Last weekend Kevin and I spent a few quick days in NYC together. We had so much fun this trip! Whenever we travel together, I usually pick where we eat, and he picks what we do. It works out great! :) He always does his research and finds the neatest things for us to do. And likewise, I’m obsessed with food, so I pour over Yelp reviews before narrowing down a restaurant. :)
Below is a review of what all we found in NYC this trip. :) If you’re planning a visit, maybe you’ll find a few new things to add to your list, or maybe some things you want to skip, lol! :)
We started with breakfast at Shopsins in Essex Market. Kevin ordered the Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Pancakes with Marshmallows. No surprise there, lol!
Here’s what I thought about Shopsins:
- I had heard a lot about Shopins before going. It came highly recommended, so I decided to check it out on Yelp. When choosing a restaurant, I usually look at the photos on Yelp to get a visual idea of the menu. I am much more visual than just reading a description on a menu!
- First of all, the Shopsins menu is like, infinity big. Second, it’s all crammed and crowded onto one sheet of paper. Third, I’m suspicious that it might be written in another language. So basically, I had no idea what to order. Yelp saved the day with user-submitted photos and descriptions of dishes and what they ordered.
- But then, I started reading some of the other reviews. Apparently, there are some pretty strict rules about being granted the privileged of eating at Shopsins.
- First of all, they don’t seat parties bigger than 4. No exceptions.
- Second, it sounded like from the reviews they frown on cell phone use (like, even just playing on your phone, not talking on it) and taking pictures of food. (Sorry. I had to do it.)
- Third, I read multiple reviews of diners being unceremoniously thrown out for “no reason at all”.
- Evidently, I risked my breakfast for that photo, ya’ll. I was, however, much more quick and discreet than usual, lol!
- Oh, fourth! You can’t order too much food. Seriously. If you want to try a bite of a few things and share, I read reviews of customers being refused service because it was “too much food”. I’m just telling you what I read!
- So anyway, all that to say, we went and dined pretty much without incident. We were seated basically immediately, but our waiter came over let us know, very unapologetically, that they have a very small kitchen and it’s full with other orders right now, so he would not be taking our order for at least 30 minutes, and if we were in a hurry, we should leave. Lol. Fortunately, I needed every second of that 30 minutes to comb my way through their massive menu!
Final thoughts: Kevin’s pancakes were good (too banana-y for me, but very yummy otherwise) and my S’mores French Toast (not on the menu, but I saw it on Yelp and asked for it) was just okay. Too eggy for my liking. I would like to go back if I knew exactly what to order!
We then made our way to Rockefeller Center and got tickets for “Top of the Rock”, the observation deck at Rockefeller Center. I had been before a few years ago and loved it!
We also went to the top of the Empire State building, and I’ll share those photos in another post. But here’s what I thought about Top of the Rock compared to the Empire State Building.
Top of the Rock vs. Empire State Building
- First, the line to Top of the Rock is much shorter (there is basically no line) and moves much quicker.
- Second, looooooooved that it was so much less crowded at Top of the Rock. You can see, there’s hardly anyone in our photos. There’s no one pressed up against the glass. At the Empire State Building, there were crowds three people deep all the way around pressed up against the glass, with no room to “inch” in. Once you made it to the top, you then basically had to wait in line for a spot to see out. And then again every time you wanted to move to another spot for another view. It wasn’t that bad, but it was so much nicer at Top of the Rock.
- That said, the view is amazing from Empire State Building. You can see all the way around, North, South, East, and West. You can only see North (Central Park) and South (Empire State Building) from Top of the Rock.
- I’m glad we got to do both at least once! :)
Kevin realllllllllllllllly wanted a street vendor hot dog, so I went on the hunt for the best hot dog in NYC. Everything lead to Gray’s Papaya. It’s not exactly a hot dog cart, but only slightly one-half step up from one, lol! :) So for lunch on our first day in the city, we headed straight there.
Kevin loved it, but I didn’t really think it was anything special, lol!
We went to FAO Schwartz and saw a giant minion!!! :) Such a fun store for kids and grownups alike. :)
Kevin wanted to see some “famous sites” around NYC, so of course we started with the cafe from Seinfeld! :) It was so neat walking up the street seeing it right there in person! :)
Okay, so, funny story about the next place. Now, Kevin usually plans what we do, but since I’m familiar with the city and very comfortable taking the subway, I am usually the navigator.
On our first day in, on the way to our boat tour, we walked right by the Ghostbusters Fire Station. I knew I recognized it from something, but couldn’t really place it, so I pointed it out to Kevin.
