The only other thing I love as much as traveling is eating! So as soon as I heard about the Foods of New York Tours, I just had to go on the tour. It doesn’t matter if you are a local like me or a tourist, as long as you like food, this is the tour for you. Not only do you get to try different food at some of the highest rated establishments in New York, but you also learn historical and fun facts about the area. They have a wide range of tours, but I decided to go on their most popular which is the Original Greenwich Village Food & Cultural Tour. I chose this tour as I love the Greenwich Village, this area of Manhattan has such an incredible aura about it.
When I first met our very friendly tour guide Kerri Anne, she greeted me with a bottle of water and a handy booklet, which had all the places we were going to visit, coupons and suggestions of other places we should go to eat. On this tour we would get to partake in tastings at eight different establishments. The first place we went to was Joe’s Pizza. Joe’s Pizza is known as being some of the best pizza in New York and it really did not disappoint. I never order my pizza with a bunch of toppings, so I was happy that we tried a slice of the classic cheese pizza. Original is always the best!
It is actually the pizzeria that was used for filming the beginning of Spiderman 2, when Tobey Maguire was a pizza delivery man. I knew this place looked familiar!
The next stop was at O & CO Olive Oil Shop, where we tried a number of different olive oil spreads on Tuscan bread and popcorn with truffle salt. It was delicious! One of the workers in the store spoke to us about the different kinds of olive oil spreads and we even did a balsamic vinegar taste testing to compare the supermarket version vs their premium version. I was in shock at the difference! I have balsamic vinegar all the time, but never like this one. It had a sweet taste to it that made it very unique and extra tasty.
Our tour guide and one of the shop workers talking to us about the different types of olive oils
The third stop on the tour was to Faccio’s Italian Speciality Shop, where we had the most mouth watering rice ball and traditional soppressata (Italian salami). I didn’t realize that Greenwich Village had so many Italian delights! Most of the places there are Italian, because apparently it used to be a primarily Italian neighborhood. In fact, our guide told us that if we want truly satisfying Italian food to come here instead of Little Italy. I never would have guessed that!
Then, we went to Palma Ristorante, which has a beautifully romantic ambiance, I could not think of a more perfect spot for a date night. Our guide brought us straight to the back of the restaurant which to our surprise is actually an old farmhouse! The original owners didn’t tear it down when they built the restaurant, instead they expanded and built on to it. It still has a kitchen downstairs and rooms upstairs, along with their personal library. Many people enjoy eating in this rare atmosphere such as Howard Stern who was a frequent customer of theirs. I couldn’t believe I actually ate in an authentic farmhouse that is over 200 years old that was right in the heart of Greenwich Village! It is still unbelievable to think that there was once farm life in what is now the metropolis that is Manhattan. Not only is the restaurant itself extraordinary, but the food is too. We had Cavolifore Plama which is sautéed cauliflower with pine nuts, caramelized onion, currants and breadcrumbs. Who knew that cauliflower could taste so good?
Fifth on our list was Rafele Italian Restaurant, where we got to sit down and have a small meal which consisted of eggplant rollatini and foccica bread. If you want to order a drink such as a glass of wine to pair with your food, you can do that as well. My friend Evelyn came with me on the tour and tried eggplant rollatini for the first time here! This was a nice interlude to our eating tour where we got to sit, relax, have a drink and chat to other people on our tour.
Fresh out of the oven! YUM!
Now it was time for dessert at Milk and Cookies Bakery. We sampled a classic warm chocolate chip cookie. Is there anything more soothing than a warm gooey cookie straight out of the oven? I am drooling just thinking about it. One of the coupons we received is for here, which I will most definitely be using when I go back for more!
Next was Murray’s Cheese & Gourmet Food. As soon as you walk in the rich, powerful smell of the cheeses overtake you. I had no idea that there were so many different kinds of cheese! We went upstairs and tried cow, sheep and goat cheese along with a cheesy bread. They were all distinctly different and yet all still delicious!
Our eighth and final stop on the tour was at Pasticceria Rocco shop. My jaw hit the floor just looking at the dessert display on the window (shhhh, I am sure I left a nose print). I have a huge sweet tooth, so this place was my heaven. I couldn’t stop staring at the scrumptious variety of cookies, cakes, pies, basically any type of pastry you can think of. The slices of cake I saw people eating were gigantic, now that’s my kind of cake! To put a stop to our drooling our guide came over with a box full of cannoli’s oozing with cream. It was the perfect end to a perfect food tour.
I would recommend a Foods of New York Tours for any food lover. It is a great way to see different areas of the city, hear about the culture and not only try a variety of foods, but learn a bit about their origins as well. Now I know how to choose my olive oil, meats and cheese! The booklet I got at the beginning of the tour gives you additional restaurant and shop suggestions, as well as some choice favorites from each establishment. When I go back to Greenwich Village for something to eat, I will certainly know where to go!
Disclaimer: Thank you to Foods of New York Tours for providing our tour. All opinions are, as always, my own.