Road Trip Breakfast: Bagels & Lox at Barney Greengrass

I don't call a place an "institution" lightly. Only certain restaurants reach that status, and it means they're doing something better than all the other places. Consider Peter Luger and steak=institution.  At Barney Greengrass on the Upper West Side, they do bagels and lox insanely well and have been for over 100 years. Alfred Hitchcock would order 10 pounds of fatty sturgeon at a time to be sent to L.A. - now there's an outpost in L.A. But nothing can compare to the feel of the Upper West Side location, and that you're in one of New York's great authentic Jewish delis. On the way upstate recently, we picked up two sandwiches at Barney Greengrass - smoked salmon, tomatoes, a bit of scallion cream cheese, and an everything bagel. No I couldn't finish the whole thing. But I could taste New York in every bite. Make sure you have cash - they only take credit cards on certain days.

They're also famous for their chopped herring salad, which tasted a lot like tuna salad to me.

The Popover Cafe on the Upper West Side

I had no idea what a popover was before moving to NYC. Now I know they are those buttery, eggy, air-filled bread treats most often served at steakhouses.  The Popover Café on the Upper West Side is known for them and we recently went for an afternoon snack after walking in Central Park.  It’s right next to NYC institution Barney Greengrass and is now an institution of its own, really thriving for almost 30 years.  

You can order just the popovers in an order of 3 that come with strawberry jam or butter, or most items on the menu come with a popover.  I liked the popover.  I probably won't ever crave it, given the other insanely delicious carb loading options in the city, but am glad I tried it. 


Upper West Side: Cafe Luxembourg

Cafe Luxembourg Bar
I talk a lot about how much I love the Upper West Side.  Since H&H Bagels closed this summer, I love it a little bit less but I still love it.  I especially love it on cold or overcast days where you can walk for miles comfortably and go into Central Park.  Last Sunday, Andy and I headed up for brunch at a classic, Café Luxembourg and to walk in the park.  We ended up walking all the way home, down Fifth Avenue (dodging hundreds of Poles there for a Polish pride parade), into Eataly, and down through Union Square and Washington Square. 
It feels like you could be in Paris at Café Luxembourg and their brunch is great. Just refuse to sit at the lame table by the bar that faces the kitchen door.  I think it’s the worst table in New York. 


Lansky's on the Upper West Side

There isn’t anything quite like a day on the Upper West Side. When it’s walking weather, I love going up there.  I stumbled upon Lansky’s Deli with my brother and even though it’s only 3 years old, it is the classic New York deli. Everything you order is enough for 3 people. They serve loaves of warm banana bread with strawberry butter with everything you order.  The matzo ball soup is so good that it made me Jewish for a day.