Oh New York City. Gets me every time. Especially when it keeps on serving up some awesome weather every time we visit. Such a game changer in travel. (See our last trip to NYC here and here). Once again, it’s embarrassing how much we ate. But what can I say. My list of places I want to try in NYC is WAY too long to stick with just the standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We flew in late Thursday night and stopped by the Ace Hotel and Bar Nomad for drinks. Ace Hotel = so trendy and cool. As in, lobby of the hotel was dimly lit with blasting music from a DJ. Somehow there were people spread around the couches on their laptops working? I don’t know, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. Bar Nomad had SUCH great cocktails. And the bartenders wore aprons and bowties, which was very charming. Unfortunately, we missed the magic show. We were however, welcomed with hugs by a group at the bar. Really- in NYC. They proceeded to share a giant pineapple concoction with us and just generally be entertaining. It was a totally unexpected welcome to the city that had me smiling. Aside from one girl chatting with Dan who literally stopped talking with him once she realized we were married and proceeded to blurt out, “How old are you?!”
Mind was blown by a bagel. I’ve always heard about New York bagels being the best, yada yada. I just thought they partial to their own city, but goodness gracious. I would gain 10 lbs from eating an everything bagel with feta and olive cream cheese every single day (a la me in Europe with chocolate croissants). Thank you, Brooklyn Bagel, for the experience. (P.S.- I got a bagel here in Houston last weekend at Cafe Brasil… and they served the bagel with a tiny thing of Philadelphia cream on the cheese. FAIL.)
After stuffing myself full of bagel, we walked the High Line down to The Whitney, which is now in its new location in the Meatpacking District. It’s not a huge collection, so I figured it’d be a good one to hit with Dan ☺ I loved seeing Pollock, Calder, and Jasper Johns pieces, but the best was Calder’s circus, made to entertain his friends in Paris. The wires allowed him to move the pieces to put on a performance. I also loved the 5th floor exhibit, which rotates. When we first walked in, we saw a giant room with floor to ceiling windows on each end. The walls were blank. The exhibit was the sounds being played in the room- recordings from the artist from Sing Sing, a prison in NY.
For lunch, we headed over to The Lobster Place at Chelsea Market and split a whole lobster, dunked in lots of butter. YES. We also stumbled on a sample sale for Faherty Brand and got Dan a bunch of tee’s for only $10 each! Such a steal.
Next up, I had some beer bars in mind for Dan. First stop- The Standard Biergarten. It’s under the highline and has an authentic German beer hall feel, but amped up with a trendy factor. I was surprised at how few beers were on tap- just 4 and of course, all German. The ping pong tables were also fun. Then afterwards, Blind Tiger, which had a ton of New York beers on tap that we’d never tried. Oh and full disclosure, we stopped for Magnolia Bakery’s famous banana pudding in between (although, if I’m being honest, I’ve had better at various BBQ establishments throughout the TX hill country).
We enjoyed a walk around the Village in the golden hour light, before stopping at Babu Ji for an appetizer. It was divine and has me seriously craving Indian food. Anyone have any Houston suggestions?? The Gol Gappa straight up melts in your mouth and is bursting with flavor. Then it was on to Raclette (BYOB!) for dinner to experience cheesy goodness poured over our meats & veggies. The place was TINY, and only seats 12 people! Only in NYC.
That night, we went to a show at the Comedy Cellar and I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed harder in my life. Some seriously talented comedians! Getting to sit right up front was a nice treat and one of the comedians told me afterwards that I had a nice laugh. Which was an insanely nice compliment to receive and I’m trying to not let go to my head 😉 After dinner, we stopped in at Little Branch, an underground speakeasy with more good cocktails.
We brunched at Bar Primi, which was number 1 on The Infatuation, but kind of underwhelming. Maybe because we were just about the only people there. I think I made the (unnecessary) reservation too early! Then we walked around SoHo, soaking in the weather, and ended up grabbing tacos at La Esquina that were phenomenal. I was a little hesitant to get tacos north of Texas, but it was worth it. That afternoon, I shopped around with a friend from college before meeting back up with Dan for drinks at Mother’s. We drank spiked slushies, which would sell like hot cakes in Houston during the summer time.
We needed to grab show tickets at TKTS, but I was dreading heading up to Times Square, so we went down to South Street Seaport and scooped up some School of Rock tickets before heading to dinner at Il Brigante– legit Italian food. The ravioli was handmade and perfect and smothered in butter. I like butter, okay?? Afterwards, we raced up Broadway and barely made it on time to School of Rock, which was adorable- of course, all the performers were extremely gifted, but the end had me tearing up from the sweetness which was a big surprise.
Then we had a second dinner. EEK, I know, but I just had to try Quality Eats and Dan is the sweetest. It ended up being the best meal of the weekend, so I’d say worth it ☺
After dinner, we met back up with my friend at 205 Bar, which seemed very trendy. We definitely wouldn’t have gotten in without saying we were with a party. We were both still in jeans and t-shirts. Ha. Then we proceeded to stay out dancing until 4 AM and I don’t even know how that happened. But the DJ was amazing and had his audience nailed on the head- think N’Sync and Spice Girls mashed with current music. We clearly had a good time, even if it was the polar opposite of how we spend weekend nights (friends over for dinner, in bed by 12 at the latest).
By the time we finally got up and headed to brunch, Russ & Daughters Café had a 2 hour wait. TWO. So ya, that wasn’t happening. We were too hungry (somehow?) to look much further and ended up next door at Black Tree, which hit the spot. Afterwards, Dan spotted a place tucked into the end of an alley. Luckily, I hadn’t had a Bloody Mary yet, so we were able to stop in 🙂 The decor was so perfect- if I ever owned a restaurant, I’d want it to look like this place (Freeman’s). Thanks for spotting it, Dan! And to be perfectly open, we did indeed stop at Prince’s for one last slice of pizza before heading to the airport (don’t worry, we shared). No shame.
I ❤ NY.