Sunday 22 March 2009

We'll have Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island too...

Brancusi exhibit

O HAI... I'm sorry I haven't been tending to the backlog of reviews I have up my sleeve, I've just been a little preoccupied LOOKING FOR APARTMENTS TO RENT IN NEW YORK! Yes, I am NYC-bound in June and needless to say, I'm deliriously excited about my upcoming holiday and can't stop singing jaunty NYC-centric showtunes, much to the irritation of those around me.

Brownstones in Brooklyn

Our plans only crystallised a week ago, but now the tickets and annual leave have all been booked: best-friend-K and I are going to be in New York for FIFTEEN GLORIOUS DAYS, and then I'm going to my beloved San Francisco for five days, chiefly to see my dear friend E. Rather than stay in a wallet-gougingly expensive New York hotel b-f-K and I are going to sublet an apartment (we're thinking downtown Manhattan or parts of Brooklyn), so I've been scouring Craigslist, VRBO, HomeAway and AirBnB, and have found lots of gorgeous places to put on the shortlist to show b-f-K when she gets back from Timor-Leste.

San Francisco skyline downtown

If anyone has any foodie tips (or recommended blogs) for New York or San Francisco, they'd be GREATLY appreciated. I've been to both cities before and have already done most of the obvious touristy stuff, so any other slightly unusual non-foodie tips are also welcomed!

View of Coit Tower and Bay Bridge

We have booked our apartment! We're going to be staying Williamsburg, Brooklyn, just one block from the Bedford L subway in a private, bright and sunny, top floor loft with a sunken living area with high ceilings, wood floors and white washed brick walls, located in one of Williamsburg's original brick warehouse loft buildings. The loft has wi-fi and a claw foot bathtub! I've ALWAYS wanted to have a bath in a claw foot bathtub but never have (I think my fascination with them stems from the fact that I was scared of them as a child). Here are some pics, eeeee so excited!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Claire,

I've been planning a trip to NYC too, and have been obsessively researching all things food related. I've found Chowhound's Manhattan board very useful:

Two great blogs I've discovered are The Girl Who Ate Everything, and Amateur Gourmet:

I also really like Ed Levine's reviews on Serious Eats:

Hope you have an amazing trip. Love your blog and can't wait to read your NYC posts!


OohLookBel said...

You lucky thing! Sounds like you'll have a fab time.
Chowhound ( has topic boards for various cities (and countries) that might be useful for food recommendations.

Mel said...

Hi Claire,

Am currently lucky enough to be living in New York working for 6 months! I recently had a friend who stayed with me for a day or two, and we found the following gems:

Bespoke Chocolate ( - try the Pretzel-covered sea-salted caramel. It. Is. Amazing.

H&H Bagels on upper west side is possibly the best bagels in town.

claire said...

Hi Blair,
Thanks so much for the tips! I've been following Amateur Gourmet for a while but wasn't aware of the others. They're now all added to the new 'NYC' folder in my Google Reader!
So when are you going to NYC?

Thanks Belle! It appears I'm going to have to get very familiar with Chowhound in the next three months... :)

AHA Mel, so that's why your blog has been so silent (I moved you to the 'Dormant' folder in my Google Reader)!
I will MOST DEFINITELY try the pretzel-covered sea-salted caramel, sounds to die for. And I went to H&H Bagels on the UWS on my last trip to NYC, but will revisit! Thanks for tips!

Anonymous said...

I'm heading off in late April. I'll be visiting San Francisco too. I already have more restaurants I want to visit than days available! I might even blog about it if I can work up the guts to start one of these things!

Anonymous said...

How very exciting Claire! :) It's been so long since I have been to NY but I would love to visit Sprinkles and some of the fabulous delis ad just for a special night, Jean Georges.

Mel said...

Indeed it has been dormant, though in my travels, I have definitely enjoyed keeping up with the happenings through your blog :-)

It sounds like you know how to get around et all in NYC, but if you perchance would like an extra mouth to try everything with around town, let me know, i'm around til july :-)

Have fun planning your trip!

Johanna GGG said...

sounds v exciting news - I don't have recommendations (although I think I enjoyed dojos in East Village on trip there about a decade ago but am too vague to be sure) - but I look forward to hearing how you go!

claire said...

Oooh yes Blair, do set up a blog and write up your overseas experiences! Or failing that, tell me about them on Twitter. Or failing that, please email a list of places and scores out of 10. :)

Hi Lorraine! I fear Jean Georges will be laughably beyond my price range, alas... :)

Mel: in the words of Sarah Palin, you betcha. Would be great to catch up with a (former) fellow Melbourne food blogger in the Big Apple! Will email closer to my departure...

Hey Johanna! One of the apartments on our shortlist of 7 is in the EV... when we've settled on a place I'll add a link to it. :)

Unknown said...

Hey Clair - native New Yorker here. I'd also recommend looking at subletting in Astoria, Queens (which happens to be where I live). It's close to Manhattan (about 20 min on the subway), not nearly as expensive as Manhattan, refreshingly multiethnic and host to lots of yummy food. All of Queens fits the above bill, to be true - except the close to Manhattan part.

e_ting / e 婷 said...

Hi Claire, I love your blog - I get pangs of food/homesickness whenever I read it.

Re NYC, you're so lucky to be going - when/if you miss Melb cafe culture, try Cafe Falai in SoHo.

