La Guardia

NYC: All about the Food

City of Dreams

This time, Mike and I traveled to NYC to celebrate my new promotion at work. For us, NYC was all about the food but here’s a recap of everything we did with some helpful pointers and tips. Watch me pack for 5 days in just a backpack!


We always fly Southwest for domestic travel. I found a new site called which helps you know if you are getting the best deal. With SW, you can always recheck your flights at any time and get a credit towards future travel if the price has dropped.

Upon arriving at the airport we grabbed 7-day metro passes for $34 each from a self-serve kiosk. This is all we needed for the entire trip. We mastered the subway pretty quickly but the pass also works for bus transportation as well.

Here are a few quick tips for the subway.

  1. The Transit and MoovIt apps both work in NYC. By day 2, my hubby had mastered the train schedule and just used the old fashioned transit map to see which line we needed to hop on.
  2. Be mindful if you are going “Uptown” or “Downtown”. Many times, once you enter a station, there is no underground way to cross to the opposite side of the track. You’ll have to go back out and across the street and you can’t re-enter a new station within 7 minutes of the last time your pass was scanned.
  3. Entrance gates are also exit gates. It’s sometimes a fun game to see who can get through first. You on this side or them on the other side. LOL!
  4.  Express lines are in the center track and they don’t stop at every station, so be careful not to hop on an express when you need to get off at a local station vs. an express station.
  5. The schedules change at midnight and trains do not run as often.

We had zero issues on the subway as far as safety is concerned and we were out as late as 1 am. There were a few instances of “begging” but no craziness.

Some of the tile art in the stations is quite pretty and we were treated to several music performances. The acoustics really are incredible in the subway.


I feel like we hit the jackpot with our AirBnB this time. It was in the SoHo area of Manhattan and close to everything, including 2 different subway lines, which was quite handy. The building was in a very nice and safe area of town and had PLENTY of restaurants nearby and a CVS, which we had to hit up on the first night because my eye drops ran out. It was a legit 1 bedroom apartment (not a studio) with a full bathroom (including a tub), bedroom, living space, and mini kitchen (apparently no one cooks in Manhattan according to our host). Christina was very kind and attentive to communication. She also showed us how to work the lights on the private outdoor patio, which was a cool perk.

SoHo Apartment Manhattan Patio

New to AirBnb? Start here.


Food is my favorite part of traveling and I knew we were in for a treat in NYC. Many of the restaurants were small so community tables or tables in close proximity were the norm. Since we were there in May the weather was great, and several places had opened up their patio dining! Wine bars are a big deal and quite common as are reservations, which are recommended through There were tons of options for gluten free dining, which is always a must for me! I did cheat once – keep reading to find out where.


Sadelle’s – This was one of our very first meals and it set the bar very high. This cafe prepares their own salmon so naturally I had the GF everything bagel with chive cream cheese spread. It was also served with tomatoes, cucumbers, and capers. It’s still one of the best things I ate all week.

gluten free bagel

Spring Natural Kitchen – We had brunch here on our last day and this restaurant wins for the fanciest-looking dish of the week. I had the Toast Royale which was GF bread topped with avocado, salmon, micro greens, a poached egg, and hollandaise sauce.

Spring Natural Kitchen

Olive’s – We popped in for coffee-to-go one morning, but they have other grab-n-go breakfast items as well.


Rubirosa – This was my favorite pizza in NYC! Their GF crust was buttery and delicious. We had the supreme pizza and it was the perfect size for 2 people.

gluten free pizza

La Esquina – This is 2 restaurants in one, I think. There is a sit-down restaurant as well as a cafe/quick service type service. I couldn’t quite figure it out but we were able to get some delicious tacos on GF corn tortillas pretty quickly before heading out to explore the city again. I tried the lamb, mushroom, and mahi mahi.


Katz’s Deli – It’s a week later and I am STILL thinking about the pastrami at this place. I ordered a salami omelet which wasn’t that great (no cheese). Mike split his sandwich with me which is what we should do next time as plan A. It was massive and full of perfectly seasoned, tender meat. The whole thing is quite an experience in general. Note that they are cash only.

pastrami sandwitch

Lombardi’s – This was Mike’s favorite pizza. They are the oldest pizzeria’s in NYC and they still use a coal-fired oven. I didn’t particularly like the sauce or the crust (and it wasn’t GF). I opted for the antipasto platter, which was one of the only gluten free items on the menu. WOW! It was full of choices but the tuna-stuffed peppers were my favorite. Also cash only.

