New York, New York City
A New York stalwart, Sarabeth’s has been packing them in – and helping them pack on the pounds – for three decades. There are five locations now, three of which are a reasonable stroll from the Ivy League research university, Columbia, although you may want to take a detour on your way back to campus to burn off a few additional calories. To be fair to Sarabeth’s, you can eat quite healthily. It’s just that, frankly, I’ve never managed that feat.
Once that breakfast menu is in front of me, and the coffee is flowing, willpower doesn’t so much fly out the window as get its coat, leave, jump in a cab, take in the sights and meet me back at the hotel a couple of hours later. You may know the Sarabeth’s name from its preserve range, which are available in fine stores and delis nationwide.
To say I’m slightly addicted to these would be an understatement, having begged everyone I know visiting NYC to bring me back a jar to the extent that, 20 years on, a friend’s children still refer to me as “The Jam Man”. Go on. Laugh. Then try buttered toast drizzled with Blood Orange Marmalade or Peach Apricot Preserves and tell me I’m wrong… Accordingly, a side of muffins and preserves is a must, ideally with coffee, as soon as you arrive, while you choose your “proper” breakfast. As I say, you can be worthy – chia seed and blackberry, for example, freshly roasted granola, or a morning fruit bowl. But if you can opt for grapefruit segments after you’ve spotted “Fat & Fluffy French Toast” or “Braised Short Rib Hash” then you’re a better person than me and we will probably never be friends.
Sadly the dish that first broke me – “Three Bears Porridge” – is no longer available but, given the amount of cream and maple syrup involved, that’s probably for the best. Happily, its punsome savoury sister dish – “Goldie Lox” – is still on the menu. Service is slick, friendly and smartly dressed, but it’s New York so you probably guessed that. And if you can settle up and make your way out without doubling your bill (and filling your luggage) with jars of jam or takeaway cakes and cookies – the “Chocolate Chubby” in particular – then you’re a better per- oh, you get the point. Basically, it’s great.
Mr Bartley’s Gourmet Burgers
“A Harvard landmark since 1960” – and long may it continue. Burgers – 7oz, ground fresh daily – come perfectly grilled and named with tongue firmly in cheek. The Mike Pence, for example, is “way right and way wrong” and the Trump Tower is “yuuge”. Fries are good, sweet potato fries are better, onion rings are best of all.
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven-style pizza is essentially a thin, coal-fired, crispy-crusted Neapolitan, with less cheese. It’s said to have originated at Frank Pepe but some locals claim it was perfected at Sally’s. Who’s right? Well, the Pepe’s White Clam is a classic, but so is Sally’s White Potato Pie. Either way, Yale definitely isn’t the Connecticut town’s only claim to greatness.