Beckoning on the tired, poor and huddled masses, the Statue of Liberty stands guard over the nation’s largest city. Had Emma Lazarus guessed what this city would become, she might also have thought to include “the hungry” in her poem, an appropriate addition considering the multi-cultural metropolitan mecca that New York City is in modernity, known, amongst other things, for its food, both haute cuisine and Central park-side street fare.
Making the short list of famous things to eat while in the Big Apple are the likes of New York-style pizza (thin crust, crisp and bubbled on the bottom, yet soft enough to fold one large cheesy slice for the eating), fresh from the oven bagels, Pastrami on Rye, Waldorf salad, New York-style cheesecake, Manhattan chowder and a long list of ethnic eats often done better here than in their country of origin - just head to Chinatown or Little Italy if you don’t believe us. And what visit to the City that Never Sleeps would be complete without a good cocktail party? Though the Manhattan is clearly NYC in origin, there are other concoctions of mixed lineage, that are nonetheless almost New York enough to be considered native, from the Cosmopolitan to the Bloody Mary via a long list of whimsical twists to the classic Martini.
With a clear head, set off to explore the rest of the state, steering for the Finger Lakes region, which has in recent years become a significant tourist destination for its culture and its wineries, which do well with cool-climate varietals like Riesling and Gewurztraminer. Look also for reds such as Cabernet Franc or Pinot Noir and locally crafted brandies, vodkas and microbrews as you sip your way around this scenic part of the state.
While just about everyone knows that Buffalo hot wings, available around the Western world, hail from Buffalo, there are a number of local specialities that can be downright hard to find outside their place of origin, including this city’s own “beef on weck” (thin slices of roast beef piled high on a Kummelweck, a Kaiser roll, served with fresh horse radish and au jus). Take Rochester’s “garbage plate”, for another, a mixed, messy plate packed with a food assortment that can only be called comprehensive: think burger, cheeseburger, Italian sausage, steak, chicken, grilled cheese sandwich, fried fish, eggs, or white hots (a pork hot dog) served over fries, beans or macaroni salad. Salt potatoes are popular in Syracuse during summer months, while it’s chicken riggies (aka Utica riggies, a dish of rigatoni pasta, chicken and peppers in a spicy tomato cream sauce) in the Utica-Rome region and “Michigan” hot dogs, steamed dogs served in a bun and smothered in a rich meat “sauce”, in Plattsburgh.
Sure, New York has world-class museums, but when it comes to the munchies, there are just as many world-class ways to fill the void.