When Mr and Mrs NerdCuisine Ate New York, pt. 1

I think I’ve hinted at us getting married and honeymooning in NYC in more than one of the recent posts (can’t be bothered to actually check while writing a new post though), so it’s about time to relate our travels, or rather what we ate.

Arriving in New York at late lunch time I guess we had some sort of culinary short circuit and ended up in McDonald’s for dinner. Not awfully exciting, but at least a bit interesting to compare Swedish and American McD restaurants. The furniture is the same, but the menu system isn’t. While Swedish restaurants generally have everything on HD monitors, at least the one we visited in NY had backlit menus that looked like the ones used in Sweden in the 90s.

The next item is the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. It had six different pastries, iced water, tea and (by Swedish standards very very weak) coffee. Not exactly a healthy breakfast, but at least free of charge.


After considering a number of options, lunch happened at a deli on the Soho part of Broadway, which had very nice pepperoni pizza. (is this maybe the first time yours truly has actually posed for a blog picture?)

Lunch and shopping taken care of, we ambled back up towards our hotel near Madison Square and ended up at the supposedly Swedish style coffee shop Fika.


They offered a number of rather Swedish foods, but while their drip brewed coffee was the best I had during the New York trip, serving it at my workplace would induce a considerable amount of surly comments. In short, the strength was in the roast and not in the grounds-to-water ratio. Americans reading this and wanting to invite Swedes for coffee, here’s a bit of advice: the correct amount of ground coffee to use with a liter of water is 120 ml or 56 grams (1,97 oz)

The privilege to serve us dinner was awarded to Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. Our decision was based on the proximity to the hotel and the assumption that a place with a line that long has to be pretty good, which it was indeed, even though part of the popularity could be attributed to hip factor. If I was actually giving out grades, Shake Shack would have points deducted for the difficulty of getting a table, which meant sitting on the park benches, which in turn meant one had to fend off the infamous park squirrels.

Following some thinking and debate, we’re not quite certain whether we dined at Shake Shack on June the 4th or 5th, but where we ate the other of those nights is a veritable conundrum. Possibly the pizza place at Broadway and 27th.

6th of June is Sweden’s national day, and since I had told friends back home that we would have a picnic in Central Park we went there. After noticing a flag or two, watching some Robins forage and wave upon wave of squirrels run past we ended up having a ‘picnic’ at the Loeb Boathouse.


The burgers were of a sensible size, but one order of fries would have been plenty for the both of us.

After lunch we strolled over to the Swedish Cottage, which didn’t look like we expected it to, but nothing from 1876 ever does. Then we went to the American Museum of Natural History and got in free of charge because a nice gentleman we met at the entrance apparently had the habit of collecting his member admittance tickets and passing them out to people he met on the way out. Saved us $38 to spend on other things.

I’m fairly certain we ate dinner at Duo that night, which was slightly fancier than we had planned, but still laid back enough that they asked if we wanted to share one order or have one each. I didn’t take any pictures in the restaurant, but here’s a link to what we ate, from their Facebook page: Fancy pants DUO hanger steak.

This post is rather long by now, so I’m going to call it part one and do another as soon as I can manage, with the rest of the trip.


19 Responses to “When Mr and Mrs NerdCuisine Ate New York, pt. 1”

  1. That’s enough fries for a family of four, and yes I do believe it is the first time you’ve graced your faithful followers with your actual self.

    • It was great value for our money though, especially compared to the more elegant food they had in their indoor restaurant. Also, every beverage we bought was one order of magnitude larger than here in Sweden.

      • That’s the American way, alright.

      • In general, eating food other people cooked is very much cheaper in the US. I suspect the perceived status of restaurant employees is part of the equation. In Sweden, most restaurants only hire formally trained waiters with several years experience.

      • That’s surprising. I never think of restaurant food as cost-effective.
        Is dining out in Sweden a real hit to the wallet then? And do you have to tip the waitstaff the way you’re expected to do here?

      • I’d say a reasonably decent restaurant dinner won’t usually be found for less than 50 dollars per person here. We don’t usually tip anywhere here, unless the service is exceptional or one wants to avoid pocketfuls of change or similar. I think salaries in service businesses are adjusted to reflect this.

      • I’m not impressed with a system that requires tipping.
        You often hear the argument that even a waiter who does a poor job of serving deserves a tip because of their low hourly rate.
        The idea was originally to reward good service, if I’m not mistaken.
        Nice arrangement for management though.

      • Tip is ‘included’ in the price here, which I assume means all members of staff get a small commission off each sale. Actual tips may or may not be shared.

      • Yeah, lots of places here just tack the tip onto the final bill for larger groups.

        I was out to dinner (a rare occasion) the other night and thought of you since we had 3 people tending us at various times.

        Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2013 07:40:35 +0000
        To: toadflax@live.com

      • reading up a bit more on the state of Swedish restaurant business, most of the revenue comes from beverage mark-up, with the food bringing in next to nothing (or a loss) for most restaurants.

      • I worked at inns doing housekeeping for many years, the owners all said the same thing, all their profit was in the booze, 75% mark-up. Hope things are going for you in your new capacity as grown-up old married guy. :-)

      • I’m doing my best, but there’s not that much difference from before, although the wife has been getting visibly fatter as of late (which has of course nothing to do with food intake, but more that the arrival of NerdCuisine jr has been scheduled for december 29 (also the birthday of my father and my brother))

      • Oh jiminy crickets, Nerd Cuisine Jr.
        That is heart-meltingly wonderful!
        There’s a game-changer for you…:-)
        You are going to be an awesome dad,
        I’m sure your honey will be an amazing mom,
        and what a lucky little punkin he/she will be!
        Pink or blue cigar wrappers? Do you know yet?
        Are you saying?

      • We don’t know and we usually tell people who ask that we’re hoping for a human :D

        We’re both aiming for awesome of course, but it’ll be a game-changer all right. At least one of us will have to develop a penchant for housekeeping in the next few months, for example :D

      • Human’s a good jumping-off point, yep.
        You can let the housekeeping go for at least a year.

      • We’ve left the housekeeping to its own devices for far too long, so we’ll at least need to get stuff in order before the baby arrives.

      • Yeah you do want to be able to find him/her again after you set him/her down.

      • on the other hand, they sell these neat GPS beacons nowadys… :)

      • Also, in a couple of places, there were an awful lot of people involved in procuring our dinner. One for taking orders, one for drinks, one for carrying the food to the table and one for unceremoniously taking the dishes away in a big tray. In Sweden I’ve never seen any other system than having one and the same waiter for all those jobs (and no big trays for dishes)

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