In my four years in Manhattan, I have enjoyed countless meals around town. While I haven’t bought a meal at every restaurant around town, I have tried my best to enjoy some of the dishes that can only be found in The Little Apple. In no particular order, below are the eight dishes I will miss the most when I leave Manhattan in May.
1. Buffalo Chicken Taco at Taco Lucha
Taco Lucha was my first food love in Manhattan. My dad will go out of his way to visit as long as we can make a stop here during his visit. The buffalo chicken taco is a must whenever I eat there, and it’s the first food to help me truly enjoy avocado in something other than guacamole.
2. Bacon Cheddar Scone at Cornerstone Coffee and Bakery
My first job on campus was working at Cornerstone Bakery and JP’s at the Jardine Apartments. I was lucky enough to finally be trusted to make the bacon cheddar scones. We made these scones every single day and they always sold out. Unlike my experiences with other scones, these are more moist and biscuit-like, and the cayenne pepper gives it a little kick. These are best enjoyed warm.
3. The Usual at Early Edition
I am not a breakfast person and I’m not particularly fond of breakfast restaurants. Early Edition is the exception. I first went to Early Edition for my birthday celebration at work and have gone back many times since. I always get The Usual because it has everything a good breakfast needs and I always leave full. The bacon is delicious and hearty, the eggs are cooked well no matter the style, the potatoes are addicting when you add a little extra salt, and you get more toast than you know what to do with. It washes down well with a good cup of coffee.
4. Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake at Mr. K’s
I was surprised to learn that my roommates have yet to enjoy a cookie bake at Mr. K’s and I vow to change that before I leave! While everyone has their favorite, there’s nothing that beats a traditional chocolate chip. It’s similar to the joy of eating cookie dough because of its softness and rich flavors, and the cold ice cream juxtaposes the warm cookie well. Whenever I’m having a bad day, a cookie bake will save the day.
5. Mac and Cheese Grilled Cheese with Bacon at the Varsity Food Truck
Another classic, I make a point to take visitors to get a mac and cheese grilled cheese while in town. It’s worth the extra money to get it with bacon.
6. Funnel Cake Donut at Varsity Donuts
I am also not a big fan of donuts, but I will never turn down a Varsity donut. The funnel cake donut is by far my favorite. This cake donut is not near as sickly sweet as tradition donuts are, and the light powdered sugar coating brings me back to long summer days at the state fair.
7. Steak Fajitas at El Tapatio
I am a sucker for good steak fajitas and try to find a good Mexican restaurant wherever I live. El Tapatio’s steak is juicy and moist and their vegetables are fresh. It comes with the traditional rice and beans and I always walk home with delicious leftovers.
8. Chicken Taquitos at Taqueria Los Burritos
While I have seen the truck many times, I only enjoyed it for the first time this year. There are so many good dishes at Taqueria Los Burritos, and all for good prices, but I found that the simple chicken taquitos are the best. I made the mistake of simply ordering one the first time I went, and now I order at least three. They’re satisfyingly crunchy and the shredded chicken is of high quality. The sauce they provide elevates them to a new level.
While there are many more dishes to enjoy in Manhattan, these are the ones worth driving back to town for. College towns provide unique food experiences that can’t be replicated anywhere else. I encourage you to find your local favorites before your time in Manhattan is up.