Carol Cain

Correspondent

  • New York City, NY, USA

Carol Cain is a correspondent who lives in New York and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. She is a travel and food blogger who shares her adventures at GirlGoneTravel.com. Originally from Brooklyn, Cain has studied and lived abroad, experiences that have nourished her wanderlust in and out of NYC, with or without her three boys in tow. Her travel stories have appeared in publications for MasterCard, Expedia, American Airlines and Lifetime Digital Media, as well as New York Family magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.

  • On March 24, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What are the best Indian restaurants in New York City?

    Devi, near Union Square, is an award winning restaurant offering a comfortable ambiance and home cooked Indian flavors. This 75-seat restaurant encourages guest to vary their dining experience with a tasting menu that starts at $40. The regionally inspired dishes are the creation of Chef Suvir Saran.

    Tamarind’s authentic Indian cuisine at one of its two locations in Tribeca and the Flatiron district, the latter of which offers a more cozy dining experience and a tea room for those who want a lighter bite. The sauces and naan (garlic, rosemary, onion, etc.) are delicious, the vegetarian dishes (mushroom dumplings; sautéed okra) delight even the most ambitious carnivore, and the cocktail selections (e.g. Blood Orange Cosmopolitan) are the perfect accompaniment.

    Dawat is where New Yorkers can enjoy what Chef Madhur Jaffray calls "haute Indian cuisine". Beyond the great food, what keeps diners coming back is the attentive staff and great service, no matter what time of day.
     

  • On March 24, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What are the best food gifts to buy in New York City?

    Photo GirlGoneTravel.com When looking for the perfect food gift, NYC is not a bad place to be in. This food mecca has so much to offer that the problem isn't where to find a unique food gift, but rather where to start looking. In warmer months, the city’s farmers markets are a treasure trove of foodie gifts. But NYC also has one-stop shopping food destinations worth checking out, like 
Bleecker Street, home to many artisan food shops such as:

    Murray's Cheese for artisanal cheese, perfectly aged for any palate. A gift certificate for one of their cheese classes is also a great treat.

    Ottomanelli & Sons Prime Meat is a family-owned butcher shop that has been serving the best steaks and cuts for over 100 years.

    Amy’s Bread is celebrated for her organic, whole-grain bread options, as well as baked sweets and pastries.

    O & Co. has a huge selection of olive oil and vinegar products, many available for sampling. They also have wonderful spreads and crackers, as well as a few olive oil based beauty products.

    Porto Rico Importing Co. offers coffee lovers a wonderful selection of organic beans that are environmentally friendly and support family-owned coffee farms. Just walking into the shop is a treat for the senses.

    Of course, one of the best ways to experience it all at once is to gift a NYC food tour, where you learn both the history and taste along the way.

    Another stop to check out when in town is the Chelsea Market. Here you will find many shops and eateries, as well as the Bowery Kitchen Supply store to appeal to the foodie in your life.

    If looking for a gift with more of a European flair, a cooking class at Eataly is the way to go, along with any one of the many Italian food products and literature.
  • On March 22, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What are quirky local customs in New York City?

    There are many ways to identify a New Yorker, no matter where she or he may be. One of the most obvious is how we talk. Streets like Houston (East or West) are pronounced "HOWston" - nothing like the Texan city by the same name. We look into meerrahs, and drink wader. Expletives are part of the course, as well as honesty and strong opinions. We stand on line, as opposed to in them, and we're not huge fans of umbrellas, as they obstruct our ability to move. The pace of our walk is fast, even when we have nowhere to be, and our ability to walk long distances and through crowds is a gift mastered only after years of having to do it.

    There's the city and then there's everything else - though the increase in the cost of living in the city has pushed many to outer boroughs, such as Brooklyn and Queens. That being said, we are firecely loyal to our hometown boroughs, each with their own unique personalities and quirks. If you have to cross a bridge or tunnel to get into the city, then you are Bridge and Tunnel.

    We swear by our bagels and Lox, our pizzas, and our cheap coffees - though we are also great supporters of artisan food products and beverages.

