Macro Food

Our plan to eat at 15East (as recommended by my cousin) failed because of the long delay on our flight into New York. Our first meal was sushi take out (yay for technology!) delivered to our hotel because we were famished and tired.

Scroll to the very bottom for restaurant information.

We had lots of delicious food in New York, so much so that we didn't really get to try street food like we intended. Not all the food had pictures taken, either because of lighting or I was too preoccupied with eating. (Or I didn't want to pull out my camera and take food pictures at my first meal with someone.)

Our first proper meal was brunch at Colicchio & Sons as chosen by my cousin, the expert foodie. They had some delicious buns with chorizo butter. Yes, the butter had chunks of sausage in it. (The only way butter could possibly be better.) We had some pizza as appetizers and our entire table ended up ordering for entrée either soft-shelled crab or pan fried skate. Everything was delicious.

Thankfully my cousin understands my need to document everything for posterity. Everyone else just put up with my food photo taking.

My new camera lens, as you can see, is amazing for taking food porn. I still haven't quite gotten the hang of focusing with it though.

For dinner we went to Quality Meats, my cousin's favourite steak restaurant in New York. No pictures of the deliciously huge porterhouse steak because lighting was near non-existent inside. They make their own steak sauce right in front of you, with a little mortar and pestle.

The next day's lunch was at Les Halles in the financial district, chosen solely for its association at one time with Anthony Bourdain. The deviled eggs above are the best I have ever eaten. Deliciously creamy. We had some decidedly French food: duck confit and moules-frites. The salad with the duck confit had little bits of fried potatoes in it and the most delicious vinaigrette ever.

We had a light dinner of croissant sandwiches that night at Le Pain Quotidien's Central Park location. We were both I think still digesting the steak from the earlier night.

The next day we met my boyfriend's extended family for brunch and dinner. Brunch was at Le Philosophe, a cute little French with very delicious food. They had an appetizer of fresh small radishes with coarse sea salt and Dijon mustard butter that was amazing. It looked a little strange at first but tasted superbly fresh and tangy. I ate a croque madame because I felt hungry (didn't end up finishing it though, because as it turned out I wasn't that hungry) and wanted to eat something with an egg.

Dinner was at Ninja New York. The theme appeared to be as much fire and dry ice, as the theatrical stereotype of ninjas. The steak was really good, the sushi was really good, the edamame came with blue led lights and dry ice, and there's a cocktail which comes with a rubber shuriken. Also magic tricks. At some point I stopped taking pictures because I had to concentrate on finishing the ungodly amount of food.

15East (

We didn't actually eat here, but I thought I'd include it anyways because it came highly recommended by my cousin. Pricy but to be expected for a fancy Japanese restaurant with a Michelin Star located in New York. According to my cousin, the thing to do is to phone in and reserve a spot at the counter for omakase. Online says omakase is $140 per person.

Colicchio & Sons (

Nice chic restaurant with the sort of renovated factory look that's popular nowadays. Although it New York it's more likely because there's simply a lot of very old buildings. The food is excellent and decently priced, about $25 average for a lunch entrée. The décor is nice, service is good, and food is a good mix of bar-food style staples with a twist. So pizza with bacon, but also with peas and béchamel sauce. Pan fried fish, except it's skate. It's also located next to one of the entrances to Chelsea Market which makes it easy to work into your tourist plan.

Quality Meats (

Fancy restaurant with a delicious dry aged porterhouse steak and lots of side choices. Around $50 per person for steak but it is a lot of food. Their porterhouse is recommended for two but could easily feed three. They have a great selection of a modern fusion take on the classic steak sides. Case in point, their corn crème brulee. The atmosphere is great and they make the steak sauce right at your table.

Les Halles (

French brasserie style restaurant with two locations in New York. They are apparently known for their steaks but everything else is pretty good. Their bread is baked fresh and their fried potatoes are the perfect balance between crispy and soft. Average around $25 for lunch. It's a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere with delicious French food.

Le Pain Quotidien (

A chain with many locations through out the US and a lot in New York. There is one located in Central Park with outdoor seating that I highly recommend. We went to one for dinner and one for a light midday snack. They have very fresh food and especially fresh breads. (The croissant is really good.) Their style is fresh food made with fresh ingredients, and they put the focus on their daily baked breads. All the menu items have calories listed, which I thought was interesting. Good prices for lots of great fresh food with a slight French influence.

