Here are places I would go if I could be in NYC right now.... I'll try to go to by the end of summer or for Canadian Thanksgiving.
Fist of all, I would have brunch at my FAVORITE restaurant, Café Habana in Soho. It's tiny, hot and delicious. Authentic Cuban food, such as the delicious grilled corn pictured above, really friendly service and great people watching. You might have to wait for a table but it's worth it! Best of all, it's really cheap by New York standards. Afterwards, I would head to the New Museum on Bowery just down the street.
Café Habana, 17 Prince Street.
I am DYING to try out Beauty & Essex in the LES. Owned by Chris Santos, the same guy who brought to us the fabulousness that is Stanton Social, it is probably one of the most entertaining places to go to these days. The entrance is thru a retro-chic pawn shop and the interior is decked out with giant chandeliers and other lovely things. Another pro (if you happen to have a vagina), there is a FREE champagne bar for ladies! Reservations are essential unless you want to eat at midnight.
Beauty & Essex, 146 Essex street
Post dinner, delicious cocktails should be in order, and thank God New York is pretty much the epicenter of gourmet cocktails. These guys take their shit seriously, bartenders having fancy titles such as "mixologists".
I would love to try Death & Co. I think their cocktails would really pack a punch. And the "mixologists" look pretty delicious too.
Death & Co. 433 East 6th street
Probably a New York classic by now, PDT (aka Please Don't Tell) is part of the whole "speakeasy" trend, but they really take it seriously. You have to call in the afternoon to make a reservation. They tell you at what time you can come and of course you feel blessed to have such a chance. Once you get there you walk thru Criff Dogs, their hot dog stand cover front with a lovely "Eat Me" street sign, and go into a phone booth, knock, and the back opens to reveal a true speakeasy. Weirdly enough, the ceiling looks allot like the one at Death & Co. but it is just such a funny experience to come here. And wow, the drinks are REALLY strong and REALLY good.
PDT 113 St Marks Place, (212)614-0386
Another classic, Pastis in the Meatpacking district is a beautiful French bistro that you may recognize from Sex and the City... But don't be fooled by its cinematic fame, the food is impeccable! Great for drunken brunch with Bellinis and Bloody Mary's, especially with a Nicoise salad or Chicken Paillard.
Pastis 9 9th avenue
I have been obsessed with going to one of the Momofuku group's restaurants ever since I heard about the opening of Ma Pèche (second photo). Chef/owner David Chang is a genious, bringing refined Korean food to america with the Momofuku Noodle Bar (first photo), Momofuku Ssaam Bar, Momofuku Milk Bar, and soon, Momofuku Toronto! I would go to any of his restaurants, I just ADORE Korean food, especially in a super minimalist modern space!
Being in Europe for so long, I am absolutely dying for a good burger. I think I have found my meat soulmate: the Shake Stack Burger from the legendary Shake Shack. It is a delectable cheeseburger with a deep fried portobello and cheese nugget. There are multiple locations, but the best one would be the original in Madison Square Park right next to the Flatiron building.
Last but not least... I am really craving the spicy chicken wings at Spice Market. Giant, crispy and served with a side of salt & peppered mango, it is the ultimate chicken wing! And I a defs not a wings kind of guy lol.