Five (Fam-Friendly) Foodie Days in NYC

Thanks to our great IG friend, Sarah (@thecarolinawanderer), we were able to book our little family a heck of a great flight deal to NYC, and the guys and I got to play for 5 days in the ultimate East Coast foodie playground! Charlotteans are quite lucky to have many flights coming and going to the Big Apple from our CLT hub, with round trip flights sometimes going as low as $70. {Give our girl, Sarah, a follow for great travel deals and the funniest sass on her IG stories, along with some of the realest and most authentic travel vlogs!}

We were super excited for this trip, which was our second time as a family back to the city that never sleeps. We were determined to check out new spots but also had a few faves that we knew we had to repeat. Honestly, between our list and some recommendations from a couple of our friends who are just as in love with NYC, there was no way we were going to cross off everything on our list but we made a pretty decent dent to it.

According to OpenTable, there are about 21,857 restaurants in the NYC area. If you ate 3 meals a day at a new restaurant each time, it would take about 7,285 days or almost 20 years to eat at every NYC spot–and that’s only counting restaurants that use the OpenTable reservation system–we all know that some of the best eats are hole in the wall spots that only take walk-ins with your whole party present!

So, what’s one to do when visiting this foodie mecca? Well, here’s a five-day itinerary for those who are willing to put in some miles and explore the city for some great noms!

Kriska’s 5-day foodie trip with her boys, the hubs & lil Mr. Gray!

DAY ONE:

1) Stroll through LITTLE ITALY – We were lucky that the Feast of San Gennaro was going on during our stay. The streets were lined with all sorts of Italian feasts and carnival games, for one of NYC’s longest running street festivals.
2) Explore CHINATOWN – Take in all the sights, scenes, and smells through Chinatown. It was so exciting to see Grayson’s reaction to all the hustle and bustle throughout the streets of Chinatown. Make sure to stroll through DOYER STREET and enjoy the art and feast on dim sum at NOM WAH TEA PARLOR–Chinatown’s oldest dim sum spot, serving the goods since 1920. We especially love the hargow, fried shrimp balls, siu mai, and the salt & pepper shrimp.

3) Walk off the dim sum through the BOWERY – pit stop at the Sara D Roosevelt Park for a rest or let your little one play in the playground! One of the things we love about NYC are all the parks everywhere.
4) Take in some URBAN art at FREEMAN’s ALLEY – NYC streets are filled with murals and graffiti–from professionally commissioned work to people just expressing themselves. Make sure to check out Freeman’s Alley for some really cool work. We wanted to try out Freeman’s (a cafe at the very end of the alley), but it was closed when we got there.

5) A #plantaddict like us? We randomly ended up at some urban nurseries while walking around: on this path were Green Fingers Market and the Plant Shed.
6) Afternoon dessert time at DOMINIQUE ANSEL BAKERY – everyone knows about how this spot is the original birthplace of the CRONUT but we actually opted for the DKA | Dominique’s Kouign Amann. We asked the counter for their favorite and the DKA was hands down the employees’ favorite so we went for it. UHM…it was AMAZE!
7) Dinner at LOCANDA VERDE – recommended by our CLT friends, this spot was everything and more. It was our first time ever having a WHITE bolognese and we were drooling!
8) Cap the night off with BOBA – there are many bubble tea spots in NYC, but we ended up at VIVI Bubble Tea as it was on our way back to the hotel.


DAY TWO:

1) Ever heard of JOLLIBEE? Well, if not–it’s the ultimate fast-food joint to bring any FILIPINO back to their best childhood memories! Known for the crispiest fried chicken to be dipped in their famous gravy served alongside some white rice or the Jolly Spaghetti topped with red hotdogs, this is every Filipino’s favorite meal. Down the meal with the pineapple juice and end it with a peach mango pie. There are only a handful of Jollibee locations in the US and Manhattan finally got one back in late 2018.
2) Transport yourself to Spain without a passport by making your way to Mercado Little Spain. This food hall was curated by Jose Andres and really reminded us of our Madrid trip. Grab a bite, enjoy some sangria, or people watch while you sip on some coffee!
3) HIGH LINE and HUDSON YARDS– did you even go to NYC if you don’t walk the High Line? You can spend all day here–literally! We love it all, the nooks and crannies of every bit of this urban greenway. It’s amazing how they’ve transformed the High Line.
4) Get off the High Line and head to Chelsea Park for a little bit of playground time for your little one, then enjoy some rooftop wine and views at Restoration Hardware for a little bit of grown up break time!

5) Be adventurous and if a restaurant catches your eye while you stroll back to your hotel, STOP! Stop and check it out. We ended up at Flip Sigi: a Filipino Taqueria and enjoyed their take on Filipino cuisine.

Some murals that caught our eye during our stroll…

6) 88 Lan Zhou Handmade Noodles – there are lots of noodle houses in NYC: from ramen, to saimin, to phos, and all sorts of other noodle bowls you can think of! We enjoyed Lan Zhou’s beef noodle soup–this spot is no-fuss but their hand-pulled noodles were so good!
7) Desserts for the night: the options are endless and we chose bubble tea from M Tea and rolled ice cream (+ bubble tea) from Penguin’s Ice Cream.


