Some cities just have it all.
For me, New York City is definitely one of them.
The list is endless for things to keep you entertained in the ‘Big Apple’. The bustling inner city with the bright lights of Times Square and high-end shopping, plus the many tourist attractions to see. An impressive selection of chic cocktail bars, cafes and fine dining restaurants are also available to enjoy.
I had a mission on my second visit to New York recently. I’d seen all the tourist attractions last time, so this time, it was all about discovering hip neighbourhoods and searching for the best food available. I wasn’t leaving until I’d eaten the best pastrami sandwich, Chinese yum cha or New York’s finest slice of pizza, just to name a few.
New York is huge and it sure has a lot to offer for a hungry traveller. To maximise my time here, and to ensure I didn’t miss anything, I wanted to explore the famous Greenwich Village with locals. Someone that knows the area and most importantly, where to find the most delicious food. West Greenwich is an old Italian village and many charming restaurants, family owned specialty shops and delicatessens are very good at what they do.
Lucky for me this is one of my favourite cuisines.
I searched online for the best food tour in New York City, and all signs pointed to these guys, Foods of NY Tours.
I booked a place for Marty and me to go on the Original Greenwich Village Tour, which is also one of their most popular tours.
We met our guide Mason, along with the rest of the group (around 14 people) and began our food tour of the area.
First stop was definitely a crowd pleaser. Who doesn’t love pizza? A slice of New York style margarita pizza was a hit for sure.
We moved on to a small shop to learn all the important things about choosing a good olive oil. We tasted a variety of oils, including truffle oil, my favourite!
Down the road and around the bend, standing in the beautiful leafy side streets of this gorgeous New York neighbourhood, Mason returned from a small Italian eatery with a tray of arancini balls. Three bites and I’d devoured mine, but oh so delicious. He explained that these ones were made using 4 different Italian kinds of cheese. Bliss!
We stopped in a small restaurant that served us quite possibly one of the best meatballs I have ever eaten. Seriously. That meatball had to be made using at least 3 different types of meat and it was perfectly seasoned. Not to mention the simple, yet tasty Napoli sauce over the top. Yum.
Wandering into another small modern restaurant, we were presented with a small plate of fresh pasta with baked Italian vegetables and delicious tomato based sauce to finish?
We had the option to purchase a glass of pinot grigio or a vino Rosso to accompany the dish. What a perfect match. I liked the fact that this restaurant was designed as an open kitchen, meaning you could see the chefs rolling fresh pasta and preparing Italian specialties in open view for you to watch while you enjoyed the food.
Feeling satisfied, we went for a stroll through the residential part of the west village and past some super cool cafes and specialty shops. Mason pointed out the narrowest house in New York (it was super tiny, but the price tag on that place was enormous). We even got to see the apartment that the hit US sitcom ‘Friends’ was filmed at! We learned a lot about how New Yorkers live and some really cool facts about the city that never sleeps.
A brief stop at a cookie shop was next on the agenda, and we were each given a huge chocolate cookie, with choc chips oozing out of it, still warm from the oven. Yum! I had a bite and asked for a doggie bag to enjoy the rest later.
Yes, I was feeling a little full by this stage (a sign of a good food tour).
After our chocolate fix, we returned to the place where we began the food tour, and were served some platters of Italian cheese and dried fruits. Mason talked a little more about the city he grew up in and loves so much. I was thankful for the fact that the tour was delivered by someone that has as much passion for good honest food as I do.
Our food tour of New York was almost at an end, but last but not least, a parting gift of an Italian cannoli was given to us. Cannoli consist of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta.
It was a tasty treat, just perfect to top off a wonderful time exploring Greenwich Village.
The big question now is what foodie neighbourhood in New York shall I explore next time with Foods of NY ?
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