A slice of sweet heaven in NY
Rodney Chester pounds the Big Apple pavement on a mission to find great cheesecake – and not gain weight
FORGET about the Big Apple. For lovers of the sweet things in life, the real food connection with New York is cheesecake.
Ask a New York local (and we did) where to find the best New York cheesecake and you’ll get a quick-fire suggestion – and possibly start a fiery debate.
Imagine listening to a deleted scene from Goodfellas – but involving hotel doormen and cheesecake references.
Ten years ago, New York Times writer Ed Levine went on a quest to find the ultimate cheesecake. He took 30 days and tasted four dozen to come up with a short list.
“In a city of constant ethnic flux, cheesecake is itself a constant,” Levine wrote.
As a tourist in New York, you don’t have time to taste test 48 pieces of cheesecake. Andwho can afford the calories?
But there is a way you can have the best New York has to offer in cheesecake, at no cost. Well, no calorie cost – money, when it comes to cheesecake, is not worth mentioning.
My mission was one of balance. Discover New York. Taste cheesecake. Avoid a waistline explosion.
My aim was to consume calories, and to burn them, with the bottom line being a positive outcome for my bottom.
I strapped on a Garmin Forerunner 220 watch, which mapped my route across Manhattan and calorie burn.
If you are going to start eating cheesecake in New York, there are few better experiences than starting at Carnegie Deli, on 7th Ave near 55th St and just a few blocks from Central Park.
This deli opened in 1937 and, along with its cheesecake, is famous for its gargantuan sandwiches. Picture two slices of bread with about 10cm of meat stuffed in-between.
I decide not to indulge in a sandwich on the advice of the New Yorker sitting next to me, who was impressed with my idea of eating my way across New York. “Eat one of these and you’ll have to walk all the way back to Australia,” he said.
Before I could order, a waiter arrived with pickles. Pickles, it turns out, is another thing for which Carnegie is famous.
The cheesecake, when it comes out, is all you could hope for. I skip the pickles and opt for the coffee. You would walk all day for
cheesecake like this. I wouldn’t cross the street for the coffee in New York.
With 400 calories under my belt, I start walking down 7th Ave. At the 1km mark I consider popping in to the M&M store but figure I don’t need chocolate today. At the 1.2km mark, I soak up the atmosphere of Times Square before heading for Broadway.
The beauty of my route is that it passes, or nearly passes, many of New York’s most