One Day to Eat in NYC

New York has so much great food, you could live here for over 20 years and try a new restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day — and never run out of places to eat. That makes it tough for visitors who have a weekend — or even just a day! — to explore all NYC has to offer.

If I had 1 last day in New York City, and an unlimited appetite..what would I need to fit in to feel I’d really done it right? To answer that question, I’ll take you through a full day of bites to ensure you’re covering all your bases.

For breakfast — the New York bagel is iconic, and one of the treats I really feel you can’t get anywhere else. As far as favorite bagel shop, mine is Tompkins Square Bagels in the East Village. I’d say it’s a neighborhood secret, but it’s really not much of a secret. The lines are absolutely epic, but I’m serious when I tell you they move quickly. You won’t wait more than 10 minutes, despite the 35 person line snaking through the restaurant to the garden out back. They’re hipsters that own logistics — a rare and coveted combo. There’s a guy designated for order-taking and ticket-distribution to the bagel preppers, who work seamlessly in concert with the cashier girls. It’s a work of art.

And now on to the actual bagels. Jalapeño Cheddar cream cheese (on an everything bagel) has ruined me for other spreads. I keep wanting to try more of the offerings — bacon herb? wasabi cream cheese? french toast bagels with chocolate chip cookie dough cream cheese? Their sandwiches look fantastic too — avocado, red pepper, eggs, turkey…any breakfast combo you can dream, they can create.

For lunch or a mid-morning snack, I’d head over to one of my all time favorite restaurants — ABC Kitchen in Flatiron. Jean-Georges Vongerichten, celeb chef extraordinaire, has quite a few spots in NYC, but this one is the best. They’re farm-to-table, New American cuisine — and their toasts and flatbreads are out of this world. In particular, the crab toast with lemon aioli — to die for. It’s like a fresh, smashed crabcake on the grilled bread, with a light dressing of lemon and green onion kick. I could eat this every single day.

It’s the afternoon, so in my book, that means it’s time for cocktails. I’ve searched far & wide, and can officially award my favorite cocktail superlative to the Celery Gimlet at Saxon + Parole. It’s the perfect combination of spice and sweetness, like a moscow mule minus the tart, plus a little bloody-mary-esque salt & spice, refreshing, with a crisp gin kick. Served in a tumbler with a celery stalk, you’re depriving yourself if you do not try this drink.

Next, you’ll hop a train to Brooklyn, where we’ll make 2 stops- the first, for some pre-dinner oysters, at Maison Premiere in Williamsburg. Not only are you here for the cocktails and broad selection of fresh oysters, but for the beautiful atmosphere. If you can snag a seat outside under the tangled garden vines of the back patio, you’re in luck. I’d peg this as one of the most romantic spots in the city.

After you’ve sampled some oysters, head over to Emily, the hottest burger spot in town. The Emily Burger is at the top of every foodie list, and for good reason. It’s incomparably rich, topped with caramelized onions and housemade “Emmy” sauce, and served on a warm pretzel bun. Careful to specify on how you like it cooked if you’re not a fan of rare — they come out on the pink side, which is perfect for my taste, but understandably not for everyone. Another hit is the cheeseburger pizza — relatively self-explanatory, but they deconstruct the aforementioned burger and top a fresh cheese pie with all the ingredients. Insane.

If you’re still awake after that meal, I commend you — but it’s time to head back to the city for a nightcap atEmployees Only. EO is a West Village staple — it’s one of the first places to set the “speakeasy” trend, and it’s painfully cool inside. I’ve heard every bartender is initiated onto the team with a tattoo of a key. That’s dedication. See if your barkeep is sporting one, and finish the night off with the steak tartare — my favorite small plate in the city.

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