He said “uh huh” in that way I knew he really wasn’t listening.
Oh well! I thought it was neat! :) Two mornings later, he was making his list of the tv and movie scenes he wanted to see and asked if I knew where the Ghostbusters Fire Station was. I replied, “Is it Hook and Ladder 8?”
…And he said yes.
“We walked riiiiiiiiight byyyyyyyy there the other day! I pooooooooointed it ooooout to you!”
“But you didn’t say Ghostbusters!!!”
Oh well! :) We got to see it again, lol! :) And now, anytime I want to see if he’s listening, I’m going to randomly yell “GHOSTBUSTERS!!!!!” :)
This time they opened the doors and we could see the Ghostbusters sign inside. How fun is that? :)
There’s also the Ghostbusters insignia on the sidewalk in front, so you don’t miss it. If we’d been walking on that side of the street, we would’ve known for sure! :)
On Saturday afternoon, we made our way over to Bleecker Street Pizza in Greenwich Village. I looove Greenwich Village, and if I lived in NYC, that would be my dream neighborhood! It is also where the Friends building is. I can totally see myself living across the hall from Joey, Chandler, Monica and Rachael and running around Greenwich Village! :) It is such a gorgeous neighborhood. And Bleecker Street Pizza is constantly voted as “NYC’s Best Slice” so it’s a great place to grab an authentic slice of New York pizza. It’s thin, but the bottom has this wonderfully soft-crisp crust. It’s chewy and crisp and thin and unique and perfect and not soggy at all. I love it!
Had to try this white pizza too! Yum! They have several different pizzas available and you can just get a slice of whichever one you want. Or you can get a whole pie! Definitely add Bleecker Sreet to your restaurant list in NYC! :)
After lunch we walked over to The Meadow and picked up my favorite Tortilla Lime Salt chocolate bars. These are great to bring back as souvenirs! Even if you don’t think you’ll like it, try one — I promise it will be your new favorite! :)
Serendipity III is always one of my favorites in NYC!! :) I love their Frozen Hot Chocolates!
They always have fun new flavors, and this time I tried their Frozen Salted Caramel Dark Hot Chocolate.
It was yummy, but my favorite is still the Frozen Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate! :) You have to try this one! :)
I always love going to the Hershey’s Store and the M&M store in Times Square! It is such a madhouse, but they also give free samples of all the fun new M&M flavors. So… priorities. Obviously. ;)
This time we chose Pippen as our Broadway show.
Our review of Pippen! :)
Okay, I will just say, it is a thrill to watch — so fun and so funny!!
But the ending… (without spoilers)
The ending was just not how I wanted it to end. You’re on such a thrilling high the entire show, you expect it to go out with a BANG!! A huge number and the curtain drops and the stage goes black and everybody leaps out of their seats in applause!!
But the ending gets kind of sad. And… uncomfortable to watch. And it doesn’t go out with a bang.
So when Pippen says “Is that it?”
Yeah. That’s it.
So, if you see it (which, I think it was worth seeing) just go in prepared for that!
If you’ve seen it, what did you think about the ending? Did you love it? Hate it? I would love to hear your thoughts!
After Pippen, I was literally starving and I’ve been dying to try Momofuko Noodle Bar, so since it was our last night, we made our way there for some midnight ramen. First of all, ramen noodles + pulled pork + a runny egg on top is genius. Momofuko Noodle Bar, what took me so long to try you??! :)
But this. The pork bun.
This was life changing.
This has been haunting my dreams since we left. I could’ve eaten like 20 of these.
So, so, so, so, so good! I will be going back for more pork buns, for sure!!
The shrimp bun with spicy mayo, pickled red onion, and iceberg lettuce was also yummy. I actually thought I’d like this one the best, but the pork bun stole my heart!
And of course, we had to end the meal with a cookie from Momofuko Milk Bar. :) This is the Fruity Pebbles & Marshmallow Cookie. Very interesting! And very fruity, lol! It was like a fruity pebbles rice krispy treat married a gooey cookie.
And then we went home! :) Well, Kevin went home, and I spent a few extra days for the Hellmann’s Birthday Party. More on that coming soon!! :)
If you’re planning a trip to NYC, here are a few more posts you might find helpful:
Sunset Boat Tour of NYC
My Guide to NYC Sweets
NYC – Where to Eat and Where to Stay
What are some of your favorite things to do in NYC?? I would love to get some new ideas for next time! :)
Thanks so much for looking!! :) xoxo
I have been there many of the times in my whole life to enjoy dining and always spent lovely time with my family and friends. No my dad also has a plan to go there to enjoy dining with his few fellows in coming up days. I hope so that it will be a really great time for them.
