #gottaloveNordstrom And I swear by the reviews. Of course I might not agree with all of them, but at least Nordstrom offers tons of reviews and they are easy to flip through before you make a purchase.
Since Hunters only come in whole sizes (and the kids size recommendation said order one size up if between sizes), I ordered the size 5. I'll let you know how it turns out. I figure it's worth a try. While I'm at it, might as well throw in this adorable black and white gingham trench coat (50% off).
But back to the food! I was glad to see a Cuban restaurant, aptly named 'Cuba' on our list because one of my favorite things in life is plantains! Luckily, we got to sample those here, along with the empanadas (both beef and spinach). So, so good!
I was so busy focusing on the plantains that I almost forgot about the mojito!
I could have stayed for days at the next stop, Sullivan Street Tea & Spice Company. The smell inside was intoxicating and we got to sample a warm cup of tea with honey.
And last but not least, we ate the most glorious, light, flakey macarons you've ever tasted. Truthfully, I've never really understood all the fuss about macarons (sure, they are often colorful and cute), but the ones I've had are firm and not that flavorful. The salted caramel macarons we had here are "change your life" sweets, but I guess that is to be expected at Francois Payard Bakery.
Ah, I wish I could give you one. I asked if they traveled well so I could bring some home to my hubby, but they said not really. #poorguy
I guess that means we'll just have to go back so we can get him a taste!
Affiliate links used in collaboration with Nordstrom.