Everyone was so friendly and helpful so I thought I'd post an update after our trip even though we didn't hit that many of the Chowhound worthy spots.
We did drive to Hoboken to catch Carlos's Bakery and my daughter was thrilled. We were in and out in an hour after arrinving around 1:30 last Wednesday. My nine year old said it would have been much quicker if they were more organized or even just handed out the pastry list for those in line. We didn't get much but we did try the mini chocolate dipped cannolis, crumb cake, and the kids got the red velvet cupcakes. Cannolis were very good and the perfect size. We had gotten gigantic cannolis at Mikes Pastry in Boston a couple days before. Mikes gets the edge on the filling but frankly the overall winner is Carlos's Bakery for offering a reasonable size. I had never heard of crumb cake until it made it on one of the Cake Boss episodes so I wanted to try it. I thought their rendition was rather dry and again it was very large as in slightly larger than my Kindle Fire but not as big as the iPad. After that we wanted lunch so I looked on yelp for a decent pizza place and we went to Grimaldi's. We all loved it and they had a very decent Caesar plus who doesn't love a Stella on tap when it's over 90 degrees outside.
Later that night we met some family at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. We have a knock off in Oakland that really does seem like a knock off so I was curious to try the inspiration but I think True Burger wins on all levels. Burgers are juicier, fries and shakes are better too but they don't have their namesake beer on tap.
The next day my son and I went to Doughnut Plant and I got the PB&J. Love it and a delicious latte too. My son had one of the cake donuts and it didn't seem that special. The yeast donuts seem like the way to go.
We met up with more family at Katz and had their tap as well as pastrami, chopped liver, latkes, matzo ball soup. Everything was delicious and just what we wanted out of that genre. I prefer my chopped liver a little less wet but still quite tasty.
The next day we went to Luke's Lobster for a quick late lunch after the ferry to SOL and Ellis Island. We came from Boston and already had a few lobster rolls under our belt but that wasn't enough and it was a perfect spot given that we were starving and wanted to walk through Wall Street.
Unfortunately we really didn't have dinner these two days because we had late lunches and were going to shows in the evening.
We headed to the High Line our last day but needed to get to the 911 memorial and didn't have much time so we go off the HL and found a convenient spot for a lunch. We ended up at Moran's in Chelsea. Quite respectable and we were all happy with our lunch. Gotta say I loved the High Line and wished we had more time to explore it. We met up with some family for dinner at a divine Italian restaurant in the Upper West Side called Celeste. Super delicious and shockingly reasonable. Everything we ordered was superb. Afterwards and a few blocks of much needed walking because we were so full, we had dessert at Cafe Lalo. It was fun but not a standout.
And then we didn't make it to the Grand Central Oyster Bar but we flew out of Newark so I was happy to see the same named restaurant in the airport. I can't imagine it was anything like the flagship and I'm not sure they are even affiliated but it was nice to have a little for seafood and chowder as our last meal before heading home.
So much of our dining was based on location, timing, and dealing with a teenager so there were many spots that we were not able to check out. Overall I was very impressed with the food scene and hope to get back when we can be more leisurely and food focused. I had wanted to have foie gras since it's a banned substance where I live and that didn't happen either.