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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

The New York Meal Deal #1

Updated: Nov 20, 2022

I decided... considering I still had a teeny bit more New York left to write... I would complete my blog by turning it into something along the lines of a wandering culinary journal.

A gobbledygook of gluttony, so to speak...

Every time I think I have nailed down each and every food & beverage outlet we had the honour of door-darkening, I remember one more... so bare with me, as I recollect on the journey.

*some might be a slight repeat on previous entries.

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I headed to Ellen’s Stardust Diner on my very first morning, at about 7am. I was marginally delirious from the intoxication of merely being in New York City, as well as every so slightly unhinged due to a touch of jet lag. The fact that I was temporarily situation in a small hotel room with a married couple didn’t do much to add to the desire to remain in bed for a lie in either.

A breakfast at New York’s home of the world famous singers seemed the perfect solution.

I stumbled upon this 50s-themed, musical diner during my quest to find all things NYC worthy. The rave reviews were enough to convince me that Ellen’s should be on my big apple bucket list.

An early morning fresh fruit yogurt parfait, accompanied by a buffet of American classics made for the perfect New York morning.

I had 7 coffees, slowly devoured my parfait and took in the show.

Prices: Reasonable.

Meal: Nothing to write home about, but decent!

Recommendations: Get there REALLY early, or later on in the evening. The lineups start early and continue on throughout the entire day!

Dinner and a show! Highly recommended to anyone in the Times Square area.

A place where you truly can’t help but sing a long.


I had this marked on my map as another must-do, merely because of the popular show, “How I Met Your Mother.”

Although it was the original location of the gang hang out, it looked absolutely nothing like the show. McGhee's is where I got a real good taste of New York expensive, without having the taste of anything at all. I had chosen not to indulge in the sitcom dining experience, as I was anxiously awaiting the British Invasion. Zee Cee & Richard were due to arrive within mere hours, and I was holding out for pizza.

Wine only, it shall be!

Sometimes wine only is the cheap way out, but more often than not, it ends up being more expensive than a regular plate of pub grub. This cheap yellow was no exception to the rule.

But... what do you do?

It's all about the experience, right?

My favourite part? The waiter with the ‘It’s going to be LENGEN… wait for it… DARY” shirt.

That shirt made me forget that there were no similarities between the show and the actual location, and made the entire experience worth while!


This caffe just happened along our path at a perfect moment.

Some of the gang was shopping.

Some of the gang needed rest.

Some of the gang needed a sangria.

That was me. I needed the sangria.

Well... to be honest, I didn't really NEED the sangria, but when I see something like a sangria, advertised for New York reasonable, it seems silly to let the moment pass you by. Turns out that Caffe Reggio has gone down in my international travel books as having the absolute worst sangria I've ever tasted.

I take that back.

Caffe Reggio has the worst sangria ALL of us have ever tasted.

But... they redeemed themselves as having the smallest, hobbit-style, gnarly bathroom.

Stella: "Do you have a bathroom here?"

Waiter: "Yes, but it's a bit gnarly."

Aren't you supposed to embrace your inner gnarly when you're on vacation? I think it's a pre-requisite.

Caffe Reggio was the first place to serve a cappuccino in New York City. It is also know for being in possession of the oldest espresso machine in the city. Made in 1902, it was the first of its kind and symbolizes their rich history as pioneers of taste.

*Maybe they need to spend more time perfecting their sangria now... just sayin'...

Big thumbs up for the cool atmosphere and history.

Big thumbs down for the sangria.



They say sometimes you find the best eats on the streets, and it’s true.

Our morning coffee guy, located at the corner of 55th and 7th, became our early morning crutch

I do regret not taking a photo of his mobile contraption, because as a coffee vendor, he had made the disastrous mistake of spelling ‘coffee’ wrong on his food cart awning.

OMG - I DID TAKE A PICTURE!!! Check it out... → → → → → → →


One ‘e.’ →

It’s definitely one of those “you had ONE job” moments.

