Last June, my food-loving mom flew in from North Carolina to spend a weekend in New York City with me.
She was in charge of picking activities; I was in charge of picking food.
June's itinerary must have passed the test because she recently headed back north, for Mother's Day weekend.
I went back to the drawing board, researching restaurants at various price points for us to explore — like before, I wanted to balance out pricier "splurge" spots with affordable places. And of course, I wanted these places to have really good food.
After two calorie-packed weekends, we've now checked off 15 New York restaurants and cafés.
We've savored oats at a tiny oatmeal bar in Greenwich Village and sampled foie gras at a world-renowned restaurant on the Upper East Side. Read on to see what we ate in between.
One of the few requests my mom made was that we get really good donuts somewhere. Naturally, I took her to Dough, which is based out of Brooklyn but opened a location dangerously close to my office in the Flatiron district.
If you're desperate to satisfy a sweet tooth, you can't go wrong with Dough. Bring a friend or two along so you can split a variety ... choosing just one is next to impossible.
Price: $5.50 for two donuts
Hell's Kitchen: 326 W 47th Street
If you find yourself caffeine-deprived in Hell's Kitchen, Frisson Espresso is your spot.
The relatively new coffee shop is charming, with just as charming of a staff — last June when I was living next door, they agreed to deliver my keys to my mom, who arrived at my apartment while I was at work. They also let me pre-pay for a coffee and scone to greet the traveler.
Price: $7.25 for a medium coffee and scone
Upper West Side: 167 W 74th Street
If you have a soft spot for sweets, Levain Bakery cookies are a must.
The Upper West Side bakery is renowned for their dense, melt-in-your-mouth treats that more resemble a scone than a cookie.
This place exceeded all of my expectations. We tried the chocolate chip walnut and the oatmeal raisin, and will definitely be returning for the dark chocolate peanut butter chip.
Price: $8 for two cookies
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