My Weekend in Manhattan
Here it is! My mini weekend guide to NYC. Now this is only if you want to duplicate the trip that I did last month, there's obviously so much to see in New York. I stayed downtown for the entire weekend, so this will be a downtown-specific guide. I'll follow up with other neighborhoods / an overall Manhattan guide if you guys like this one and want to see more.
Lodging in the LES: First up is Hotel Indigo Lower East Side. This location is art-themed, and from it's stunning views to its utilitarian-chic style rooms (very IKEA with an upscale twist), I was smitten. Unsurprisingly the breakfast bar was pricey, even an orange juice ran us $12, but it was perfect for a quick pick-me-up before racing out of the hotel. G and I would 100% stay here again. If you stay, make sure you check out their roof deck (the pool is located here) for an amazing look at the New York skyline.
Dinner, Soho-Style: After landing on Friday, we headed over to Hundred Acres in Soho. It's exactly what you would expect from a Soho restaurant. Glass doors that open out to the street, cozy lighting and tons of chattering professionals ready to celebrate the weekend. Their charcuterie board was fantastic, I practically inhaled the goat cheese, and I ordered their grilled pork loin that was perfectly juicy without being rare. We split an order of really nice, fresh oysters and I washed them down with a cocktail called Spice Trade; the perfect blend of punchy bourbon, Catskills honey, lemon and cardamom bitters.
Final verdict: If I lived in NYC, I'd come back.
Saturday morning my dad and I got up early and wandered around the LES looking at the architecture and graffiti while hunting for a coffee shop. It was great to catch up with him and get all of the exercise I'd so sorely been missing in Miami. New York is definitely more of a walking-friendly city.
Coffee Stop: We settled on Think Coffee's Bowery location. My father got a regular coffee while I opted for a more sleep-deprived espresso called the "Red Eye". This location featured lots of wood and was very cozy, the exactly kind of vibe Starbucks is going for, plus they had tons of gluten-free pastry options that dad was able to partake in. We left feeling energized and ready to walk around the city.
Lunch, Deep Fried: One of my coworkers recommended this amazing Korean fried chicken place called Boka, and man am I glad she did. G and I ordered the six piece fried chicken with soy garlic sauce, which was perfectly sweet and salty with a hint of garlic. Some of the best fried chicken I've ever had, no joke.
Brooklyn Bridge, The Tourist Trap: After lunch G and I separated from my dad and his wife to do some independent exploring. We walked down past the court houses and over to the Brooklyn Bridge, something that during my tenure as a local I never bothered to do. While the views from the bridge were spectacular, I probably won't be back to do it again. It was way to crowded, and I'm pretty averse to slowly shuffling with a crowd.
Chinatown, the Must-Do: Every time I'm in the city I somehow wind up in Chinatown. I don't know if it's the open-air market or the little kitschy shops, but Chinatown just gets me. Elizabeth Street Center is a must for trinkets and Vivi Bubble Tea is my secret passion. You also shouldn't miss grabbing some dim sum at any of the restaurants in the area. The soup dumplings are basically the best thing in the world.
Little Italy, G's Top Pick: I blame my mother, but Italian food has never been my favorite. I think it's the spaghetti and meat sauce every night for a year and the fact that she refuses to eat anything but Italian when we go out that made me averse. Now that I don't live with her I've found myself rekindling a friendship with this comforting fare. We didn't have time to eat here, but I promised G that the next time we went back we'd stop at a restaurant... and take the cannolis.
Freemans Restaurant, the Hidden Gem: Not too far from our hotel, hidden at the end of a cozy alley, is a little two-story house surrounded by brick and concrete. This house is the site of Freemans Restaurant, a place that I wish I had known about when I lived here. While we only stopped for drinks, my father showed me around the entire house. Each room was set aside for different purposes. The upstairs rooms are typically reserved for events while the downstairs serves as the kitchen, main dining area and the bar. I could have stayed there all night if we didn't have plans to meet up with an old schoolmate of mine.
The Folly, AKA the #PGP Hangout Spot: G and one of my best friends since middle school FINALLY got the chance to meet, so to celebrate my friend took us over to The Folly before our dinner reservation. The meeting was quick (sadly), but the drinks were fantastic. We had to leave some unfinished... which meant that my friend was a very happy camper. If you can, grab their upstairs room. It's a little more secluded and far more fun if there's a big group of you that wants to have some drinks and talk without having to yell.
The Odeon Restaurant, the Place You Go with the Folks: After our little drinking tour of downtown, we took a taxi over to The Odeon Restaurant, JUST making our reservation. More drinks, plenty of oysters and lots of French fare was had at this upscale restaurant. G got himself the croque monsieur and I went with the moules frites, because I can't get enough shellfish in my life.
Highlands, the Whisky Pros: Whiskey drinking girls are the best girls, as they say. Where better to find them than in a scotch and malt-pouring bar in the West Village? Enter Highlands, where the menu is as extensive as the bartenders knowledge. It doesn't hurt that Whiskey Magazine named them one of the Best Whiskey Bars in the USA... but I think half of the charm of this place lies in it's location. There's nothing quite like looking out on the West Village during a summer night with an aged-to-perfection whiskey on the rocks in your hand.
Russ & Daughters, the Hangover Cure: If you're about to hop on that plane on Sunday feeling less than stellar (or even if you're feeling perfectly fine, any excuse is a good excuse), stop by Russ & Daughters for a bagel, cream cheese and lox. One bite and G and I were convinced we'd never had a better version of this salty breakfast sandwich in our entire lives. They really are "the Louvre of Lox".
So there's my round-up! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and enjoy your weekend in NYC. I've been lucky enough to live in and know Boston, Manhattan and Miami. I find it hard to pick a favorite, but New York has and always will feel like home whenever I go back.