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Take A Bite Out of NYC’s Best Food Halls

By Michele Herrmann
January 12, 2022
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Image courtesy of City Kitchen
Hungry but not sure what to eat? Head to one of these NYC food halls, where options are plenty.

New York City’s dining scene has been embracing the concept of the food hall as a recipe for success. These epicurean centers house a mix of eateries as tenants or involve a single culinary theme. Right now, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens are leading the menu, with food halls to suit many different tastes. Here are some of New York City’s best food halls to see and eat at.

City Kitchen

Escape the crowds and the corresponding waits at one of the restaurants in this Times Square food mall off the corner of Eighth Avenue and 44th Street. With only seven vendors it might sound small, but this 4000 sq ft venue has enough options for a quick pre- or post-Broadway show meal or a bite before catching your ride home.

Dough’s glazed or filled donut creations include cinnamon sugar or lemon poppy flavors, while Ilili Box has pita wraps and other Mediterranean dishes. Gabriela’s Taqueria, Kuro-Obi, Luke’s Lobster, Whitmans New York and Azuki round out the list.

DSC07313.jpg?mtime=20191004114407#asset:107019A bowl of udon at Industry City © Image courtesy of Industry City

Industry City

Comprised of repurposed warehouses and factory buildings, this 6 million sq ft, mixed-use complex in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, holds a ton of businesses specializing in fashion, food, fitness, film and architecture. It’s also the headquarters for the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and a retail section known as the Design District.

As for dining, Industry City's main food hall is a global cornucopia of cuisines from different parts of the city and the world. Choose from Yaso Tangbao’s Shanghainese street food; Ejen’s Korean comfort food; Table 87, a Brooklyn coal-oven slice pizza shop; Kotti Berliner Doner Kebab (Turkish-German street food); Colson Patisserie’s Belgian pastries; and Li-Lac Chocolates, Manhattan’s oldest chocolatier. There’s also Japan Village, a 20,000 sq ft marketplace with a specialty grocer, an izakaya (traditional Japanese pub), a cocktail bar, and food stations serving traditional Japanese dishes.

Turnstyle Underground Market

It might sound gross to go to a food hall inside a subway station, but Turnstyle Underground Market, within Manhattan’s Columbus Circle-59th Street Subway Station, is filled with eateries that will foster your appetite.

Commuters can grab breakfast, lunch and dinner from 19 food vendors. Hey Hey Canteen serves up Asian fusion fare, while Daa! Dumpling prepares the Russian version of this doughy dish, and Arepa Factory prepares this Latin American corn cake. Access the market through seven street-level entrances; there are shops and pop-up stores too.

IU4A8924-copy.JPG?mtime=20191004114411#asset:107020Inside Essex Market © Image courtesy of Lower East Side Partnership

Essex Market

With a history dating back to 1888, this Lower East Side institution started as an outdoor pushcart market where vendors hawked everything from hats to herring. As city streets got more hectic, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia created an indoor sales space for them in 1940.

Over the decades, as the neighborhood changed and supermarkets rose in popularity, the Essex Market was showing some wear and tear. In May 2019 it re-opened following a 21st-century makeover and a move to a different spot on Essex Street.

Occupants include shops from the previous location (fruits and vegetables, meats and cheese providers) along with newcomers. Try Thai fried chicken at Eat Gai, breakfast from Shopsin’s and Middle Eastern food from Samesa.

The Pennsy

Penn Station has been the subject of mixed feelings over time, but this addition makes it easier to squeeze in a food stop at this major rail-transit hub before a train or a show at neighboring Madison Square Garden.

Featuring five chef-driven concepts and a bar with indoor and outdoor dining spaces, diners can order veggie dishes from The Cinnamon Snail and The Little Beet, or go for carnivorous options from the butchery Pat LaFrieda. There's also Neapolitan pizza from Ribalta, rolls and rice bowls from Sabi Sushi and the taqueria and juice bar Taco Dumbo.

