Food/Restaurants:I cannot beg you enough not to come to our fair city and set foot in ANY CHAIN. The beauty of NYC is that you have all sorts of wonderful food at your finger tips. These chains are only here to suck money out of poor tourist who navigate towards the familiar or just don't know any better, real New Yorkers don't eat there. Let me suggest planning to eat your meals in the less touristy areas. While many restaurants in NY are quite expensive it isn't hard to find small cute local places with entrees for $9-12. The real New York experience is wandering down streets and window shopping, maybe sitting in an outdoor cafe and people watching.You can save money on eating by alternating between sit-down meals and those you just pick up, without sacrificing the taste or variety. For example make a day of wandering around the village, onto SOHO and maybe NOLITA (neighborhoods and walks will be discussed later) and stop for lunch at the world best falafel stand:Mamoun's - It would run you $3 and you are blocks away from Washington Square Park where you can go sit and eat. It is in the center of NYU's campus and has lots of things going on like street perfomances to watch while you eat. Here is the link:http://newyork.citysearch.com/profile/11601116/new_york_ny/mamoun_s_falafel.html?Pluck U - is also a good place to catch a quick cheap meal, if you like chicken they have fingers and wings in a variety of spices and dipping sauces. They have stools you can eat at.http://newyork.citysearch.com/profile/7143787/new_york_ny/pluck_u.html?cslink=search_name_noncust&ulink=search_2_searchslot1_520__0_profile_2_1If you are up near Columbus Circle on 59th St right near Central Park then you can always go to the huge new Whole Foods Store that opened up in the basement of the Time Warner Building. Huge selection of hot and cold food salad bars, and tons of sandwich options made from frest great ingredients. Most of the food you are charged by the weight. It is a fancy new store that you can eat in there, or is the weather is nice you are across the street from the park.
'Cafe 49' on the North side of 49th st btw Park Ave and Madison is a cheap way to get a lunch or a snack when you are in the Grand Central, Rockefeller Center/Saks 5th Ave. area.When you go in it looks likes your typical NYC deli with hot and cold salad bars where you pay by weight. BUT in the back, to the right is the reason I go back. There is a bar of fresh veggies, chicken, tofu, shrimp, asian noodles of various thicknesses etc. You are given a metal bowl and you fill it however you like.As much as you like.Then you move on to a station where you can add sesame seads, peanuts and other goodies (keep in mind you can be as creative or conservative as you like. Totally your call. Finally you pick your sauce: Ginger, Garlic, Teriaki, Soy ...The show is when they dump your plate onto this huge flat circular steaming grill and they start tossing it with two large sticks. There are 3 guys working 3 different meals, sort of walking around the grill as they go. I am not sure if different areas are different temperatures or if it just increases their efficient system. In the end it is all boxed up and weighed. You can talk it to go or they have some seats there as well.jez
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