I finally had some time to sit down and tell you all about the awesome time Dave and I had in NYC a few weeks ago with some of our “Taglit Family”.  These are some of the amazing people we became friends with on our trip toIsrael.  We got to spend the entire weekend together, eating, drinking, laughing, and of course (the reason for our get together) dancing to the Israeli band Balkan Beat Box. 

Okay, I think I’m not really painting a clear picture of our weekend by pairing “eating” with lots of other things.  We ate EVERYTHING!  I think we actually ate something like seven meals on Saturday alone… ew?  MMM!  NYC is the best place to do it.  The eating extravaganza started once Dave and I arrived off of the bus around 3:30… starving.

We found the hotel we were staying at and soon after, pizza place nearby.  Waldy’s Wood Fired Pizza is a small but interesting pizza place, serving thin crust artisan pizzas with “Free Anchovies” and even a DIY fresh herb garden.  I loved that!  We split a small pizza with Pepperoni, Broccoli Rabe & Tomatoes.  The crust was cracker-thin and the pizza really hit the spot!

The menu at Waldy's

Loved the herb garden! Such a nice touch

Dave waiting patiently for me to stop taking pictures!

Our outstanding pizza... yum!

Next on the agenda was to meet up at our hotel for a bit, then head out to dinner nearby the concert venue.  There were seven of us total (Dave, another Dave, Eli, Donny, Nicole, Lauren, and myself) and Stand 4 Burgers was kind enough to accommodate us with one big table so we could sit together.  We didn’t even have to wait!  After noshing on some hand-cut fries, sweet potato fries, and mac and cheese, most of us ordered the “Hell Burger”, complete with wasabi, caramelized onions, Thai chilies & sweet chili sauce.  The burger itself was much better than your average burger but I was left wishing mine was hotter!

Fun to order mac and cheese 🙂

Sweet Po Fries were the best. So was the dipping sauce.

Hell Burger... doesn't look very hell-like on the outside, but wait until you see the middle!

Hell Burger!!!!! And Oh yes... they're all served with fried pickles

A single-patty "Bold Burger"... brioche, applewood smoked bacon, sautéed onions, american & cheddar cheese, pickle, tomato, chipotle sauce, fried egg

Donny's Mushroom Burger... Beef, sliced portobello, caramelized onions, lettuce, porcini sauce. The Porcini sauce was the best part of the entire meal. Heavenly.

After Stand 4, we headed on to our next destination, Eli’s parents house.  We had a few cocktails and chatted with his parents who I LOVED!  They are intelligent, funny, and so easy to talk to.  Now I see where Eli gets it from.  We had a toast on the roof of their place, overlooking the New York skyline.  Gorgeous.


Dave, Donny, Eli, and my Dave (Dahv)

Lauren and I enjoying the view

This happens to be the first time we're in NYC together and it didn't rain!

The apex of the night, our Balkan Beat Box concert was soon after, and it rocked.  They are pretty awesome.

Following the show, we hung out for a bit at a Hookah Bar & Lounge where we had some appetizers to munch on.  We also split a Mint-Choco Hookah… a flavor I’ve never had before… it was so good!  Very refreshing.  (the other) Dave and I had humongous cappuccinos, and if you’re interested, this is overpriced coffee drink #2 for me in NYC so far.

Hookah Bar

MMM giant caps

We split up, Donny, Dave and I headed back with a slice of pizza, and retired for the night.  Both boys were sleeping by the time I came out of the bathroom from brushing my teeth.  LOL.

Saturday couldn’t have been a more beautiful day.  Blue skies, warm temp, no wind… it was perfect for us to wonder the city.  Dave, Donny, and I spent the morning together.

perfect weather for a nice walk in the city

Our first stop… I felt like I died and went to heaven.  Have you ever heard of Mario Batali’s Eataly?  It is a HUGE Italian grocery store located at 200 5th Ave.

I. Love. This. Picture.

There are places to shop, drink wine, take cooking lessons, and of course eat.  They sell everything from fresh baked bread, meats, cheeses, pastries, pastas, and even homemade mozzarella… wow!  We spent about a half hour or so browsing before we decided on getting a sandwich for breakfast.  I felt like we were in Italy!  It was to die for.  MMM!