HK Food Court

This 2019 newcomer to Flushing, Queens, provides a taste of Asia with food stalls reflecting the continent’s diverse culinary heritage that compliments the neighborhood’s Asian population. On a former grocery store site, this food hall has Tibetan, Thai, Japanese, Vietnamese, Taiwanese, and regional Chinese cuisine including Henan, Fuzhou, northwest halal and Sichuan food. Order Thai stewed pork from Khao Ka Moo NYC, spicy Tibetan lamb ribs from Khawachen, tom yum soup from Just Noodles and Taiwanese pork belly buns from Hang.

2015-08-18-Chelsea-Market-0017-9625-v2.jpg?mtime=20191004115203#asset:107021Chelsea Market © Image courtesy of Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

This food hall in Chelsea has a tasty backstory. The building was once the factory for the National Biscuit Company – better known as Nabisco. It's also where their Oreo Cookie was produced. Becoming an indoor artisan market in 1996, Chelsea Market is spread out, with artisan grocery shops, retail spaces and food stalls along with their Artists & Fleas craft-makers’ area. Good market eats include cheese-stick-makers Big Mozz; the Fat Witch bakery; Jamaican eatery, Tings; and Thai restaurant, Ayada. Nearby, step into Gansevoort Market, another food hall with Asian to American fare.

Mercado Little Spain

Similar to the all-Italian Eataly in the Flatiron District and World Trade Center, and the French-themed Le District in lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place, this Spanish-inspired eatery from chefs Jose Andres and brothers Albert and Ferran Adria is inside Manhattan’s Hudson Yards development and has restaurants, bars and kiosks putting the spotlight on Spain’s regional foods.

Have a tapas crawl, feast on asador-cooked meats, or simply dine on empanadas and bacalao frito followed by helado for dessert.

DeKalb Market Hall

Home to 40 food vendors, this Fort Green, Brooklyn, venue features well-recognized NYC restaurant names – it boasts the only Katz’s Deli outpost – alongside up-and-coming business in their own right.

Ample Hills Creamery and Arepa Lady have locations here, too. Consider Isan-style grilled chicken over jasmine or sticky rice from Chicks Isan, Fletcher’s barbecue ribs or Home Frite’s sea-salt brined fry varieties. DeKalb Market Hall also has a craft cocktail bar and an events space that hosts regular happy hours and dance parties.

The Plaza Food Hall USA

On the concourse level of The Plaza New York Hotel, this opulent marketplace is full of fine food purveyors and counter-style dining options, where you can feel a little fancy while having breakfast, lunch and dinner or when taking your order to go.

Pick up some high-quality Kusmi Tea or purchase fresh-baked breads and delicate pastries from Boulud’s Épicerie or Pain D’Avignon Bakery. Or get tempted by the colorful macarons made by Ladurée or the richly-layered cakes from Lady M. Savory. Options extend to Pizza Rollio, whose approach to pizza-making is worth tasting, Tartinery, noted for its refined French fare, and Takumi Taco, a popular Mexican brand.

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Tap into The Spirit of The Desert in Tucson, Arizona

