SavvyBostonian Note: I traveled to NYC the weekend before Hurricane Irene.
I cannot resist the thrill of a jam-packed weekend in New York City, so when my favorite dynamic duo invited me for a visit, I jumped at the opportunity. Before I knew it, I was hopping aboard the Acela with visions of wine bars, sightseeing adventures and lots of amazing food.
What I didn’t expect was the impeccable timing of a severe thunderstorm with the arrival of my train. Far too many subway trains later, I arrived at my Upper East Side home away from home having felt like I walked for an hour, uphill, with my suitcase. Thank goodness for the large glass of South African Sauvignon Blanc and nibbles that awaited me at Kaia Wine Bar. I’d never been to a South African wine bar before, but between the atmospheric lighting and nibbles, including a delightful bread pudding, it was just what I needed to “recover.”
Saturday: Madison Ave., Union Square Greenmarket, Eataly
Saturday was filled with long walks and phenomenal food. After a hearty yet healthy breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien, we wandered down a sunny Madison Avenue. Notable stops included ogling cookbooks at Williams-Sonoma (I have my eye on the Tartine Bread cookbook), and savoring epicurean delights at Vosges Chocolate and Dean & Deluca.
Later, we hopped on the subway for a wander through the Union Square Greenmarket, followed by a late afternoon snack break at Mario Batali’s Bar Jamon. We were intrigued by how Bar Jamon has pig face on the menu, which was described by the waiter as, “A work of art.” While tempting, we played it safe with spicy chorizo, cheese and the most heavenly smoked octopus and chickpeas that I’ve had in a long time.
As if Saturday hadn’t been food-filled enough, we couldn’t pass through Union Square without popping into Eataly. Best described as part Italian food mecca, part tourist extravaganza, it’s happy chaos inside. But, as evidenced by the throngs of people, happy chaos is perfectly acceptable when it means you have access to Italian delicacies. We left Eataly with fresh mini pea ravioli to cook up at home and they didn’t disappoint!
Central Park and The High Line
Though the last day of my trip, we impressively crammed a lot of eating and walking into Sunday. We started with a picnic in Central Park, courtesy of my favorite bakery and communal table, Le Pain Quotidien. Dubbed Le Pain World Tour, it was Le Pain Quotidien’s way of celebrating their fans around the world and bringing them together for a lovely, communal meal. Armed with free blankets and a complimentary picnic lunch of a ham and gruyere sandwich, cookies and lemonade, we enjoyed a relaxing meal in the park. We were in awe of how the event hosts – Jim and François - were given a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend their summer traveling all over the world to bring people together. How do I get that job next summer? Seriously . Email me: email@example.com.
After some quality time in the park, we set off on foot through Hell’s Kitchen and ended up on W30th at the High Line. Let’s just say it was a long walk! Upon arrival to W3oth I wanted ice cream, and I didn’t want to wait. Luckily, the entrance to the new extension of the High Line features a roller skating rink and an adjacent area called “The Lot,” which hosts a variety of food trucks and an outdoor bar.
With one gourmet scoop of chocolate hazelnut gelato in hand, we traveled up to the High Line. Having toured the first leg of the High Line on a previous visit to New York City in April, I was thrilled to experience the second leg. From interesting seating, to more plants and modern sculpture like installations, it didn’t disappoint. And, judging from the crowds of people exploring the elevated urban park with us, it’s still an important new attraction to see if you’re visiting the city.
All in all, it was a great weekend in New York City. Filled with new experiences, there’s nothing like walking around New York and exploring new areas. The bonus? In a city of so many people, it’s nice to discover great little events like Le Pain World Tour, which, in my mind, embody the spirit of traveling and bringing interesting people together.
A big thanks to G&S, my amazing hosts for the weekend!