There’s something about New York City that draws us back regularly and it’s almost always around Thanksgiving or Christmas. We can’t resist the fairytale glow around NYC at this time of the year. The mildish weather in November and the autumnal colours are also a draw, as are the Christmassy lights and endless sales. Walking the streets of NYC is a joy too, there’s always something new to see or discover, especially street art!
We stayed in Tribeca in the lovely modern and conveniently located Hotel Hugo, which boasts not one but two rooftop bars; Bar Hugo offers sublime views of the NYC skyline as I’m sure so does their al-fresco one, Azul, but unfortunately that was closed for the season so we couldn’t visit that one. However, we didn’t really need to visit the rooftops for our skyline fix, our room looked out and offered us the perfect view from the comfort of our beds.
Our room was considerably spacious for a NYC hotel, and our double beds were especially welcoming after a busy day shopping and sightseeing. Special mention goes to the chefs for their delicious banana bread which is a must, and friendly staff were always at hand to help with all our needs. We can’t recommend this hotel enough and it’s perfectly located close to Soho, West Village, Greenwich Avenue and the Financial District.
The food and drink scene in NYC is always top nosh and an absolute must for us is a trip to the Mercer Kitchen for their Shrimp Salad (please never stop making that salad, that one dish is worth the flight alone). On this trip however, we discovered a few more gems to add to our ever expanding list of regulars.
Zuma on Madison has possibly the best brunch we’ve ever had; Zuma’s ‘Omakase Gochiso’ or ‘Chef’s feast’ offered a few choices of cocktails including lychee martini, wasabi mule, Bloody Mary as well as champagne to start off the brunch (we started with a lychee martini). Chef Oliver Lange’s selection of salads, sushi and starters including seasonal oysters with ponzu and serrano pepper for the table were amongst the best we’d ever had. A chef was even kind enough to come over with some fresh wasabi in root form which he grated in front of us, he also told us that doing it this way gets very expensive, a small amount is around $50. Zuma’s signature dishes including a beef dish and a salmon teriyaki followed. The brunch, as most Zuma experiences do, ended on a sweet note, a Zuma dessert platter — a towering combination of Zuma’s desserts, house made sorbets and exotic fruits — was delivered and served to the table to round off a perfect gastronomic experience.
Sticking with the Asian theme we also visited Nare Sushi, a new Japanese restaurant located in the heart of Manhattan’s Midtown East neighbourhood, offered us a real treat of favourites including sea bream in miso which was an absolute delight and their twelve piece Omakase had a delicious combination of regular sushi and some rather unusual sea creatures which we braved. This is one of the standouts on the menu and is all carefully selected by the Chef and uses the freshest ingredients of the day with a focus on seasonality to experience the best traditional Edomae style of sushi. We washed down our meal with delicious seasonal sake chosen by our sommelier.
We got our Italian fix in Dante which is nestled in the west village neighbourhood and has been established since 1915. Dante celebrates the traditional Italian way of community in New York City; honouring the simplicity of gathering with friends over effortlessly delicious authentic Italian-American food and drink. Special mentions go to the burrata and the tiramisu (absolutely divine).
For something a little different and one we discovered with a friend was a little family owned Dominican Bistro located in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, called Puerto Viejo. Expect delicious home-cooked hearty food and delicious sangria, all very reasonably priced for NYC.
For some amazing cocktails Slowly Shirley is a must. The classic cocktail bar on West 10th Street, exudes art deco elegance and gives a nod to the refined style of the atomic era, all while paying homage to the bar’s namesake muse, Shirley. Don’t leave without trying an “Ingrid Bergman,” Cava, Cedrat citron liqueur, Edelste Hopfenweisse beer distillate, lemon syrup, grapefruit bitters, absinthe. Served in a flute, It’s a variation on a French 75 and is named after the Hollywood siren and legend that Shirley aspired to be.
Other than excessive eating we also did some ice skating in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, which was so much fun and got us into the festive spirit. As fans of SATC we also embarked on a tour of our girls’ favourite NYC hot spots (some of which we’d already done over the years). The Tour is run by the world’s largest TV & Movie company ‘On Location Tours’ and is a great way to see the city through the eyes of our favourite characters, taking in sights including Carrie’s beautiful brownstone, stopping for cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery and ending with a cosmopolitan at Scout, the bar owned by Steve and Aidan.
This year we decided we were going to combine our visit with a few tourist attractions thrown in so we could see our favourite city in another light. As we were staying in Tribeca in the lovely Hotel Hugo we thought we’d tick off the World Trade Centre museum and whilst we were glad to have done it once, we’re not sure it’s an experience we’ll ever want to repeat again. Reliving the aftermath of 9/11 was just too harrowing for us. As we were with friends who hadn’t been to NYC before we also decided to check out the old favourites Empire State Building, High Line, Grand Central Station and Liberty Island too. For more info and other tourist attractions go to NYC Go and we’d recommend buying a City Pass.
There’s still so much more for us to see and as a city that never sleeps, we’re sure it’ll have much more for us to discover when we head back next year, perhaps we’ll hit a few more bars next time – food was the focus this time around!