New York Trip Planning Where to Eat

Last December, right around Christmas time, I tricked Meg into agreeing to go to an Adele concert with me at Madison Square Garden. And by tricked I mean, I asked her if she wanted to see Adele and conveniently left out the fact that the concert was actually in New York. Hehe, sorry Meg! Well about nine months later we finally made the quick trip north.

Meg’s wonderful cousin offered us free accommodations in Brooklyn, which gave us a little more money to spend on our food adventures (woho!). I’m an early riser and love to conquer the day when I’m on vacation, and Meg willingly indulged my need to see everything we wanted to see and more. My one regret is that some how we did not eat one sit down meal the entire time we were there — I guess there’s always next time!

After getting into New York by train late on Tuesday night, we started our day on Wednesday on a mission to find a few New York food staples — bagels and pizza. Now some might say we went a little overboard, but when you don’t have plans to revisit a city in the near future, you’ve got to squeeze in everything that you can.

Here’s a recap of everything we ate on our first full day in city — because let’s be real, that’s really the only thing we did on day one. – K

Tompkins Square Bagels

A good bagel is one of my all time favorite foods, and New York has the best bagels of anywhere I’ve ever been, so you know we had to take advantage. On previous trips to New York City, I’ve enjoyed Black Seed Bagels and H&H Bagels, so on this trip we decided to check out a spot new to both of us, Tompkins Square Bagels.

Tompkins Square Bagels NYC

This bagel shop in the East Village offers hand-rolled, kettle-boiled and oven-baked bagels which are showcased on their menu in a number of ways – plain, in breakfast sandwiches and in more savory sandwiches that are suitable for lunch and dinner. We ordered a breakfast sandwich to share, an everything bagel filled with bacon, egg and cheese. We couldn’t resist ordering a side of scallion cream cheese from their impressive cream cheese selection, which proved to be a great choice.

They only accept cash, but they do offer an ATM on site. -M

Dough Doughnuts

If you haven’t heard I sort of have an obsession with donuts, in fact I did a donut crawl earlier this year in Richmond for fun. I personally follow a couple of New Yorkers I admire on Instagram (aka they love donuts as much as I do) I asked for a recommendation on where to find the best donut in the city and I was told to get the hibiscus donut at Dough Doughnuts. This donut shop which started in Brooklyn is known for its flavors inspired by Latin America.
Dough Doughnuts New York

Although we were staying in Brooklyn it wasn’t super convenient for us to stop by the original location so we made our way to the City Kitchen location (700 8th Ave) on our walk to Central Park. After seeing the size of these donuts I came to terms with the fact that it only made sense to order one. The hibiscus icing had a more tart and fruity flavor than I expected — in a good way — and the actual donut was extremely pillowy. It had clearly been fried just earlier that morning and you could definitely taste how fresh it was. I highly recommend stopping at one of the four Dough locations or at Smorgasburg. -K

Joe’s Pizza

Located in Greenwich Village at 7 Carmine Street, Joe’s Pizza was recommended to us by multiple people on Instagram when we put out an ask for New York City recommendations, and we had a feeling they were on to something when we did a little research only to see that in 2009 GQ Magazine named Joe’s Pizza one of the “Best 25 Pizzas on Earth.” We shared a big slice of pepperoni pizza and with one bite, we both looked at each other and nodded like we had found exactly what we were looking for in a New York slice of pizza. Limited seating is available, so we ate our piece of pizza outside watching the hustle and bustle of the restaurant.

