Thursday, July 7, 2011

Getting My Eat on in New York City


My favorite movie line comes from Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds.
When Lt. Aldo Raine suggests to Bridget von Hammersmark blame her shoot-out injured leg on a mountain climbing accident because German actress, telling her “you [Germans] all like mountain climbing,” she retorts:

“ I like smoking, drinking, and ordering in restaurants, but I see your point.”

While smoking is a thing of the distant past for me, like von Hammersmark, I much prefer drinking and ordering and restaurants to mountain climbing. And so my vacations are not spent skiing in Aspen or horseback riding in Wyoming. I much prefer spending my precious downtime in the world’s great food cities. Just this past weekend, Mike and I celebrated the 4th of July holiday with a New York eatstravaganza imbibing and consuming at 13 different establishments over the course
of 48 hours.

Given this information, you might find it ironic that tonight at 8 CST I’ll be dishing out expert advice at a Healthy Child, Healthy World twitter party on eating healthily on vacation. That is until I share one additional detail. My home scale revealed yesterday that I lost two pounds during our Manhattan adventures.

Different people enjoy their time off in different ways. The idea of a beach vacation makes me itchy, as does a RV trip across country. Give me a world class city, a train pass, and Open Table, and I’m a heaven. So while I won’t be able to shed much light on navigating the cruise ship buffet tables or Middle America’s diners, I can give the following advice on how to indulge on vacation and remain healthy.

• It’s a simple proposition. If you want to eat more, exercise more. Leave your heels at home, pack a pair of comfortable shoes, and walk. In New York, we traverse the island largely on foot. If I’m traveling to a city not known for its walkability, I make sure to pack work out gear and find the exercise room.
• Eat micro meals. Instead or ordering the grass fed burger or the paella, look to the appetizers. A “meal” for us can be sharing a small order of biscuits and jams.
• Don’t over order. While the double order of soup dumplings may be tempting and the bottle price on the Pinot better than the glass cost, always go with the smaller option.
• Do your homework. Read up about your vacation destination and the food culture.
Even in some of the most unexpected locations, you’ll find restaurants serving local food and sustainably sourced ingredients.

Following these simple, common sense tips will allow you your vacation indulgences without blowing your diet making reentry into everyday life less painful.

New York Tips:
With my parents still living on Long Island, we have the pleasure of biannual travels to Manhattan. With a mix of Twitter recommendations, magazine research, and dumb luck, we always find some amazing places. This trip's gems were the following:

Goat Town: A tiny farm to table restaurant in East Village. My brunch was delicious and straightforward: two farm fresh eggs with yolks the color of tangerines. They were partnered with sautéed squash, polenta, creamy and nubby all at once, and grilled, buttered toasts. My sparkling sangria dotted with rhubarb and grapefruit was a happy start to a rainy Sunday.

Momofuko’s Milk Bar: An old favorite. I can’t resist the Compost cookie filled with pretzels, coffee grinds and chocolate bits.

Joe’s Shanghai: Thanks to Twitter, we learned about this Chinatown temple of soup dumplings. Sitting with a Chinese family, we learned how to poke the leathery skin, douse the filling with gingery soy and the pungent chili oil.


  1. Hi Melissa! I love this post, especially since I'm living just north of NYC right now and have barely explored all the fantastic places to eat. I wanted to do a "how to stay healthy while on vacation" post soon...would you mind if I quoted your advice (among other content) and provided a link to your blog?

  2. Absolutely, Courtney. I'd be pleased.


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