    New Yorkers have an ability to maintain a sense of personal space, even in the most crowded of situations and never make eye contact or smile when walking down the street, even when they are looking right at you.

    Though it isn't hard to find a New Yorker who doesn't know how to drive or have a license, if you do, be ready. We are aggressive drivers by nature, able to parallel park our cars into the tiniest spots and navigate through the heaviest of traffic. And when it comes to tiny spots, New Yorkers are known to live harmoniously in the smallest of them, while paying high rents, often in exchange for great location and even greater brunch spots - because, yes, brunch is our religion.

    We complain about our city often, but can't imagine life outside of it and will often exclaim that there is no place in the world like it - which this Brooklyn girl has to agree is the truth.
  • On March 22, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What are quirky local customs in New York City?

    There are many ways to identify a New Yorker, no matter where she or he may be. One of the most obvious is how we talk. Streets like Houston (East or West) are pronounced "HOWston" - nothing like the Texan city by the same name. We look into mirrahs, and drink wader. Expletives are part of the course, as well as honesty and strong opinions. We stand on line, as opposed to in them, and we're not huge fans of umbrellas, as they obstruct our ability to move. The pace of our walk is fast, even when we have nowhere to be, and our ability to walk long distances and through crowds is a gift mastered only after years of having to do it.

    There's the city and then there's everything else - though the increase in the cost of living in the city has pushed many to outer boroughs, such as Brooklyn and Queens. That being said, we are firecely loyal to our hometown boroughs, each with their own unique personalities and quirks. If you have to cross a bridge or tunnel to get into the city, then you are Bridge and Tunnel.

    We swear by our bagels and Lox, our pizzas, and our cheap coffees - though we are also great supporters of artisan food products and beverages.

    New Yorkers have an ability to maintain a sense of personal space, even in the most crowded of situations and never make eye contact or smile when walking down the street, even when they are looking right at you.

    Though it isn't hard to find a New Yorker who doesn't know how to drive or have a license, if you do, be ready. We are aggressive drivers by nature, able to parallel park our cars into the tiniest spots and navigate through the heaviest of traffic. And when it comes to tiny spots, New Yorkers are known to live harmoniously in the smallest of them, while paying high rents, often in exchange for great location and even greater brunch spots - because, yes, brunch is our religion.

    We complain about our city often, but can't imagine life outside of it and will often exclaim that there is no place in the world like it - which this Brooklyn girl has to agree is the truth.
  • On March 22, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What are quirky local customs in New York City?

    There are many ways to identify a New Yorker, no matter where she or he may be. One of the most obvious is how we talk. Streets like Houston (East or West) are pronounced "HOWston" - nothing like the Texan city by the same name. We look into mirrahs, and drink wader. Explicatives are part of the course, as well as honesty and strong opinions. We stand on line, as opposed to in them, and we're not huge fans of umbrellas, as they obstruct our ability to move. The pace of our walk is fast, even when we have nowhere to be, and our ability to walk long distances and through crowds is a gift mastered only after years of having to do it.

    There's the city and then there's everything else - though the increase in the cost of living in the city has pushed many to outer boroughs, such as Brooklyn and Queens. That being said, we are firecely loyal to our hometown boroughs, each with their own unique personalities and quirks. If you have to cross a bridge or tunnel to get into the city, then you are Bridge and Tunnel.

    We swear by our bagels and Lox, our pizzas, and our cheap coffees - though we are also great supporters of artisan food products and beverages.

    New Yorkers have an ability to maintain a sense of personal space, even in the most crowded of situations and never make eye contact or smile when walking down the street, even when they are looking right at you.

    Though it isn't hard to find a New Yorker who doesn't know how to drive or have a license, if you do, be ready. We are aggressive drivers by nature, able to parallel park our cars into the tiniest spots and navigate through the heaviest of traffic. And when it comes to tiny spots, New Yorkers are known to live harmoniously in the smallest of them, while paying high rents, often in exchange for great location and even greater brunch spots - because, yes, brunch is our religion.

    We complain about our city often, but can't imagine life outside of it and will often exclaim that there is no place in the world like it - which this Brooklyn girl has to agree is the truth.
  • On March 22, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What are quirky local customs in New York City?