Joe's Pizza New York City

Joe’s Pizza does have two other locations, but the one on Carmine Street is the one you want to go if you’re looking for the original spot. It’s a good place to keep on the radar if you’re looking for a late night snack, as the restaurant is open until 4 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Even if you’re not heading to New York anytime soon, you can still get your Joe’s Pizza fix – they ship nationwide. -M

Pommes Frites

Okay, so we didn’t need french fries after eating a slice of pizza, but when famous french fries are only a two minute walk away, you just go for it. Pommes Frites specializes in Belgian style french fries, and I was thrilled to see that they were once again open in a new location after being closed on my last visit to the city.

pomme-frites-nyc

Frites here twice-cooked and available in three sizes, regular, large and double, and the portions are extremely generous. There are a number of different dipping sauces and garnishes on the menu to choose from. We ordered a regular order of frites with frites sauce, ketchup and raw onion on top, which came served in a traditional paper cone. -M

Xi’an Famous Foods

Xi’an Famous Foods got its start in Flushing, Queens but now has locations throughout Manhattan and even in Brooklyn. After being covered by the New York Times and a visit from Anthony Bourdain, you could say this place has become something of a phenomenon.

Xi'an Famous Foods Beef Noodle

The fast casual restaurant is known for its spicy dishes and hand-ripped noodles. I’ll be honest Xi’an Famous Foods is not for those with a weak stomach. If you like the spice in many of Peter Chang’s dishes you’ll love it here.

It was hard to zero in on just what dish to get, because I wanted to try everything, but we settled on the spicy & tingly beef hand-ripped noodles. The beef was flavorful and extremely tender, the noodles were perfectly cooked and the sauce was the kind of spicy that has you coming back for more. Without question, this dish is tied for my favorite thing I ate on our trip. If you are looking for a cheap, meal with a ton of flavor and you don’t mind getting a little messy, do yourself a favor and head to your closest Xi’an location. -K

Momofuku Milk Bar

Our last stop of the day was a trip to Milk Bar, the perfect way to cool our palates down after inhaling a plate of spicy noodles. By this point I think we were pretty stuffed and while I would’ve loved to try ALL of the various sweets (like the crack pie), Meg and I decided to share a small serving of the cereal milk ice cream.

Cereal Milk Ice Cream

If you are unfamiliar, Momofuku’s cereal milk is made by steeping toasted cornflakes in cold milk — which might sound a little weird, but I promise it is delicious. I was pleasantly surprised by how unsweet the soft serve was, as I expected it to be off the charts sweet. And you don’t have to live in New York to experience the joy that is Milk Bar, there is also a location in D.C.! -K

Wait, we did other things but eat?

So if you read through this entire blog post (congrats to you for being awesome) you might have wondered, is eating the only thing these girls did in New York? Well the answer is, kind of? We did squeeze in a few other activities on our first full day in Manhattan.

Around lunch time we made our way over to Central Park to people watch. The weather was gorgeous and after walking from bagels to donuts, taking a break from being on our feet was just what we needed.


After our day full of food adventures we headed over to Dumbo to meet Meg’s cousin Jimmy and his wife Liz at Etsy’s new office (she has a super cool job there). We headed straight up to the rooftop and caught a magical sunset on the last night of summer. The view of Manhattan’s skyline was nothing short of incredible (hint: to our bosses, can we have a rooftop too?).

Once our tour was over we walked over to Photoville, a photography festival organized in stacked shipping containers. Meg’s cousin that we were staying with, Amy, was one of the organizers of the festival and I think I speak for the both of us in saying that the festival was impactful and impressive. There were exhibits covering political issues like the Flint water crisis and the conflict in Syria and a super cute exhibit with rescue dogs wearing flower crowns. And we had a very serendipitous moment when we just happened to come across an exhibit put together by Richmond’s own Art 180. – K

new-york-city-at-night

And that was just day one! Stay tuned for day two of our New York adventures next week. Recapping our first day in NYC brings to light just how much we ate in one day, but to our credit, we did a lot of walking to get from one place to the next and shared at every stop along the way!

