Labor Day Weekend in NYC!
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We only had a few short days to enjoy our annual outing to NYC and we had to pack a lot in! My itinerary and notes are below.
Flight to NYC - I was fortunate enough to upgrade to business class - and I'm soooo grateful. I hate being on the plane for so long, and it's even worse when you are cramped into a teeny tiny space. In business, you have a lot of leg room, a cushy leather seat, dvd's to watch, food to eat ... I could go on and on. Again, I was extremely grateful.
Checked into Affinia Dumont. I've never stayed in Murray Hill and was a bit concerned about the hotel and the location - but I was pleasantly surprised. The hotel isn't super fancy, but it was really spacious and convenient and clean.
After resting a bit, we had a quick happy hour at Barking Dog Cafe. (Quite concept-y bar - essentially it's for doglovers - there is dog paraphenelia everywhere, the drinks have dog names, they leave water bowls around for customers' dogs, etc.) The service was a little slow but friendly. Nothing too special about the drinks/food - but was very convenient since it's right next to our hotel.
Dinner at Esca! It was fun and the food was good - what else could one expect from Mario Batali (even though he never cooks here).
After dinner we checked out Club Aura - not so good - tiny space, sketchy crowd. (good lemon drops, however). :) I think there were other clubs/bars after this, but I can't seem to remember so well after a bottle of wine and 5 cocktails. I do remember getting the hiccups, which was only funny for the first 10 seconds but managed to last for a total of 10 minutes!
I'm not sure why but I woke up super early and went to work out in the hotel gym. I just wanted to note that because I'm super proud of myself.
Brunch at Tia Pol. I had high high expectations for this place, but unfortunately I was a bit disappointed. The brunch menu was a bit limited, and my food was a tad salty. Not sure why it gets such great reviews...Maybe I was there on an off day. Check out my full review.
My friend and I strolled from Chelsea, through the Meatpacking District (we saw Del Posto (another Mario Batali restaurant) - which I must try next time I'm in NY - looked so huge and grand from the outside), stopped for drinks at Pastis. My friend thought the bellini was just so-so, but I really enjoyed my "la vie en rose" (champagne with a sugar cube and rose essence - so pink & pretty).
We then shopped along Bleecker Street (Murray's cheese shop was pretty awesome) and serendipitiously ran into a Marc Jacobs sale - totes for $80, wallets for $20!!!! craziness! I also bought some jewelry at Satya (a gorgeous boutique filled with handmade jewelry - very ethnic, natural shapes). I would have liked to have a Magnolia Bakery cupcake (sort of a NY tradition for me), but the lines were insane that day (literally a block and a half long)! So instead, we ducked into a local bar Miracle and had $5 sangrias and chips and salsa - bartender was super friendly and the sangrias were pretty good.
After the requisite nap, we went to Uncle Jack's steakhouse. Pretty good steakhouse, very good service. Check out my full review.
After dinner, I was quite buzzed and we headed out to the village to go dancing - but alas, New Yorkers don't start as early as LA folk, so none of the clubs were yet open. We found solace at Naima - the only bar that seemed open at the time, and literally drank for 2 hours.
Worked out again! Woo Hoo!
Brunch at Essex. I'm so pleased I decided to go here instead of Tavern on the Green. Their brunch is only $16 - including an entree and 3 cocktails - such a great deal. Better yet, the food is delicious. Check out my full review.
After brunch we strolled through Times Square (so cheezy, but fun nonetheless) and then watched Spamalot. Such a funny musical and our seats were amazing. I had forgotten most of the original Monty Python movie before this, but it was a pleasant reminder.
Perhaps it was too much dancing the night before but I was wiped out and had to sleep. My more energetic friends went out for more shopping and drinking. When I managed to drag myself out of the room, I was only able to muster enough energy to go to happy hour at a local bar/restaurant - Maxie Sushi (half off sushi during happy hour and really yummy lychee martinis) and Chinatown to snack on pastries and eat at New Green Bo Restaurant. (so yummy but super long wait) - Check out my full review.
While my friends slept, I took some "me" time to walk through Central Park and check out my favorite spots - The Pond and the Fountain.
After a few hours of "me" time, I met up with my friends again and had lunch at Luna Piena - one of my favorite little italian places in NY. When I used to go to NY to work on deals, my office would be right around the corner from this place - and every meal I had there was quite good so I have very fond memories of it. After lunch, we fortuitously ran into a street fair on Lexington - i bought a $1 headband and was tempted by all the delicious snacks - crepes, shish kebabs, fruit smoothies, roasted corn ... mmmm I love street fairs.
Flight to LA - I was again lucky enough to upgrade to business - thank goodness! I watched Waitress on the flight - such a dear movie, I think I'll have to buy it now (even though I'm deeply opposed to adultery and that was everywhere in the movie) .. also watched Blades of Glory (again) - love that movie!