My Favorite Restaurants in Manhattan

There is no food city like New York City and cutting my teeth in the restaurant industry living in Manhattan for 7.5 years was truly the best and how I learned to eat and work with chefs and restaurants! I started Chekmark Eats as a restaurant blog and wrote over 600 restaurant blog posts before I moved back home to Austin. Most of them were in Manhattan, and now when I go back, I venture more to Brooklyn to check out what these not as hyped in the press spots are doing that feels so cozy and unique. If you want the recs for restaurants across the whole city, click here for that article, or if you want to get the best cookies and cakes in the city, click here. You can find every style of cuisine from street food in Chinatown to a Michelin star restaurant uptown. There is nothing like New York City!

Thai Diner – This restaurant, which is owned by what used to be Uncle Boon’s, is the main reason Thai food is my favorite cuisine. They made me like curry when I thought it wasn’t for me and exposed me to all kinds of dishes I now love and always eat in Austin. Massaman Golden Curry with the Chicken Leg is the best I’ve ever had here. The design is also so much fun here with some nods to Thailand and also a trendy New York City restaurant. Go for lunch if you can’t get in for dinner. Their outdoor dining area with black and white tiled floors is adorable. While the Khao Soi is the dish that turned me onto curry for the rest of my life, it’s the Pad See Ew with Prawns that leveled up my noodle game. I’ve always loved Pad See Ew, but this is definitely the best one I’ve ever had somehow, and usually, they all taste pretty much the same, right? The Stuffed Cabbage over a Tom Kah broth is unlike any Thai dish I’ve ever seen. Two of my favorite flavors combined, and so herby and fresh. If I truly had to pick my favorite restaurant in NYC, it would be Thai Diner!

Russ & Daughters – Jewish immigrants started Russ and Daughters as an appetizing shop in 1914, where people would get whitefish salad, babka, and other food products, but in 2014, they opened for sit-down dining in the LES as their first expansion. On a recent NY trip, I was having a stressful day because I was trying to do everything all at once and it wasn’t all working out, so I just needed a comforting bowl of Matzoh Ball Soup, and found the best I’ve ever had in my life here. The Whitefish Bagel Toast is a sleeper not to miss! The whitefish with wasabi roe is a flavor I’ve never seen before, and if you are solo and have to choose, I’d pick this over the lox. They don’t take reservations, but I went by myself and ended up sitting next to a Jewish girl from Dallas and having a really nice conversation. Go alone, or go really early to snag a spot! I’ve never had potato latkes quite like their really thick and put together crispy latkes with applesauce and sour cream. In the past, I’ve also enjoyed their Babka French Toast and fish platters — you can’t go wrong.

Wu’s Wonton (LES) – This is my favorite sit-down restaurant in Chinatown. Well, I guess it’s actually in the LES. It’s the place where I learned to love Rice Rolls and I’ve never had a better one — yes, I’ve been to Yi Ji Shi Mo, but I recommend that one for you if you’re doing a Chinatown crawl, although our order took 45 min. Otherwise, walk right into Wu’s on a weekday anytime, and you’ll be met with fast service. Go for the Shrimp and Chive Dumplings, — also best I’ve ever had — Congee, and Shrimp Rice Rolls. We did get the Peking Duck with Rice for lunch, but it was pretty boney for me, and I just oohed and ahhed over all the other dishes. They also greet you with green tea and you’ll see the chef drying the Peking Ducks in the window. I LOVE THIS PLACE!

Momoya (Nolita or Chelsea) – For when you need a sushi fix that’s a step above a hole in the wall, but not too fancy or reservation-forward, go to Momoya for fresh fish, nigiri, rolls, sashimi, the works!

Ippudo (Theater District) – This old Japanese ramen shop from Fukuoka used to only have one location near Astor Place, and the lines would be in que well before they opened for dinner at 5 p.m. Now, they have a location not far from Rockefeller Center and in the Theater District, which we popped into at 11 p.m. after Saturday Night Live! I got the Bonnie Bonito Ramen, which is a fish-flavored tonkotsu broth with silky noodles, scallions, seasoned bamboo shoots, Naruto, and Yuzu peel. I don’t eat a lot of pork so I never order ramen, and let me tell you, fish broth is light, still cozy, and where it’s at! I also really loved the Cucumbers (Goma Q). They are RICH, as in you feel rich eating them because they are pungent, unlike any other cuke you’ve ever had, and dressed in sesame oil with mild chili flakes.