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If you didn’t notice, we’re back in Richmond after a great New York trip (more on that to come later this week)! I’m slowly recovering from a hectic, food filled vacation and a weekend celebrating the marriage of one of my favorite couples. But never fear, What’s Happenin’ Wednesday must go on…

What’s Happenin’ Wednesday

  • Robinson Street in the Fan is changing rapidly! Spoonbread Bistro opened last week in the former Jorge’s Cantina space and Secco Wine Bar’s new location looks ready to open any day now — and a sign posted on the door the restaurant will open on September 30! I can’t wait to see how they transformed the former Buddy’s space.
  • On the other side of the coin, Sugar Shack’s original location is currently closed for renovations, hopefully they’ll reopen by the end of the week. In the meantime if you need your donut fix you can visit one of Sugar Shack’s other locations or visit one of our other favorite donut shops.
  • Sunday was a sad day for sports fans, so in honor of the late Arnold Palmer, here’s the story behind the famous drink that shares his namesake.
  • I’m 99% sure that no matter what I do, I will always end up picking the SLOWEST line at the grocery store. Every time I go to Whole Foods I feel like I spend more time in the check out line than I did actually shopping and it drives me insane. Well, apparently there’s a way to pick the right check out line, one hint: try a line on the left side of the store.
  • It’s officially fall, so it might be time to ditch the watermelon salads for something a little more seasonal. Luckily, Bon Appetit has 20 pasta recipes perfect for fall. Sign me up for the orecchiette with squash, chiles, and hazelnuts.
  • And speaking of delicious pasta, Stella’s just announced that they’ll be opening a second location in Charleston in 2017.

What to add to your calendar

  • Guess what’s opening in Scott’s Addition this week?! That’s right, another brewery! Three Notch’d Brewing Company’s RVA Collab House officially opens on Saturday and is hosting a grand opening party from noon to 10 p.m.
  • Celebrate the history of Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward neighborhood all weekend with the 2nd Street Festival. This free event includes two days of music, food vendors, a marketplace and a kidzone. About 40,000 people are expected to attend so get out there and join the fun!
  • I mean, what could be better than coffee, pastries and puppies!? Tomorrow morning (Thursday) Ironclad Coffee Roasters is hosting LoveRVA Mornings: Love Pets with a little help from C&C’s Cinnamon Rolls and Idle Hands Bread Company. 100% of proceeds from the breakfast “event” will benefit the Richmond SPCA.
  • Reminder! This Saturday, Libby Hill will be your go to spot for barbecue, beer and bands, because it’s Hogtober time. Get there early to snag a spot on the grass and get ready to enjoy some delicious food. This event is family friendly but dogs (and other pets) are not allowed so please plan accordingly.
  • Rapp Session has started running hot dog specials every Monday during the MNF football game. And these aren’t just any dogs, so get them before they’re gone.

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brunch at millie's diiner

Whenever anyone is visiting Richmond and asks me where they need to eat while in town, I almost always suggest brunch at Millie’s Diner due to the fact that the food is ridiculously good and Millie’s is as consistent a restaurant as they come. Customers can always expect good food, good service and a comfortable atmosphere, and I love that there are no surprises here.

The restaurant has received well-deserved national attention from publications like Southern Living, Bon Appétit and The Wall Street Journal over the years and as Millie’s Diner celebrate its 27th year of business this year, one thing is for certain, they sure do have this brunch thing down to a science.

The Dish

Having brunch at Millie’s Diner is one of my favorite ways to settle in and enjoy a weekend morning. I love walking in past the small bustling kitchen through an often crowded waiting area and putting our name on the list knowing a good meal awaits.

brunch at millie's diner
On a recent visit for brunch at Millie’s Diner, I ordered none other than the eggs benny, a dish that comes with Smithfield country ham and two poached eggs on a grilled croissant with hollandaise sauce. Eggs benedict done right is one of my favorite brunch entrees, and in my opinion, Millie’s has one of the best renditions in Richmond. There’s just  something about the way the flaky, buttery croissant complements the perfectly cooked eggs, salty ham and creamy sauce that makes every bite of this dish perfection.

