We are so excited that our More Than Food family is extending to some really interesting parts of the world. Today we launch our Friends of MTF series with a guest post from Diana Wills, an adventure-loving foodie based in Sydney Australia.

Have a read about her recent journey to The Big Apple.


As an Aussie, I’ve always been lucky enough to try a range of different foods and beverages from a plethora of different cuisines. After all, my country is known for its cultural diversity and for a foodie, the benefits of such an environment go a long way. But, as I’m also an avid travel enthusiast, even Australia couldn’t contain my curiosities. If anything, the opportunities I have in my own country that allow me to get to know more about different cultures (and their cuisines) only made me more interested in exploring the world. This time around, I got an amazing chance to visit New York City and let me tell you – the Big Apple was everything I imagined it to be and more!

The goal of my NYC trip, as you can probably guess, was to try the top famous meals and cocktails the city is known for. Luckily, with the help of my friendly and knowledgeable guide, I believe that I really got to enjoy the best “taste” of New York City.


[divider]Food fit for a New Yorker[/divider]

You’re probably thinking about some incredibly expensive restaurants, right? Well, it’s quite the opposite. I reserved the high-end palate satisfaction for cocktails and decided to become a true New Yorker when food is concerned. That’s why I focused on five NYC essentials: hot dogs, pizza, cheesecake, bagels and Italian food!

Let’s face it, you simply cannot visit New York and neglect to try a hot dog from a street vendor, especially if you’re a foodie like myself. There’s something truly special about getting a hot dog in NYC, even if you haven’t seen all the movies where actors always buy their sausage and bun in a rush before they have some really important business to tend to. My absolute favourite turned out to be a counter-service eatery called Papaya King at 179 East 86th Street where you can also get delicious papaya drinks together with your hot dog.

Of course, you can’t go wrong with NYC pizza either. I wanted to stick to the city’s tradition and tried mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce pizza, but you can always add extra toppings if you want to. I feel obliged to mention that the best way to eat pizza in New York is to do it like a New Yorker – folded in half! John’s pizza parlour on Times Square and Patsy’s at 2287 First Avenue were standouts for me.


[divider]When in New York – drink cocktails![/divider]

I have to say that I’m not a big alcohol drinker, but I definitely enjoy a glass of a well-mixed cocktail. And what better place in the whole wide world to try some amazing cocktails than New York City? Obviously, I had to try some NYC staples such as The Manhattan, The Black Russian, Martini, The Old Fashioned, Red Snapper, Margarita and The Moscow Mule. But that’s not all – the craft food culture found its way to cocktails, too. This is how I got to enjoy both the taste and experience as I watched a professional mixologist in NYC perform their magic for me. To be honest, I didn’t expect to love Martini as much as I did, especially the so-called New Martini. I learned that there are so many different variations compared to the classic, and the ones I got to try really tickled my senses in all the good ways.


[divider]Glorious dessert and pastry finale[/divider]

When dessert is concerned, nothing can beat the rich creaminess of New York’s famous cheesecake. If you happen to be in the City That Never Sleeps, and have a sweet tooth, don’t miss the chance to get a slice of cheesecake at Eileen’s Special Cheesecake or Dominique Ansel Bakery.

I must say that I was really surprised to find New York bagels to be so different and more delicious compared to others that I’ve tried. It’s just a bagel, right? Well, there’s something really unique and special about this city’s bagels. They’re so soft and chewy that it’s a true dough party in your mouth. I definitely recommend Absolute Bagels and Bagel Hole for this tasty snack.

Obviously, you can never go wrong with Italian food once in New York City, especially when you visit the Little Italy neighbourhood. This is where you’ll find a bunch of restaurants and eateries that offer traditional Italian meals such as lasagne, spaghetti, chicken parmesan, and so on. Benito One, as well as Gelso and Grand, really stood out for me.

It’s true that I got to visit New York City, but the place is still on my bucket list. You want to know why? Well, the Big Apple is so amazingly beautiful that it’s only natural for me to want to come back. After all, it’s impossible to see everything and visit all the hotspots of the city during just one trip. Hopefully, I’ll come back to NYC soon enough to enrich my life with more new experiences and adventures.