Last summer, I wrote an essay arguing that LA's restaurant scene is more exciting than New York's. During a heated HuffPost Live discussion about my thesis a few days later, my colleague Rebecca Orchant asked me whether I would ever move to a different city -- and specifically LA -- because of its food scene. I gave a non-committal answer at the time. But now I'm getting off the fence. I'm putting my entire gastro-intestinal tract where my mouth has been for nine months. After 15 years in the Tri-State Area, I'm moving to LA.
Food obviously isn't the city's only lure for me -- but it's not a non-factor. I'm thrilled to be moving somewhere with such fantastic Asian, Latin American and Middle Eastern restaurants, in addition to an ever-growing stable of fusion and New American eateries helmed by ambitious young chefs. And I'm looking forward to having dining experiences where the stresses of pricing and reservations are gentler than they are in the Big Apple.
But that doesn't mean that the New York food scene doesn't have a special place in my heart. A huge place. It always will. I learned to eat here. And I've had the vast majority of my great meals in the Five Boroughs. So in between packing, apartment-hunting and car shopping, I took some time to think about the New York restaurants I'm likely to miss the most once I move to Los Angeles.
The 21 restaurants I picked are not the 21 best in the city. In part, this is because I was trying to find restaurants for which I probably won't be able to find substitutes in the Los Angeles area. So there's a lot of Italian, no Thai, Japanese or Mexican -- and a bunch of places that are quirkily one-of-a-kind. Moreover, these restaurants are also tied to my subjective experience of New York dining, which is limited by time, geography and budgets. I've been to all of these restaurants at least five times -- and I've been to some of them, especially near the top, more times than I can count. I'll always love them. Just as I'll always love New York.