Antipasto Platter

Charlie Bird – This was right across the street from our AirBnB. It’s primarily a wine bar with an interesting late night vibe. Their menu is pretty limited for GF diners but I was happy to have northern oysters with chili garlic vinagrette!

northern oysters

Peter Leuger – This is one of the oldest steak houses in the US and they dry age their meat. The menu is basic and a la carte but they did everything extremely well. This was the location we chose for our celebratory dinner. Reservations open up about 60 days in advance and fill up FAST! The only time we could secure was 4:45 pm. While the steak was fabulous, I was quite smitten by dessert. We had chocolate mousse and cheesecake and I still can’t decide which one was the best. Both may lose out to their house-made whipped cream. They brought out a huge bowl for us, which would have been a dessert on it’s own. This restaurant is also cash only.

Bar Bacon – A friend told us about this after we arrived and we knew we had to go! Every item on the menu has bacon. They were able to put the pork belly tacos on corn tortillas for me and they were delightful! We opted to dine at the location in Hell’s Kitchen.

Kingside – This was my last meal before leaving NYC. This sushi bar is inside terminal B of the airport and they have several nice options to choose from as well as a full bar. They also have a full restaurant location on 57th street.


The Beekman Hotel – We stopped in to see a friend who works here and had a drink at the bar. It’s a neat set up with vaulted ceilings and a library feel, plus our cocktails were delicious!

The Beekman Hotel

Little Cupcake Bakeshop – We happened across this by accident and I was delighted to see they had gluten free items. I had been craving a GF cupcake and the chocolate, peanut butter, banana was quite tasty!

gluten free cupcakes

Van Leeuwen – This was down near Pier 17. I enjoyed the peanut butter vegan ice cream with hot fudge topping while we waited for the sun to go down and then had an incredible view of the Brooklyn Bridge at night.

ice cream NYC

Amelie – This is primarily a French wine bar but we heard they had an incredible creme brulee. The rumors were true! They also had a fabulous chocolate mousse too!


Empire State Building – This was probably my favorite thing that we did. We purchased the day/night experience which allowed us a 2nd entry into the building after 9 pm. We were able to see the beauty of the city in two different lights. It was a gorgeous view both times!

empire state building  

Candlelight Catacomb Tour – Somehow we always end up at a cemetery – I don’t know how and I’ve stopped asking why. This tour at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral was super interesting and packed with a lot of New York history and fun facts. Our tour guide was fabulous!

Tommys New Yord

Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island – There are only 400 tickets per day to go up into the crown area, so you’ll need to reserve these online well in advance. The ferry ride over is quite nice too! We didn’t have a lot of time to spend at Ellis Island but it was neat to see it so that we could cross New Jersey off our list too.

Liberty Cruise Tour

America Museum of Natural History – Honestly, I don’t know if I’d go here again. Let’s just say it’s not like the movie. LOL!

Night at the Museum

MoMA – Artsy people will LOVE this museum. It wasn’t my favorite thing we did but it was super special to be able to see the actual Starry Night and Monet’s Lillies.


9/11 Memorial – We didn’t do the museum tour but we did visit the memorial pools, which are breathtaking and powerful. I highly recommend it as you really do have to see it in person to experience it fully.

Broadway – We didn’t see a show while we were there. There wasn’t anything we were dying to see but next time we will be sure to visit the TKTS Booth. There’s also the Broadway Lottery that you can do as well in hopes of getting tickets.


This was originally known as my 50K celebration but will officially go down as “the trip Mike tried to walk me to death.” Our very first day there, we walked 31,000 steps which beat our previous 1-day record by 10,000 steps. We are talking more steps than Disney or DC! Overall, we walked almost 30 miles in 4 days. Be sure to check out my video of the 5 things I couldn’t have lived without while we were in NYC.


Check out my other travel tips for various cities across the US.

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