Eataly, the cheese section

homemade mozzarella

fresh meat!

Prosciutto, Sharp Prov., and the crustiest bread ever

We had a gorgeous walk through a park (during a playground naming ceremony… very exciting), and through the city which on accident brought us to a delicious Macaron and Coffee shop.  If you missed out on my first Macaron in NYC experience, you should now know how much I LOVE them!

Walking right to it by accident, we tried Maison du Macaron on West 23rd St.  I bought a box to go and the three of us had (#4) a coffee and a few Macarons to go along with it.  The Vanilla and the Caramel are two of my favorite flavors.  I also purchased Passion Fruit, Pistachio, Chocolate, Chocolate-Mango, Raspberry, Apricot-Champagne, and a few other interesting flavors.  MMM!  These Macarons (compared to those from Laduree) had a little more filling, making them my favorite so far.

I want them all!!!

So... so... yummy.

As if we didn’t shove our faces with enough food before lunch… AGAIN, we happened to stumble upon another NYC foodie staple:  Doughnut Plant.  OMG!  I was torn… I really shouldn’t eat a doughnut… but there was no line… and it’s just so famous!  Of course my foodie side won out and the three of us split a doughnut.  We went with the Pineapple flavor of the yeast variety (vs. getting a Cake or filled doughnut).  The cake was soft and spongy, and the glaze so sweet and packed with pineapple flavor.  YUM.

I loved the stuffed doughnut decor at The Doughnut Plant

Pineapple Doughnut mmm

Our next stop was to meet up with everyone else at the Museum of Natural History.  I had never been there, and we had so much fun!  You’re never too old to learn!

A few hours later, it was time for lunch.  ALL of us got gyros from the food cart outside of the museum.  We watched the guy make it fresh… mmm… it was so good!  Gotta love street meat.

extra hot sauce, please!


We had a few hours off, so we walked around, and checked into our new hotel (coffee #6).  The hotel had a beautiful view of the city.  After some much needed relaxation, the rest of the group met Dave, Lauren, and I at the hotel to listen to music and have a few drinks.

Donny’s brother had an in at Kibo, a modern Japanese and Sushi restaurant in the Village where Lindsey Lohan recently partied at making it impossible to get in.  Kibo was a pretty big restaurant, especially forNew York, but they were able to accommodate our party of 8 on time, which is a plus.

We ordered a punch bowl and some sake along with Edamame and Shishito Peppers for starters.  I had to try the Hamachi (Yellowtail) w/ Green Chile.  This is my favorite type of sashimi!  Kibo serves Robata, like what Dave and I had for V-Day at Pod… it is skewered meat or veggies over a 1000 degree open flame, cooked to perfection.  The table ordered the Branzino, Chicken Breast, Asparagus, and Eggplant Robata.  The chicken was to die for.  It was so juicy and the sauce was sweet and savory, my favorite combination.

These were sweet and crunchy!

The Daves and Lauren at dinner

Robby and Donny

Blue Steel! Eli and Nicole

huge punch bowl

delish hamachi

Chicken Robata w/ Honey Soy

eggplant robata w/ panko, miso mustard, togarashi

Branzino Robata w/ Ginger & Japanese Tartar

Lauren and I split the Spicy Pork Ramen w/ handmade noodles.  It was a little salty (but I love salty!!) but the broth was packed with flavor and the noodles were very fresh.  Another dish to mention was Dave’s Wok Seared Spicy Beef Udon.

Soupy ramen... mmmmmmmmm!

Spicy Beef Udon

After filling our bellies (again), we headed over to another Hookah Bar.  It was a very… interesting crowd and after being relocated a few times, we set up shop with our Coconut Hookah right next to the DJ!  The bar was pretty cool, the DJ played great dance music and they even had a bongo player.  I never thought I’d hear Deadmau5 music with a live bongo before!  Love it!

We were out until it was time to turn the clocks forward an hour, which it was then time for some drunk food (another gyro) and crashing back at the hotel.

Breakfast was good  but not memorable (coffee #7), then we spent the last couple hours together walking towards Times Square… getting more coffee (#8) … then finally our friends dropped us off at the bus (where I got to spend 3 hours finishing Book 2 of Hunger Games!!!!!!!!!!).

What a great weekend with some amazing food and even more amazing people!