Dame (West Village) – Dame is a tiny restaurant in the West Village that I could never get into when it first opened, but now it’s pretty easy to get a res! It feels very European to me, with simple interiors in a tiny space that exudes, “We have simple food with bold flavors, and the wine is good, too!” A couple owns it, and the wife is from Austin, and her husband is British! You could probably order the whole menu if you were able to get a large enough reservation, but if it’s only two of you, the Whitefish Salad on Polenta is very playful and a fun new way to eat both ingredients. I used my hands to eat it like a little French fry toast! The Fried Soft Shell Crab with Ramp Aioli and Peas tasted like a garden and was very light and crisp, and the Kedgeree Rice with Grilled Monkfish was my favorite dish of the night because I love that extra curry spice. You can’t leave here without trying the Sticky Toffee Pudding, which might be the best dessert on any restaurant menu, so gooey and sweet after a flavorful meal.

Bar Primi (Penn Station + EV) – The new outpost of Andrew Carmellini’s Italian spot near Penn Station is a breath of fresh air for this food desert. The chic, kempt garden exterior makes you feel like you are in Europe or at least somewhere in the Hamptons. I love all the branding, from the coasters to the peacock and sunflower cocktail mugs to the start plates that say Bar Primi in red. Sit at the outdoor bar for some drinks and don’t miss the brussel sprouts with pepperoni and way too much parmesan cheese!

American Bar (WV) – Modeled after a country club, as you can see with the waiters’ polos, this late lunch really hit the spot! Described as Continental cuisine on their website, it’s the best Shrimp I’ve ever had on a salad. Go for the Chopped and the Spinach Artichoke Dip, which is a step up from Houston’s and served in a white ceramic dish that feels like it’s meant for French Onion Soup so it makes it extra cozy with that ricotta, queso fresco, and parm hidden inside.

Coqodaq (Manhattan) – Coqodaq is the sexiest dining room and dinner experience in New York right now — if you can get in. From the owners of Cote, this fried chicken champagne smoke show of a restaurant is like theater, starting with the bouncer at the front door. The bright, fluorescent arches take over the entire ceilings as you walk down the pathway to your cozy plush booths. It feels like a right of passage to eat here, yet the staff is so friendly and warm. How to eat here: from The Bucket List, ($38 pp) you get 1 original bucket without any seasoning on your fried chicken, which is about 6 to 8 pieces PER person then you choose your glaze for the next round — Soy Sauce Garlic or Gochujang Glaze. I actually liked the sauce-free chicken first the best and tried all the different squeeze bottles of sauces to decorate my bird when they came out on the lazy susan — yes, a lazy susan. Sexiest dining experience, I tell ya. This also all comes with Chicken Consommé to start, Ban-Chan pickled veggies, Cold Perilla Seed Noodles, and finishes with a Soft Serve cup. Definitely add on The Golden 24 Karat Caviar Nugget to start for an extra $28 per piece — silly, I know, but you have to! This is the only place that has made me love Chicken Liver Paté with their marmalade, and I couldn’t stop picking at the cole slaw. Now, is it the best fried chicken I’ve ever had? It wasn’t even about that. It’s about the luxurious yet glorified experience that makes you feel special in a gorgeous place without caring who’s who or what you are wearing. The chicken was fine!! It’s just how they made me feel that I will remember.

Don Angie (West Village) – Known for their Lasagna For Two, the swirl-shaped dish can feed a large group and is how the husband-and-wife chefs quickly became well known here. They were actually my clients at Quality Italian when I worked in NYC, and then were able to open their own space within the group years later, which is so exciting to see. It’s always packed in the West Village, and this is a place where you know you’ll be taken care of hospitality-wise and taste bud-wise…if you can snag a res! They also just opened their second restaurant San Sabino, which is seafood Italian.

Jane (West Village) – The only reason to visit this restaurant is for the Creme Brulee French Toast for weekend brunch. It’s the first brunch I ever had when I moved here, and while we got it for the table so we could each have eggs and other dishes, it’s the only thing I can remember and will always speak about when there is a general convo about “French Toast” anywhere.