Hi Amanda! I turn 65 this month and it will be my first trip ever to NYC. Lived most of my life in the Philippines and 10 in Hongkong, but always had a fascination ( I know I would have loved to live there!) of what life would be like in NY. Our week there in October with my husband, will give me a glimpse of that – and trying the local delicacies of the place is so much part of the fun…thanks for narrowing down some of the things we must try!
Wow! Headed to NYC for the first time and this list is super helpful. Could almost try everything on the list! If only I had the time. But now I know what to keep on my notes. Thanks!
Wow! That’s a wonderful post! I am visiting for just two days and did not know where to even start from. After reading your post, I have a general direction of setting my priorities right. Thanks a tonne!
Hands down, this is my favorite post that you have EVER posted! Looking forward to more of this style :)
I really prefer Top of the Rock for the reasons you mentioned – but namely because you can SEE the Empire State Building. I’ve done both twice.
Lived in NYC for about 30 years-one fun tip, esp. for photographers, is to take the Roosevelt Island Tram at night (or sunset) from the upper east side just to photograph and see the amazing skyline. Not much to do there, take the next tram back-is near Dylan’s Candy Bar and Serendipity if you want to plan around that. But really, the tram ride is amazing.
I can’t believe you did all of that in just 2 days. I am going for more than that and I don’t think I can see as much as you did! Thanks for all the recommendations as well, I know already the sights I want to see so just looking for the best places to eat within my budget. I picked up Monica DiNatale’s 365 Guide New York City after a recommendation from a friend. It seems so far to be a great resource on dining in the city, 365guidenyc.com. I will take some of your places as well, can never be too prepared! Love your pictures by the way!
Oh how I adore NYC! Thanks for informative posts.
Wow, two quick days?? How did you cram so much (food) into 2 days?? Lol! My boyfriend and I go into the city a couple of times a year (we live in CT) and I absolutely love it. One of my favorite places for great NYC pizza is Sal and Carmine’s, which is way uptown. We usually head over to Broadway Dive afterwards, which is right across the street and has some great craft beer (we’re big craft beer drinkers, so finding specialty bars is usually our priority, lol).
Speaking of dessert, have you ever been to Chikalicious? If you go, get the Fromage Blanc Island. SO. YUMMY. Anyway, I could talk about NYC forever, but next on our list to visit is the Mac Bar and Serendipity III, which has been on my list since the movie came out, but we’ve still never been. I can’t wait to go back!! I would live in the city in a heartbeat if I had the money.
I’ve heard such amazing things about Serendipity and their frozen hot chocolate! Love all of the photos! ooo and that noodle bar! I need to go there!
I don’t travel much because well, kids-job-dog-LOL, but I sure do LOVE living vicariously through your amazing travel reviews! They’re always so thoughtfully done and the pictures make me feel like I have that plate of delicious Pork Buns right in front of me! Oh, Yum :) Thanks for another great trip!!
Great post! That food looks amazing! Glad you guys had fun. :)
Sooo here are a few favorite spots in NYC. if you haven’t been yet you should totally visit your next trip up. :-)
Prince St. Pizza (SoHo)
The Highline (West Side)
National September 11 Memorial (f you have some flexibility reserve passes for 7pm so the sun is setting/has set. The memorial is so beautiful and peaceful and everything is lit up at night.)
Walk across the Manhattan Bridge (such a forgotten bridge… offers up amazing views of the BK bridge and lower Manhattan and Chinatown)
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Purbird (Park Slope area)
The hubby and I did a quick 3 night trip to NYC this July (our very first time in NYC). Our favorite tourist spot was the WTC Site/Memorial. Hard to explain the deeply sad and reverent feeling that comes over you when you are there…
We took a boat tour and would have loved it had it not rained! :( It was still good…
I was looking forward to trying the 20 layer (yes!) crepe cake at Lady M in the Plaza Hotel (across from Central Park). I got the coconut créme. It was good, definitely a unique experience. The lobster roll from Luke’s Lobster (also in the Plaza Hotel food court) was a big hit – we had our first lobster roll in Boston a couple of years ago and fell in love (Kelly’s Roast Beef – our best tasting and least expensive meal of that trip!).
