a. This is a MUST GO (wait, have you been?) – okay, while primarily known for their cupcakes (vanilla vanilla is my favorite, primarily because I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate, but I know others who love chocolate chocolate and chocolate vanilla), I would highly recommend the banana pudding as well. I don’t even like banana flavored things, but this is one of my favorite desserts ever. Oh my Lord, I can just taste the softened vanilla wafers swimming in the pudding right now
2. JOHN’S PIZZERIA – 278 Bleecker Street
a. Oh, look at that. Magnolia’s neighbor. A perfect night would probably be John’s for dinner and Magnolia’s for dessert because they’re so close to each other and both are legends in New York. John’s has one of the oldest ovens in New York (I made it a point to ask the waiter to see it. My friends were slightly embarrassed. Okay, so maybe we had to weave through some crowds. I didn’t CARE. Hello! It’s a part of history here!)
3. THE BURGER JOINT – 119 W. 56th Street
a. If you get to this address and are confused by the grandiose hotel that you are standing in front of, no worries. This is one of my favorite “typical” New York hole in the walls. This place has the most a-mazing fries and burgers (seriously, my favorite burgers EVER) and the best part is just how basic the burgers are. No, scratch that. The best part is that this tiny little “joint” is located in a little nook of the big fancy Le Parker Meridien hotel! I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PLACE!!! GO!!
4. RICE TO RICHES – 37 Spring Street
a. If you like rice pudding you are going to looove this place! I bet this is the only place in the U.S. that has an entire restaurant devoted to rice pudding and only rice pudding. SO MANY FLAVORS and you can select whatever toppings you would like to put on it! And the portions are ginormous! The smallest size will fill you up to the point of sickness. You could probably easily split it too. AND, if you get any size aside from the smallest size, you can “mix and match” (ie: put a couple different rice pudding flavors into one dish! Delight!)
5. S’MAC – Sarita’s Macaroni and Cheese – 345 E. 12th Street
a. A restaurant solely devoted to… mac and CHEESE!!! Delicious. Plain and simple. I mean, it’s pretty hard to screw up mac and cheese, but then again, I also find it quite difficult to “do” mac and cheese “up”. And this place totally does it up in STYLE. Yummers.
6. Sarabeth’s – 423 Amsterdam Ave
a. My favorite brunch spot by FAR. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS eggs benedict (and I’m not even the biggest fan of eggs!). Very cozy. It’s not unusual to do four hour brunches here. No? Just me? Oh well. Just to forewarn, the wait is RIDICULOUSLY long on the weekends so get there early
7. Kitchenette – 1272 Amsterdam Ave (way uptown, right by Columbia) or 156 Chambers Street (a really “hip” part of town… Tribeca… never been to this location before)
a. ANOTHER AMAZING brunch spot!! If you like sweets for brunch, they are a winner. Their other food is good too, but you will be inundated with bakery deliciousness as soon as you step in the door. Again, gets crowded, but it’s New York brunch. If a place doesn’t get crowded, you shouldn’t be going there either.
8. Serendipity!! – 225 E. 60th St
a. This place gets super crowded too, thanks to the overhype from the movie, but their desserts are le-git. Don’t get a meal here though because it is definitely a downfall. They are known for their frozen hot chocolate. I highly recommend their PEANUT BUTTER FROZEN HOT CHOCOLATE. Oh wait. If you happen to be weird (I don’t judge. It is just a fact.) and don’t like peanut butter, then just stick with the frozen hot chocolate. A definite plus plus plus. But just to forewarn- these things are HUGE so you could easily (very easily) split just one with someone.
9. Koronet’s Pizza!! – 2848 Broadway
a. Unfortunately, this place is so far down the list even though it’s my FAVORITE PIZZA PLACE IN NEW YORK. The only reason I put it so far down was because it’s way uptown (again, by Columbia) but one of the all-time best hole in the walls ever. Pizza slices the size of Yield signs for about $2, which is unheard of in Manhattan. Very popular after a night out for college kids, but good pizza any darn time really. HUGE AND DELICIOUS!
10. Mamoun’s Falafel – 119 MacDougal Street
a. I’ve never been here but everyone who goes RAVES about it. Mediterranean at its finest… cheap and quick! Popular among NYU students as it’s right on NYU’s campus.
11. Max Brenner – 841 Broadway
a. A restaurant entirely devoted to CHOCOLATE. Not even being the biggest fan of chocolate, this place is an experience. Even if you don’t get anything, you should definitely walk by and see what the fuss is all about. You can smell the chocolate from a block away! (and I don’t even have a sense of smell!)
12. The Strand – 828 Broadway
a. Conveniently, this is located basically right across the street from the aforementioned chocolate shop! And, sadly, the first non-food related thing on this itinerary. 18 miles of books! It’s a new and used bookshop that is famous worldwide. You can find all kinds of rare gems here. Seriously, just an experience to walk its hallowed halls. Think Powells (Portland) except a little bit more rundown (come on, it is New York after all).
13. The Angelika Theater – 18 West Houston
a. I know the last thing you would want to do in New York is go see a movie, but if you happen to get bored, you should see a movie HERE!! An independent movie theater that is just an experience as well. I don’t know why I love it so much but it’s just darn fabulous. And in a fun part of town (SOHO).
14. The Shake Shack – In Madison Sq Park (Madison and E. 23rd)
a. It might be too cold for this but they have the most delicious milkshakes ever. It’s a little shack just in the middle of the park! Granted, they got in trouble for some health code violations but so did Magnolia’s and please. You think THAT’S going to stop people? Hell no!
15. Mike’s Bagels – 4003 Broadway
a. This is dead last because, while these are the absolute best bagels in all the land (they literally melt in your mouth), it is located in Washington Heights… aka: the Ghetto. (It was right by Columbia’s uptown campus and a favorite among students because it’s super duper cheap and delicious). It’s not worth a whole trip just for this sole purpose but just in case you want to explore life as opposite from the Upper East Side as it gets, here you go.