Ayada Thai (Chelsea Market) – There are so many stalls and options in Chelsea Market, but the one sit-down restaurant with traditional servers is famous for their Queens location, and this outpost makes for a lovely lunch when you can’t decide where to stop in. The Seafood Mango Salad is probably the only mango salad I’ve ever had at a Thai spot where the mango was perfectly ripe and juicy and surrounded by seafood. I loved it! Go for the rich and hearty Massaman Curry with coconut milk, peanut, fish sauce, and tamarind.

Ernesto’s (LES) – I’m never really jonesing for Spanish food mostly because I don’t eat a lot of pork and they always have that prosciutto wrapped around everything. I came here with one of my music friends from UT who manages some of the best bands out there! I love that she took me somewhere I hadn’t heard of and off the beaten path in the LES. Under the “To Nibble” section, this Toastas de Gambas was a delicious shrimp toast with crustaceans on a piece of bread. Mmm. My absolute favorite thing here though was the Bikini Hemingway with shrimp, cheese, honey, and I think even anchovies. Honestly, you could come here and order these 4 toast points just for yourself and call it a day with some Spanish wine. It’s SOO crunchy. The name of the game here is shrimp. Do not get the Veggie Plate. So what I make a mistake every now and then!

Zou Zou (Hudson Yards) – This Mediterranean spot had the best actual DIPS. Damn, that Whipped Ricotta with Saffron Apricot ruled. The Carrot Muhammara, Ember-Roasted Eggplant stayed on the table throughout the entrees if that means anything.  So proud to see my old clients, Quality Branded, open this spot, the dining room took my breath away. It almost reminded me of a fancy place somewhere in Europe that seemed older but really just so gorgeous and casually lavish that you think it must have been around forever. We shared the Fattoush Salad – how fun to have pita chips in your greens!—I recommend the Chicken with crispy skin and tender meat, but my absolute favorite dish was the Roasted Sweet Potato with Hazelnut and Dukkah melted perfectly into it with blackened edges that allowed it’s insides to melt in your mouth. Perfect for big groups, you’ll want to share everything and the round tables and cozy booths make catching up ideal. No way will I eat in Times Square, so we dined here before seeing Funny Girl on Broadway and caught the subway about 20 min before the doors shut.

Balthazaar (Soho) – You can’t come to New York and not go to a Keith McNally restaurant. I came here with my mom in college for the first time. You’ll see the same amount of locals, Europeans, and tourists here, and it never gets old. The food is also still great! I love the French Onion Soup, Omelet, and it was the place I accidentally fell in love with Bouillabaisse which is a fish stew and still their Friday special. He created so many trends and staples in the city such as the dish towels as napkins, messy mirrors in the bathrooms, communal sinks for men and women, raw bars, etc.

Gupshup (Gramercy) – This is a fun Indian restaurant I’d been wanting to try for a couple years. Located right by Gramercy Park, we dove in right before seeing Cut Copy at Webster Hall. The Paneer Cheese Rolls are what they are known for and they were fun and different with coriander pesto and chili mango chutney. Loved the traditional Chicken Biryani, and Saag Paneer, plus Paratha is always my favorite Indian bread. The Hot Like Kohli cocktail with tequila, mezcal, matcha, cilantro, mint, pear cordial, lime and chili salt was the best cocktail I had all trip!

Bangkok Supper Club (Meatpacking) – A new Thai spot that feels trendy and international, Bangkok Super Club is kind of hard to get into, but worth the visit. The old-school neon sign outside calls you in, but when you enter, the space almost feels like an upscale cocktail lounge with clean lines and a smooth, modern design. We got the green beans to start with a tofu cream and chili oil, followed by the Sea Bass Curry + a Stuffed Eggplant, my two favorite dishes here! Everyone told me to try the Beef Tartare, but it was too spicy for me. We sat in the back of the sexy dining area and watched the chefs in the kitchen, so ask for that seat to get in on the action.

Quick Chinatown Stops If you are looking to do a little food tour and grab a few items here and there while strolling along your way, head to Tasty Dumpling for their Pan Fried Pork Dumplings. Their homemade sauce at the check-out is to die for, so layer it on your Styrofoam plate before you head out. Yi Ji Shi Mo is famous for their rice rolls, and while I like the ones better at Wu’s Wonton because they are more composed, these are still fun to eat, although we waited 45 min for our one order, but skipped to Tasty Dumpling in between. Try it all!

