This year, my younger brother turned 21 (watch out world!). So, I decided that his birthday weekend should be spent in New York City! This was my third time but, it was his first. He LOVES anything vintage. So, I planned our entire trip around all things old! From what we drank to where we ate…even where we shopped…there was a definite theme! Don’t we look cute?
We arrived around noon on a Friday and immediately dropped our bags off at the apartment. (tip: use airbnb…you will save A LOT!). It was a little sketchy — we shared someones couch for the weekend (yes, they were still home!). Then, top on my brothers list of “things to eat in NYC” was a Lox bagel. Before leaving, I had created quite a lengthy list of restaurants/bars/shops…etc. For Lox Bagels, I had decided that Tal Bagels was the place to go! We were both STARVING and, thankfully, happened to turn a corner on our way to the metro stop and there it was!
The bagel turned out to be a great snack. Next, we needed pizza! I don’t remember where we stopped…but does it really matter? It’s NYC after all…
Did I mention that it was a torrential down pour that day? But, that did not slow us down! Top of my list, was Eataly! I had to see it! Can you believe that this was my third time in NYC and had yet to stop in Eataly? We waded our way downtown. Cold and wet, we made it! But, it was EXTREMELY crowded and we didn’t actually get anything. But, it was definitely fun to see
After that, we headed back to the apartment to start getting ready for our first night on the town! But, alas, we were still hungry! We turned the corner and just happened to pass No 7 Sub…another spot on my list! The sandwiches are what I would call…hangover food. Just weird! But, I’d seen them featured on Food Network so I had to try it! I got the broccoli with lychee and it was good! But, watch out…it’s definitely spicy! Other sandwiches include anything from cauliflower to fritos…go with an open mind!
That night, our bar hopping began in the oldest restaurant in NYC…21 Club! Originally, we were going to go for the “Pre Theater” dinner menu. It’s a GREAT deal. You make your reservations no later than 6:30 and you get the prix fixed menu for $42. But, we decided to just hang out in the bar and watch people (besides…we’d already consumed bagels, pizza, and sandwiches). It was so fun talking to our waiter about how he had waited on Grace Kelly, Humphrey Bogart…where they sat…what they drank…the history behind this place is well worth the visit.
Next up, we stopped in at The Carnegie Club – a cocktail and smoking lounge. This was definitely a great find! Surprisingly, I’ve talked to several NYC locals who have not heard of it! It’s a bit of speakeasy so it does take some searching! They had live jazz music, great wine, and of course…cigars! The leather sofas, book cases, and old photos made it feel like a movie set! And…I smoked my first cigar! (P.S…it was also quite dark inside!)
At this point, we were pretty much done for the night. So that’s where it ended. But, bright and early the next morning, we were at theEmpire State Building! Of course, you have to do that! Here’s my tip: buy your tickets online! You can use them WHENEVER! But, get there at 7:50am. Yes…it’s early. But, you don’t wait in line!
Then, we just wandered Manhattan! We decided we would literally walk the city. And we died! Along the way, we took a look into Katz’s Delicatessen. But, the line was just not worth it. It is definitely a must see but, go down the street to Russ & Daughters…it’s also famous and not as crowded!
That evening, we stopped at a cool spot for a drink called Middle Branch. A bar tender friend of mine in Dallas recommended it and it’s definitely cool! Be sure to have the address or you might miss it!
Then, we started making our way down to PDT (Please Don’t Tell). Earlier that day, we called about 70 times and FINALLY got through to make a reservation. They only accept reservations by phone starting at 3pm the day of. So get your speed dial ready! But, before we went there, we had to eat dinner! We found a great place called Cafe Orlin…a little Mediterranean and a little Indian!
Now what we had eaten were ready for cocktails! PDT os located inside a Hot Dog shop. Yes…a hot dog shop. You go in, then step into a phone booth, dial 1 and the other side of the booth opens into the bar! The drinks are a bit on the expensive side but definitely worth it!
The next morning, we saw the sites — Statue of Liberty, 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street. We worked up an appetite! For lunch, we went to Beauty & Essex. This is hands down one of my favorite restaurants in New York. It’s another one that you might miss if you’re not looking carefully! You walk into a pawn shop in a not so good part of town and then into the beautiful restaurant! My brother and I ordered the Lox Pizzetta, Turkey Meatballs, and Lobster & Chorizo Hash.
That night, we had reservations at The Raines Law Room…another speakeasy! Unfortunately, it was so dark inside that I was unable to get a good shot. But…you MUST GO! Again, have the address out or you will miss it! Are you noticing a theme here?? You walk down stairs and ring the door bell. Inside, it’s not like a typical bar. You actually don’t even see one! You’re seated on chairs or couches. Each spot has a door bell on the wall next to it. When you’re ready to order, you ring it!
Our flight left the next afternoon. So, we spent the morning wandering as usual. Then, I found this great spot for lunch called Gazala’s. It’s delicious mediterranean food! The chef/owner is actually from Israel! We sat outside and soaked up the NYC sun before heading home…
And so ended our weekend in NYC. We ate and drank our way through the city — discovering all the hot underground spots that are literally off the grid.