We chose the Top of the Rock to avoid the crowds. I liked have the Empire State Building in our pics. Also loved that you could go up to the top and take photos without glass in the way (not sure if that’s the case at the Empire State).
If you are an SNL fan or Jimmy Fallon fan, the NBC tour was fun. Wish Jimmy had been taping, we had wanted to go to the show. Maybe next time!
Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your trip!
Kevin! Did Amanda give you a slow poke on the shoulder from me? I made her go to the New York Public Library to take pics because Ghostbusters (okay, and books, too)! She said it was like I was channeling you.
Haha, yes I did, thanks! :) Glad you guys went into the Library, it’s on my list for the next time.
You should definitely try Max Brenner’s Chocolate by the Bald Man restaurant. Their desserts, chocolate drinks and cocoa dusted onion rings are fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it smells so good in there.
Love NYC, so really enjoyed this post. Our favorite for breakfast/brunch has always been Sarabeth’s and nothing can beat the comfy beds at the Waldorf.
Sounds like a great trip, and you’ve given me some ideas. One suggestion for your next trip: hit Alice’s Tea Shop. There are 3 locations…and sooo yummy!!! Last time I was there I had a vegan dark chocolate scone. Don’t laugh…my first thought was “really??” But it came highly recommended from the waitress…and it was AMAZING!!
Now you’ve got me craving another trip to NYC!!
I’m going to have to have you plan the food portion of my next trip. Looks like you had so much fun!
Caleb is SO jealous Kevin got to meet a minion:)
Glad that you guys had an amazing time in the city!! NYC is a favorite place of ours. Wow, that breakfast place sounds annoying ;D
Momofuku Crack Pie!!!
wow…loved this, Amanda…you do this blogging thing so well…thank you!
Great post! I need to see the Seinfeld diner next time. Love all your reviews. Y’all did a lot in 2 days!
There is a Meadow store here in Portland! I haven’t been there but I need to check them out! Next time you’re in town we will need to go down there!
Amanda, Thanks for your guided tour through New York City. My husband and I plan our trips the same way. I know I’m putting that Pork Bun on my NYC list!
Love this recap! My stomach is grumbling right now! :)
Your pics have me SO EXCITED for our trip next week! We’re heading up to cover James Beard Taste America, and we’re staying a few extra days to enjoy some eats and do a few freelance articles. I think I really need to visit Momofuku this trip since we missed it last time. That pork bun looks off-the-charts good!!
It’s always so fun to see stuff from here on your recaps (since I live in NYC)–like uh…I’ve been to that Seinfeld restaurant a few times and never realized it was anything special (AKA the Seinfeld restaurant)….oops haha
oh and btw Top of the Rock is def. superior to the Empire State Building in my opinion, and I really liked your comparison :D
Thanks for sharing details of your trip with us. Your photos are amazing. I have yet to go to NYC, but really hope to. Now I have an idea of what to see and do. Thanks!
Great recap! I like the comparison stuff. I’d probably go to the Top of the Rock because I think the view is much prettier from that angle and less people is good with me.
Though I must say with an uppity attitude like that, the first restaurant would never get my business. I’m down with no cell phone stuff since I basically don’t use one but the other stuff? No thanks. I’d seek out the Wafels and Dinges food truck instead where they seem to appreciate business for just as creative breakfast fare.
I saw “Pippin” with the original cast and it still remains one of my all-time favorites. Yes, the ending is bittersweet, but we all have to grow up sometime and realize that the world does not revolve around us. I still remember the chills I got from the opening dance number – Ben Vereen and Ann Reinking (I don’t think I’m spelling this correctly) and all that Fosse choreography – that I can still replay in my head decades later. Jill Clayburgh before her breakout movie role… My saddest memory around it is the death of Irene Ryan (who played his grandmother and Granny in the Beverly Hillbillies); I saw an understudy in the role because Ryan was ill and she died shortly thereafter.
I need to get back in the city and get that Fruity Pebbles Cookie!!!
I really can’t explain why I’m always reading your posts when I’m sitting hungry at work. These things look sooo delicious, Amanda!!! I wish I could have one of those pizza slices and such a amazing looking frozen hot chocolate :)
I’m going abroad to study english in NYC in november and I wanted to ask you if you can give me some must-have-been tips for desserts and sweet deliciousnesses. Your personal top spots in NY :)
I already noticed Serendipity since I’ve seen this mouth watering Frozen Hot Chocolate!
Thanks a lot!
xo, Julia (days full of glitter)
This all looks AMAZING, Amanda! So glad you two had such a great (and delicious!) time!! :)