Despite his obvious lack of orthographic intelligence, he was the friendliest little man. He boasted the most generous heart and on more than one occasion, would throw an extra treat into the bag. Hands down, the best coffee (by far) and the most delicious little breakfast delights

Turnovers, cinnamon buns, donuts, muffins…

Loaded with over indulgence and guilt, but priced below reasonable and always served up with a smile.


This was really the first group stop. No one really knew each other... NONE of us really knew anything about New York... and we were all hungry. We saw the Playwright and it seemed a good enough choice.

Irish Pub? Of course we're going to gravitate towards an Irish Pub! It's New York. Little did we know at the time, that there is an Irish Pub every 10 feet or so! I looked it up.

There are 9999 Irish bars in New York City.

Ya... crazy.

This city has more Irish bars and restaurants than any other city in the world.

If you actually look at the Playwright website, it looks like a really cool pub. I would actually like to go to this pub! Decor and comfort seem to set precedence. Pinning itself as a sports bar & gastropub destination, we thought we'd found a real gem. As we entered, we were met with extreme business. Crowds. There was no room for us.... unless we agreed to sit in the restaurant section.

The restaurant section was less comfy and less... destination...

We opted for the deep fried pub grub. It was ok… but not really the real introduction to New York food that we were all expecting.


Richard, Zee Cee and I were wandering aimlessly... and we gave Richard one job. Find us a pub. Of course, when you're on Broadway or 5th Avenue, everything seems to be that little bit more overwhelming, and, of course, gives off that ever-so-slightly 'waaaaay more expensive' vibe.

Richard started peering down the side roads.

"What about heading down here?" he asked, at one point. Thirsty for a delicious beverage, and anxious to rest our weary legs, we all headed down East 17th towards a promising rest and a much anticipated pub.

Even the first glance invoked the Wow! factor, as the front entrance was entirely decorated for the Halloween season. "Oh, we're going in here!"

Although the exterior (and interior) was entirely splattered with ghosts and ghouls, creepy clowns and the dead, the actual establishment was pure Victorian. Despite the holiday embellishment, this bar oozed romantic & dramatic with its ornate furnishings. Dripping in vintage and opulence, we felt quite posh sitting there, sipping on our lavish libations.

LOVED this place. Big Victorian & Halloween thumbs up 👍🏻👻


Holy Moly... was this ever a place reached without necessarily wanting to be reached.

It came out of a desire to originally head to a place next door...

Long story...

When we left Lillies, a kind couple at the bar told us about the Oscar Wilde Pub. Apparently it was nearby, and even more elaborately decorated for Halloween.

How could we possibly miss that?

Historical Irish poet & playwright... a pub... and more holiday decorations.

It was a no-brainer... we were GOING there!

The plan was promptly kiboshed though, when we discovered it was 10 blocks away and some of our party were not able to walk that far. No problem! There were other New York City pubs just screaming out to be visited!

We started wandering back down 5th Avenue, once again, with no particular destination in mind. First it was the Flat Iron Building (which ended up unrecognizable, as it was completely covered in scaffolding)... and then it turned into heading towards Macy's... before we knew it, we had walked the entire 10 blocks and, through no ill will or intention to manipulate the journey, we ended up within mere moments of the Oscar Wilde pub.

This discovery actually ended up causing a little bit of a tantrum, but... what do you do? It was too bad, actually. The worst part was that the Oscar Wilde was heaving! Packed to the brim!!! There was no way to possibly get in without a significant wait at the door, outside. I hate being inundated with anxiety, and it came flooding back, right at that exact moment, as I endeavoured to make everyone in the party happy at the same time.

We settled for the joint next door... seeyamañana! Focused on agave cocktails and plant-inspired Mexican dishes, it seemed the obvious second choice to historical arts & culture. Delicious nibblies... regardless of the awkward atmosphere.


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