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10 days and nights on West 81st Street. Would appreciate some local intelligence to eat well

summerUWS2008 | Oct 8, 200911:41 PM


I'm coming up on a 10 day stay on West 81st in an apartment with a kitchen. I'd prefer eating in than out, but probably won't much feel like cooking for myself beyond reheating some soup.

Eating well to me means fresh, not greasy or fatty, and nicely balanced with respect to spice. I'd very much appreciate knowing if I can currently find in the low W. 80s or high 70s:

-- genuinely good burrittos
-- good hummus, falafel, meze in general
-- good soups
-- good take out salad
-- excellent sushi (I'm not holding my breath)
-- best fresh fruit
-- good espresso

I'm open to anything else you care to recommend, although I don't eat barbecue and no longer eat Chinese food in New York unless it's very well prepared (and can survive travel in a cardboard box). I'm a huge fan of rice and beans in all forms, if any true gems of Cubano-Chinese (no heartburn please!) still survive around there. If there is a very good sit down Indian restaurant in the vicinity, that would be good to know.

If you want to pass along tips about the best times to shop in these places (when they aren't zoos), I'd appreciate it.

Also, which is the best wine store in the vicinity? I'll be needing bottles for gifts.

And who's currently riding high with the best smoked salmon?

Thanks so much! And sorry for so many questions! I used to live at W85th, but it was so long ago, I can't believe anything is still open except H&H and Zabar's, so I much appreciate tips from the current locals.

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