Obviously the first meal I ate in New York had to be a bagel smothered in inches of luscious cream cheese. So, we stopped at Murray’s Bagels in the Village on 6th Ave, with another location in Chelsea on 8th Ave. Murray’s seriously has it all from bagels to coffee, to soups, to a ridiculously long spread of cream cheese options; you’ll be certain to find something you’ll like here. If you’re going for a bagel, be sure to come hungry because these things are HUGE...at least the size of my head to be exact. From sweet to savory, there are endless combinations of bagels and cream cheese that could be created. For those with their health in mind, Murray’s also has some gluten free options provided by Udi’s gluten free bakery as well as vegan cream cheese from Tofutti. Normally I’d go for the healthier option, but I wanted the full bagel experience so I ordered the salt bagel with scallion cream cheese, which turned out to be a killer combination. The bagel was thick and chewy while that cream cheese was as fluffy and luxurious as I imagined it to be. The coarse sea salt chunks on top of the perfect golden bagel actually complimented the oniony scallion cream cheese perfectly. Pictured to the top left of the photo was an everything bagel with Tofutti cream cheese, creamy peanut butter, and jelly (also a knockout combo). And to the right of the picture is a gluten free bagel with Tofutti vegetable cream cheese. Though healthier than the real deal, these bagels didn’t disappoint.
Next stop was at Serafina’s in the Upper West Side, with multiple locations all through New York. It wasn’t necessarily on my list of places to eat, but it sure did impress me for being a restaurant we just stumbled upon. To start out, we ordered the Arugula E Parmigiano salad composed of baby arugula, bright cherry tomatoes, and massive pieces of salty shaved Parmigiano cheese. Tossed together in a light, tangy, and sweet fig vinaigrette, this salad hit all the notes of crisp, salty, and sweet being a great way to begin the meal.
As the majority of Serafina’s menu consisted of pizza, we felt it’d be wrong if we didn’t order one. We ordered the Portofino pizza with a thin tomato sauce base, gooey mozzarella cheese, a swirl of homemade pesto, and topped with crunchy roasted pine nuts. This pie was simple, yet outstanding. A thin crust with perfectly burnt ends was an incredible carrier for the pile of melted cheese, fresh pesto and nutty pine nuts being a divine Italian pizza.
The last morning on our trip we stopped at The Smith in Lincoln Square (with other locations in Midtown, East Village, and NoMad) for brunch. With a chic and modern black and white interior, the design of the restaurant had me excited for the food to come. For breakfast I ordered the Ranchero Scramble, which was two scrambled eggs atop black beans, melted cheddar, on corn tortillas all smothered in chipotle salsa and creamy avocado. This dish was the ideal Mexican style breakfast that I always love, with a side of crispy, spiced home fries I was in brunch heaven.
My sister absolutely swears by the avocado toast here being the best in the business… and let me tell you, she’s not wrong! Deliciously ripe avocados mashes together with a squeeze of lemon juice smothered over two pieces of lightly browned organic whole wheat toast, topped with the perfectly poached egg and garnished with local greens and red pepper flakes, this toast is life changing. From the crunch of the bread to the creamy and tangy avo spread with a fresh bite of the greens contrasting the gooey yolk, this dish is perfectly balanced. Overall, The Smith has absolutely incredible brunch options, even their scrambled eggs with lightly dressed greens and homemade sausage is an impressive brunch you won’t want to miss.