Taking a bite out of the Big Apple
When it comes to cosmopolitan melting pots of culture and cuisine, New York is arguably the best place in the world. Its rich heritage of immigrant communities and adventurous nature, coupled with American-sized portions and love of flavour, means it’s invented or popularised many of the foods we adore today.
Amble from district to district to see how the different flavours of the world combine, but also to see the environment which produces such New York staples, whether that’s the pizza in Little Italy, the diners in Manhattan, or the leafy brunch haven of Brooklyn.
While it’s hard to pick just five dishes that typify New York, the Flexicover team has consulted its tastebuds and chosen these foods you just have to try on your next visit.
If you’ve seen the iconic picture of the workmen taking their lunch break a-top a skyscraper, you'll know how important sandwiches are to the formation of New York's urban sprawl. Its most famous is the Reuben sandwich, which at once tells the tale of its industrialisation, Jewish heritage and how readily it embraces new and unusual flavours. The warm sandwich is traditionally made on rye bread, featuring mounds of corned beef, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing and sauerkraut. There are variations, but aficionados will argue there's no beating the New York Reuben, available at almost every deli and cafe.
While the origins of this famous brunch menu item are disputed – the Waldorf lays claim, but other establishments insist it was created by their hand – it’s agreed that Eggs Benedict was a New York invention. The classic Eggs Benedict (or Eggs Benny as it’s affectionately known) features poached egg and bacon or ham laid on top of a lightly toasted muffin, all covered in Hollandaise sauce that gives it its weekend-treat feel. While Brits might know its many variations, like Eggs Florentine (with spinach instead of bacon) and Eggs Royale (with smoked salmon), it’s mainly the original that you’ll find in the five boroughs.
A gift from European Jewish immigrants, bagels have been the cornerstone of New York's grab-and-go breakfasts for decades. While the range of varieties is broad, from the plain bagel through to the flavoursome nine grain with honey, the choice of fillings is huge. While you won’t have any trouble finding a bagel shop in the Big Apple, try to swing by Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side, which has been serving bagels since 1908. Past customers include Alfred Hitchcock and Groucho Marx, and it's appeared in TV shows and movies like 30 Rock and Deconstructing Harry.
For an apparently simple dish, there are such wide interpretations of a pizza that different cities have developed their signature style. So while in Chicago the pizzas are thick-crust and extra cheesy, in New York the pizzas are thin-crust and large. Very large. Get it at the place locals frequent - like New York Pizza Suprema, Joe's Pizza or John's of Bleecker Street - and one slice equates to a whole pizza back home.
Probably their most famous export, the New York cheesecake is adored the world over. The traditional baked vanilla cheesecake is dense with cream, double cream, cream cheese and egg yolks. The end result is a rich treat that's become the city's culinary icon. The place to indulge is Junior's near Times Square. While they sell different varieties (raspberry swirl and carrot cake, for instance), the Famous No. 1 Original Cheesecake is the best-seller. One taste of their delicious, handmade dessert and you'll see why.
If that rundown has whetted your appetite to take a bite out of the Big Apple then it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of cover to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.