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Greenwich Village: A Love Story

June 12, 2013

Greenwich Village

When my mom was here, I kept hounding her about  being a tourist. “Don’t look like a tourist, Mom, you know your way around.” She kept laughing at me and saying she was a tourist. When I visit other cities, I try not to do “touristy” things either. I Google “how not to be a tourist in {insert said city},” buy books that show local place (like Rather) and avoid places like Times Square at all costs.

Then I bought tickets to a West Village Food Tour thinking that I could act like a tourist for a day — in the name of food. I could carry a camera around my neck and practice my photography — in the name of food. I could learn about Greenwich and the West Village — in the name of food. So Saturday morning, my mom and I rushed over to Porto Rico Importing Company, grabbed an amazing cup of coffee, and joined in with Sidewalks of New York West Village walking and tasting tour. We learned a lot, if you want to read more…

West Village | New York City

We started off by walking over to Cafe Wha?, where Bob Dylan was discovered, Jimi Hendrix jammed and Bill Cosby entertained. Across the road sits Minetta Tavern, one of the most famous restaurants in the village which was frequented by Ernest Hemingway. And sitting slightly north of both of these hot spots is Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant. We were able to try a sample of the best falafel in New York City and it was delicious. (And the two darlings behind the counter were pretty awesome as well!)

Mamaun's Falafel

Mamoun's Falafel | West Village

We circled north toward Washington Square Park, a place I love to go to be entertained all day and all night. This park is essential to the NYU campus and serves as study grounds to many of the students. (Although, I had no idea there were 10-20,000 unclaimed bodies buried under the park.) I suppose I will continue to visit to see the beautiful arch and keep an eye out for what is playing at the Provincetown Playhouse.

NYU

We then headed towards Cornelia Street, the original Little Italy. The street is filled with adorable restaurants with gardens out the back. (We actually ate at Home later Saturday night.) It’s most famous claim to fame? Lady Gaga worked at The Cornelia Street Cafe while she was attending NYU. And right at the end of the block, on the corner of Cornelia and Bleeker, lies Faicco’s Italian Specialties. This fourth generation Italian deli is not somewhere I would typically stroll in for a sampling of meat, but when we took a bite of the fried rice balls, we couldn’t help but fall in love. Plus, the inside is fun — you still grab a ticket to place your order!

Fiacco's Italian Specialties

Fiacco's Italian Specialties

Fiacco's Rice Balls

Our first sit down stop took place at Fatty ‘Cue, an amazing BBQ hot spot that began in Williamsburg. (Shout out to Brooklyn, obviously.) I took one look at this menu and instantly knew I would be back within the week. Our server jumped up on the bar and immediately began to divulge the history of the restaurant. The Texan/Southeast Asian fusion dynamic is one that you will not catch anywhere else — our bacon came slowly smoked with a cilantro salsa BBQ. Scrumptious. Also, ‘Cue self-proclaims, “The music is always on. And, we all smell like sweet, local oak wood and booze…which is a nice smell.” It is a nice smell…

Fatty 'Cue | West Village

Fatty 'Cue | West Village

Fatty 'Cue Bacon | West Village

We walked a bit further, locking our eyes on shops and decor of the village and loving every second. We learned it’s possible that “to 86 something” in the restaurant world (to cut something out) came from an old speakeasy at 86 Bedford Street called Chumley’s which was frequently by my favorite poet, E.E. Cummings,  that the narrowest house in Manhattan sold for more than $2 million and sits right next door to the oldest house in the village, and the “Friends” apartment sits right on top of The Little Owl, a venue I love and a restaurant I have always wanted to try. (And for the rest of the week, this song has been in my head.)

NYC's Most Narrow House

86 That

Friends

Next stop was Hudson Bagels and we all know New York is famous for their bagels. The oven they cook these in was the original oven even though the building has been renovated. Perhaps that is why they were so yummy!

Hudson Bagel's | West Village

Hudson Bagel's | West Village

We then circled back around to the beginning of our trip at the corner of Minetta and MacDougal to try some tacos at Choza Taqueria. They come in the original flour, double layered, soft tortilla that you crave when eating an amazing taco. The onions are carmelized perfectly to sweeten up the hot sauce and every bite you take, you want another. But our bellies were getting full (and we still had two more stops!)

Choza

Choza Taquero

We slowly made our way across the street to Artichoke Basille’s Pizza and witnessed the largest pizza I had ever seen. It was cut into 24 perfect, thin slices for each of us to dive in. And even though I was full, I can never say no to pizza. Especially a pizza that is slowly cooked and placed in the oven with each ingredient separately. The crust was so crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and the cheese was perfect. So perfect in fact, I ordered it again last night for comfort food!

Artichoke Pizza

Artichoke Pizza

Artichoke Pizza

Finally, it was time for dessert and stop number 6 on this long and enjoyable tour. We headed around the corner to Pasticceria Bruno to enjoy some delicious cannoli’s baked just for us. They are most famous due to the Cannoli Throw Down with Bobby Flay — Bobby lost. I could taste why.

Pasticceria Bruno

Pasticceria Bruno

This tour was amazing and I apologize for ever being mean to a tourist. Learning about this city makes you fall in love over and over again and I am so happy I was able to enjoy it with our group and my mama (aka: hand model picture above).

Thanks for hanging out with me for a while today! Have you been to any of these? Sidewalks of New York has tours in Chicago and San Fran, too.

Be a tourist in your own city.

Greenwich Village

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 12, 2013 11:47 pm

    What a fun trip!!

  2. June 16, 2013 9:25 am

    Came across your blog on the blog crawl; love the pictures on your blog! And I love mamouns falafals, one of the best in the city! Looking forward to reading more.
    Xx, a new follower from Brooklyn

  3. June 17, 2013 7:22 am

    Now I am hungry! and thinking of booking ticket to New York. It IS on my bucket list. Fabulous pics.

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