So I try to find a weekend once a year to get away with friends and just do nothing while doing a whole lot of everything. I am lucky that I have a few different circle of friends and I can usually find someone who is wanting to get away from the everyday and do things like eat, shop, explore, and take pictures. Travel synergy is very important, you need a travel companion that knows you well and vice versa. This girls trip my bestie and I decided we wanted to go back to one of our favourite spots, New York, fun fact – actually we both travelled to NYC together for the first time in 2006 when we took our very first independent “international” trip. This is when our love affair with New York began, we have been back countless times over the last decade but each time is just as exciting.
We stayed with our other bestie at her apartment in the upper west side of Manhattan, it’s always nice to stay in a swanky hotel but this time we wanted to spend as much time as we could with our friend and still do our own thing when she was busy.
We landed in LaGuardia at around 5pm (madness as it was rush hour time) and were able to get to our friend around 6ish which still wasn’t too bad. We had reservations at the hot new restaurant, Public Kitchen, at 10:45pm, yup that is correct – and we booked over a month ago. It was Friday night and this is the time when the city comes to life, so we got dressed up, hailed a cab and headed to Christie St.
This place is booked solid and you need to make reservations at least 6-8 weeks in advance for a decent time. This uber hot spot is the prodigy of Jean-Georges Vongerichten who is one of the world’s most famous chefs and has a variety of different restaurants. Public Kitchen features a smoker, wood-burning oven and wood burning grill as a focal point and has a menu for all tastes and diets. The architecture and design is really a work of art, right front the well manicured garden that comes to life at night and is nothing short of enchanted, to the well laid out restaurant with a really fresh and open concept layout. We started off with the Scallion pancake (Good) moved onto Black truffle farm egg pizza (Great), Basil-pistachio pesto rigatoni (Average), and finished with a chocolatey dessert. We really enjoyed ourselves and got some really great pics see below, I would definitely go here for drinks apps and the ambience. The dinner was a bit average, but the ambience and the vibe made up for it.
We grabbed breakfast at Pick a Bagel, this place pops up a few places in and around town and was a delicious start to our day. Portions are huge so my friend and I shared on most occasions and then continued our day shopping and walking around town.
We happened on this cute little Mexican Latin restaurant and decided to have a quick lunch here, we found this place as we were hunting down dessert and thought maybe it’s a good idea to have lunch before dessert? I looked at my friend and said I am not really hungry, she replied with neither am I so why don’t we just share Guac and a Burrito? Cleary can’t say no to that! The Guac was fresh and the Burrito was super tasty, I am a huge Burrito fan so always down to try something new. You pick a protein and then add your 3 picks, so we got the Shrimp, pico de gallo, and three cheese blend. It was terrific, don’t believe me? See below.
After lunch we headed over to Magnolia bakery, and walked over to The Plaza hotel (where a scene of iconic Home Alone was filmed) found a seat and people watched. There was so much activity going on, we were more than happy to just sit and enjoy the nice breeze. After walking around all day we headed back to our friends place where we hung out, chatted and got ready for our evening dinner at Buddakan.
We were really excited as our friend who lives in NY has always said great things about Buddakan and boy we were not disappointed. From the outside it looks like any other New York Restaurant but inside is a very different story. Once you walk inside you are greeted by a very eclectic atmosphere, dark yet inviting. We waited just a few minutes until our table was ready, the hostess ushered us through the crowd to our table. We got seated at a great table, right in front of the communal table featured in Sex and the City. The decor is totally stunning, cool illuminated buddha statues, huge chandeliers, large open rooms, and decorated elaborated stairs. Our server was amazing, attentive and provided some really good suggestions. For appetizers we started off with crispy tuna spring rolls, chilled chicken, and king crab and lobster shumai. Dinner was Sizzling Short Rib with mushroom chow fun and Asian pear and Glazed Alaskan Cod with chili eggplant, black bean relish. Although we were stuffed we still managed to order dessert, Crying Chocolate with malted ganache, vietnamese coffee ice cream. The three of us had a great time, one thing we always do is share our food so the family style dining worked just right for us. Buddakan is an upscale dining establishment so the price tag is pretty in line with that, the evening was worth every penny.
We continued our evening with a few drinks at Dream hotel’s rooftop bar – PHD. The fact that it was such a warm night and the rooftop was open we were able to grab a seat outside and watch the spectacular view of the New York skyline, definitely a great place to listen to some good music and watch the views. We really lucked out with the weather which clearly brought out the best in people who were enjoying the last few days of “summer”. The hotel is actually decorated quite nicely as well, we didn’t get to explore much but from what we saw it looked like a good place to play. See below for our amazing views.
We again got our breakfast from Pick a Bagel and decided we would hit up Saks 5th Avenue, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret on 5th Ave. We continued to walk around and ended up in the glory of Times Square, no matter how many times we have been to New York we always like to walk through Time Square. The bright lights and the tourists really make the area come alive, the mix of ethnicities and culture add to the allure of the city. Fun fact – 26 Million tourists visit Times Square each year.
After walking around all day, we thought it would be a good idea to walk back to our friends apartment which was a solid 40 minute walk from Times Square. We did find that sometimes it was easier to walk places then to hail a taxi. By the time we got back to the upper west side we were pretty walked out, we freshened up and did what we do best – go out to eat.
This was our last night in the city so we really just wanted something cozy and casual, our friend suggested Tacuba, a neighbourhood hangout that serves great Mexican in Hell’s Kitchen. We got there pretty late and were told the kitchen was closing in 30 minutes so we did what anyone else would do, we proceeded to pretty much order everything on the menu. Tapas style menu is my favourite, you can try a bit of everything and hey, if you don’t particularly like something, you know someone else will eat it. We ordered – Guacamole with chunky avocado, tomato, onions, cilantro, chile serrano served with chips and roasted tomato salsa, Tostada de Pulpo -Octopus, chipotle butter, mezcal, avocado, sal de gusano, Aguchile with Lobster, shrimp, cucumber-lime agua, jalapeño avocado,red onion, cilantro, Pulpo Y Chrizo with Octopus, chorizo, melted Mexican cheese, chipotle salsa pickled habanero-red onions, and Corn on the Cob. We attempted to order dessert but the kicthen was closed and our eyes were clearly bigger than our stomachs as we were stuffed yet wanted to keep eating.
This trip was clearly about just hanging out, doing things at our own pace, eating as much as we possibly could, and being a tourist in a city where you keep discovering new things. What made this trip great was to be with friends who know you, enjoy doing similar things, and entertain you when you ask them to take a million picture to get the right one. All in all it was a great trip and we enjoyed it to the fullest, the first thing we are going to do when we get home is book a massage!
Frequent Flyer Food Points:
Public Kitchen: *** 1/2
PHD – Dream Hotel ****
El Mitote ****
Hope you enjoyed the post, follow us on Instagram @frequentflyerfoodie!