Sara, me and our friend Abdullah, who we wet at a party in Brooklyn and that we adopted in our freak circus !
While we were in New-York, we chose to stay in the south of Manhattan. Yes, it’s quite expensive, and finding something was a whole battle of its own. Two weeks before leaving, we still didn’t have a clue where we would be sleeping, when suddenly, as we were frantically checking Airbnb (yup, some New-Yorkers still take the risk and break the law), we found Mike’s ad. Mike is a New-Yorker born from Chinese parents, and he has a couple of places in NYC. The guest house that we chose was in Chinatown. The idea of a guest house is that you have your own private room, but you share the kitchen and the bathrooms with up to 6 other people, which was actually really okay. We paid 80$ for a night, which is incredibly low for the City, and the place was great : the room was clean, with a very comfy bed, and on top of that Mike and his wife Vanessa were the most adorable hosts and helped us whenever we needed it.
The only downside of Chinatown is the noise : it’s a hell of a mix of screams, whistles, klaxons, and it starts at 7 am. We were sleeping on the 2nd floor and our windows were single glazed, so needless to say our nights were rather short.
Nevertheless, if I had to do it again, I would. I can only recommend it to you if you’re visiting NYC, whether you’re travelling alone, with your significant other or with friends, the value for money is simply unbeatable. And don’t forget to say hi from me !
So, Chinatown ! I personally loved it. Of course, there’s the smells, the fish markets, the spitting, and most people don’t really speak english… But it felt kind of exotic, being there really felt like living in China inside of New-York.
Since we were there everyday, I kinda forgot to take pictures, which I deeply regret now, because I wish I could have shown you the temple-shaped McDonalds, the lantern-styled streetlights, the street names written in chinese… but also the amazing fresh vegetables, the fish swimming in the restaurants’ windows…
Photo/ Angela L. via Foursquare
Vanessa’s Dumpling House
We actually had asian food only once, but damn, we did it right !
Since we didn’t want to go to any random place (and take the risk to get sick) I was checking our Foursquare reviews in our neighborhood, when I found a place rated 9.4 (!!!) called Vanessa’s Dumpling House, which was basically some kind of asian snack. We decided to go for it and it was amazing ! I had a full dinner for 5$ – yay to the 4 fried dumplings for 1$! – all fresh and tasty. The vegetable noodle soup was great too, and the pancakes/sandwiches looked pretty awesome too – unfortunately I had to make choices.
We went for take out, but you can also eat there (though it’s pretty busy and loud inside).
Photo/ Stan S. via Foursquare
Feeling hungry now ? Well, wait for it because it’s gonna get worse ! Let’s walk north to the Lower East Side and the East Village, where you can find a whole bunch of great places to eat. Foodies’ paradise, kinda, and cherry on the cake, in general it’s pretty cheap. Anyway, let’s check it all out !
Photo/ Wolfnights via Foursquare
The specialty here is wraps ! But let me tell you right away, they have nothing to do with that chicken-curry crap from the supermarket. At Wolfnights, even the pancakes are homemade, right in front of you at the counter. What about what’s inside ? Well, whatever you choose, you’ll get an original mix of fresh ingredients, with delicious sweet accents. Perfect for a quick and satiating lunch or dinner !
Photo/ Campbell K. via Foursquare
The Meatball Shop
Ok, this is one of the places I loved the most in New-York ! The concept is simple : choose your dish (sliders, sandwiches…), your kind of meat (beef, pork…), your sauce, your side dish (mashed potatoes, veggies, pasta, foccacia…), tick it all on the menu with your erasable marker, and a few minutes later, enjoy a delicious (almost) custom-made meal at a very fair price. On top of that, their personnel is adorable and the music is pretty dope (while I was sitting there, I heard Frank Ocean, Aaliyah, Destiny’s Child…).
Since my pictures were too dark to show, here’s a compilation of the most luscious pictures I found on their Foursquare page :
Photo/ E M via Foursquare
Photo/ Ariel S. via Foursquare
Photo/ Gemma L. via Foursquare
Good to know : there is usually a line and you might have to wait a while before you can get a table. So if you’re in a hurry : they also do take out !
Katz’s was made famous by When Harry Met Sally – and in case you didn’t see it in your guide, there a big sign right in the middle of the restaurant to remind you. But for New-Yorkers, it’s mostly known for being the Mecque of all the meat lovers : its pastrami sandwich is world famous, so I had to have it ! Here’s a picture that will help you understand how big of a deal it is :
They also have less-fat dishes (I wouldn’t say « lighter »), like turkey sandwiches, but let’s be honest : you’re not going there if you’re on a diet.
It’s not cheap, it’s definitely pretty fat and filling, but man, it’s so damn good ! Meat lovers, go for it !
Photo/ Doug K. via Foursquare
Let’s finish with one of the only places that we discovered by chance ! Indeed, every other restaurant pick was the result of many Foursquare searches through all the places above 8. But this time, with no internet available, we had to follow our instincts. So after walking around for a bit and staying out of all kinds of weird places, we ended up sitting on the terrace of a place called Bareburger, which sign basically claimed “AWESOME ORGANIC BURGERS AND CRAZY MILKSHAKES” (close enough). The menu offers a large variety of burgers with all kinds of meat, buns and side dishes, but we went for a classic a chose a cheeseburger with fries. The food was really tasty, and the fries pretty decent, those were 15$ well spent !
Now before I leave you to your long week-end, two pictures we took during our walks in the neighborhood…
(And yes, just because we’re on Jersey Street)
You can find all those places and many more on my New-York Foursquare list !