virgilsbbqSo my wonderful wife surprised me with a trip to NYC for my birthday this past weekend so rather than sulk in the basement about my age and work out too hard, we ended up walking around NYC for the best part of 6 hours a day for 4 days. The weather was incredible 62 degrees which made it New York in the spring. Ever since we visited NY a couple of years ago we have wanted to go back, much the same as Chicago and Boston however since this was a surprise visit, I didn’t get much of a chance to plan the events. We did however manage to get to some amazing food places both on our NY Food on Foot tour and by ourselves. Of course, I was bound and determined to stay paleo and I think I did a pretty good job. HillcountryOur first stop was to Hill Country BBQ (30 West 26th St) a place that I had found on a couple of Paleo sites as being one of the hot spots. The food was pretty good, I liked the whole setup with the card that you get checked for each thing you order. Also, they serve the food in brown paper which just added to the experience. The food on the whole was good, the brisket was tasty, but tougher than you would have thought. The chicken was apparently good, and since we ordered the lunch special we got to try several items for a pretty good price of around $25. The ribs were very good, both beef and pork, and the sauces available at the table were tasty and not overly hot or spicy. We would go back, that is for sure, however we found another place that we enjoyed even more. That place was Virgil’s BBQ and I have to say it kicked HC’s ass. The brisket was the best I have ever had, melt in your mouth, massive flavour and juicy as could be. The other meats we had were equally good including the chicken, ribs and the order of wings I had were the best smoked wings I have ever tasted. The smoke flavour is what made it so good, but you could also tell the quality of the meat was amazing. It was truly the best BBQ I have ever eaten and that is saying a lot considering last time we were here we went to Blue Smoke! So the Paleo lifestyle was truly in check, and I have never felt better. During the rest of our stay, we made a point of going to Whole Foods to stock up the apartment style hotel room at Eastgate Towers, but also, on the last day we went to Trader Joe’s to find out what the big deal was. Well, for a Canadian that doesn’t have a food outlet like Trader Joe I was in heaven. They had raw nuts and seeds, grass fed beef and plenty of snacks and meals for the Paleo eater. I was surprised to find that everything in the store was Trader Joe brand, I was not expecting that, but the pricing was pretty good and we left with a bunch of nuts and seeds with which to make my own brand of trail mix.

Shake Shack FTW!!

Shake Shack FTW!!

The Food on Foot tour took us along 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen to 7 smaller and less expensive stores. The food quality all in all was pretty good and it was interesting to see the neighbourhood. For whatever reason Hell’s Kitchen has a lot of small inexpensive and quality restaurants. From Go Sushi to Amy’s Bread to City Sandwich we ate our way up and down 9th with abandon including a stop at The Little Pie Company. The tour was fun, the guide was a very pleasant guy and we met people from all over the world in the group.

What a great weekend, all in all, however, I did ZERO working out. I was not concerned, because this was supposed to be a rest week for me anyway and walking 6 hours a day is good enough. I did get mild shin splints and stretched my groin a little, but all in all, it was a great time away.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention  a couple of other places. First, Shake Shack which has the most amazing, tasty, juicy and irresistible burgers ever with amazing crispy crinkle cut fries and shakes that are literally out of this world. The place was packed and once we got our food we knew why. If you go to NYC, you MUST GO to Shake Shack. Also, for my wife, a shout out to rice to riches where she had some delicious ricetorichesrice pudding (who knew there was a store dedicated to rice pudding??) and I enjoyed their decor, ambiance and the fact they didn’t hide the fact that they are selling a bowl of carbs that will make you fat! They also claim to have “Dozens of Delicious Flavours and 3 Shitty Ones”!

Other food highlights include Pop Burger near FAO Schwartz, Poseidon Bakery on 9th which had amazing nut brittle and Levain’s Bakery which was featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate and who had very tasty cookies according to my wife who enjoyed it so much by the time we got across the street the melty chocolate was all over her face!

So back to reality, I will do day 1 of my new program today, skip the day off and complete the week.