If You Can Eat It There, You May Not Be Able To Eat It Anywhere…

Did you know I’ve got a contest going on right now, to win a little prize package from NYC? Click HERE for more info!

I figured that a separate post on the food we ate was in order. Don’t worry, it won’t be hella-long. Our hotel actually included a continental breakfast in the room price, so I only have a few exciting meals to bore you about.

I mentioned in a prior post that, when we first arrived in the city, our room wasn’t ready so we hopped on the subway and went to Brooklyn, walking back to Manhattan on the bridge. That’s not all we did; we also ate lunch at Grimaldi’s Pizzeria.

I had read about Grimaldi’s on Trip Advisor and got a thumbs-up recommendation from Karyn Bosnak as well, so we were looking forward to it.

We actually arrived a few minutes before they even opened (check the hours before you go!) and got right on line. (Tip, courtesy of Julesie who did some pre-trip research on my behalf: some people call ahead and order their pizza for pick up, taking it to the park just down the street near the bridge. We forgot to call ahead…oops)

P3280009 As luck would have it, they opened the doors and started letting groups in for seating. We were the second-to-the-last group that got seated in that first round! Good thing, because had we not made it in, our wait for a table would have been at least 45 minutes to an hour.

Another tip? Grimaldi’s is cash only. That’s important.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a small restaurant that was packed to the gills with tables and people. The staff was friendly but no-nonsense, and the menu was very simple. Pizza. Wine. Beer. Soft drinks. Dessert. That’s it.

The pizza?


SO GOOD. Now, we are Chicagoans and used to our Deep Dish. (love it) I also like a good thin crust pizza, but New York is famous for it, and there’s a reason why. I can’t even say any more about how good it was because I’m drooling on the keyboard. Moving on…

Dinner on our first night was shared with “Shula”, a friend of mine but also one of Julesie‘s BFFs.

She is one of my favorite people; so sweet and fun. And adorable, as evidenced by the photo above in which she looks like a cute little doll next to me. She is a New York native and has that awesome accent; once I was considering asking her to record my outgoing voice message on my cell just because I love her voice. Anyway, I could go on about her for hours but if you want to read about her and how my sister is convinced she’s related to Demi Moore and Soleil Moon Frye, click here.

We met Shula at Serendipity 3 on E. 60th Street.

If you haven’t ever heard of this place, I’d be a little surprised. If you ever plan on going, make advance reservations! It’s always crowded, and the waiting area is so small that you’ll probably be waiting outside. On this particular evening, we had reservations but still had to wait about 20 minutes. The host reminded me of the host character Dana Carvey once played on SNL, telling everyone who he deemed unworthy to “Wait at the bar…wait at the bar…” This guy was unreal with the way he was attempting to wield power in between taking sips through a straw from a big pink drink topped with a gallon of whipped cream.

But I digress. The meal was pretty good. Blah blah blah, burgers, shepherd’s pie, casserole, chicken…yadda yadda yadda. What we really came for was dessert. Serendipity 3, you see, is famous for the Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate. Wanna see? Of course you do.

P3280056 And yes, it is as massive as it looks. Shula, Julesie and I made the error of each ordering our own on the last visit. This time, we shared. Jim ordered a sundae and the boys ordered the PEANUT BUTTER Frrrrozen Hot Chocolate, and Shula and I shared the traditional. Romantic, no?

Lunch on Day Two was Gray’s Papaya.

YUMMY. Julesie and I had hot dogs and papaya smoothies for breakfast on all three days of our last trip. “Unfortunately”, this would be the only *REAL* hot dog fest on this trip.

It’s a delicious combo AND you can’t beat the price.

P3290144 See? Recession special! Yay!

As you can see, they’re ready for the crowds that are constantly coming in.

P3290140 And you aren’t limited to papaya smoothies; there are other kinds, too!


Dinner on Day Two? Junior’s.

The sign says Brooklyn, but we were indeed at a Manhattan location (the original is in Brooklyn.). Actually, “funny” story. We had been walking around all day and were getting tired, so I looked at my handy dandy notebook, you know, the one with all of the addresses, operating hours, and other miscellaneous info for our trip. I needed to look up Juniors to see how far we were. For some reason I had not written it down, so I looked it up on the internet via my phone (gotta love technology!).

My first mistake was assuming that the most highlighted Junior’s location would be the one that we wanted, the one that I KNEW was in the theater district, because I had passed it several times on each NYC trip. Jim put the address in his GPS (uh-oh), and it kept telling us to walk in a different direction from the theater district. I asked, “Is it set up for driving, maybe, and not walking?”

He checked. It was indeed set for walking.

We decided to just go ahead and follow it.

All the way east.

Away from the theater district.


Where did it lead us?


What’s that, you ask? “Is that Grand Central Station, Melisa?”

Why yes, it is.

“Across town from where you need to be?”

Yeah, Smarty.

“Wasn’t that alot of extra walking when you’re already tired?”


FYI everybody, there’s a Junior’s location inside Grand Central Station. But we didn’t want that one.

That’s about the time I looked online again, noted the correct address, and we jumped into the cab.

Junior’s is a little bit of a retro-style restaurant, as in the service is excellent and attentive, they serve comfort foods, and there is a definite family vibe to it. They serve egg creams, which my mom LOVES. Their glasses were cool; they have egg cream instructions on them!

Just like Dinner on Day One, the meal, though very good, wasn’t the reason we went there. The cheesecake, which we ate back at the hotel (too stuffed right after dinner!), was totally amazing.

You may recall that I made the Junior’s Cheesecake recipe in November and I got high marks on it from a New Yorker. I’m happy to say that now I have tried it in NYC myself, and indeed the recipe is definitely a keeper!