    There are many ways to identify a New Yorker, no matter where she or he may be. One of the most obvious is how we talk. Streets like Houston (East or West) are pronounced "HOWston" - nothing like the Texan city by the same name. We look into mirrahs, and drink wader. Explicatives are part of the course, as well as honesty and strong opinions. We stand on line, as opposed to in them, and we're not huge fans of umbrellas, as they obstruct our ability to move. The pace of our walk is fast, even when we have nowhere to be, and our ability to walk long distances and through crowds is a gift mastered only after years of having to do it.

    There's the city and then there's everything else - though the increase in the cost of living in the city has pushed many to outer boroughs, such as Brooklyn and Queens. That being said, we are firecely loyal to our hometown boroughs, each with their own unique personalities and quirks. If you have to cross a bridge or tunnel to get into the city, then you are Bridge and Tunnel.

    We swear by our bagels and Lox, our pizzas, and our cheap coffees - though we are also great supporters of artisan food products and beverages.

    New Yorkers have an ability to maintain a sense of personal space, even in the most crowded of situations and never make eye contact or smile when walking down the street, even when they are looking right at you.

    Though it isn't hard to find a New Yorker who doesn't know how to drive or have a license, if you do, be ready. We are aggressive drivers by nature, able to parallel park our cars into the tiniest spots and navigate through the heaviest of traffic. And when it comes to tiny spots, New Yorkers are known to live harmoniously in the smallest of them, while paying high rents, often in exchange for great location and even greater brunch spots - because, yes, brunch is our religion.

    We complain about our city often, but can't imagine life outside of it and will often exclaim that there is no place in the world like it - which this Brooklyn girl has to agree is the truth.
  • On March 22, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What are quirky local customs in New York City?

    There are many ways to identify a New Yorker, no matter where she or he may be. One of the most obvious is how we talk. Streets like Houston (East or West) are pronounced "HOWston" - nothing like the Texan city by the same name. We look into mirrahs, and drink wader. Explicatives are part of the course, as well as honesty and strong opinions. We stand on line, as opposed to in them, and we're not huge fans of umbrellas, as they obstruct our ability to move. The pace of our walk is fast, even when we have nowhere to be, and our ability to walk long distances and through crowds is a gift mastered only after years of having to do it.

    There's the city and then there's everything else - though the increase in the cost of living in the city has pushed many to outer boroughs, such as Brooklyn and Queens. That being said, we are firecely loyal to our hometown boroughs, each when their own unique personalities and quirks. If you have to cross a bridge or tunnel to get into the city, then you are Bridge and Tunnel.

    We swear by our bagels and Lox, our pizzas, and our cheap coffees - though we are also great supporters of artisan food products and beverages.

    New Yorkers have an ability to maintain a sense of personal space, even in the most crowded of situations and never make eye contact or smile when walking down the street, even when they are looking right at you.

    Though it isn't hard to find a New Yorker who doesn't know how to drive or have a license, if you do, be ready. We are aggressive drivers by nature, able to parallel park our cars into the tiniest spots and navigate through the heaviest of traffic. And when it comes to tiny spots, New Yorkers are known to live harmoniously in the smallest of them, while paying high rents, often in exchange for great location and even greater brunch spots - because, yes, brunch is our religion.

    We complain about our city often, but can't imagine life outside of it and will often exclaim that there is no place in the world like it - which this Brooklyn girl has to agree is the truth.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    Which New York City restaurants are best for brunch?

    Brunch is my religion of choice on Sundays in New York City. It’s one of those things that is such a part of the culture of this city, that I tend to miss and want to replicate when traveling elsewhere. As New Yorkers we love to show off our brunch spots to friends or anyone visiting our town. They are our badges of honor and the reason we choose the apartments we live in. Here is a list of my favorite places, worthy of bragging rights:

    The Smith is one of those places that never disappoints.  It’s comfortable and casual, but still holds up to the standards of a brasserie. The coffee sizes come in two: cup or bowl; and the Bellini, Blood Orange Mimosa, or Bloody Mary are a must. Whether you choose to start off with their raw bar or go straight to their Steak Frites with chimichurri sauce to accompany your steak and eggs, you will no doubt enjoy the experience. Delicious food, fun staff, great ambiance - you just can’t go wrong.

