Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Eating in NYC: Day Two

The next morning, three of us woke up early to go to Rockefeller Plaza to watch the Today show. After watching the Friday concert rehearsal (What Does the Fox Say? duo...eye roll) and doing the requisite amount of waving and trying to get on camera, we were ready for breakfast.

There was a bakery right in the plaza, but we wanted something more substantial. Here comes my big NYC eating tip: ask a local for a recommendation. I went to a security guard and told him we wanted somewhere with eggs, bacon, omelettes, etc. He pointed a few blocks down to Burger Heaven, a 70-year-old, four-generation diner. 

You could tell that not one patron in there had found this place in a guidebook. Everyone inside was eating alone, reading the paper, and dressed for work. It was good, hearty food for extremely reasonable prices (for anywhere, not just New York). I made sure to go back and thank the guard on our way to our NBC Studios tour.

Later, in the middle of Fifth Avenue shopping, we all realized we were starving. Again, when in doubt, don't hesitate to ask a local. I told a salesperson at Henri Bendel that we wanted a place with a lot of variety where we could get a beer and re-fuel. She recommended Pazza Notte, which was right around the corner.

Two of us got paninis and swapped halves so we could taste each one. I got the Caprese Panini, with traditional ingredients (fresh mozzarella/basil/tomato), but I thought the olive oil and balsamic vinegar they added  to it made it a little too wet/greasy for my taste. 

On the other hand, the other panini, was straight-up delicious: the Pollo Annerito, which had blackened chicken, avocado, tomatoes, and mozzarella. Crunchy outside, gooey and cheesy inside, with buttery avocado and tangy tomatoes. YUM. 

Caprese Panini

Later for dinner, we ventured down to the Lower East Side to dine at The Stanton Social, which came up on several friends' recommendations lists. But, it wasn't until I visited their website to look at the menu that I realized I had heard of this place before.

Patrick and I once saw a segment on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on Food Network that spotlighted this restaurant's innovative French Onion Soup Dumplings. We swore we had to try these someday, so I knew it definitely had a place on our itinerary.

Also, if you're a regular FN viewer, you'll recognize the name Chris Santos, chef/owner, who is a frequent judge on Chopped.

Photo courtesy of Stanton Social's website

The dumplings as an appetizer were the star of the show, everyone's hands-down favorite. Served in a ramekin with six individual compartments (surely designed just for this dish), these dumplings are filled with French onion soup, topped with melted cheese and a crouton...and speared with a toothpick for a one-bite wonder. 

The rest of Stanton Social's menu is tapas-style (with 3-4 pieces per plate), designed to share around the table. We picked the following five dishes:
  • Ahi Tuna Poke – crispy wonton, avocado, fresno chili
  • Maryland Jumbo Lump Crabcake Corn Dogs
  • Tempura Popcorn Shrimp (with yuzu-chile aioli)
  • Shrimp & Grits – pan roasted jumbo shrimp, cheddar grits, creole sauce
  • Chicken 'n' Waffles – brick pressed chicken, aged cheddar waffle, corn pudding, balsamic spiked maple syrup
I know, right? Crazy. And we had such a hard time narrowing down the menu. Every single thing we ordered was a perfect little piece of heaven...but still, the dumplings ruled.

Note: There are no pictures of food. (Again, we were animals at dinner.) Once the plates were set down, they were immediately grabbed and passed around before I could even think about picking up my camera. Lawd.

For dessert, we had:

  • Warm Doughnuts with caramel, chocolate & raspberry dipping sauces
  • S’mores Crème Brulèe
  • Red Velvet Twinkie with cream cheese filling
I highly recommend a trip to The Stanton Social. It's loud, the tables are tightly packed, and it's dark. Very typical NYC atmosphere, and none of that bothered me. But, the food...oh, the not to be missed!


  1. Looks like y'all ate a ton of great food!

  2. Came all the way from England last year to dine,glad to say my Son and I were not disappointed.The Stanton Social rocks,the food is out of this world x