On this trip, Taylor ordered the grilled salmon which is served with two poached eggs, grilled asparagus and hollandaise sauce. All brunch items come with a side of Millie’s spicy breakfast potatoes, which are perfectly seasoned and served with grilled peppers and onions. Breakfast potatoes can be hit or miss, especially at a place where the entrees are so darn good, but the ones served up at Millie’s are a definite hit.

brunch at millie's diner
Our brunch entrees were $13 and $14 respectively, which is about the average cost for a brunch entree at Millie’s Diner. The portion sizes here are very generous, and while the fare at Millie’s Diner is a bit more expensive than what you might pay on a visit to your average diner, it will take only one bite to understand why paid a few more dollars for your meal.

The most ordered items on Millie’s brunch menu are probably their different variations of frittatas, including the Veggie Mess, Cajun Mess and Castro’s Mess and the always popular Devil’s Mess, which is an open-faced omelet that include spicy sausage, onions, green peppers, garlic, tomatoes and mild curry, melted white cheddar and avocado. Every tabletop include a menu decoder that describes each of the various messes in detail so customers can know exactly what they can expect on their plate.

If I can ever pull myself away from ordering the eggs benny (wish me luck!), I already have an ordering game plan in mind: the soft scrambled eggs and lobster, which comes served with bacon, tomatoes, mushroom, puff pastry and hollandaise.

If you visit Millie’s Diner

brunch at millie's diner
Millie’s Diner is located at 2603 E Main St, Richmond, VA 23223. The restaurant is is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 10:30 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m and Sunday from from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m serving brunch, lunch and dinner.

You can view their reservation policy here, but the most important thing to know is that they don’t take reservations for Saturday and Sunday brunch, so if you don’t want a wait, get there early – as in right when they open early or you might be waiting in line for an hour or more. There is a silver lining if you do encounter a long wait: you can enjoy a refreshing bloody mary or mimosa while you’re waiting for a table.

Have you ever been to brunch at Millie’s Diner? We’d love to hear your favorite menu item in the comments below!

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What's Happenin' Wednesday

Live from New York, it’s What’s Happenin’ Wednesday!

  • ICYMI: We’re spending the next few days exploring New York City while in town for an Adele concert. If you have any must eat spots you want to share with us, we’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below! Something tells me we might be in for a Ginger Juice cleanse after our trip…
  • In celebration of their 27th anniversary, Millie’s Diner is now offering a permanent three course prix fixe menu for $27, every night of the week. If it’s anything like the rest of their offerings, we know it’s going to be delicious. Also, if you’re a fan of Millie’s, keep an eye out for an upcoming post on their brunch, coming soon to the blog!
  • With all the craziness in the world, it’s always nice to see a heartwarming story in the news. I loved reading this one last week about an 89 year old man who’s been selling popsicles in Chicago for as long as anyone can remember. A customer who admired the man’s work ethic started a GoFundMe page which raised nearly $400,000 for the man and his family in days.
  • From the Richmond Times-Dispatch: The Blue Goat is shutting down on January 1. After that, the doors will be shut for a few weeks before EAT Restaurant Partners opens a Chinese restaurant in the space. As a big fan of The Blue Goat, I’m sad to see the spot go but excited to see what’s next!
  • The new fall menu at Kitchen On Cary kicks off in October and I am drooling over the sound of the Virginia sampler platter, which includes pork skins with house pimento cheese, sweet potato biscuits with surry ham, fried Chapel Creek oysters and spicy Hub’s peanuts.
  • Hot diggity dog! Our favorite hot dog spot, Stroops, just announced they are now offering happy hour Tuesday – Friday from 3-8 p.m. Deals include $1 off seasonal dogs and specials on beer and wine. See you there?
  • In non-food related news, Taylor and I recently bought our first house (yay!) and I have to give a shout out to the Houzz app and website for providing me with all sorts of home decorating inspiration. One of my favorite ways to use it so far has been to search for the name of a specific paint color and to see how it actually translates to different living spaces. We’ve made so many trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot that I’m starting to recognize the employees and I don’t think there is an end in sight!

