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An amazing food trend tour in New York

"Hi there! You might have seen some pictures that I posted on Hogeschool Tio’s Instagram recently; I was recently in New York on a food trend trip, sponsored by Tio. You might wonder: “Why would Tio pay for that?” Here’s why: My name is Marco Verplanke, I am a Hospitality student and I was part of the 2016 EMCup team. Together with Maaike, Anneke, Sigrid and Juliette, we won that year’s edition of the European Mise-en-place Cup. Personally, I feel like each of our individual qualities and personalities all added up to that successful force."

After winning the competition, Tio offered every single one of us a food trend tour of our choosing. The girls went to Barcelona and had a blast. I had moved to Toronto, Canada, by then to write my final thesis at a Canadian organization. Luckily I was given another option: to book my food trend trip to one of the world’s trendiest cities: NEW YORK! With my granted budget, I set up an itinerary for four days to explore the city’s extensive food options.

On day one

I left Toronto at 7 AM with three friends to fly to La Guardia, NYC. After arriving there and taking a taxi into the city, the fun started with brunch at a restaurant called Sadelle. This venue’s signature food is house-made bagels and house-smoked salmon: delicious! Another fun part of this meal was movie star Jake Gyllenhaal, who was sitting two tables next to ours! After we had calmed down from this, we walked around SoHo.

Hotel Pod 39

After checking out many, many shops, we were able to check into the hotel, Pod 39. The hotel was pretty interesting; they had removed all the facilities and amenities that they had found that guests don’t tend to use, in order to create a more affordable and accessible concept. The rooms are efficiently laid out but still have everything you need; just nothing excessive. The other parts of the hotel were Latin-American themed: there is a very nice rooftop patio, a taco restaurant and a game room. Because of our early start that day, we all took a nap before we left for dinner at Italian restaurant Patrizia’s of Manhattan. We decided to order a bunch of dishes to share, which resulted in the entire table being filled with amazing food.

New York’s nightlife

After dinner we got ready to explore New York’s nightlife in the Meatpacking District. The highlights here were club Le Bain – with a rooftop patio that looked out over the city’s night skyline – and the Jane Hotel – a hotel with a club on the ground floor with only one rule: “you may dance on ANYTHING”.

Day two

Day two consisted of a lot of walking. I saw big hotels like the Park Plaza and the Trump Tower, the Highline Standard, the Gansevoort, you name it. After that we went back to eating. First a quick lunch at New York vegan restaurant chain By Chloe, followed by a late afternoon snack at Indian taco venue Taco Mahal and a stroll through the indoor Italian market Eataly. At Eataly, you can find any kind of Italian food and delicatessen. Eataly marked the end of day two’s activities.

Day three: more brunch!

Brunch seems to be a North American staple and New York was no exception. For this Sunday brunch we chose a Mexican style brunch place called Agave in the West Village. Following up the brunch was a walk through the Greenwich Village and Washington Square. Along the way we even saw the steps that appear in the famous TV show Friends! Later that day we went to a restaurant called The Spotted Pig for our last activity of that day. Here they supposedly serve the best hamburger of the city. I can personally confirm that this is true.

And then the last day

The flight back was late in the afternoon, so we seized the day and left early to explore bits and pieces of Williamsburg and Brooklyn, followed by a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. This took up most of our remaining time, so after getting back to Manhattan we went for lunch at an authentic AND contemporary Mexican restaurant called Cosme. This restaurant offers amazing food with great service, all in an aesthetically pleasing environment. This was the last thing I could do before heading back to Toronto, but it was a great ending. A great ending to an amazing experience. Thank you Tio!

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