new york city, North America, Travel

travel blog: 2 days in new york city

Lucky for us, Dave had a great friend getting married in New York a couple of weekends ago so we took it as an opportunity to spend a wee bit of time in the big city. We had been there together once before when I surprised Dave with a trip to NYC for his 30th, but it was cut short when hurricane Irene shut down the whole darn city. We had to rent a car and drive the entire way home but it actually ended up being a really fun road trip. Lemons into lemonade & vodkas and all of that.

So this time we were hoping to experience more of New York City and boy did we ever. We walked over 35 miles in the short time we were there (Friday afternoon – Sunday afternoon) and ended up having a BLAST. I even stayed out one night past midnight when usually my bedtime is 9:30. New York City Annie is FUN y’all.

I thought I’d share our super quick trip as Dave did a great job of organizing our time there to make the most out of a really short trip. As long as you’re willing to move, move, move you can eat and see all of this too in just a couple o’ days!

As soon as we landed Dave said we needed to hit Momofuku Ssam Bar. I’d never been to a Momofuku restaurant, but had certainly heard of them and the amazingness that is David Chang so I was excited to try it.

We decided to walk to the East Village to get to the restaurant since it was a lovely day.

We grabbed a seat outside and ordered some fantastical cocktails. Dave had the Glitter Punk, which was a hibiscus cimmaron tequila, elderflower, lime and agave situation. So tasty. I had the Land Mermaid, which of course I didn’t write down, so I have absolutely no memory of what it was, other than I loved it. Oh, Annie.

We ordered the smoked trout dip which was our favorite dish of the meal and inspired us to add smoked trout to our smokin’ list for this fall.

We also ordered the pork belly bao which was delish – even though I’m not a huge fan of pork belly (I know, I know).

Then it was onto our entree, which was supposed to be duck but they accidentally brought brisket – which we devoured anyhow. It was so bold in flavor given the seven spices it was coated in. Yum.

After being stuffed to the gills at Momofuku we headed back to our hotel where we planned to have happy hour at their new rooftop-ish bar. We stayed at Hotel Hendricks which is in a great location in Midtown Manhattan. The rooms were small but lovely and had everything we needed. Before we both headed our separate ways for the night – Dave to a bachelor party and me to meet an old pal in Chinatown – we hit the new bar.

The decor was super zebra’d and veloured which I can get down with.

Not only do they make a mean gin and tonic (by the way, I’ve decided that’s my drink when I’m in NYC) – but the view is gorgeous.

After our cocktail Dave headed out to meet the guys for the bachelor party and I headed to Chinatown to meet up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in over ten years. Lex and I met when we both worked at Urban Outfitters, which seems like a million years and several facial piercings ago. She is a Senior Staff Editor for New York Times Cooking, so I’ve become a total fan girl of all of her recipes. I mean look at this roasted tomato tart! Ah!

I was excited she picked Spicy Village to meet up at as they’re known for hand-pulled noodles and their “big tray chicken” – sign me up.

They don’t take reservations, so you have to be willing to wait but let me tell you – it is SO worth it. While we waited we just popped a squat in the park across the street, had some vino and caught up. It was perfect.

Once we sat down we ordered some hand-pulled noodles, dumplings and the famous spicy big tray chicken. It was EPIC. I’d make this a must-visit while in NYC, hands down.

She is just so darn adorable!

After dinner we went on a little adventure popping into some bars grabbing some wine and cocktails – my favorite being Clockwork Bar, a tiny little punk bar playing good music and pulsing with energy. So fun.

After such a fun night I hit the comfy hotel pillow pretty hard and got a good night’s rest which was good given our jam-packed next day.

We were up and at ’em pretty early. We decided to hit the High Line first, which is an elevated public park that was built on an old rail line and features lush plant life and art sculptures. I’ve really never seen anything like it and was pretty blown away by the juxtaposition of the greenery against the architecture of the city.

We worked up quite an appetite on our morning stroll on the high line so we decided to head to Greenwich Village to get a slice of pizza. We were told Joe’s Pizza was a perfect NY slice so that’s where we headed.

I mean, LOOK at this slice. It was perfection.

Next up we wanted to see Washington Square Park so we headed thataway. It was a beautiful park with lots of people enjoying the day. All this park-ing really made me want to explore the parks in my own city!

Our next destination was Central Park since I had never been and really only knew of it via Law & Order crime scenes. 😮 On the way to the park I saw an ice cream truck and decided vacation afternoon ice cream was in order. I know it’s just truck ice cream, but man was it good.

It was kind of gloomy for our stroll in Central Park, but I’m kind of a gloomy-loving gal, so it was just what I wanted.

You’d think we were parked out but nope! Onwared to Bryant Park, where we knew there was a cocktail bar waiting. Another gin and tonic, don’t mind if I do!

Whew! Now it was time for a quick break back at our hotel before we went out for dinner to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary! We had reservations at Keens Steakhouse, which we had heard was a classic NYC steakhouse experience – we were stoked to try it, especially because we had a reservation the last time we were in New York but never got to go because of the hurricane!

Before dinner we headed to the hotel bar for a quick glass of vino. He’s so cute!

Keen’s was right around the corner from our hotel, so we walked right over. Stepping into Keens was like stepping back in time. It was dark and moody and absolutely everything I was hoping for. Even a red leather tufted couch!

We were sat in a cozy room and immediately presented with an old school crudite.

And of course we ordered martinis, oysters and shrimp cocktail.

I ordered the filet, which Dave and I both agreed was the best we’ve ever tasted.

And Dave had the mutton, which apparently is a specialty of theirs. Dave had never had mutton before and thought it was fantastic.

This was such a lovely dinner with amazing food in a wonderful atmosphere and with a pretty righteous dude. <3

We headed back to the hotel, conked out and dreamed of the bagel we were going to have for breakfast.

Lex had said that Ess-a-bagel was her favorite so that’s where we went! We got a pretty classic bagel with lox, cream cheese, capers, lettuce, red onion and tomato. Man, I wish we had a good bagel shop within walking distance from our house in Chicago, I could live on these things!

Our quick last stop before heading to Long Island for the wedding was Times Square. It was crowded and nuts AND we saw the naked cowboy. Oh no.

Well, geez. I hope that’s all we did in two days! We had such a great time exploring the city, and even though my feet were killing me, it was worth the pain to see all we did. I already can’t wait to go back – there’s just too much food I need to eat!

Where’s your favorite place to visit or eat in New York City? I think I’ll start getting my next list ready. 😀

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