With 350 sunny days a year, Tucson is a wonderful place to see the great outdoors, especially at Saguaro National Park. And thanks to its eclectic mix of American, Mexican, and Native American culture, it’s also an excellent blend of Southwestern influences. From the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures, this article will guide you through some of the best indoor experiences and attractions that Tucson has to offer. In no particular order, you’d do well to add one or all of the below to your bucket list: 1. See the world’s largest collection of grounded aircraft. Aircraft boneyards and parked airplanes are a big deal in Tucson. This is because the dry, clear, and mostly smog-free climate is an ideal place to minimize corrosion while storing them. What’s more, Tucson's alkaline soil is so firm that airplanes can be towed and parked on it without the need of a tarmac. Which is why the U.S. Air Force keeps an astonishing 4,400 reusable aircraft parked here. Although the government boneyards are closed to the public, you can get an impressive and up-close taste of them at the Pima Air & Space Museum, home to more than 350 specialty airplanes sitting on 80 acres of both indoor and outdoor display. 2. Learn how life survives in the desert. As indicated by the extreme temperatures and lack of perceivable life, it takes one tough cookie to survive the Sonora and greater Arizona deserts. That fight for survival is on full display at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is a 98-acre outdoor zoo, indoor aquarium, botanical garden, art gallery, and natural history museum not far from the west entrance of Saguaro National Park. With two miles of designated trails, shade cover, and ice cream on site, it’s an enlightening way to soak in both state and Tucson history. It’s also a great way to see local wildlife, whether at one of two aviaries on display or at one of the coyotes, bears, mountain lions, or reptile exhibits. 3. Get campy at the award-winning Gaslight Theatre. For more than 40 years, the Gaslight Theatre has been spoofing pop culture, movies, and performing arts in a wonderful saloon-type setting. Known for its music (especially its talented pianist), laugh-out-loud acting, audience participation, and free popcom, its an unexpected but pleasant surprise. To get a taste of the variety on display, the theatre is currently parodying both Star Trek and James Bond, as well as cover concerts celebrating the music of Dolly Parton, Barbara Streisand, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. 4. Go back in time at the museum of miniatures. Even better than the famous Miniature Rooms at The Art Institute of Chicago, the Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is a magical experience through time and place, as told by more than 300 miniature houses and decor in over 10,000 square feet of exhibit space. Looking at miniature houses dating back to 1742 might not seem like much, but most visitors stay up to two hours and leave unexpectedly delighted. “Jaw dropping,” wrote one recent visitor. “I was a little skeptical at first but will definitely go back,” wrote another. 5. See great southwestern art in a beautiful desert setting. Named a “National Register of Historic Places,” the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum rates just as well among visitors as it does art historians. Designed and built by acclaimed Arizona artist and architect Ted DeGrazia, the 10-acre site features world-famous painting, a mission, adobe gallery, and cactus courtyard just to name a few. Built in 1951, the setting and artwork on display is as surreal as it is inspiring. 6. Take the scenic car route. If you want to see the great outdoors while still beating the heat, consider scenic drives by car through either Saguaro National Park (both east and west sections), Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, or the stunning Gates Pass via the Tucson Mountains. For even more good looks, you’d do well to visit the Franklin Auto Museum. For over 40 years, the classic car collection has displayed more than 20 antique Franklin automobiles in the center of Tucson. It’s only open from October to May, however, so plan accordingly. 7. Eat your heart out. Not fully Mexican and not quite Tex-Mex, Tucson has its own Southwestern flavor. You can try that first hand at Boca Tacos. Or at the oldest Mexican restaurant in the country at El Charros. But if you really want to go big, you could attempt the full 23 miles of the best Mexican food in America, as rated by UNESCO. BONUS: For an excellent and recently restored Spanish colonial church, visit Mission San Xavier del Bac. This article was independently commissioned for sponsorship by Visit Tucson. All editorial views are those of Budget Travel alone and reflect our policy of editorial independence and impartiality.

