Oh, New York City
My goodness, New York City. You're good. So so good. I heart you dearly and long to be back in your sharp, chic, fast embrace. Everything in New York City feels heightened. You experience things here, all of the things. It's mostly wonderful, often excellent and sometimes magical. Here's a bit of the magic we shared during our two week stay.
I'll follow this up with a post on Brooklyn. If visiting NYC and after eating recommendations, please use this post as a guide in conjunction with my posts two years ago (I did a lot of posts back then). Here is the link to my NYC posts, past and present.
The thing is, when in New York City there are so many good eats to be had. It's overwhelming. The city is huge! I did not even attempt to eat my way through this city. It wasn't going to happen. My goal was to make each meal a great one, whether a cheap bagel, and ice-cream date or a special dinner out. And I totally reached that goal. Oh, and just FYI, I've found that you can eat well in NYC on the cheap, but when the price goes up a little the quality doesn't necessarily follow suit (unlike my experience in San Francisco).
Alright, let's get stuck into this big apple post!
Coffee is truly great in New York City, if you know where to go. I became heavily happily caffeinated.
Abraco was our favourite coffee nook. This complete hole in the wall spot is terribly small and terribly cool. They serve delicious cortado and lovely baked goods such as this olive oil cake to loyal locals.
Colombe make dreamy coffee in their chic, bright, fabulous shop. The staff here are very cool and very hip, but also very friendly.
Stumptown coffee is supremely good. It represents what is right in the world. These people know good coffee and make a delicious latte, as well as a divine cold brew. They also stock doughnut plant doughnuts for all your peanut butter and jelly doughnut needs. Uhuh. Their Midtown location allows you to sit in the Ace Hotel and work on your laptop, using their wifi. It's an excellent set-up. The West Village spot is equally as fabulous and accommodating.
While in NYC, I also suggest you grab an iced-coffee from Mud truck. Good stuff.
You might like to grab a doughnut from doughnut plant to balance out that green juice business. I'm just saying...
When in Soho, do stop by the Chobani yoghurt bar. The menu is super fun (I sampled the pistachio, dark chocolate, orange, mint and honey creation) and it is served in a lovely glass bowl, which you get to keep!
Visit Momofuku Milk Bar for their famous sweets (they have several locations. The Momofuku restaurant and noodle bars are also a good idea ). We tried the popular compost cookie (which was great but very sweet) and crack pie (which was not my cup of pie), as well as the famous cereal milk soft serve (with frosted cornflake crumbles). This was one tasty soft serve, what a treat!
If you're after ice-cream, scoops from Il Laboratorio Del Gelato, Van Leeuwen and Ample Hills (in Brooklyn) are sure to satisfy. Not to mention froyo from 16 Handles and Big Gay Ice-Cream's soft serve. Or, you might like to cool down with some People's Pops. What an outstanding idea. Local to Brooklyn, these popsicles are ridiculously good and jam-packed with fruit.
You'll find great, chewy bagels, cream cheese and smoked fish at Russ and Daughters.
Barney Greengrass is a famous Upper West Side spot serving scrumptious smoked fish (white fish love), bagels and more. It gets busy on the weekends but come mid-week and you're sure to grab a table.
Hearth serves a lovely brunch. It's not cheap, but you're sure to find deliciousness on this menu. My vegetable frittata was glorious and they also serve an ace Bloody Mary.
We love Cookshop for brunch. This spot makes continuously delicious scrambled eggs with creme fraiche and chives, along with perhaps some smoked trout or bacon and a buttermilk biscuit. I also very much enjoy their wholemeal buttermilk pancakes.
Clinton St Baking Co is said to have the best pancakes, and while they are certainly delightful and fluffy, the service comes with a little too much attitude (and the line is so long) that I couldn't insist on you visiting. Cookshop is more my bag, baby. Plus, you might see Rob Lowe there. I mean, is there really a choice? (PS. The photo below shows Ben ordering Lobster bisque alongside his chocolate chip pancakes. Whatever floats your boat...)
