A Taste of New York City: Carbone, Momofuku, Lilia, and Via Carota

Need some recipe ideas? Get some inspiration from the places to which SI Swimsuit has traveled.

Since we are all working from our couches, sitting in our PJs and snacking on whatever pantry staples we have left, some creative culinary inspiration may be needed. We here at SI Swimsuit are fortunate to have the opportunity to travel the world, taste local cuisines, sample delicious cocktails and spirits made famous by the regions we have visited and open our palettes to all the amazing flavors the world has to offer. I love nothing more than traveling to a locale and learning all about the regional cuisines and how to make them. Let’s take a look back at some of the places SI Swimsuit has traveled to and revisit the delicacies and drinks we have sampled along the way with some recipes to help you create them.

This week we are keeping it local and paying tribute to the city SI Swimsuit calls home -- New York City. NYC is the center of hustle and bustle and home to the best pizza and bagels on earth. While a trip to the Big Apple may not be in the cards right now, you can still create some signature NYC dishes at home. Hopefully someday soon you can travel here to taste them for yourself as an at-home recipe may not completely do them justice (it’s in the water). These are recipes from some of my favorite spots in NYC. Try them out -- you’ll be full and happy.

Carbone’s Spicy Rigatoni - This is the holy grail of Italian food in NYC. When you want a $$$ night out, you come here. (When you want just as good a bowl of pasta for one-third of the cost, head a few blocks north to Otto, a favorite of the SI Swimsuit team). The secret to the dish is a Calabrian chili paste (this ingredient is also used a few courses down the list with the grilled clams at Lilia). The heavy cream, butter and vodka don’t hurt either. While you cannot beat the ambiance at Carbone, you can still whip up a great bowl of pasta by following this recipe! Get yourself a bottle of red, turn on some Frank Sinatra and pretend you’re headed to Greenwich Village.

Momofuku Noodle Bar Pork Buns and Ginger Scallion Sauce - I MISS MOMOFUKU SO MUCH. Their Ginger Scallion Noodles brought tears to my eyes every time I went there -- I used to live down the block so it was often -- they were that good. I was actually introduced to this place by Swimsuit editor-in-chief MJ Day my first year of working at SI back in 2012 and I will be forever grateful. MJ was the one who suggested I order the Ginger Scallion Noodles and it was love at first bite. You can make your own at home with this recipe. Add some noodles, some lightly pickled cucumbers, some shitake and you can transport yourself to East 11th and 1st in the East Village and not change out of your PJs. To recreate the heaven that is their pork buns, follow this recipe as best as you can and you’ve got a dreamy side dish/appetizer for your noodles.

Via Carota’s Insalata Verde - You may be thinking how a salad could possibly be good enough to make this list. Well, it is. And those who wait outside Via Carota for up to three hours (don’t just stand there and wait -- go across the street to their cocktail bar, Bar Pisellino), can back me up. Via Carota is the sister restaurant to one of my favorite little spots in the city I Sodi (their fried artichokes will leave you speechless) and is known for amazing pasta, great apps and killer cocktails. However, one of their most ordered dishes is this salad. It is so simple but so complicated at the same time and their secret ingredient is….wait for it....water. Greens are piled high with more greens, shallots, a super subtle but delicious dressing, salt and pepper and served. Walk, don’t run to the grocery store to make this, or if you’re lucky to live in the West Village near Via Carota, literally run.

Lilia’s Grilled Clams with Calabrian Chili and Bread Crumbs - Heading across the East River to Brooklyn is not a trip Manhattanites make often. But when Lilia and their baked clams are involved, I will go at any hour of the night. I once went with some friends, and for three of us, we got four orders of this dish. While I was unable to get a recipe, there is a step-by-step video for you to follow. This recipe is perfect for an end of summer BBQ or to impress your friends with a fancy side dish. Lilia just opened their outdoor dining so you can visit now. Start with the Cacio e Pepe Fritelle, then get the Mafaldini and the Agnolotti and finish up your meal with the dessert of all desserts, their Olive Oil Ice Cream, topped with sea salt and honey.'

Alyssa Conroy