DAY THREE:

1) FLATIRON PLAZA – Where do we even begin?! Just in this one intersection, there are so many things to enjoy. We checked out the LEGO STORE and made lego versions of our little family. Grayson enjoyed the HIPPO BALLERINA and laughed at its exposed butt! Madison Square Park is another family fave, and we enjoyed a couple of hours here having what Grayson called a “Party at the Park” with goods from EATALY. We were also lucky that there was a Kids Fest and performances going on at the park while we were there. Grayson enjoyed watching pirates sing on stage, learn how to make pasta, and made a MadSqrPark pin that he now proudly wears all around.

2) KOREATOWN – Be ready to eat!!! LOL! Here are our fave spots in K-Town: Moge Tea, Grace Street Cafe, Delimanjoo and Hanok (in Food Gallery 32.
3) Canal Street Market – We tried a couple of the food hall spots here but our fave is the Boba Guys–yes, it’s another bubble tea joint. But one can’t have too many bobas!!!
4) Little Italy – Because one can’t stroll through Little Italy just once, we made our way back down through Mulberry Street to take in the sights.
5) Dessert for the night: TAIYAKI for some of the most insta-worthy and tasty soft serve ice cream!


DAY FOUR:

1) Cross the BROOKLYN BRIDGE – Put on your comfiest shoes and get ready to head to Brooklyn!
2) Dekalb Food Hall – So many great stalls in this food hall. One could literally eat all day here. We checked out Taste of Katz Deli and the famed Arepa Lady and snagged a beer from Craft & Carry.
3) DUMBO – another spot that if you miss, did you even go to NYC?!? But don’t just get suckered into snapping that perfect Instagram shot in the famed: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass! We checked out the Brooklyn Flea Market, the playground in Main Street Park, and explored Time Out NYC.
4) Back to Manhattan for more eats:
Kopitiam – we were craving some of our fave noms from our Singapore trip and finally found some kaya toast and pulled coffee in the US!
SoftSwerve – hands down, the BEST UBE ice cream we’ve ever had and we’ve been eating ube ice cream before ube ever became the trendy treat that it has become! This was Grayson’s fave…we actually went on our last day again for him!

Doughnut Plant – because we DONUT care that we’ve already eaten so much food and because this place is donut heaven!! Whether you’re a yeast or cake-donut lover, they have them both and are so delish!
Momofuku Ssam Bar – because NYC means DAVID CHANG! We absolutely love both the Ssam and Noodle Bar. Seriously some brilliant dishes like BURRATA with GARAM MASALA?!?
5) Bonus eats: If you have more foodie places to hit up but are running out of time and are too tired to venture out: UBER EATS and so many other delivery services gots ya! We ordered some late night Artichoke Pizza because how can you NYC and not have some ‘za!


DAY FIVE:

1) Progressive breakfast anyone?
Russ & Daughters for a classic spread of bagel and lox–the best we’ve ever had! The everything bagel is everything and that whipped cream cheese is heaven!
Bluestone Lane for specialty coffee and people watching with the prettiest vibes.
Joe’s Shanghai for hands down the best xiao long bao ever! We ordered the pork and crab soup dumplings and they were perfection.
Bar Pa Tea for the prettiest ombre boba tea! Yes…they are so pretty and super tasty. We finally had some brown sugar milk tea and were in love!
Soft Swerve for dessert…because ube or should we say, “#Ubae?”

2) World Trade Center: From the Oculus, to the towering One World Trade Center, to the 9/11 Museum and Memorial, and all of the bright and positive murals and art…the WTC is an NYC bucket list spot not to be missed. It’s always crowded and filled with tourists, but it’s also a spot in NYC that I felt like the moments slows down as you find a chair in the park, or sit on one of the art boxes in the plaza, or as you stand in the middle of the Oculus and everyone just passes you by and you take it all in.

So, that’s our quick, heck of a whirlwind five days in NYC. Our list is still long and we’ll have to keep an eye out for flight an hotel deals so we can go back again. We know there are many Queen City’ers that are about to still take on the Big Apple, so hopefully this list will help. Did we miss any of your favorites that should be added to our future list?! LOL! Let us know!

#notanad but we absolutely loved our stay at the Duane Street Hotel. It was a great location for all the spots we wanted to see, and they had a complimentary afternoon lite sips and bites that we took advantage of every day as our break of the day! I mean, who wouldn’t enjoy complimentary charcuterie spread and wine (red for Shawn and champagne for Kriska!) Their hospitality team was also amazing–make sure to call and ask for Natalie to help get you set up with your stay and let her know we sent you!

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This NYC guide recommended by Kriska!

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Pharmacists by trade helping people on their path to better health; Instabloggers by choice to help QCers on their path to having fun.

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