The SF Chef–Driven Trip to NYC


I'm in New York this week working on a travel story. As usual, when I go to a big city, the first thing I do is email every chef I know for their dining recommendations.

Clearly, Jessica—who also happens to be in NYC this week—does the same thing. Which is how, at the off hour of about 3:00, I was inhaling a margherita at Keste (warning: horrible music on website)—a very low-key pizzeria in the West Village recommended to me by Delfina's Craig Stoll—when who should walk in, but Jessica. This was not planned. We had not discussed Keste before we both took off for New York. My mouth dropped further than it did than when I'd walked by Mr. Sarah Jessica Parker strolling through the village with his bike a few minutes prior.

Small food world. 

Jessica was not as lucky as I was however, because Keste had just closed for lunch, so she was turned away. I, however, got to experience what Craig had described as pizza even better than he'd had in Naples. And it was very fine pizza indeed: a thin, slightly sour, chewy crust (more reminiscent of Zero Zero honestly than Pizzeria Delfina's), a bright tomato sauce (very reminiscent of Delfina's) and delicious, unctuous buffalo mozzerella. 

Since touching down here, my plate has been full: We've eaten at Locanda Verde, the new Italian hot spot that felt very San Francisco to me and was good but not revelatory. Had a nice breakfast at Peels, the new Freeman's spin-off, that's banking on the new biscuit trend to make it famous (and they do make some pretty damn good biscuits). I just cancelled a lunch at Marea due to overscheduling, but everyone I've spoken to has nothing but high praise for chef Michael White's highend Italian restaurant.

I walked in and out of the massive and overwhelming new Eataly (imagine a Dean & Deluca on steroids fathered by Mario Batali). Last night I had a great dinner at former A16-chef Christopher Hill's Northern Spy Co.—a market-driven restaurant with a menu that sounds simple but food that surprises)—and we'll be dining at The Breslin tonight which I expect to be nuts. 

Running out to our next destination: Ippudo. Best ramen in the world? Stay tuned.

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