But nowhere do they seem to be more successful than within the boundaries of that gastronome's mecca known as New York City.
And one of the reasons why this is so is the original Foods of New York Tours (FNYT). For 15 years now Foods of New York has been treating visitors and natives alike to some of the best food and neighborhood combos available anywhere in the world.
Yesterday, FNYT celebrated its 15th birthday and we joined the festivities by taking an Original Greenwich Village Food Tour savoring the old Italian section and the quaint surroundings of one of the most historic areas on Manhattan. Yes, we did use "quaint" and "Manhattan" in the same sentence, if you can believe that. And if you had been with us yesterday, you would understand why.
We decided to take this tour for three reasons:
1) We hadn't been in the storied Greenwich Village area of the Big Apple for years and we longed to discover it anew, beyond the touristy environs of Washington Square.
2) We previously took a FNYT journey through the Chelsea Market and meatpacking district area and we loved it, so we were longing to return.
3) The tour was offered at less than half price to commemorate FNYT's birthday.
And so, there we were eating our way through picturesque area of The Village with our superbly informative and delightfully entertaining tour guide Raheem as we wandered in and out of small and medium-sized locally owned business and restaurants, all of which offer up the freshest culinary treats.
We started at the famous Joe's Pizza (a New York landmark) and ventured through Murray's Cheese and Gourmet Foods, Palma Italian Restaurant, O & C Olive Oil Shop, Milk and Cookies American Bakery, Rafele Italian Restaurant, Rocco's Italian Pastry Shop and Faicco's Italian Specialty Shop. We wish had the time to tell you about each delectable stop but that wouldn't do justice to our marvelous journey and it would only tease you.
Well, anyway -- did you know that there are more Italian restaurants in this one section of Greenwich Village than there are in all of New York's famed Little Italy? And this area contains several Italian eateries that are rated among the very best that the city has to offer.
Plus, this is where you will also find cozy, narrow tree-lined streets, Manhattan's oldest wooden house, a magical New Orlean's type courtyard of charming town homes, the building that posed as the apartment house where the characters in NBC'S F*R*I*E*N*D*S lived and the narrowest house in little old New York -- a place that once belonged to Cary Grant. Yep, they're all here in a section of the city where you will find few if any buildings exceeding four stories in height.
Take a look at our photos and then go to FNYT and book a tour for yourself. There are six different tours in Manhattan and Brooklyn to choose from. Mangia!
|In the heart of the old Italian section of Greenwich Village.|
|You won't wind a bookstore like this at the mall.|
|Just part of the selections at Murray's Cheese and Gourmet Foods.|
|Legions have declared Joe's "the best" for generations.|
|Inside the beautiful Palma Italian restaurant.|
|Fresh and delicious at Rafele Italian restaurant.|
|Yeah, they're chocolate chip -- at Milk and Cookies.|
|Boston or Philly? Nah! It's Manhattan, baby!|
|OK, so this narrow little charmer once was Cary Grant's Manhattan hideaway.|
|Exterior for FRIENDS apartment house on NBC.|
|The oldest wooden house in New York.|
|We're told you're liable to spot celebrities here. Shhhhh!|
|No, it's not Charleston of Savannah. This is tucked into |
a small side street in Greenwich Village.
|Above and below, Rocco's Italian Pastry Shop.|