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My NY/Miami Holiday

20 Jul

Thanks to a very gracious God, I treated myself to a three week vacation in the city of my birth, New York, New York. It’s been 5 years since I’ve been back “home” and amongst all the many things I missed about the US (i.e., friends, some family, the speed of service, the neverending possibilities and options for entertainment, etc.), the most important and the most looked-forward-to was, yep, you guessed it, the food!!

No surprise there.

Most people map out the different tourist hotspots they’ll visit when they go to a foreign destination. Or the people they need to see, or the shops they need to shop at. But nope, me, my travel itinerary was made up mostly of all the food places I needed to revisit, and the new ones I needed to discover! Of course a lot of the food places on my itinerary were not visited and there were many unintended ones that popped onto my agenda.

Needless to say, the trip was amazing. And the fact that I am currently busting out of my size 36 pants which were loose not so long ago, supports this sentiment greatly.

So the following are pictures and little anecdotes about all the lovely eats I met while in my beloved city, and of course while in Miami, a place I visited for the first time during this vacation. As a lover of Mexican/Cuban food, you must understand how much of an abyss I was in upon landing in the city where that kind of food is E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. I’m emotional, just at the memory of all the spicy delights.

My first, and most beloved, treat upon my return. Toasted cinnamon raisin bagel with relentless amounts of cream cheese from the delicious Ess-a-Bagel in NYC. Everyone knows how NY has the best bagels in the USA and thus, in the world and I’m pretty sure, that Ess-a-Bagel makes one of the best in NY! Ate these basically every single day (hence the tight work pants)

Yummy dummy black&white cookies from Hot & Crusty NYC. Hot & Crusty is like a carb/starch lover’s heaven. They’ve got EVERYTHING up in there from cupcakes, to regular bread, to donuts, to sandwiches and of course, one of my favorite treats, Black & White cookies. I will say this wasn’t my favorite Black & White, but alas, had to post it 🙂

Hmm…So I went to Sprinkles Cupcakes ’cause I’ve never been before and as a cupcake connoisseur, OBVIOUSLY, I have to try as many cupcakes as possible (I mean, it would be blaspheme not to). I must say, I was incredibly underwhelmed by my Sprinkles experience. How dare there cupcakes be so bland. First of all, the ratio of frosting to cake was just not okay. And if someone like me who is in love with sugar, and who lives by the motto “the sweeter the better” is complaining about an overcharge of sugar, you have to understand how intense (and not in a good way) this frosting was. Way too much. Not to mention the actual cake was just very … hmm, I don’t know how to describe it, but only know how to make the sound with my tongue and lips. LOL. It was so thick and cakey and not rich and moist. Not impressed. Boo to you, Sprinkles. Boo to you.

Let’s give  a hand clap for the legendary New York pizza. Don’t need to say much more about it. This was from the bangerific pizza chain, Ray’s Pizza.

Another all-time fave: the glazed donut from Dunkin Donuts. Swoon!

Burger 1 of the million I had. I was seriously on a mission, like that of Oprah and Gayle’s, when they went cross-country to find the best burger in America. Instead, I kept mine in the tri-state area. This is from The Smith on 55 3rd Ave in NYC. Absolutely amazing, and the fries were JUST as amazing. I am an advocate of the fact that a burger is as good as the fries that accompany it. Therefore, if the fries are subpar, so will the entire burger experience. Of all the burger places I visited, and trust there were many, The Smith had the best cheeseburger experience. The fries were to die as was every other detail put into that God forsaken burger. Yum to the O!

Next stop on the Let’sGetFatCapades was Red Rooster in Harlem. I went here with my dear friend Zalika who travelled up from DC to visit me while I was in NY. After searching all over Harlem for a nice, soul food-y kind of place to eat, we stumbled upon Red Rooster, thanks to one of my friends who recommended it. The actual set-up of Red Rooster ws beautiful, and there were so many equally beautiful African-American people up in there that made the experience wonderful!!

This cornbread, yeah, this cornbread, deserved a standing ovation! I’m not big on cornbread and I have no clue what made me decide to order it but it was so damn good. What made it even better was the tomato jam (yeah, I didn’t get it too) and honey butter that came with it. I was this close to a) asking the girls next to me who didnt finish their share for their left-overs and/or b) ordering some to take home … but due to the fact that gluttony had taken over my life since I landed in NY I decided to be content with the one piece I got. We WERE getting a meal with it afterall.

Onto that meal. I ordered, of course, a cheeseburger. I was NOT impressed by this burger at all. The meat tasted way too “let’s be eclectic with our menu, including being eclectic with our cheeseburger, which by right, truly we shouldn’t be getting eclectic with.” Do you know what I mean? There are just some things in the culinary world that should remain as simple as possible. One of these things is the burger.

However, one traditional culinary meal that was NOT kept simple but ended up being delicious was the Macaroni and Cheese my friend ordered. Shooooo! The actual name for it on the menu was The Hearth-Baked Mac & Cheese. Hence the hearth it was served on. It was made with NY Cheddar, Gouda and Comti. Perfect combination BY far, and was pretty damn good for a regular predictable dish. She also got something called Cheese grits.

I honestly never understood what grits were and this was my first time ever experiencing them. They’ve just never appealed to me. I always just imagined them to be like mabele, or some kind of random porridge and never understood why anyone would want that … like deeply (as many people in the South do). Anyhow, I tried the cheese grits that Zalika got, and they weren’t half bad. If you’re into that sorta thing. They were way too oily for my liking, and for a glutton like myself, that says a lot.

On to Miami we went, for three days. My first visit there, like I mentioned, and a food heaven for me! These were by far the best faux-cheese nachos I’ve had in all my life. Never in my life would I have ordered these nachos had I known the cheese was originating from a can. Thank God I didn’t enquire further about them before ordering because I would’ve missed out on all this yummy goodness. These were from Oh Mexico! in South Beach. Despite the fact that our cab driver told us it was bland, and was really just “Ok Mexico”, we still persevered and went. God had my back on this one! LOL.

And finally, a meal with a lot of memories. Our staple meal while at The Gansevoort. Chips and Guac. We OD’d on these and they were soooo worth the excessive room service fee.

And that folks, is a wrap. Surely I ate so much more than what I’ve just blogged about but due to the fact that I was so freaking ravenous half the time that I went into trances pre, during and post meal, I totally forgot that I had a food blog to maintain.