|With my mascarpone-cherry rice pudding at Rice to Riches|
Because my family makes plans for lunch whilst eating breakfast and plans for breakfast whilst eating dinner, I shall start with the most important aspect of any vacation: food, glorious, food.
In Manhattan, attempting to choose a restaurant is like telling Carrie Bradshaw to choose only one pair of Manolos: a virtual impossibility. When the family and I were faced with this daunting task, we turned to New Yorker friends and guidebooks and Zagat searches.
I was determined to chart every breakfast, lunch, cupcake snack and dinner according to our itinerary for the day. But, as those of you who travel frequently know, wandering off course sometimes leads to the most delicious discoveries.
Among all the scrumptious places we dined, these three are at the top of the list (fair warning, these are more on the tourist spectrum as opposed to local joints):
Becco: If you've ever watched much food t.v. on PBS, you'll know the name Lidia. Lidia Bastianich is the Italian grandma you wish you had. Her food is not fussy or fancy. It proves to be of the more soulful, belly-filling carbalicious variety. Lidia's restaurant, Becco, on 46th street in the Theater District, offers a pasta tasting menu among many other typically Italian dishes like Osso Bucco and Chicken Milanese. On the pleasant summer evening we stopped by Becco, we were granted the one table on the patio, facing quiet 46th street. Under the street lamps, nuzzled in a sunken porch, we dined al fresco and savored every tasty course and a couple bottles of Nero d'Avola. Try the ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers. Bellissimo!
Terrace 5 at the Museum of Modern Art: When spending endless hours feeding the eyes with Pollocks and Rothkos, one must also feed the body with a light lunch. Suspended on the fifth floor of the MOMA, just alongside an engaging Ed Hopper painting, is Terrace 5. The restaurant overlooks the sculpture garden and offers a bird's-eye view of the streets below. As you might expect, the fare is crisply modern, often deconstructed, and consistently scrumptious. Each dish I sampled was light enough to keep me on my toes as I continued the tour yet yummy enough to engage all my taste buds.
Norma's: Brunch might just be my favorite meal. And at Norma's, brunch is the thing. Tucked in an unassuming corner of the modern Le Parker Meridian hotel, Norma's boasted one of the most innovative brunch menus I've encountered in all my brunching days. From a mango purée inside a waffle to a breakfast quesadilla with homemade pico de gallo to a shrimp frittata, we craved one of everything! The interior of the restaurant is starkly modern and white which allows the food to be the star. Each dish arrives with a rainbow of bright hues, artfully arranged and carefully plated. Once you take a bite of your eggy or cakey brunch delight, you become totally at ease with the fact that you're paying $7 for a cup of French press coffee. If you go to Norma's, be certain to wear an elastic waistband and save yourself some time for an afternoon nap.