This content is sponsored by Visit Tucson
Inspiration

Where to Find The Best Cocktails for Fall

When those summertime margaritas and rum punches turn to cherry-tinted Manhattans or bourbon-forward Old Fashioneds, you know autumn has fallen. From tailgating to Thanksgiving to Halloween, these complex, robust, cold-weather cocktail flavors combine the crispness of the season with a warmer, more generous, flavor profile. Want to get started on your seasonal cocktailing? Here are six fall cocktails to look out for and where you can hunker down to drink them. The Palm, multiple locations This classic steakhouse, known for its prime beef and lively caricatures of patrons and celebrities lining the walls, has gone from a single New York City restaurant in the 1920s to 21 locations around the globe. And though you can always enjoy a generous martini, this season you can also choose from five new fall cocktails. For a more well-heeled concoction, the Figaro consists of Basil Hayden’s dark rye, Amaro Montenegro, caramelized fig syrup and black walnut while the South Side of Italy is a playful mixture of Plymouth gin, Lillet Blanc, Caravella Limoncello, simple syrup, lemon juice and mint. The Sazerac Bar, New Orleans, LA This French Quarter gem occupies a slice of New Orleans cocktail history. And with its signature dark wood, leather chairs, and dark, narrow bar, you’ll want to make sure you have time to enjoy its namesake Sazerac in the place it was born. The timeless drink is mixed with Sazerac Rye, Peychaud’s bitters, sugar and Herbsaint but you can also sip the Brown Derby, with Buffalo Trace bourbon, grapefruit, lemon, honey and Rhubarb bitters. The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen Spirits, Charleston, SC This rooftop restaurant shells out handcrafted cocktails relying on locally sourced, unorthodox ingredients like carrots and corn. Take a seat indoors or outdoors and soak up the panoramic views of Charleston’s stunning architecture, then order one of these eccentric drinks to keep you company. The Trader’s Village is a play on Mexican street corn and combines corn infused tequila, ancho reyes, egg yolk, lime juice, and avocado orgeat, while the clarified milk punch dubbed the Clearwater merges bourbon, Plantation 5 year rum, port wine and citrus, garnished with warm bread pudding. Now, if that won’t warm your soul, nothing will. My Friend Duke, New York, NY A downtown cocktail den seamlessly plunked in Manhattan’s Murray Hill, My Friend Duke is a neighborhood joint with an upscale vibe. In addition to the 11th St. Manhattan, which adds a cheeky taste of Drambuie to its rye, antica and bitters, the Night Owl is an exciting potion fusing cold brew coffee soaked in oats, Irish whiskey and Demerara sugar – then charged with nitrogen. By the time you’ve imbibed these fall mixtures, this cocktail den will morph to a place where everybody knows your name. Nari, San Francisco, CA The biggest problem at Nari will be choosing which cocktail to try next. A sister restaurant of New York’s beloved Kin Khao, this two-level Thai palace pairs bold seasonal flavors with an ambitious cocktail menu broken up into punch, standard cocktails, low-alcohol and zero-proof. The punches are sized for sharing so you’ll have to bring friends to sample concoctions like the Tua Kua, with whiskey, amber vermouth, lime, peanut orgeat, cacao and bitters. Standard cocktails include the coconut-washed bourbon, salt and bruleed palm sugar lime peel that make up the Benja. Or the Sita, a blend of whiskey, toasted brown rice, Benedictine, amaro and angostura. Feel like taking it easy? Try the refreshing session cocktail called the Ambhan, with sweet vermouth, amaro, plum liqueur and spiced angostura. King of Cups, Chicago, IL Sow your royal cocktails at this imperially themed bar in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. And in addition to the over-the-top Rococo-style décor, including an interactive throne, the cocktails are many and come on tap, with a swizzle, stirred or shaken. The perfect cool companion, the Absolute Rule is a carbonated tap cocktail blending bourbon, brandy, and Guinness while The Lady India is likened to a whiskey sour and shakes together a strange brew of bourbon, sweet vermouth, lemon, IPA, beer syrup and angostura. And if you’re mood for a boozier creation, try the well-stirred Ginger Grant, with Scotch, fry vermouth, pomegranate balsamic and orange bitters.

