If there was an emoji that best described me right now, it would be the monkey covering its eyes. Whoopsies. I’ve abandoned this blog somewhat in the throes of busy season at work (tax accountants, we’re almost done!) and other personal responsibilities. I’ve come to really understand and appreciate bloggers who juggle a main job while keeping up with their writing. It’s quite the challenge!
I’m all for treating yourself to a getaway trip every now and then. Even more so if the plane tickets are cheap, and you have a good deal on where you’re planning to stay. For those of you who aren’t aware, September 15 is a pretty big deal for us tax accountants. It’s a major deadline, and after the last return is sent, we party. There are of course, more deadlines, but that’s a whole other story that I’d rather not get into. This is a food/travel blog, not Tax accounting 101. But meeting the deadline was reason enough for me to book a weekend trip to NY, my home away from home.
So, how does one spend a couple days in New York? First, a disclaimer: I’ve been to NY several times, so I’ve already been to all the “touristy” spots, save for some museums that I haven’t gone to yet. However, a first time guide is definitely in the works! See my other post on NY here.
I had no idea the NYC Coffee Fest was going to happen the weekend that I was coming up to New York. Was it fate? Perhaps. Before I could binge drink on all the coffee and chai lattes, I had to fill my stomach. So what better way to do that then to have lunch at Gramercy Tavern? They offer service in both the dining room (reservations needed) and the tavern (no reservations) so you can dine in whichever style suits your fancy. I met my friend Amy for lunch (there is already a line out the door by the time they open, 12pm) and we had a light and delicious meal. The cocktail menu looked very enticing, but I chose a refreshing mocktail instead. The cosmonot is made up of pinot noir juice, grenadine, and citrus. I had a delicious and buttery seabass, and Amy had a wonderfully flavorful calamari fried rice- colorful, full of texture, and addicting. We made our lunch even more epic with a few east coast oysters and some pate with pickles and toasted bread.
We joined my childhood friend Emily at the NYC coffee festival. For one ticket, it includes all the coffee you can possibly drink. Coffee shops and vendors, as well as seasoned baristas come together to showcase their best products/coffees- and you can try them all. As someone who doesn’t live in NY, it’s great to see/taste all of the coffees from local shops in one place. That way, you can pick your favorite, and go to the actual shop at another time. There was street food, music, and lots of things to see, smell, and purchase (I wanted everything). If you find yourself in NY during mid September (and you love coffee), it’s a must. My favorite product wasn’t from a coffee shop or company, but from a flavored syrup company, 1881 Maison Routin. They offer a wide variety of flavored syrups, which can be mixed with almost anything and give your drink an extra boost. The barista made a wonderful coffee cocktail made with cold brew coffee, cherry syrup, club soda, and orange. It was refreshing and delicious, and most definitely welcome in the humid convention hall.
We hit up the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum afterwards. It’s very interactive; they have these pens that let you interact with the exhibits and “save” any favorite pieces that you come across. The courtyard is a great place to relax, and do try the spinning top chairs- lots of fun!
In the evening we watched a live band performance at Mercury Lounge in the Lower East Side. The performance was great – check out Newborn on Spotify and see them live if you’re ever in town. Since my friend knew the band, we got to hang out with them at The DL, a rooftop club a few blocks away. The music was a bit dated at first, but as the night went on, the dance floor was packed, and the party was in full swing. We ended our night by having a meal at the original Katz’s. Delicious pastrami sandwich anyone? I also learned how to say “latkes” the right way. I’m on my way to becoming a full-fledged New Yorker.
On Sunday, I was on my own for most of the day. I took the time to visit a few museums- The Neue Galerie, The American Museum of Natural History, and The Guggenheim. Before that though, I stopped by Levain Bakery for a couple of boxes of their famous 6oz cookies to take home. Yes- I lugged 2 dozen, 6oz cookies across Manhattan for most of my day. What a workout, and thank goodness for coat check. I got to see some of my favorite Gustav Klimt paintings in person, including Woman in Gold.
K-Town is a must whenever I’m in NY. This time I tried Five Senses, a Korean restaurant that recently opened. Although new, they have had a huge following, and it’s not surprising to see lines out the door during peak times. Some Korean celebrities have even stopped by to eat here! I had crispy pork belly, the seafood pancake, and stole some of my friend’s kimchi fried rice.
For dessert we trekked all the way to Greenspoint in Brooklyn to try the famous funfetti cake at Hail Mary’s. If you haven’t seen the Buzzfeed article on it, you can read it here. Still feeling peckish, or greedy, who cares- I ordered the fried burrata in spicy marinara. There was a great list of cocktails, mocktails, and house made sodas. The burrata and the cake were delicious. The cake wasn’t too sweet and the salted caramel buttercream was silky and creamy. The rose flavored sprinkles on the outside were piped by hand and were tasty, not to mention that they added a nice texture to the cake. We ordered some house-made ice cream to accompany our cake (get the chocolate peanut butter. PLEASE.). Hail Mary’s is a really fun place, and I’d definitely go again. If it’s someone’s birthday, they shut off the lights, play a “birthday” song (that night was “Go Shawty, it’s your birthday” by 50 cent) and present to you the funfetti cake with a candle.
After some drinks and another meal at Veselka, a Ukrainian diner, it was time to head home. A weekend well spent, I would say.
Things to Do:
- Cooper Hewitt Design Museum
- American Museum of Natural History
- The Neue Gallery
- Live music @ Mercury Lounge
- Dancing @ The DL
- NYC Coffee Festival
- Gramercy Tavern
- Levain Bakery
- Five Senses
- Boulton & Watt
- Hail Mary’