Blue Ribbon Sushi (West Village) – My number 1 sushi spot I have to visit every time I go back. It hits all the marks as far as ambiance, service, and I get the exact same thing every time. All I ever want is a sushi and nigiri combo plate and some extra tuna toro pieces that make me stand up and do a jig upon first bite. It’s also one of the more affordable sushi places that has a nicer vibe. No need to go all in on an omakase somewhere else.

Planta Queen (Flatiron) – This is really the only fancy feeling plant-based restaurant I’ve been to that feels like it could be a special night out due to the Miami-style palm wallpaper greenery and open kitchen. You’d never miss meat eating here as everything is so unique and flavorful. The Ahi Watermelon Spicy Tuna Roll made with slaw, avocado, gochujang, and peanuts was my favorite dish. Looking at it and even eating it you have no idea that it’s NOT tuna. It’s definitely a wild mind thing and tastes just like a tuna roll—no watermelon flavors at all. I also recommend the Sweet Corn dumplings with tom yum, cilantro, and chimichurri; Bao Sliders with “chicken” fried mushroom, hoisin, pickled cucumber; Udon Noodles with truffle mushroom cream and shaved black truffle. The coconut flavor tasted warm and comforting.

Mokbar (Chelsea Market) – I used to visit Chelsea Market every weekend when I first moved to NYC just to explore and as entertainment I guess. It’s a great place to take visitors and is truly the first food market that ever existed before food halls became so popular. While the vendors and outposts have changed over the years, Mokbar remains one I crave when you need an easy place for lunch that’s fresh. Go for the Ho’ Cake which is a crispy bun filled with pork belly and a kimchi pear dippin sauce (almost seems like a fried thicker scallion pancake stuffed sandwich) Tuna Poke, Bibimbap with pulled ginger chicken and purple rice.

Quality Italian (Midtown) – If you’re in midtown, this is the perfect place for a steakhouse meets Italian food. I love to start with their Tricolore Margarita, which is an inventive cocktail with a three-colored striped ice cube that you’ve never seen anywhere else! Order the Yellowtail Crudo, Baked Clams, any of the housemade pastas, and save room for the Chicken Parm Pizza for Two or a steak. I love how creative yet refined this group is!

Le Botaniste (Manhattan) — If I lived in New York, I’d eat at Le Botaniste for a $20 lunch everyday. This place is like a pharmacy for food. When you walk in, you see the veggie bar, which holds Le Creuset-style pots on the stove behind a glass where it says “Prescription” in place of “Menu.” The employees are all wearing lab coats, which makes me giggle and love this place more and more. Go through the line and pick from the menu or DIY your own bowl. It’s all plant-based, and they have options ranging from a Tibetan Coconut Peanut Butter Curry to Quinoa Fusilli Bolognese with herbal Oil, Spicy Chili Sin Carne, and I got the special Saag both times with their incredible Turmeric Lemon Hummus. This place is exploding with healing and nutrient dense bowls, and you must visit if you are in Soho!

Shuka (Soho) – This Mediterranean restaurant is from one of my favorite groups and opened Shuka where Hundred Acres in Soho used to be. It’s airy, good for big groups, and feels like a farm house. Start with any of the dips, def get the Fried Halloumi, Falafel, or the Shakshuka at brunch.

Pastis & Minetta Tavern (Meatpacking + Greenwich Village) – Two more Keith McNally restaurants that I’m looping together in one because I love both of their burgers. Go to Pastis in the Meatpacking District if you want to feel like Sex & The City era. The burger here gets the job done, the fries are super salty, and the side salad is satisfying. Go here for great people watching and if you’ve never been to New York. Now, for my favorite burger in all of the city go to the darker more masculine Minetta Tavern in Greenwich Village. Now listen to me here. People write about going for the $38 Black Label Burger that’s made with prime dry-aged beef cuts. I, however, swear by the Minetta Burger at $30 which has cheddar and caramelized onions. This is where I learned that caramelized onions are the one and only topping that I need on my burger. Why don’t more restaurants have this? It’s perfect.

THISBOWL (NoHo) – If you need a place to grab a bright and fulfilling bowl with cabbage, miso salmon, eggplant, and all the works, check out THISBOWL, but I’d say if the line is super long, your expectations will ruin your lunch. Otherwise, it’s great, easy, healthy, and what you’ll want in between walking around and just looking to get something in!

