I returned last night from a week in NYC with my 21 year old son - his first trip to the city. Thanks to many chowhounds, we ate some wonderful food. Staying in Chelsea, I was delighted to find several chowhound recommendations within a couple of blocks. We tried four and I would highly recommend all to anyone visiting the city - they were not expensive or touristy, didn't require reservations, the food was high quality and at least two provided very unique cuisine. We began with the Havana restaurant on 8th Ave. at 19th for the cuban sandwiches and a side of plaintains (sweet, fried, just like a remembered from cuban restaurants I frequented on the UWS in the 1970's - YUM). We sat at the counter, and the person on the next stool had a wonderful looking stew of some sort over yellow rice. He said it was "Goat" - it smelled delicious. The next day we ate across the street at the thai restaurant - Spice. Fresh ingredients, well prepared - nothing too startling on the menu but so good that if I lived nearby, I would definitely go back. Another day, we had brunch at the Bright cafe at 8th ave. and about 21st - totally unique. We are from Texas, so we tried the trio of salsa dips and chips, and loved them. That place would do well in Austin. Final Chelsea stop was the Bagel place on 8th, (Murray's?)- on Thanksgiving morning. The bagels were still warm from the oven and the people were lovely. In Chinatown, we had lunch at a chowhound recommendation, 6 or 9 Charleston??? Square. Everyone else there was chinese. They were doing dim sum, even though it was a Tuesday. Wish we had been able to understand more of what they were offering, but what we tried was great - and it was a unique experience. Based on reading chowhound discussions, I made a reservation at Balthazar for Sunday evening - the food was good, the wine great and the scene was fun after an afternoon of Soho shopping. My son enjoyed the spinach pasta. The meringue and berry dessert was very special. The next night we ate at Rosa Mexicana in Union Square. As described, it was a beatiful space, and even though I am a margarita purist, I loved their pomegranite version. On Thanksgiving eve, we went to see the balloons being inflated, and had dinner at Fred's on Amsterdam,on chowhound advice. It was perfect - a wonderful host and warm atmosphere, delicious food(they willingly replaced the shrimp in the pasta dish my son ordered), crammed with families - we were lucky we got there early. Thanksgiving dinner was at Wallsea in the West Village. This was actually recommended by a foodie friend. It was fantastic. My son had the most beautiful, tender venison steak you have ever seen and loved the chestnut soup. I thought the salad was particularly special. Our only disappointments were the pizza at Two Boots in Grand Central (OK, but nothing special, but it was easy and convenient); the pie place at Grand Central (only selling whole pies because of Thanksgiving); and lunch at the Metropolitan Museum (fresh and decent and of course convenient, but really seemed expensive for a cafeteria!) Overall - we had a great time, and I was able to show my son some of the wonderful culinary experiences available in NYC, thanks to all the great information provided by chowhounds! Hope I can return the favor to anyone heading to Austin.