Inspiration

Top Restaurants from a Top Chef: Spotlight on Lexington, Kentucky

Cole Arimes opened his first restaurant Coles 735 Main in 2012, and he’s been pushing Lexington’s culinary reputation into the national spotlight ever since. His second new restaurant, Epping’s On Eastside, is a stylish, lively eatery in a historic building specializing in elevated pub grub and wait-worthy brunches. Cole Arimes knows a thing or two about Lexington's food and drink scene © Erica Lee Photography This all comes as Lexington neighborhoods up their cool quotient. The Distillery District, for one, anchored by the newly refurbished historic James E. Pepper Distillery, draws revelers with bars (including one in the distillery), restaurants, an arcade, a brewery, and plenty more. We checked in with Cole to get his tips on dining around this dynamic town. The Best Burger: Wallace Station Deli Ouita Michel’s Kentucky bona fides run deep. She opened her first restaurant in 2001, and since then she’s opened seven more in the area, written cookbooks, appeared as a judge on Top Chef, garnered several James Beard Award nominations, and made very high-profile initiatives to support Kentucky farmers. But she hasn’t forgotten about simple pleasures, like a mighty fine burger. Cole heads to Wallace Station Deli, her farmhouse-style deli in Midway, about 30 minutes from Coles 735 Main, for his burger fix. And if his young son and daughter come along, not only do they appreciate the restaurant’s kid-friendly vibe, but the ride along the grassy landscape where thoroughbred horses roam captivates their attention during the trip. Best Latin Food: Corto Lima Cole has a hard time coming up with an answer when asked about his favorite dishes at Corto Lima. “Everything,” he replies. “The chicharonnes are awesome and the black bean and pork dish is excellent.” Run by Jonathan Lundy, James Beard Award semi-finalist and cookbook author, this Latin-inspired restaurant’s small-plate style lends itself to not having to choose favorites. Of course, few things go with this kind of food than a margarita. Cole considers their tequila and mezcal selection the best in the area. And while he’s more of a bourbon guy, “good margaritas aren’t all that bad now and then,” he admits. Best Ice Cream: Crank and Boom Craft Ice Cream Lounge Cole let’s his kids call the shots on this one. Their vote is for the industrial-chic Crank and Boom Craft Ice Cream Lounge. Yes, lounge. It’s known for eccentric flavors like coffee stout and dark chocolate truffle, and it’s all made in-house using as many local ingredients as possible. Ice cream cocktails are also on the menu. “The sundaes are all carefully composed and the ice cream dishes are just all-around fantastic,” he swears. He and his family are hardly the only ones who think that. She started about seven and a half years ago and has blown up in terms of the restaurants that carry her product. She was also one of the first to businesses to open in the Distillery District. Best Specialty Drinks Spot: Wise Bird Cider Company In late August, Cole went to Wise Bird Cider Company for the first time, an airy industrial-chic spot with long tables, outdoor seating, and charcuterie on the menu. Never much of a cider guy, he wasn’t sure what to expect, but he ended up liking it so much that now he’s carrying it at both his restaurants. As an added bonus, the space is kid-friendly. “You can let them loose to run around and not fear that they’re gonna tear the place up.” Best Fine Dining: Dudley’s on Short or Heirloom Cole sees his fellow chefs and restaurateurs as partners, not competitors. “We’re all in it together,” he insists. He tries to visit other restaurants when he’s not busy running his own two places of spending time with his kids. Dudley’s on Short, he says, is a longstanding local favorite, much respected for being in business since 1981. Located in a 19th century bank building, he describes it simply as “the tried and true.” He gushes over Heirloom. Its minimalist décor ensures there are no distractions from what Cole describes as seasonally driven meals that play on Californian cuisine. The team puts a premium on local ingredients, though a menu always includes a few staple dishes, like fried chicken livers and an excellent burger, by Cole’s estimation. But it’s the seasonal dishes that lend the place some excitement. “You never know what you’re gonna get every time you go in,” he says.