Brasserie Fouquet (Tribeca) – This spot feels like one of those places you’d run into the Real Housewives of Tribeca or a big company’s CEO. You’ll find yourself scanning the room to see if you recognize other diners as you settle into your big red booth. The service is a tad slower than I would expect given the menu prices, but the Cheeseburger with the Macaroni & Cantal Cheese and a side of the French Onion Soup is worth it. Fouquet’s is the type of restaurant you go to with your girlfriends when you’re visiting NYC and want the full “New York” experience.

Saigon Social (LES) – After eating out for so many meals in a row, I wanted something healthy and warm and I turn to Vietnamese cuisine for that so we went to brunch at Saigon Social, a little Vietnamese spot in the Lower East Side. We walked in for a super casual, healthy brunch and absolutely loved the Cabbage Salad and side of their Beef Pho Broth, which they let us order since we didn’t want a full bowl of pho.

COTE (Flatiron) – Owned by the same people as Coqodaq, this steak place is fun for groups, with shareable apps like Korean “Bacon” and Steak Tartare, plus USDA Prime and American Wagyu Beef, but they’re primarily known for the Steak Omakase, where you get to try an array of cuts.

Lil Frankie’s (LES) – Lil’ Frankie’s is a feel-good, super casual, lively, Italian mecca located in the East Village. The wood burning oven pumps out Neapolitan-style pizzas with a perfectly fluffy crust and great tomato sauce. The dark lighting, loud music, old brick walls, and crazy pawnshop-looking chandeliers make this a winning birthday spot and place for large groups. There are three overly crowded rooms, and the weekends require about a 45-minute wait period. If you’ve never experienced burrata mozzarella or stracciatella cheese, I demand you sprint here and treat your tastebuds ASAP. You’ll never taste a more surprising, creamy or better cheese paired with tomatoes, basil, balsamic, and olive oil. Lil’ Frankie’s absolutely has the best in the city, and they import it daily from the homeland (Italy). It’s best to order a few dishes to split with the table so you can try several flavors of Lil’ Frankie’s magnificence. The scruffy waiters provide a fun and easy-going atmosphere and locals and visitors love it! It’s well-priced, and don’t forget it’s cash only. Like Lil’ Frankie’s motto states, the menu is “designed with your mouth in mind” for sure!



Wildair (LES) – Wildair, the natural wine restaurant that focuses on seasonal produce and creative plates, made the Best New Restaurant list in top magazines and food sites such as: Bon Appetit, GQ, Thrillist, and Eater in 2016, and when I first went, I was feeling a bit excited, trying not to reach the peak of my hopes because it always backfires when I do that. Luckily, SPOILER ALERT, Wildair is perfect. Seriously, it’s casual, high-top seating, intimate yet social at the same time, no pressure dining, and you can order just two plates or the entire menu and no one will judge. The gracious attitude of the staff here even after winning all of that recognition is so humble, pleasant, and straight up cool. I’m telling the truth when I say there isn’t a bad seat in the house. You can sit along the counter by the kitchen and flirt with the chefs, or sit in the communal areas and make new friends. How nice is that!

Katz’s Deli (LES) – Does it even need an explanation? Pastrami sandwiches on rye. The chicken noodle soup is actually really good too, as well as the yellow cake with chocolate icing whether you are there at 12 p.m. or 3 a.m.

Cervo’s (LES) – A restaurant I first tried in 2018, Cervo’s is now at the top of my list. I love their natural wines, but they also have the best whole mackerel I’ve ever had, along with calamari, radishes, shishito peppers, etc.

Catch (Meatpacking) – My favorite see-and-be-seen spot with fantastic sushi, Cantonese lobster, music, and cocktails.

Barbuto (West Village) – While JW Chicken is the most famous roasted chicken in town along with their kale salad, it’s the garage style door and corner restaurant on Washington Street that makes it so quaint. If you go for lunch, get the pizza. The dough is so good!

Carbone (Greenwich Village) – While I don’t visit this restaurant on every visit, I know you are looking here for my faves so this is one you can’t miss. Looking to be impressed and also impress others, this is my #1 spot to tell you to go. The old-school service, best Veal Parmesan, and close but separate dining rooms create an experience you’ll never be able to recreate.

