My younger daughter and I took a quick trip to New York City back in January during the last week of her winter break. The idea was sparked by my good friend, Dale who also encouraged me to drive, rather than take the Acela as I usually do. The good news about driving is that it allowed us to be pretty lazy about choosing which coats and footwear to bring for the unpredictable weather this winter has thrown at us. We just threw lots of options in the back seat and off we went.
We stayed at another recommendation of Dale’s, The Warwick New York which was ideally located for us on West 54th at 6th Avenue. We booked online, but were upgraded upon our arrival to a spacious room with two queen beds. The concierge was incredibly helpful with our many questions, and the hotel allowed us to have a late check-out when we made a last minute decision to do a little more shopping before the long car ride home.
I suggested to my daughter that we “try not to do too much” and she agreed. Our family tends to run itself ragged when we travel, moving all the time from place to place, hitched to a list of places we’ve heard or read about. I think our pace was really good for a 2 day/2 night visit to the Big Apple.
Here’s how it played out:
We arrived early afternoon and had a 5:30 dinner reservation as we were attending the theater so we decided to visit MoMA which was a 2 minute walk from the hotel. This was our first visit and we both really loved it (museum -check!).
Dinner was at Toloache-Midtown which I selected because it was relatively close to the theater and the menu looked appealing. A quaint restaurant with a few locations, Toloache packs you in for your pre-dinner theater so be prepared to be very close to your neighbors. Nonetheless, our meal was very good and I would recommend you check them out if you are attending a show near west 50th and 8th street. Don’t miss the guacamole!
If you read my post last week, you can probably guess which show we saw – Hamilton. I was inspired by my friend Anne to get tickets (Stub Hub). One of the things I think is so tricky about purchasing tickets for a venue you haven’t been in is understanding what your view is going to be, and whether or not you are going to have any obstructions, like the mezzanine which in some cases hangs over several of the orchestra rows. Thankfully, I found this awesome website – maybe you know about it – aviewfrommyseat.com. The site enables you to pick your venue and from there, you can hopefully find a photo with a view from the seat you are trying to purchase. The site depends on concert/theater/etc. goers to upload photos from their seats so that future ticket buyers know what they are getting! Some folks add comments which is really helpful. Having been disappointed by one of the last seat selections I made for a New York show, I found this to be an excellent resource, especially since every theater is so different. And Hamilton? I could write an entire blog post about the show. I haven’t been blown away by a show in a long time, but if I could see it again, I would (theater, check!).
The following morning, we consulted with the hotel concierge before setting out. We had planned to find one of the Black Seed Bagel locations, but he said that it sounded like a “hippy chic” bagel place and sent us in another, delicious direction. I’ve been disappointed in some of our past New York bagels so decided to trust our Brooklyn born concierge. Glad we did. Check out one of the Pick A Bagel locations (think there are 9 in the city but we went to the one on 8th Avenue). (New York bagel, check!)
From there, we went to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. This was my second visit to the museum but our daughter’s first. Having been just 4 in 2001, she obviously doesn’t have first hand memories of this horrific day for our nation as many of us do. So, it was interesting to observe her reactions as we visited the various exhibits within the museum.
A glimpse of the World Trade Center Transportation Hub that opened last year…
After the museum, we took a walk through China Town before lunch. Of course, I had to snap pictures of all the amazing produce. Look at those long beans…
Such a funny fruit, rambutan
Lunch was in Soho at one of the Chopt Creative Salad Company locations. I am always excited when someone else makes me a delicious salad and we weren’t disappointed. The salads are incredibly fresh, creative and full of flavor. The menu includes carefully crafted salads and bowls inspired by cuisines around the world. Servers gather your salad’s ingredients on a board and then use huge mezzalunas to chop those ingredients into bite sized pieces (no long, awkward strands of lettuce to wrestle with). Your chopped ingredients are then tossed with the dressing of your choice. I ordered the Mexicali Vegan (avocado, hearts of palm, tomatoes, black beans, tortilla chips, jalapenos, romaine and spinach) with Mexican Goddess dressing that is made with tomatillos and avocados and was super spicy. My daughter had the Mexican Caesar with a Sweet & Smoky Chipotle Vinaigrette. We actually went back on the day we were leaving to get salads to go. (Chopt – check!)
Giant mezzaluna shaped carvings grace the ceiling…
Chopt has Destination Salads that change every 60 days. When we were there, they were offering Thai based salads, and right now they are offering a Crunchy Vietnamese Salad, a Beekeeper’s Quinoa Bowl and a Wild Smokehouse Salmon Plate. Really fun and hoping they expand to Boston (especially the suburbs)…
After lunch, we shopped our way back to our hotel. We happened upon a pop up store in Soho for the shoe company, M. Gemi that is based here in Boston. If you don’t know about them, you can check out their site here. The shoes are made in Italy with lots of fun styles and colors. I had always wanted to purchase a pair, but I don’t know about you but unless it comes from Zappo’s and is easy to return or is a brand I know, I tend not to buy too many shoes online. Dealing with returns is a pain. But when I saw the pop up store, I wanted to check them out and I am glad I did because I ended up with this pair of pretties that are super comfy. However, every shoe fit a little differently as they are hand crafted so read the “fit tips” on their website if you want to order. Tod’s-esque without the heavy price tag.
Dinner that evening was at Paola’s, an old school Italian restaurant on the Upper East side that my friend, Allyson had told me about. The food was excellent, but alas the lighting was not conducive to photography!
We ordered a fabulous shaved brussels sprout and granny smith apple salad with pecorino cheese followed by some delicious pastas. Mine was a rigatoni with spicy sausage and porcini mushrooms…
My daughter ordered the house made Kabocha squash filled ravioli that was served in a butter-sage sauce and finished with a balsamic reduction…
The next morning while my daughter slept in a bit, I ventured down to the Garment district to visit two ribbons and trimmings stores. I was looking for a new trim for some window treatments I was planning to retool. The first place I stopped was Mokuba which sells absolutely exquisite ribbons in all shades, styles and colors. After I took these snaps, they told me photographs were not allowed (oops), but this is just a small sampling of what you can find. Tons of eye candy for sure…
The space is very small so you can see everything in a relatively short period of time, although you are not supposed to handle anything yourself (oops again – pulled that navy ribbon down to get a better view). I didn’t find what I was looking for here so my next stop was good old, M&J Trimming where I found several samples of the trim I was looking for and brought home for consideration. You can purchase online from M&J as well if you are interested.
I met my daughter at a restaurant near the hotel that I read about on Goop called Jams. Located in the 1 Central Park Hotel on 6th Avenue at 58th Street, Jams is a Jonathan Waxman restaurant and offers fresh, seasonal cuisine in a really beautiful space. We had a lovely breakfast, although in hindsight, we may have just been happier going back to our bagel place…
After our breakfast, we headed up town to do just a little more sadly unsuccessful shopping before hopping in the car for the ride home.
My husband and I returned to New York City in February and I will share some of the places we tried in a future post.
What are your favorite places to visit in New York? Restaurants, shops, museums? Please share in the comments below! See you next week.
One Year Ago: Carrot Pineapple Cake (great dessert for Easter)
Two Years Ago: Blackened Fish Tacos (make them tonight!)
Three Years Ago: Summer Vegetable Ceviche (can easily be adapted for Spring)