Inspiration

Where to Celebrate Oktoberfest across The US

Each year, Oktoberfest welcomes millions of visitors to Munich for partaking in this beloved folk festival. Yet if you have to stay stateside, but you still want to raise your stein and say “Prost,” consider going to an Oktoberfest happening in the United States. So don your dirndl or lederhosen and look at heading to these celebrations across the country – with no need for crossing over the Atlantic. Fredericksburg, Texas This German-rooted city in Texas Hill Country has all the usual Oktoberfest happenings but also some other fun happenings. There’s a Kraut Run consisting of 8K and 5K runs, a 5K walk and a children’s walk, a Hauptstrasse Chicken Dance lineup, and a tuba playing jamboree. Dancing at Fredericksburg's Oktoberfest © Image courtesy of Oktoberfest Fredericksburg Four stages host a continuous parade of German oompah, polka and waltzing, along with German, American and Texan beers and foods. October 4-6, 2019. Leavenworth, Washington In this Bavarian-themed town northeast of Seattle, the weekend-long Leavenworth Oktoberfest opens its Saturday portion with a procession with a coat of arms known as a Muenchner Kindl and an afterwards keg tapping ceremony. The festival itself has four venues – Festhalle, Tanz Halle, Bier Stube and Spass Platz – serving beer and food and presenting live music. Out-of-towners can also extend their experience through stays at Leavenworth’s Tiny House Village, which consists of five small Bavarian-themed lodges catering to an Instagram-worthy stay. October 4-19, 2019. Tulsa, Oklahoma The Linde Oktoberfest Tulsa has a good mix of attractions for just about every attendee. A Bavarian team cup challenge has groups of eight striving to win a tug-of-war, a bier barrel race, a krug relay race and a stein hoisting competition. The younger set can have their own fun at a children’s tent and wiener dogs can participate in both a dash and a parade. Enjoying steins of beer in Tulsa © Image courtesy of Linde Tulsa Oktoberfest Along with bratwurst and beer and continuous entertainment by the Das Glockenspiel, Oktoberfest will usher in a new elevated dining experience, known as Restaurant am Himmel, or Restaurant in the Sky. October 17-20, 2019. Carlsbad, California This beach city near San Diego has its family-friendly Carlsbad Rotary Oktoberfest benefiting community-related charities. There are contests for best German male and female costumes and yodeling, area-produced craft beers, Chicken Dance performances and a spread of German delicacies. Kids can spend time at a pumpkin patch or other activities, while bands will be performing traditional German and contemporary music. October 5, 2019. Milwaukee, Wisconsin Happening in downtown Milwaukee, the city’s annual event packs in a busy schedule during its three-day run. Its Friday portion has Stein Hoisting Competition, where contestants have to maintain holding a full one in front of them at a 90-degree angle. The weekend also features a Miss Oktoberfest pageant and a Brat Eating Contest. October 4-6, 2019. Insdide the beer hall at Amana, Iowa's, Octoberfest © Image courtesy of Travel Iowa Amana, Iowa Held in an area known as the Amana Colonies, a 19th-century German settlement, the Bavarian-style fun begins with a Friday Procession and Ceremonial Tapping of the Keg on Friday. Saturday’s portion starts with a morning parade featuring locally-sponsored floats. The weekend keeps going with competitive games. The Brezel Schmeissen involves catching a fabric-made pretzel on your head wearing a plunger device, while the Eisenmann is a competition of four events – beer stein holding, a keg toss, a balance walk and log sawing. October 4-6, 2019. Helen, Georgia This Bavarian-themed city really keeps its Oktoberfest going, as the alpine village starts theirs in September, going through Thursday through Sunday, and then runs daily through late October. Kicking off with a parade through town, the Georgian festival pays a nod to this German tradition with the city’s Festhalle being its location. Here, see a ceremonial keg tapping and sit at long tables for feasting on bratwursts, pretzels and other dishes while watching live entertainment. From early September through October 27, 2019. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania This free Oktoberfest held at SteelStacks packs in a ton of activities that are both traditional and creative. To start, at the “Hasselhoff-Off,” contestants are judged on their best impersonation of Baywatch actor and German favorite David Hasselhoff. Then there is also a bratwurst eating competition, the Yuengling Oktoberfest 5K run/walk, a Brewers' Village and a wiener dog parade. October 4-6 and 11-13, 2019.