L’Artusi (West Village) –This is probably collectively the entire city’s favorite modern Italian. Tucked in a cozy West Village street, the menu is split into exactly the way you want to eat: a nice crudo to start, vegetables, pastas, fish, and meat. It’s almost like an Italian steakhouse with all the courses. Make sure to get your res as close to a month in advance as possible. I saw Mike Myers here once!

Estela (Downtown Manhattan) – Sure, President Obama ate here, but more importantly, I lived across the street for 4 years. Every plate and bottle of wine looks thirst quenching. Order the Mussels Escabeche on Toast, Lamb Ribs, and Ricotta dumplings.

Rubirosa (Nolita) – For when you’re looking for a sit-down pizza restaurant that also has gluten-free crust, this is the jam. Known for its Vodka Pizza, I appreciate their meatballs more, as well as their well composed salads, pastas, vegetables, and secondi selections for those who might not be into the ‘za, including the Chicken Parm, 24 Day Dry-Aged Strip, Steak, Branzino, etc.

Gramercy Tavern (Flatiron) – Treat yourself to the multi-course tasting menu or grab a seat at the bar for a drink, a burger, and a casual menu. The fresh flowers alone make this spot special.

Le Bernardin (Midtown) – After years of living in NYC, I finally went all in for an evening at Eric Ripert’s three Michelin-starred, Le Bernardin. I knew everything about this chef, I knew this was a special place, and I knew it was all seafood-focused, which is why I chose to spend my dollars on this tasting menus out of all the others, but what I didn’t know was what items were a mandatory order or what the dining room even looked like. Of course, you don’t see these dishes on your favorite food Instagrammers’ feeds and you don’t see your friends taking photos of the dining room on a regular basis. Therefore, my friend Mike and I went into this dining experience blind, but we ended up in a peaceful and delicious sanctuary. The dining room shocked me by its size. It’s very spacious with thin blinds covering the windows which still allow some sunlight to shine through. The best tables are the outside booths so that you do have the option to sit by your date and steal food off their plate if you wish. The menu allows you to choose from Raw, Barely Touched, Lightly Cooked, and then Dessert. The larger tasting menu is already set with options, so this is a fun way to try your own choice of samplings from the menu but if you have a hard time with decisions, I must say this menu is absolutely perfect for a seafood lover so you might be better off handing the choice to French Chef Ripert. I love Le Bernardin, and this is what makes New York so much fun and meaningful when you can experience something like this every once in a while and feel like A.) You’ve earned it, and B.) it was worth it.

Bar Pisellino (West Village) – Owned by the chefs of I Sodi and Via Carota, this aperitivi bar is the most Italy thing I’ve ever seen outside of Italy. The décor, aperol spritz’s everywhere that come with the typical Castelvetrano olives, amari, vermouth, and counter full of little sandwiches and mini sweet breads to go with your espresso is enough for me to put this on my favorite list even though it’s not a restaurant. It’s an experience (that transported me all the way to the Amalfi Coast) and that’s what I aim to find the best of.

Raoul’s (Soho) – This famous French bistro in Soho has been around since the 1970’s, and we just so happened to sit next to a couple in their 60’s who had dined their on their first date and came back for more. The bartender dresses in an old timey spiffy “bartender” bowtie and vest and protects the cold martini glasses all night. Known for their Au Pouvoir burger that’s only available at the bar and about 10 a night so you have to get there asap if you want one. I think it’s a little too peppery for me, but it was cooked medium rare just like I like it and the exact right thickness. Also enjoyed some oysters and green beans. The art here is lovely, and you can’t get a better dining room.

Smør (EV) – A teensy, tiny, Nordic brunch spot that fills the need for a light and healthy morning meal. I got the Everything Salad with Smoked Salmon, Avocado, Soft Boiled Egg, Brie, Greens, Dill Crème (YUM), Pickled Onions, Toasted Rye. Clean plate club here! If you want to snag a table right away on the weekend, show up when they open at 10 a.m. and slide into a seat. Also, check out their bakery next door for lots of rolls and coffee.

Pop Up Bagels (UWS) – This place is all the rage with their creative cream cheese and butter flavors like Pesto Butter, Jalapeño Cream Cheese, and Lucky Loops Butter, as well as their Rip and Dip technique of literally ripping the crunchy-on-the-outside and soft-on-the-inside bagel, and dipping it in your schmear!