Lunch on Day Three was at a little cafe in SoHo, Cafe Borgia II. It is a delightful little place where the food is good but a little overpriced. There is one server, and she is extremely pleasant. The bathroom is the smallest in Manhattan, I think. The sink is practically Barbie-sized. (Okay, slight exaggeration) I didn’t take any photos but wanted to note it here. Another Cash Only place. Whoops. Good thing I had cash on me at the time. I was looking up the exact name online (since I didn’t take photos) and found that it has below average reviews on Yelp which is unfortunate BUT the first review is completely hilarious, so I want you to look at it if you have time. Click here and scroll to the first review. I’ll wait.

Dinner on Day Three? Nathan’s Hot Dogs at a fast food-ish location. I can buy Nathan’s hot dogs in the refrigerated section at my grocery store and do a better job of making a meal with them. It sucked. That’s all I want to say about it.

On our final day we needed to find a place where we could enjoy lunch before heading to the airport. We visited the Intrepid Air, Sea, and Space Museum in the morning and ended up walking over to the Hell’s Kitchen area; if you can’t find a restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen, your eyes are closed.

By this point we were just tired and the choices were overwhelming, sort of going to a restaurant like Chili’s or TGIFridays where there are so many things on the menu that you feel like your head might explode if you don’t just call out something like the Awesome Blossom in a hurry.

Then a gift was presented to us in the form of Thai food. We noticed a restaurant called Yum Yum.

P2210506 And then another one. And then a third one. That’s right, there were three Yum Yums, all within a block of one another. See?

Yum+yum That was awesome, so we decided to try Yum Yum Too. It was really pretty inside; nice ambiance.

P2210508 Jim ordered the Thai iced tea, which seemed to have coconut milk in it. He wasn’t crazy about it.

P2210509 We all got these gorgeous (and tasty!) spring rolls.

P2210510 For lunch I had Pad Thai. YUM YUM!

All in all, Yum Yum was indeed YUMMY YUMMY, and believe it or not, was the best meal for the price during our entire stay: for all four of us, it cost $30 plus tip, which included spring rolls, a main dish, and a drink. Great way to end a trip, food-wise! (But don’t worry, my pretties…the posts keep coming! Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post: “5th Avenue!” or, “How We Didn’t Meet The Donald”)



  • WeaselMomma

    That was really cool. I’ve seen the frozen Hot Chocolate on food network and the pad thai looked great! I liked this post so much that I’m not even going to mention the lack of cheesecake in the giveaway.

  • Always Home and Uncool

    All excellent food choices — especially Grimaldi’s. That’s one of my faves whenever I’m wandering the borough, which isn’t often enough.

  • Mom24

    I have Junior’s cookbook. How cool that you got to eat there. That’s really funny about the Yum Yum’s, and I think I have to go wipe the drool off my computer from that pizza picture. 🙂

  • Tom

    I’m still stuck on the pizza. Grimaldi’s, with the coal-fired brick ovens and all. I’m seriously wanting NY pizza right now. Some day, some day…

  • Oh My GOFF!

    um excuse me did i see O.M.G? on your blog.. you know that’s not what we say anymore!!!

  • Michelle

    Ahhhh… now THIS is my kind of post.

    And if Jim doesn’t want his Thai Iced Tea, I’ll take it ANY day. That is literally my favorite drink ever. E.V.E.R.

    And ummm I can so see Columbia offering such a program. Sadly.

    Juniors is definitely yum. We ate there, too 🙂 And enjoyed it. But that pizza? ooooh I makes me want to head into the city to find a special kind of pizza place, neopolitan maybe. What kind did you get? Was that a margherita with basil on top or some sort of spinach or?…

    And yum. Papaya. Yum.

    Hey, wanna plan a weekend for me when my friend from Seattle comes in next weekend? 😉 I just found out today he’s coming, but my husband is going to be gone most of the weekend, and I need to entertain him somehow.

  • Isabella

    Um…I should probably just check the intarwebz for the answer to this, but isn’t a “frozen” hot chocolate just a glorified chocolate milk?
    *checks the web*
    Oh, I see…milk and hot chocolate mix, basically.

    I think I need to consume one of these chocolate specimens – for research purposes only, of course.

  • Andie

    have you ever heard of spumoni gardens? I love their pizza. but grimaldi’s is pretty good, too.

    You need to go to Ferrara’s next time, too. They have the best sweets!

    and I wasn’t too impressed with Serendipity when I went there. I thought the frozen hot chocolate was way overrated. I guess I’m strange! LOL

  • The Microblogologist

    See I do not like deep dish so that pizza would probably make me happy, if I could eat pizza without getting sick (which currently I can’t). I’d eat the cheesecake if it were frozen, gotta be frozen =).

  • Katie

    Oh my goodness, the food!! One of my favourite parts about New York… On my first trip, I went with my mom, and I insisted that we go to Junior’s for a cheesecake breakfast on our last day there.

    On my second trip, my friend that I was staying with took me to Gray’s Papaya… Delish!

    On my third trip, I was with both my parents, and I suggested hot dogs at Coney Island, from… you guessed it: Nathan’s!

    I think I may have eaten at that Thai place at one point too, but I’m not 100% on the name anymore…

  • Anonymous

    One thing that was left out that you people deserve to know: I was defeated by a sandwich at Serendipity. I ordered some kind of chicken sandwich on raisin bread and I got a piece of bread with chicken stacked on top of it. I don’t feel ashamed though, because I had no freakin’ idea how to come at it. Just though you should know.

    The younger boy