As others have said, chowhound is great, but don't miss either, especially for opening/closing buzz - think of it as a more dynamic Espresso section in Epicure. There's also for San Fran.

Have an awesome time!

e_ting / e 婷 said...

sorry - forgot to add that New York Magazine ( is essential reading for everything from food to fashion, politics to real estate.
For restaurants in partic.:

Also read up on Frank Bruni's reviews - the godlike food reviewer of the NYTimes:

claire said...

Hi Drew, thanks for the tip! As a local, you will be hassled by me for further tips in the future. :)
We have however now booked accommodation in Brooklyn! But I'm really keen to explore all five boroughs.

Hi E, thanks so much for your tips, and glad you like the blog! I'm starting to immerse myself in these NY and SF foodie forums.
Oh, and I always read the column in NY Mag written by the girls from Go Fug Yourself - I'll now expand my readership to encompass other articles too... :)

Fenn said...

Hi Claire,

(I love your blog, btw - finally some decent/independent foodie content in Melbourne!)

I'm a Melbournite currently living in the bay area in california (though actually leaving in 3 days).

I can't comment much on NYC, but I have eaten a bit/quizzed others in SF (nowhere near as much as I'd have liked).

The general consensus seems to be that chowhound is probably the best resource (don't trust Yelp! Use urbanspoon for that sort of thing). Consistently highly rated:

Generally speaking, I've found it hard to match Melbourne produce/variety (at least at any comparable price) but SF is a LOT better than a lot of the US.

Pesce ( is great for a not-hugely expensive option - I recommend definitely trying the wasabi/horseradish oyster shot - really nicely executed.

Also, no foodie visit to SF is complete without a trip to the Ferry Building:

Enjoy the US!



Anonymous said...

You must do the Greenwich Village Gourmet Walking Tour it was fantastic, the guide had an amazing amount of local knowledge. You can book at

claire said...

Hi Fenn, thanks so much for all your Bay Area tips! I love eating out in San Francisco, it's such a fabulous city. :)

Hi anonymous, thanks. Someone else has recommended the Greenwich Village Walking Tour to me, I'll look into it.

whitney said...

I'm sorry, I cant' help myself. I'm away from NYC at the moment, so I really enjoy reminiscing about the food. I can get lost looking for restaurants on and you can look up any of these restaurants there.
Go to Cafe Habana on Prince St. for breakfast on a weekday. You'll be tempted to go on the weekend when there's a line out the door for brunch, but a weekday is cheaper and you have room to move your elbows (much more enjoyable). If you want to be part of the crowd waiting for brunch on the weekends in the Soho area, wait for Cafe Gitane.

GO for lunch to Lovely Day. Order the salmon with orange sweet potatoes or the pad see ew. Yes, they do American home cooking AND Thai and I can never decide between them. I'm serious. It's a hidden gem. Or if you're in a more authentic mexican mood, head down Elizabeth st. to the underground Cafe El Portal. And get a Bahn Mi at Bánh Mì Saigon (it's in the back of a jewelry store).

You've probably done the touristy chinatown thing, but if you're in the area, get soup dumplings at New Green Bo. Also get some tea at any random Chinatown bakery.

Also, my favorite breakfast is at Good Enough to Eat on the upper west side. Good for homemade pie and coffee too. Oh there are so many many more..Enjoy. Meanwhile, I'll daydream of Sunday morning french toast at Degraves.

claire said...

Whitney, I love love love the tips you gave me, thank you so much!!
A friend of mine was telling me about Cafe Gitane just the other day. And Lovely Day, Cafe El Portal, Bánh Mì Saigon and Good Enough to Eat all sound great too. Once again, thanks! :)

priscillad said...

hello - I am a new reader of your blog. I have just returned to Melb after 11 years in Sydney, so I am finding your blog a wonderful resource.

If you are staying in Williamsburgh, I recommend you go to Diner where I had one of my all-time favourite meals:
- the ambience, the food, the decor...all excellent.

Also in Brooklyn, in Carroll Gardens go to Petite Crevette

And in Red Hook, go to Hope & Anchor for brunch and The Good Fork for dinner:

Brooklyn has so many amazing eateries and bars. Have a wonderful time!

claire said...

Hi priscilla, thanks so much for your tips! I'm writing down the details of all of the venues people have suggested in a designated little notebook.
Glad you like the blog! :)

Anonymous said...

Whoa - Another foodie from OZ going to San Fran and New York!

My GF are looking to do the same (and also washington)in Oct this year.

Will be very interested in reading how it goes as we are yet to finetune what we want to do

We did some early planning via google maps, and looked at some other peoples ''foodie' maps and compiled a biggish list we will choose from

Would be interested in reading what corresponds with what you may be going to.

San Fran,-122.397995&spn=0.214551,0.444946&z=12

New York,-73.972664&spn=0.411476,0.889893&z=11


Joey Egger said...

I lived in Melbourne now live in Brooklyn. The food and bar scene where I live remind me so much of Melbourne, I rather feel at home here.

Here's a couple of new Carroll Garden must trys -

PRIME MEATS 465 court street brooklyn
Great German food, beer, and don't get me started on the atmosphere. Hot moustached guys in vests?

BUTTER MILK 524 court street.
Don't even get me started on how good the food is here. No reservations taken, but just hang out at 'mini bar' down the road until your table is ready. A must-try.

claire said...

Hi Anonymous and Joeyegger - thanks for the tips (and maps)! Less than two weeks to go now, will write down your suggestions in my notebook. :)