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View of Culinary Institute of America along the Hudson River in Hyde Park

New York

New York State: Home of America’s Most Famous Foods

By: Heather Lalley

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    New York

In New York State, steeped in history and ethnic influences, eating can be a trip around the world in itself and an introduction to some of the most iconic foods in the USA.

From the culinary gateway of New York City to locales throughout the state, follow these tips to taste New York’s most diverse and iconic dishes.

Manhattan

In Manhattan, tuck into comforting matzo ball soup, mile-high pastrami sandwiches and golden-fried potato pancakes at Jewish delis like Katz’s, 2nd Ave. Deli and Sarge’s. Or, visit the chic Waldorf-Astoria hotel, where the Waldorf Salad with its crispy apples and crunchy walnuts was created more than a century ago.  

At Delmonico’s in Lower Manhattan, enjoy any of the classic dishes invented at the restaurant since its opening in 1837: Eggs Benedict; creamy Lobster Newburgh; thick-cut “Delmonico” steaks; and Baked Alaska for dessert.

The entrance of the historic Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City

The entrance of the historic Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City
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Will Steacy_Courtesy of NYC & Co

Brooklyn

At parlors across Brooklyn and Manhattan, savor a slice of New York-style pizza: thin-crusted, light on tomato sauce, cheesy – and best folded in half and eaten by hand.

While in Brooklyn, indulge in New York cheesecake at Junior’s. The restaurant’s been serving the dessert, creamy with your choice of fresh fruit purees, since 1950.

In Coney Island, find the original Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs on the beachside boardwalk. Order yours layered with chili and cheese, and save room for crinkle-cut fries.

Pizza at Grimaldi’s in New York City

Pizza at Grimaldi’s in New York City
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Joe Buglewicz - Courtesy of NYC & Co

Hyde Park

Continue your culinary journey by heading north into the town of Hyde Park in the Hudson Valley, for a meal at one of the four restaurants of the Culinary Institute of America. This renowned institute has more certified Master Chefs on its faculty than any culinary college in the nation.

Learning about dessert artisty on a Culinary Institute of America tour

Learning about dessert artisty on a Culinary Institute of America tour
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Portville

Check out the American Maple Museum in the Adirondacks for the local history of maple syrup – then taste it on fluffy pancakes at Sprague’s Maple Farms in Portville. Every spring, farms statewide host tours, tastings and activities to celebrate Maple Weekend.

Autumn colors at Sprague's Maple Farm in Portville, New York

Autumn colors at Sprague's Maple Farm in Portville, New York
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Clayton

Thanks to an enterprising fishing guide, George Lelonde, and his wife Sophia, fishermen and visitors to New York's Thousand Islands and the resort village of Clayton were first treated to Thousand Island dressing in the early 1900s. It is believed that Sophia made the dressing for her husband who would serve it to fishermen along the river. While alternate theories on the dressing's origins exist, the Thousand Islands remain an excellent place to order a green salad tossed in the tangy, savory emulsion.

Aerial view of Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands region, New York

Aerial view of Boldt Castle in the Thousand Islands region, New York
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Ithaca

The ice cream sundae got its start in Ithaca in 1892. To customize yours, request a few scoops of ice cream made from local milk, sprinkled with toppings such as hot fudge or butterscotch sauce, chopped nuts and whipped cream.

Historic Purity Ice Cream Company in Ithaca, New York

Historic Purity Ice Cream Company in Ithaca, New York
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Buffalo

In Buffalo, head to the Anchor Bar, the birthplace of the Buffalo Wing. Don’t be shy about eating these fried chicken wings, deliciously tossed in melted butter and red vinegar hot sauce, with your hands. Try variations across Buffalo to perfect your technique.

The Anchor Bar's famed – and often imitated – Buffalo wings

The Anchor Bar's famed – and often imitated – Buffalo wings
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Getting There

Fly into New York via John F. Kennedy International in New York City and Newark International in New Jersey, then use Long Island MacArthur, Stewart International, Albany International, Syracuse Hancock International, Greater Rochester International and Buffalo Niagara International airports for one-hour connections to destinations statewide.

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