What to add to your calendar

  • Tomorrow is National Ice Cream Cone Day, which seems like a pretty good excuse to #treatyoself if you ask me!
  • Maymont’s Dooley Noted Society is hosting the annual Beer & Wine Classic this Friday, and Mother Nature has things looking pretty perfect for an evening outside. Additional details about the ticketed event can be found here.
  • RVA MakerFest is taking place this Saturday, September 24 from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. at the Science Museum of Virginia. The focus of the free and family-friendly event is interactive demonstrations from a number of makers from around RVA. Bonus: local food and craft beer will be available!
  • Save the date for OystoberFest, one of my favorite food festivals, which is coming up this year on Saturday, October 15 from noon to 6 p.m. at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Ginter Park. Whether you’re looking for your oysters to be fried, steamed or raw, they have every variety!
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Okay, we’re not actually moving to New York City but Megan and I are finally traveling together, and we’re taking a mini vacay up north this week. I haven’t been to New York in at least five years so I’m extremely excited to see how the city has changed.

We’ve started planning a pretty intense Google Map with all of our key points of interest — including Madison Square Garden for the Adele concert on Thursday (yay!). As you can see we’ve got a couple of pretty important categories of food that are a must have during a trip to New York — bagels, pizza and all kinds of sweets.

And we will admit, Instagram photos have been extremely helpful in supplementing our restaurant research. Here are a few that have piqued our interest!

A photo posted by Roberta’s (@robertaspizza) on

But we know there’s only so much research we can do before our heads start spinning. And we know that some of our readers probably have their own favorite spots in New York, so we’re hoping you’ll send your recommendations our way!

We’re looking for both food and activity recommendations so please leave your thoughts in the comments below, Instagram message us, Facebook us or tweet us. P.S. a best burger recommendation would be greatly appreciated, poor Salvation Burger, which was at the top of our list, is closed for renovations following a kitchen fire earlier this year. P.P.S if anyone can hook us up with Hamilton tickets, we’ll name our unborn children after you!

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Matchbox Short Pump Mini Meatballs

Pizza fans get excited, because Matchbox is opening today in Short Pump! I’ve been familiar with the Matchbox brand of restaurants for some time now, and I’ve visited the original location in Chinatown near the Verizon Center in D.C. on a few occasions.

Matchbox is known for its wood fired pizzas and mini burgers and has slowly been expanding its footprint in Virginia and beyond since 2003. Last weekend, I was able to attend an opening event and sample some of the many food options that will be available seven days a week.

Matchbox Pizza Short Pump

One thing you might have noticed driving around Short Pump lately, is the beautiful building Matchbox built in place of the old Chili’s. The interior of the restaurant is just as eye catching as the outside and the patio is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink and a quick bite to eat after work.

Matchbox Short Pump Patio

As summer winds down and the comfortable fall weather rolls around, I’ll bet this patio will be packed every day of the week. And with the added bonus of space heaters overhead, patio season will surely be extended into some of the colder months of the year at Matchbox.

The Dish — Matchbox Short Pump

Matchbox PIzzas

Matchbox Mini Burgers

Short Ribs Matchbox

Three of my favorite dishes from the opening party were the mini burgers, the mini meatballs and the braised short ribs (which don’t appear to be on the Richmond menu — at least in the way they were served at the event). One of the things I found interesting about the mini burgers was how simple yet flavorful they were. At the event, the minis were served plain — just a brioche bun, angus beef and a pickle and they were delicious. I was convinced I was going to want cheese, ketchup or some kind of sauce and these didn’t need any of that.

Matchbox Cheesecake

And for dessert the cheesecake is definitely worth mentioning, which was thoroughly vetted by Matchbox’s chief operating officer who previously worked as the president of Cheesecake Factory — and I am not embarrassed to admit that I love a good slice of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake.

Matchbox (located at 11720 W Broad St.) will be open on weekdays at 11 a.m. and 10 a.m. on the weekends for brunch. Happy hour includes both food and drink specials and will run Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. And most diets can be accommodated with gluten sensitive and vegetarian pizza options. Reservations for both large and small parties can easily be made online and call ahead seating is also available.

Is there anything you love at Matchbox? Give us your order recommendations in the comments below.

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