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First time in New York – a chef on the road. What shouldn't I miss

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Hi all!

I'm spending this weekend in NYC for my first time ever! I know there's food (and opinions) everywhere, but I'd love to have a grasp of what things I absolutely shouldn't miss. I'm on a budget, so I need to choose wisely-- if there was a fancy place that was life-changingly-worth-it, I'd consider it, but I'm ideally looking for smaller, cheaper thrills by the dozen.

So, have at 'er: a professional foodie, first time in NYC, staying in Manhattan three days. What should I move heaven and earth to experience?

Torrence O'Haire - Private Chef, FMSC Tablemaster, Culinary Scholar

"life is a combination of magic and pasta"

-F. Fellini

"We should never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal."

-J. Child

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I don't live in NY so I'm sure there are more qualified people than me to answer this, but I'll give you a couple of the things I've really enjoyed on the trips I've done in the last year or so.

Momofuku - definitely fits with the budget part, great variety of really well cooked food. The first time you a pork bun is magical.

Eataly - not sure if you are big on Italian but as an experience it's tough to beat. We were in New York the week before last so missed quite a lot of the things we had planned due to Sandy. Eataly re-opened on the day we were due to leave, had a really enjoyable lunch in the sunshine at the rooftop Birreria - the Shitake Fritti were amazing.

WD50 - When I came over in May I ate at WD50 one night, really impressive, innovative cooking. The different options they do on the menu mean you can sample some of the cooking without going for the full-on, 13 course, $155 tasting menu if that's a bit of a stretch.

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There are 1001 guides to eating cheap in NY...and Must Eat places.

If this may be your only visit, then overspend as it's cheaper to invest now than spend the money on transportation and lodging for subsequent visits.

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You should have:

A bagel and lox at Russ & Daughters. A pastrami sandwich at Katz's. And a few blocks away, the Essex St. Market. Doughnut Plant on Grand St.

A slice or two of pizza at Joe's on Carmine Street

You can head to 'ino Cafe - and see where the whole panini craze in the United States got its start.

Some cold-skin noodles at Xi'an Famous Foods. And/or some 4 for $1 dumplings - I like Prosperity Dumplings on Eldridge Street, and it's right around the corner from one of the Xi'an locations. And there's some decent street meat right at the Beijing street carts right under the Manhattan Bridge near Xi'an as well. Others like Vanessa's for the dumplings, but if I'm headed to Vanessa's, it's the Peking duck sandwich that I go for.

Maybe just a hot dog or two at Gray's Papaya (72nd & Broadway). Or Papaya King - 86th and 3rd.

A visit to Eataly - just because. Have an assortment of salumi - it's good!

The Union Square green market is wonderful to wander around - Friday and Saturday all day.

Sunday you can check out the New Amsterdam Market- down in the Old Fulton Fish market area - from 11 AM. Good eats to be had. And a great view of the bridges.

The bar thing at WD-50 is a very good deal, but you'll likely spend $75 or more when all is said and done.

There are plenty of lunch specials all around town - Gramercy Tavern at the bar is one of the nicer ones. It's announced daily on their Twitter feed...


Shake Shack...well, why not?

That's a start...

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"


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