I've done the tourist thing over a dozen times in the city, as both a high school student, drunken university kid and then as a teacher bringing my students to your fine city as well, so I am not planning on spending too much time seeing sights. I plan on arriving in the city by 9 AM and leaving around 9 PM.
I want to seek out the best that Manhattan has to offer in terms of healthy, exciting food, and wine, both in shopping and eating destinations. I will be on foot and looking to explore destinations that are close by to one another - foodie neighbourhoods if you will. I will at some in the day want to walk through Times Square, Rock, Fifth Ave, and the lower Park, and possibly also Soho, Tribeca, Financial District, but I am not opposed to walking the length of the Island in food exploration.
I love open-air markets (not sure if it's the season yet), anywhere that has free samples (Whole Foods does up here sometimes) or great open salad bars for exploring, anything with a great selection of unique food products. I will be on a budget, so I don't know if I'll be actively shopping in these places, but I'd love to check them out. If there are any great wine-focused stores in the city as well I'd love that.
My fave dishes are lentil soup, tabouli, beet salds, great soups, lovely salmon dishes, curries with lentil or eggplant, and veggie bean-based dishes. I am looking for the best lunches under $15 and a destination dinner date locale, with ambiance and food for my less-healthy fiance.
Thanks in advance!