Le Philosophe (

Amazing little French diner in a quiet part of New York with cobble stone streets. Very authentically French (as in French waiters) and great food. Highly recommend their radish from the "Assiettes a Partager". Price hovering above and below $20 for brunch items.

Ninja New York (

Yes it's gimmicky but it's also fun and has pretty good food with generous portions. The prices may look a little high, but once in factor in the size of the portions and consider that it's located in New York, it's actually pretty decent. Their shtick is sudden loud yells, audience participation, fire, dry ice, more fire, and some more dry ice.  Get the Ninja Star Martini for a rubber shuriken to satisfy your inner child and outer adult. (Tastes somewhat of lychee...)

Six Feet Under

The third day in Rome was rainy and gray, and as a result there's pretty much no pictures in this post.

In the morning we went to see "Bocca della Verità", or the "mouth of truth". Apparently this worn down piece of stone is famous for having been featured in the movie "Roman Holiday".

After that we took a bus, past the city walls of old Rome, to one of the many catacombs scattered around the outskirts of Rome. Burials were not allowed within the city walls of ancient Rome. Le Catacombe di San Callisto is known for having up to 16 popes buried there, among other martyrs and other figures in early Christianity. The Catacombs are managed by a monastic order that offers guided tours in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.

Since it was an "indoor day", our next stop was Basilica di San Clemente. This church is extremely interesting structurally due to the present church being built on an earlier converted church built in the 1st and 2nd centuries, and below that are foundations from a building during the Roman Republic. It's quite amazing and the stairs go down several levels to reach the lower levels. It was used for a period as a "safe house" of sorts and there is a trench where a fresh water spring was directed to run.

I thought I took pictures but it turns out I didn't.

In keeping with the "dead people" theme of the day, next stop was "The Protestant Cemetery" or "Cimitero Acattolico" (non-Catholic cemetery). It is located near the Pyramid of Cestius. The cemetery contains the tombs of non-Catholic foreigners, in particular, the graves of famous English poets Keats and Shelley.

Then it was off to one of the many famous plazas of Rome. The Piazza del Popolo ("People's Square") is famous for its symmetrical layout featuring a relocated Egyptian obelisk in the middle of the plaza, and flanked visually by twin churches (Santa Maria del Miracoli and Santa Maria in Montesanto) at the entrance.

It can be extremely difficult to get a good shot here due to the high number of tourists milling about. The road does slope up a  bit facing the churches, so I recommend standing back more, almost to the archway.

To tie it into our theme of the day, Piazza del Popolo used to be one of the chosen executions sites of the Papal state during the 18th and 19th centuries. The public executions consisted of everything from simple beheading to hanging and quartering. 

It was here that I had the most expensive cup of cappuccino I have ever had in my entire life. I was feeling a bit unwell due to the cold and dampness, and desperately needed to sit down somewhere warm and have a hot drink. Unfortunately I chose Rosati, a famous cafe open since 1923. I suppose it was nice to see the atmosphere but I don't fancy paying 8 euros for a small cup of coffee. The cappuccino was indeed very good, but I don't see any particular reason to patronize this cafe unless either you have money to burn or really like fancy atmospheres.

After that it was to the famous "Spanish Steps" at Piazza di Spagna. Story goes that it used to be a famous spot for pretty girls to linger in hopes of catching the eyes of a painter. Later on, supposedly it was to try and catch the interests of famous movie directors.

There is of course also the famous scene from Roman Holiday of Audrey Hepburn on the steps.

The famous fountain, Fontana della Barcaccia, by Bernini was unfortunately undergoing restoration work, and so had was covered by rather ugly scaffolding.

The streets leading up to the Spanish Steps are all occupied by couture and luxury brands. Peddlers just steps away were hawking counterfeit goods. I wasn't there to shop, but had to stop to take a picture of the Dior store front.

A little ways away, there was a cart selling roasted chestnuts! A warm and welcome reprieve from the seeping coldness. I also finally manage to get a nice clear picture of one of the many Fiats roaming the streets of Italy.

Dinner that night was pizza! One seafood pizza and one with zucchini and prosciutto. The next day was to be the last in Rome and Italy.