The Travel Site That Got It Right
On my Google searches for travel blogs about Budapest and Vienna, I stumbled across this site, On the Grid. There’s a ton of content and the writers have been all over the world. I started by checking out their pages for Warsaw and London, and maybe a couple of the other cities that I’ve been to.
But then I clicked on “New York City” and onto my neighborhood, “Upper West Side,” and I was happily surprised that (1) they’d been to my neighborhood (it’s not touristy) and (2) they got so many places right that I never thought I’d actually see on a travel blog. I love my neighborhood and I think it’s one of the best in the city (#blessed to be able to live here) so here are the places that I think you absolutely must go if you’re visiting New York and they’ve been vouched for by On the Grid as well:
Jacob’s Pickles: Located on 84th and Amsterdam, this fried chicken and pickles joint recently reopened after a massive fire in the apartments above. This place has a crowd outside of it for brunch every single weekend. I’ve eaten there a few times and the food is amazing. Check them out on Yelp to see their rave reviews.
Zabar’s: Located at 79th and Broadway, you’ve seen this place in any movie written by Nora Ephron and they have delicious rugelach.
Cathedral of St. John the Divine: This magnificent, massive structure is located on Amsterdam and 110th. You literally cannot miss it. It is the largest gothic cathedral in North America and it is beautiful. Pro-tip: When the weather is nice, go to the courtyard to the south side of the cathedral and look for the peacocks: Jim, Harry, and Phil. The roam the property freely when it’s nice out and they are pretty great about posing for pictures, too.
Not sure if this is Jim, Harry, or Phil, to be honest, but isn’t he pretty?
Silver Moon Bakery: I love this bakery, located on 105th and Broadway. Whether I’m in need of a freshly baked carrot cake for an event, or just a coffee and croissant for breakfast, I can always come here. It’s been a neighborhood institution for 20+ years and I hope they never leave.
All baked goods, made fresh daily.
Peacefood Cafe: While you’re waiting for a table at Jacob’s Pickles, you can stop here to pick up a vegan and/or raw treat on 82nd Street and Amsterdam. I know “vegan and raw” doesn’t sound delicious, but this place has been here for several years and it’s always packed whenever I go in. The cupcakes and pastries are delicious!
Koko Wings: Before I stopped eating meat, I loved coming here. It’s a tiny little place on 106th between Broadway and Amsterdam, but the food is delicious and it’s cheap, too. I’d get the fried chicken with salad and rice and it was amazing. Beware that the ‘spicy’ option is actually too spicy for most mortals to eat.
The Hungarian Pastry Shop: My joie de vivre (kidding. kind of). I go to this neighborhood institution on Amsterdam between 110th and 111th several times a week. It is always packed with locals and Columbia students studying. Almost every pastry is made in-house (in the summer they sometimes leave the door open to the kitchen and you can watch them rolling dough and making other delicious things) and the coffee is delicious, too. My favorite things to get there is a Hungarian coffee (coffee with almond extract and whipped cream) and a croissant (they’re lightly covered in a sugar glaze). They’re delicious and cheap. Pro-tip: They’re cash only so bring cash! The staff is also known and loved by locals and they’re extremely nice.
my happy place.
So, needless to say, I’m taking all of their recommendations for Budapest and Vienna to heart because I agree with these writers almost 100%. If you want more recommendations in my ‘hood, let me know below!