    Bosie Tea Parlor is for those who prefer to kick-off their weekend mornings with a nice cup of tea (though they also serve some really great coffee), in a more intimate setting. Following the style of French tearooms, Bosie provides guests with a wide selection of teas from all over the world, homemade sweets (though they are most celebrated for their macaroons), tea sandwiches, quiches, and other light brunch entrées.

    Sarabeth’s is another favorite brunch spot known to draw crowds in love with the popular homemade jams and pastries. With various locations throughout the city, Sarabeth’s is a family and neighborhood favorite. My most enjoy the venue in Tribeca, for their sunny dining area, perfect to help welcome the day while sipping on a delicious cup of coffee, as you munch on a warm, homemade scone spread with just enough decadent jam to make you smile for hours.

    When thinking of Bubby’s, I can’t help but think of pies…and of the awesome post wedding brunch I had there 11 years ago!  It was then, and still remains, one of the best things about New York City brunch with food items that promote and celebrate the purveyors who help bring it all to the table.  I don’t shy away from having pie for breakfast, but if you would rather start your day with something else, their Organic Cheese Grits, Jalapeño Scramblers, and Sour Cream Pancakes are all great choices too. And, if you happen to be in Japan, make sure to look them up!
  • On March 14, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What is the best way to see New York City in one day?

    Brooklyn Bridge - GirlGoneTravel.com The best way to see NYC is by foot. If you start early enough in your day, then I would recommend a double decker tour bus, with a sit at the top, this way you can actually admire the tall buildings and signs without worrying about getting hit by a car, or pushed aside by a hurried NYer! Tours are great because you learn a lot more about NYC than even most people who live here know.

    A helicopter tour over NYC is magnificent, and a ride on the East River Ferry is inexpensive and wonderful, especially during the sunset hours.

    A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is also a great way to take in the city, and both East and West river pathways offer options for bike renting. If you are feeling adventurous, you can also rent a kayak and admire the city in this way.

    Of course, taking in the parks is a great way to see another part of the city life. Governors Island provides visitors with a specatacular view of Manhattan island and a unique day retreat and piece of NYC history.

    Riding the train is the fastest, and least expensive way to get around, though you won't see much scenery underground, you are sure to meet a lot of characters. Any one of NYC's roof top bars is also a great way to take in the city lights, while winding down with a nice cocktail.
  • On March 14, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in New York City?

    Souvenir shopping in NYC can be fun and these shops are everywhere! If you wanted to go beyond the basic "I Love NY" mug or t-shirt (though those are fun too), check out these options:

    My favorite are the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The MoMa gift shops. The kinds of unique gifts you find here make perfect tokens for any occassion. And because these museums are such NYC icons, it's like bringing a piece of NYC art with you.

    The Transit Museum also has a wonderful gift shop with posters, and other items displaying the famous NYC subway map (from mugs, to shower curtains, to underwear!) as well as toy NYC number and letter trains. There are two locations: the main museum is located in Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn and the other, much smaller version (mainly gift shop) is in Grand Central Terminal.

    Another great option is purchasing NYC themed gift baskets from Chelsea Market Baskets. The shop itself in located inside one of my favorite markets in the city, Chelsea Market and the baskets are filled with high quality, high end treats displaying the best of the best in the NYC food scene to take home (or ship).

    But of course, nothing beats the age old practice of saving the Playbill from your night out in the theater, or that perfect photo in Times Square or while up on the Chrysler Building. Those are always the best.
  • On March 14, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What are some things to know before visiting New York City?

    There used to be a time when venturing into certain parts of central Manhattan at any time of the day, but especially at night, were be considered huge no-no's. Nowadays, there aren't very many areas of the city where that is the case, even the infamous Hell's Kitchen neighborhood (next to the Times Square area) is but a shadow of its former self. Filled with trendy restaurants and bars (appropriately named Restaurant Row), and within walking distance from many tourist attractions, as well as the Hudson River pathway, this once dangerous neighborhood is a wonderful place to meet friends, or even stay in.