Rosemary's appears to be a popular spot amongst West Village peeps, and while the food is nice (particularly the focaccia) and the surrounds are lovely (they have a garden on their roof) I wouldn't necessarily race here. My mind wasn't blown. Though opposite to the restaurant is Jefferson Market Garden - a lovely spot to sit for an hour and read (it's the garden where Miranda and Steve got married, for any SATC fans out there).
Lunch Bites I adore Taim and their falafel. It's really delicious stuff. They aim to please all your falafel needs.
Ippudo is a restaurant that serves super tasty ramen. It is so popular that people wait out front for two hours. It's good, but it's also pricey and I personally wouldn't wait two hours for it. Go at an off time like we did - we were seated straight away at 2:45pm on a Friday.
Ahhh Shake Shack. This is a New York City institution. You absolutely have to go here for crazy yummy burgers, tasty fries and rad milkshakes (chocolate malt for me, thank you!). I've heard their custards, with all their sweet fix-ins, are a must-try, too.
Tasty balls of meat can be found at The Meatball Shop. This joint has a few locations and is a bit of fun.
When in the USA, you've got to try fried chicken and waffles. You have to. It's the law. I've heard good things about Red Rooster, though it is pricey. The Brooklyn Star is said to be ace too. But our cousin took us to the less fancy, less expensive Amy Ruth's and I struggle to imagine a better plate of fried chicken and waffles out there. It was crazy good, y'all. So wrong but so right.
Lil' Frankies in the East Village serves up wonderful pizza and is a really nice place for a date. Oh, and their roasted chicken with capers...it's good.
And for a true New York slice of pizza, we stopped by Hakki Champion Pizza on Essex St in the Lower East Side. I mean, really, $1 for a slice...
Eataly is a must in NYC. This Italian food mecca is full of produce and food corners and general goodness. My favourite thing to do is grab a bar stool at the fish restaurant, order a glass of wine and watch the chefs do their thing.
I encourage you to stroll the Union Square Greenmarket and lament the fact that you don't have access to such a fabulous farmers' market in your city (if you do, I envy you!). The incredible produce is so colourful, so fresh so plentiful and so cheap, AHH! I miss this.
Wander Central Park. Every day, if you can. It's vast and very very green and glorious and quiet and just the best sanctuary.
You must also ride bikes in Central Park (hire them from behind the Boathouse). Multiple times. Nothing clears my head and makes me feel good like a bike ride.
It's also fun to row a boat in Central Park (again, hire from the Boathouse).
Take this advice. For real...
Last time I didn't get around to it, but this time I most certainly had fun walking the Brooklyn Bridge and getting rained on.
Visit a rooftop bar for a drink. This is especially lovely in Summer. We had the privilege of visiting the rooftop of our cousin, who lives in NYC. I wouldn't mind having this view at my fingertips...
On the museum front, MoMa is a surefire hit.
Oh, and definitely walk the High Line - it's super neat!
Jazz in NYC is a must. While you're sure to find good jazz in lots of places, Ben and I, upon much encouragement from locals, visited Smalls Jazz Club in the West Village. And it was fantastic. An evening spent sipping red wine and listening to Ehud Asherie (who reminded me so much of my brother, the way he moved on the piano...) and the legendary Johnny O'Neal was truly special.
I also recommend attending a poetry slam. Our friends took us to one two years ago and I was blown away. Fridays at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe are famously energetic and enthralling. Get there soon after 9pm to ensure a seat when they open at 10pm. You might grab a drink at Elsa, across the road, beforehand.
A Broadway show is on your to-do list, yes? Us too. We saw Annie and had a blast. I wore my red cape, which I adore, and was told how "faaaaabulous" it was by a fellow broadway goer. Nice.
Here's a tip, catch the Staten Island Ferry for a free view of this lovely lady...
I also think it's nice to visit the Empire State Building (or the top of the Rockefeller Centre - I've done both and enjoyed them equally). I highly recommend splurging and purchasing "express" tickets - it is twice the price at $47 but oh so worth it as you literally skip every line. What would have been a two hour wait was done in 10-15 minutes. Sunset is a lovely time to visit. The views...
And if in doubt, just throw on your walking shoes and wander, all day... Here's our last day in New York City, in photographs.
You're going to have the best time in New York City...