Eating the Big Apple: Eating Our Way Through NYC

a building with a water tower
***This is part 4 of my “Eating the Big Apple” trip report detailing my recent visit to New York City last month***

1. Looking for Food Heaven? Its At Smorgasburg
2. Dinner at Per Se
3. JW Marriott Essex House
4. Eating Our Way Through NYC
5. United Airlines: BusinessFirst Class JFK-SFO

Even after all the eating we had done on Day 1 of our trip, we were determined to eat even more on our 2nd and final day in New York City. Before heading up-town to the JW Marriott Essex House, since we were staying at a friend’s apartment in the West Village we decided to walk around that area and grab lunch.

Our friends Rich and Meenakshi had recommended that we check out Mamoun’s Falafel and Caffe Reggio which are located next to each other in Greenwich Village on MacDougal St. Even though it was just a short 10-15 minute walk, on a hot and humid summer day in NYC it was more than enough time to work up a sweat.

a building with a water tower
Walking over to Greenwich Village

a brown awning with white text on it
Mamoun’s Falafel

a wooden sign with a hammer on it
Cool sign inside Mamoun’s Falafel

a green awning with white text on it
Exterior of Caffe Reggio

a group of people sitting at tables in a restaurant
Inside of Caffe Reggio, felt like we were transported to Europe

Since we had planned a whole day of eating ahead, we decided to just grab a couple things and took them to-go so we could head over to Washington Square Park to enjoy the fantastic weather. In terms of the food, we shared a falafel sandwich from Mamoun’s (tip: the hot sauce is no joke, recommend getting it on the side) which was really good and also had an order of profiteroles or cream puffs from Caffe Reggio for dessert. Our mouths were still on fire from the falafel, so the custard and whipped cream from the dessert was a life-saver.

a black fence with a sign on it
Entrance to Washington Square Park

a stone archway in a park with Washington Square Park in the background
Eating and people-watching at Washington Square Park

a tortilla wrapped in foil
Mamoun’s falafel sandwich

After lunch we headed up-town and got settled into our room at the hotel, and then spent some time walking around which of course meant being dragged around to all the 5th Avenue shops. At least we were able to make a couple of food pit stops along the way – first at Momofoku Milk Bar. The menu has an enticing array of cookies, pies, and other treats to choose from, and we were somehow able to limit ourselves to just one order of Crack Pie.

Afterwards, we headed over to The Halal Guys which we heard was the go-to place for Halal food. I had tried other Halal carts in the past, and this one was noticeably better. We shared a mixed gyro and chicken plate which was served with rice and amazingly soft pita bread, and probably went through an entire bottle of white sauce. The meat was incredibly tender and flavorful – I’m still drooling thinking about it. And at $6 for a huge serving of food, it’s an incredible value and if staying longer, I’d certainly have found a way to go again.

a black board with writing on it
Momofoku Milk Bar menu

a hand holding a paper tube with text on it
a piece of cake on a paper
Momofoku Milk Bar Crack Pie

a yellow sign with blue text and white text on it
a sign on a building
The Halal Guys food stand on the corner of 6th Ave and W 53rd St

a plate of food with pita bread and meat
The Halal Guys – mix gyro and chicken plate

We headed back to the hotel for a brief food coma-induced nap, then jumped in a taxi to head back toward the East Village to meet up with our friend for dinner at Momofoku Ssam Bar which is one of Chef David Chang’s restaurants. We arrived around 8pm and only had to wait about 15 minutes to get a table.

The vibe of the restaurant is definitely on the young and hip side, and it is LOUD. We were seated at a long community table in the middle of the restaurant and had to shout at each other in order to hear anything. I’d been to the restaurant before just to try the pork buns, but this time got to sample a variety of things. The highlight for me was the spicy pork sausage and Korean-style “toppoki”rice cakes dish which was fantastic.

a group of people in a bar
Dinner crowd at Momofoku Ssam Bar

a wall with graffiti on it
Cool graffiti at Momofoku Ssam Bar

a cake on a plate
This was left in front of me while waiting for our table, had to resist the temptation to grab it and run
a paper with text on it
Menu at Momofoku Ssam Bar

a plate of food on a table
Diver scallop tataki

a plate of fried food
Tempura softshell crab

a plate of food on a table
Pork buns
a bowl of food with a spoon
Spicy pork sausage and rice cakes – our favorite dish

Eating family-style with two other girls meant that I did the heavy eating, so after dinner I was pretty darn full and ready to call it a night. But as expected, my wife and her friend summoned the space in their “dessert stomachs” and we walked over to Dessert Club, ChikaLicious as a final stop. It’s a really small place and when we arrived the line was stretched out the door. I let the girls take care of ordering and hovered around in hopes of grabbing a table.

The menu is posted to the wall in a ransom note-style format which is basically magazine cutouts taped onto butcher paper. But it gets the job done, since it makes it easy to visualize each option from the menu. They came back with three orders – the green tea layer cake was a bit of a miss, but the green tea soft serve and banana custard pie were both delicious and a perfect way to cap off 48 hours of ridiculous eating.

a sign on a building
Dessert Club, ChikaLicious

a group of people in a room
Waiting in line

a wall with pictures of food on it
Dessert menu at Dessert Club, ChikaLicious

a green frozen yogurt in a glass bowl
Green tea soft serve

a piece of green cake on a plate
Green tea layer cake

a bowl of ice cream with crumbles and bananas
Banana custard pie
Let me know if you have any food recommendations for my next trip to NYC!

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