    New York is a walking city, so you should be prepared to do a lot of it (it's the best way to see the city) and there are always tons of tour options as well if you would rather have a guided experience. Eating in NYC can be expensive, but there are also really great options where you don't have to spend a lot of money. Each neighborhood is different, so I always encourage visitors to venture out by train to outter boroughs such as lower or upper Manhattan areas, or even Queens (for great ethnic food) and Bronx for great parks.
    Be ready to take advantage of free or discounted museum days, free events at the parks (especially during warmer months) and city passes for discounted access to major attractions and tours. Most of the information is on each attraction's website, but it's also a good idea to coordinate with the concierge at your hotel for passes and discount options. Make sure to grap one of the city's free subway maps (most tourist shops sell them, but you can get them for free at the kiosks in the subway platforms).

    Lastly, New Yorker's have a reputation of being rude. We aren't really - but we are always in a hurry and have somewhere to go. We love sharing our city with others, but don't ever really appreciate having them block our way as we are running through (so if you are admiring those awesome skyscrappers and taking pictures, please step to the side of the sidewalk). Our pace if always hurried, even when it doesn't need to be, but we are happy to give directions and share our favorite spots for anything and everything. The hard part will be identifying who is the New Yorker and who is the visitor, meaning you might have to ask a few people before finding someone who knows, especially in a touristy area.

    Enjoy the city. Walk as much as you can (pack comfortable shoes), and venture out of your hotel area.
  • On March 14, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What should I pack for a trip to New York City?

    All the above answers are spot on!

    Comfortable shoes, and an outfit to go to a nice restaurant or evening event. It also depends on where you will spend most of your time while in the city. If you are looking to spend time walking through parks and museums, then going to bars at night - casual, but nice, is appropriate. If you forget something at home, fear not! NYC has tons of shopping (Check out my recommendations on best shopping spots in NYC)! Thus, I always recommend to pack light, but bring a big bag - the shopping here is great!

    Note: NYC's sophisticated yet casual look is one that works well in most scenerios. Be aware that you can easily spend hours touring the city by foot, or walking around museums, and find yourself wanting to walk into a bistro for dinner. When starting your day, just remember that going back to the hotel to change might not be an option, so dress with that in mind.


  • On March 13, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What is the best time to visit New York City?

    My favorite times in NYC are during April, May and early June, when the weather is not too hot, not too cold and events are happening everywhere as the warmer weather starts to settle in. Farmers markets and street fairs are in full swing, as are parades and festivals, and free events at the parks. When the weather is in a state of bloom, we New Yorkers feel as if we too are coming alive, especially after months of gray skies, snow, and chilly weather.

    However, I also really enjoy Fall in the city. October and early November are glorious with the changing foliage, and photographers just can’t get enough of the colors found along tree lined streets and parks. It is still nice enough for long strolls, though night seems to start to come sooner and evenings can seem a bit colder.

    Late November and December are cold, but most New Yorkers don’t notice because we are too caught up in the holiday spirit, which is everywhere!  The city streets seem to have a special festive buzz, the stores are adorned and lit with gifts and special displays, and everyone is in good spirits, making bearing the cold during the holidays a bit more worth it.
  • On March 13, 2013
    Carol Cain is now following the question:
  • On March 13, 2013
    Carol Cain answered the question: Carol Cain

    What is the weather like right now in New York City?

    During the months of end February and March the weather in NYC is still chilly, but what New Yorkers consider to be comfortably cold (around 40-50 °F/4.4-10 °C). It is still possible to experience a light snow fall or two in March, but in general the days are brisk with signs of Spring surfacing here and there.

    April brings is cherry blossom season and a time when most street festivals start to pop up through out the city. But it is also still rainy and a light jacket can still come in handy.

    May is by far the best time to be in NYC. The weather is perfection with more sunny days than not and Spring in full swing. Parks are often filled with people and outdoor seating at restaruants are all the rage again.