Must say thank you to everyone for the suggestions and ideas. We had a wonderful 48 hours in NY and can't wait to go back. Here's the whirlwind food report:
Day 1 -- After arriving, dropping off our things, and then seeing the sunset from the top of the EBS (what treat!), we walked about 20 blocks to the CARNEGIE DELI. The walk was fabulous...Times Square at night was a treat for all of us. The deli was all that it was reported to be. Mile-high pastrami sandwich was a huge hit with my 14-year old. He actually didin't eat the whole thing in order to save room for dessert. Probably the first time that's ever happened! My other son and I shared the smoked fish platter, and I found the lox to be a bit bland, but some of the other fish was quite good. The hit of the meal, though, was the pastrami hash my husband had. The ultimate comfort food. I'll go there again just for that...and of course, the cheesecake that we now have to order for younger son's birthday in Oct. The all-chocolate one was to die for!
Day 2 -- breakfast at hotel (bagels, cereal, juice, coffee...nothing special but it was free). Lunch was snacks on the Circle Line Cruise. Dinner was at JOHN'S PIZZERIA on 44th which we really enjoyed. I know there are huge differences of opinions about this place, but we decided to go and were not disappointed. First of all, the place was hopping with many pre-theater folks. But the service was quick and friendly. We loved the pencil-drawing murals on the walls, not to mention the stained glass ceiling and windows. And not having had many other NY pizza slices to compare it to, we all loved the pizza. I had the bruschetta pizza which was garlicky with fresh tomatoes and basil, exactly what I wanted, and I loved the thin, slightly charred crust. Can't remember what other pizza was on the table, but it was eaten with lots of "yums". A couple of people at the table had pasta dishes and ate every bite. The pesto seemed to be the winner. For a couple of families with hungry teens, this was the perfect pre-theater spot for us.
Went to SERENDIPITY 3 after the Lion King and at 11:15 p.m. there was NO line! In fact, when we tried to open the door, it was stuck, so I thought for a moment that they were closed. But a server inside let us in and led us right to our table. We had the obligatory frozen hot chocolate which made us all swoon. The huge mound of whipped cream isn't sweetened which really helps balance out the drink. And yes, I succumbed and bought a couple of packets of the mix. *sigh*
Day 3 -- lunch was hot dogs from a vendor at Central Park and that was just plain fun. I'm a sucker for hot sauerkraut on my dog, and eating a hot dog while walking along Park Ave. to visit my grandmother's ritzy apartment building had enough irony to make it an unforgettable experience.
Caught a train to DC...enjoyed our time in NYC. Wish we'd had more time for more chow experiences. Next time!