My normal dining MO is a steady mix of convenient-and-cheap East Village spots with the occasional foray into whatever new restaurant piques my fancy. I don't tend to think about it too hard—there's always more time to finally make it to Annisa or check out the beef tongue at Perla.
But after 8 years of eating well in New York, the moment has come. My husband got an awesome job out West and I'm joining him—Serious Eats: Drinks will continue to be national, but its headquarters will be in San Francisco starting in a few weeks. I'm pumped to have access to West coast breweries and distilleries, wineries, restaurants, and farms. And exploring California, and spending more time in my home state of Oregon are thrilling prospects. But I'm heartbroken to leave Manhattan—particularly the restaurants.
Hence this NYC bucket list: my plans for the places where I'd really, really love to eat before leaving town. Some picks are based on pure deliciousness, some on nostalgia. Here's my list...what would you add?
Breakfast and Brunch
My single favorite brunch dish in Manhattan is the soft scrambled eggs with sable and roe at The Dutch. The eggs are rich and tender, easy to spread on a toasted bagel with salty roe and silky sable. It's a dish you can hardly bring yourself to share—but you should, so you have room for the pastry board and some pie. I do like a brunch that ends with pie.
I'm mindful that my move to San Francisco may leave me bagel-bereft, so a few visits to Russ & Daughters are high on my bucket list. I'm torn between scoring roe and blinis for a goodbye-NY Champagne toast, or hosting brunch with the full Nova assortment before we bid our apartment farwell. A friend promised she'd send me care packages from Russ & Daughters once I've moved, but I should get my fill before heading out.
If I have time, I'd love to hit brunch at Minetta Tavern, too, just because I never have. And for its only-in-NY quality, a visit to Shopsin's seems essential. Sliders? Mac and cheese pancakes? A little of everything, I think.
Pizza, Pizza, and More Pizza
Motorino's pizza is divine right out of the oven, but what's shocking is that it holds up surprisingly well to delivery, and a pizza tends to arrive at my East Village apartment within 25 minutes of ordering (and sometimes faster.) I'll be taking advantage of that frequently in the coming weeks (nothing makes packing up an apartment more pleasant than delicious pizza). I have trouble choosing between the clam pie and the classic Margherita.
Pizza is a priority in our remaining time. We'll have to make one last visit to John's of Bleecker, have a group gathering at Paulie Gee's, and score convenient slices at South Brooklyn Pizza down the block. My husband has eaten a slice of pizza almost every day for lunch since we moved into our current apartment; he's going to miss them something fierce.
The High End
If I'm going to have just one or two more fancy nights on the town, I'm torn about where to visit. Marea is one of my favorite restaurants in the city, whether you go all out on crudo and pasta or stick with a refreshing assortment of oysters (served in a marble bowl that looks like it's made of ice.) I'm putting it on the list. And since I've been dying to check out The NoMad since a few of my coworkers went, I'll be eating there, too.
For Sentimental Reasons
The spots I'm saddest to leave are the restaurants where I've had the best nights out, the best dates, the best times with friends. Before we go, I'll head to Frankies Spuntino—my husband and I went to the Clinton St. location the night we got engaged. We'll hit the Brooklyn or West Village branch for one more cavatelli for the road.
What else? I'll need one more buttery farro risotto from Perilla, one more perfect milk-oozing ball of mozzarella from Di Palo's, and at least one more bittersweet night of cocktails at Ward III.
New York, you've fed me well. I'll come back for another bite soon.