This past weekend I had the chance to visit New York City for the first time. My college roommate junior and senior year decided to pursue her passion for PR in the Big Apple after graduation, so me and two other sorority sisters jetted off for Labor Day weekend to see her new digs and explore the city she now calls home.
IT WAS INCREDIBLE. It could have been the fact that it was the first time I had seen many of my friends since graduation. It also could have been because I have fabulous friends. Or the fact that summer in the city is pretty picturesque. But never the less, we had a blast walking New York City Thursday through Monday. Reunions are so sweet, and with the backdrop of NYC it’s hard to run out of things to see and do. I arrived in the city with a list on my phone of sights and bites I wanted to taste and see, and left with a feeling of accomplishment. I may not have checked everything off my list, but I did however see A LOT and with the best squad I could have asked for: my friends!
My “short” list of NYC Bites & Sights:
Wine:30 – Murray Hill, NYC
This quaint establishment boasts a Brunch (weekend), Lunch, and Dinner menu full of unique flavor combinations. Tucked away in Murray Hill, it’s the only restaurant of its kind. Sit in their back patio if at all possible and take in their cozy city atmosphere with a glass of Chardonnay. They have over 300 different wines to choose from, so you may have to make a night of it. Ask your server for their wine recommendation, they always know best!
My pick: Curtefranca Bianco, Italy (Chardonnay) with Housemade Bruschetta
Roasted Beets, Walnuts, Oregano & Feta // Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil, Balsamic, Honey & Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Roasted // Roasted Garlic Puree, Goat Cheese & Crushed Cashews* [my personal favorite]
Adrienne’s Pizzabar – Stone Street (Financial District), NYC
Authentic Italian-style pizza baked in their signature 18.5-inch trays, this Stone Street joint lives up to its appearance. Located in a cute corner of the Financial District, choose from their lively outdoor seating or more intimate indoor atmosphere. Not your typical tourist destination, this restaurant sets itself apart from the neighborhood’s run-of-the-mill options. I didn’t get a chance to try their Nutella cake, but I hear it’s to die for!
My pick: Old-Fashioned style pizza topped with Sausage, Mushroom, and Basil
Ample Hills Creamery – Locations in Brooklyn, Queens, & Manhattan
Light on options but heavy on flavor, Ample Hills Creamery is a must for those looking for pure, rich, naturally-made ice cream. Made on-site daily at each of their locations, we stopped in at their Brooklyn Bridge Park shop and instantly fell in love with their delicious concoctions. I sampled a couple of their flavors before choosing Peppermint Pattie. THE most refreshing Peppermint ice cream I’ve ever tasted. Chocked full of chunky peppermint pattie bites, Ample Hills Creamery will not disappoint.
My picks: Peppermint Pattie, The Munchies, and Oooey Gooey Butter Cake
The Smith – East Village, NYC
This restaurant is known for their famous Ricotta Gnocchi and Mac & Cheese, however after a couple days of eating heavy NY meals, I opted for a salad that night. And if I went back again, I would be hard pressed to order something different. Yes, the Grilled Chicken Paillard Salad is just that good. Fresh arugula mixed with peppadew, artichokes, tomatoes, red onions and a lemon parmesan dressing. Incredibly fresh, light, and satisfying after a long day of exploring the city that never sleeps. The ambiance of this restaurant is fantastic with an open-air entrance and expansive downstairs bar. Not to mention their East Village location has a photo booth too!
My picks: Grilled Chicken Paillard Salad or the Kale + Quinoa Salad
Sarabeth’s – Upper East Side, NYC
This New York City favorite bakery and restaurant has multiple locations to choose from. However, the UES location typically has shorter wait times, because it’s further from the tourists and closer to the locals. It’s the perfect place for a weekend brunch with your friends and family. The charming farmhouse artwork and bright cheerful atmosphere set the tone for a perfect Saturday brunch. Their menu features something for everyone, including lobster rolls, granola, french toast, and omelettes. Since my visit, I’ve made it my life goal to recreate their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. A careful balance of lemon zing, sugary sweet, and cake-y goodness. First stop when I return to NYC: Sarabeth’s of course!
My pick: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
North River Lobster Company – Pier 81, NYC
River cruises can be expensive. That’s where the North River Lobster Company comes in and saves the day. Not only do you get a unique view of the city from the Hudson River, you pay NOTHING. Nada. Zilch. Zero. That means you get a free ride just for being alive. Hop onboard their 3-story boat and cruise down the Hudson in style. Take in the breathtaking views of the Empire State and Midtown skyline while chowing down on a multitude of seafood and cocktails. Word to the wise: check their sailing schedule online before heading there so you don’t have to wait too long. Also, Monday thru Friday 4pm-7pm is their happy hour, so get there early to snag reduced prices on drinks and appetizers.
My pick: Lobster Roll & Mojito
Bar Suzette – Chelsea Market, NYC
Savory or Sweet. The choice is yours! Crepes are a great option if you want something fast and portable while perusing the shops and stalls at Chelsea Market. Bar Suzette creates gourmet style crepes speedy fast. With ingredients like smoked salmon, brie, squash, and nutella, these crepes are far from bourgeois. Have a sit at their bar-style seating or walk around the market. This place is a must if you are visiting Chelsea Market!
My pick: The Four Seasons (Mozzarella Cheese, Portobello Mushroom, Steamed Spinach, Italian Ham, Black Pepper)
Pick A Bagel – Midtown, NYC
You can’t visit New York City without eating a bagel with schemer. It’s a classic. On my last day of exploring the city, we took the metro down to Midtown to grab a bagel before heading to Central Park. At Pick A Bagel, they serve bagels (obviously), muffins, salads, and sandwiches. All of which look heavenly! Their salad bar is what really impressed me because of their large variety of healthy toppings. Grab a classic NY bagel next time you visit the Midtown area at Pick A Bagel.
My pick: Everything bagel with Plain Cream Cheese
Doughnut Plant – Hotel Chelsea, NYC
The first doughnut joint to use fresh fruits and roasted nuts in their glazes. The Doughnut Plant is home to the world’s first creme brûlée and square-filled donut varieties. They not only revolutionized the donut game, they work with classic flavors and transform them to a whole other level. Walked into this location and was mesmerized by their kitchy wall decor and heavenly sweet aroma. Donuts just have a special part in my heart. Choose from their selection of yeast, square-filled, doughnut seed, and cake donuts. And with four locations across the city, you have no excuse not to stop by. Next time, I’m trying the Peanut Butter and Banana Creme square-filled doughnut!
My pick: Wild Blueberry Cake Doughnut
We saw just about everything in the city. When I say everything, I mean everything. So here are some picks for the top sights to see when visiting NYC!
Brooklyn Bridge / Brooklyn Bridge Park
Washington Square Park
Staten Island Ferry
The High Line
Flat Iron Building
Madison Square Park
Until next time, New York…
XOXO, Kitchy Living