April 22, 2012

A NYC Food Tour!

Self guided (and created) food tours are my new favorite way to experience the city!  We love the city and we love trying new, good food (and eating some old favorites) so it makes for great fun.  We loved our hot chocolate crawl last winter--it was so very sweet.  I would do it again in a heartbeat--perhaps my last (heartbeat) with all that creamy goodness!  (And, I think this summer will require a ice cream tour for sure.)  On Friday we put together a delicious food tour around the West & East Villages.

Brian's sister, Angela, and her family came into town for a day. They have been to NYC many times, so we wanted to do something a little different.  The weather was going to be gorgeous, so we wanted to be outside.  We had 6 kids (all under 6 years old), but didn't want to do only "kid stuff".  So we thought we'd try a food tour around some of our favorite neighborhoods.  And to keep the kids happy we threw in a stop at a playground along the way.

The kids were troopers!  We walked (and ate) from about 2pm until about 8pm.  (I really didn't think we would be out that late.)  I tried to pack enough good, sustainable kid food, so we wouldn't have to worry about finding anything for all the little eaters while we were out.  But the kids quickly ate through 4 pb&j sandwiches, 12 cheese sticks, a package of dried apricots and 2 apples.  (Next time I'll pack more!)

We stopped at nine!!! different places and tried one (sometimes two) specialty item(s) off their menu and split it between all five adults.  The idea was to taste a lot of different food and not fill up all at one place (slow and steady!).  We did our research (mostly on yelp) to find places that we would like to try and we to find out what each establishment was famous for.  We wanted to taste "the best" of everything we could in the area.  Even though we put this together on our own, an official food tour followed us along our first few West Village stops (so we must have been on the right track).  A little bit of research saved us $50 each (not that we'd ever pay for an official food tour!) and spared us the social obligation of laughing at dull tour guide jokes.

Okay, enough banter!  Here's our West Village to East Village food tour with lots of photos of food and people, because those are my favorite things!

Rice balls: fried balls of creamy risotto.  Yummy and salty.

Joe's Dairy
Update May 2013 
They have closed down their retail shop and are only doing wholesale now.  So sad.

Smoked fresh mozzarella:  I loved the flavor, but the texture was a little rubbery.

Side note: After Joe's Dairy we went to grab some Kati Rolls (an old favorite), but, sadly, they were closed for renovations.  I highly recommend getting some if you can!

Mexican style corn: cheesy, spicy, sweet delicious corn!

Fries, fries, fries: fresh, crunchy, yummy fries and 20+ different dipping sauces--that's all they sell.  We got mango mayo, blue cheese, and smoked eggplant mayo.  They were all delicious, but my favorite was the eggplant mayo.

De Pabellon & La Mulata Arepas: delicious!  I'm craving an arepa right now.  Seriously!  The perfect combo of sweet and savory.

Porchetta sandwich: well seasoned, tender pork tossed into a yummy baguette.  

Chocolate ice cream: good, considering it's vegan(?!)
Brian and I both (independently) read (in multiple places) that Lula's was a great place to stop for ice cream, but we both seemed to miss that it is 100% vegan.  For people who love cream (like us), it's not great "ice cream".  But if you are a vegan, it's probably the best around!
With little ones staring into the glowing ice cream window we couldn't leave without a little something (five-year-olds don't care if it's vegan--it's ice cream!).
Don't ask me how she got it on her forehead?!

Side note: the kids were getting pretty crazy by this point (see above photo of ice cream on forehead) so we stopped at Thompkins Square Park and played for about an hour before continuing.

Fried pork & veggie dumplings with monster sauce: good and tasty.  I liked how the "cool monster sauce" ($1.50 extra) added a fresh flavor to the fried dumplings.  I preferred the pork over the veggie.  These weren't as good (or as cheap) as dumplings we've had in Chinatown, but still tasty.

Spicy red neck: yummy and fun!  Bacon wrapped hot dog with chili, cole slaw & jalapenos.
Even though Crif Dogs was on every "east village food tour" list (famous for their bacon wrapped hot dogs) we weren't planning on stopping there--it's a bacon wrapped hot dog!  But it was getting late, the kids had polished off the pb&j sandwiches hours before and they needed something.  When I ordered my kids a plain hot dog my curiosity got the better of me and I got the spicy red neck hot dog for me (what the cashier recommended).  It was quite yummy and a fun mix of flavors!  Brian helped me finish it off. :)  We may not go back (cause it's a bacon wrapped hot dog), but I can see why some many people love it...it's a bacon wrapped hot dog!!  

Cannoli: light and sweet.  They aren't the best cannolis.  I can't even recommend them, but they were a nice end to our long food tour.

It was so fun and delicious!!!  I'm so glad everyone was enthusiastically willing to join us on this adventure!

Side note: on the subway ride home Oliver got to stand up and hold on for the first time ever.  It's a bit monumental.  Definitely a big kid thing to do and part of my kids' "urban growth chart".


  1. This is so fun! And I've only been to about half of those places. Jacob loves Crif Dogs and I enjoyed it too but I'm not a huge hot dog person so if he didn't like it so much I don't think I'd ever really bother going there. But like you said, it's a bacon wrapped hot dog! I'm bookmarking this for sure. I love a good food tour (especially one you don't have to pay for!) and my sister and I are dying to get back to NYC for a little visit sometime soon.

  2. This looks awesome! I never really spend that much time in the East Village/LES area, so I will definitely use this as a reason to get down there.

  3. Now that looks like a tour I would like to take. So much good food to be eaten in that city...

  4. I just came back from NYC.
    We did your tour and we loved it!
    Thank you so much for sharing! :-)

    We add a pizza stop (john's Pizzeria 278 Bleecker St(between Jones St & Morton St) ) and we replace Veniero's Pasticceria by Eileen's special cheese cake (17 Cleveland Pl (between Kenmare St & Spring St) )
    and we choose to skip Pomme Frite and Porchetta because we were so full ! :-)

    Information about Joe's dairy: When we stop it was there last day (2013 may 11th) .
    They close and will not do retails anymore. They will only do wholesale.

    Thank's again for having shared your experiance with us.

    The food was amazing and the walk was wonderfull.


  5. What does a food tour consist of? All of these pictures of food looks delicious. It is making me hungry just looking at them.New york would be a great place to do a food tour because of all the different ethnicity there. You would get to experience a variety of food.

    Alena | http://walkingtoursmanhattan.com


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