A few weeks ago I traveled to NYC with a girlfriend of mine. I’ve been to NYC several times before, but I don’t think I’ve ever been there in the winter, and I haven’t been there in a while considering 2014 was the last time I was in the Big Apple. Below is a little recap by category of the places we visited.
F O O D
Mike’s Pizza: Out first meal in the city was at this little pizza joint in Brooklyn. Definitely not the most well-known pizza place in NYC, and probably not the best you could find, but it was close to our Airbnb and it was still delicious. Definitely recommend if you’re in the area and are looking for a quick, tasty, and cheap bite.
Pio Pio: We came to this Peruvian restaurant on a Saturday evening for dinner. There are several Pio Pio’s in the city, but the one we went to was on E 34th St (close to Grand Central). Between the two of us, we ordered one of the set dinners and it was HUGE! Way more than enough food for two people. We had a whole chicken to share, along with salad, a plate of fries and sausage, plantains, and rice and beans. We were stuffed at the end and couldn’t even finish it all. The food was tasty, full of flavour, and the chicken was not dry, thankfully. I would definitely recommend Pio Pio if you have a big appetite or are in the city with your family and are looking for a more family-style meal.
The Butcher’s Daughter: Located in Greenwich Village, The Butcher’s Daughter is hands-down the best vegan meal I’ve ever had. I never even knew a plant-based meal could be so full of flavour and delicious until I ate here. I ordered the spaghetti squash carbonara, and literally I felt like my mouth was having an orgasm. It was cooked to perfection – the spaghetti squash was tender, and the cashew ricotta on top was the perfect amount of fluffiness. It was just delicious. Highly recommend The Butcher’s Daughter if you’re looking for delicious vegan options in the city.
Harry’s Italian: We came here on a Monday afternoon looking for bottomless mimosas and brunch. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that the offer is only on weekends. Nonetheless, we both enjoyed our plates of pasta. The portion was substantial for the price, which was perfect because we were both starving after having walked around the city all morning. Harry’s Italian is a casual, family-style restaurant where they’ll have something to satisfy everyone.
Crave Fishbar: As soon as the early evening rolled around on Monday, we were craving happy hour oysters. And so we ended up at Crave Fishbar for their Happy Hour $1 oysters. Aside from oysters, we also tried the roasted cauliflower soup which was delicious! And it wouldn’t have been complete if we didn’t finish it off with oyster shots. I can’t really describe it, just that it was a lot going on in my mouth at once. Definitely interesting though. Crave Fishbar is definitely a cute and rustic spot to hit up if you’re in the mood to shuck back some oysters.
Jack’s Wife Freda: Our last meal in the city was here for brunch before our flight. This location located in Soho is TINY! Just getting to our table was a struggle as I felt like I was brushing everyone’s backs as I walked by. The food was yummy, presentation was beautiful and the colours of the food made it totally Instagram-worthy. I had the green shakshuka with halloumi, and now I’m obsessed with halloumi. I’d recommend coming here for a nice brunch on a weekday as I can imagine how packed this place probably gets on the weekends.
N I G H T L I F E
Brooklyn Bowl: A 10 lane bowling alley on one side, a huge concert venue with GA standing space on the other, and a long bar at the back, this Williamsburg venue has got it all. Surprisingly, the Brooklyn Bowl is actually quite massive in size. Or maybe I’ve just never seen a venue quite like this in Toronto of this caliber. We came here on Friday night to catch San Fermin play a hometown show (and they were amazing!!!). Loved this place. Of course the drinks are not the cheapest, but the bartenders were friendly, the atmosphere was super chill, and the crowd was having a blast singing/dancing along to San Fermin that night. Definitely a really cool spot to come check out a local show.
The Duplex: Located in Greenwich Village, The Duplex is a two-story piano bar where they sing show tunes up till 4 am every night. This night was hands-down the most fun night out I’ve had in a while. The top floor has a small bar where people can just sit and chat and the bottom floor is where all the action is with the piano bar. Anyone from the audience can go up and sing or request a song. The people here were so incredibly friendly. I had a blast singing along off-tune the entire night. I would highly recommend this place for a super fun and chill night out with some of the friendliest company you’ll find in NYC.
The Gutter Bar: If you happen to find yourself in Long Island City by mistake like we did, head to The Gutter Bar for a fun night. We somehow got lost on the subway on Monday night and ended up here. Similarly to the Brooklyn Bowl, The Gutter Bar has a bar area where they apparently host live music as well as bowling alleys in the back. There was no live music when we came here, but I can imagine this being a very cool venue on a busier Friday/Saturday night instead. Definitely a very relaxed Americana vibe at this venue and lots of options to keep the drinks flowing.
S H O P P I N G
Soho: My favourite place in NYC to go shopping is definitely in Soho. They have everything you could be possibly be looking for including all your favourite fast-fashion shops to some of the world’s top designers, and a few awesome vintage stores tucked away in between. If you’re in the area, definitely check out Reformation on Howard street, Artists & Fleas for a cool market place of jewelry, vintage, and handmade knick-knacks from local artisans, as well as What Goes Around Comes Around for one of the best selections of designer vintage in the city.
Bushwick: This Brooklyn neighborhood is probably not the first place you’d think of to go shopping, but if you’re looking for affordable vintage (and you know how expensive vintage can get in NYC), I definitely recommend checking out the vintage and consignment shops in this area. I hit up a staple consignment shop – Beacon’s Closet on Bogart St and happened to find the most perfect, vintage brown leather aviator jacket of my dreams (peep it here!). After keeping an eye out for one for the last two years and stumbling upon the perfect one here for only $55, I knew it was meant to be! This Beacon’s Closet location also had racks upon racks of everything vintage as well as some more contemporary pieces as well. About a 5 minute walk east of Beacon’s Closet, is a store called Urban Jungle. If you’re looking for vintage Levi’s, this is the place to come. I swear there are probably at least 10 full racks of vintage Levi’s to dig through. Urban Jungle is more of a thrift store and the prices definitely reflect that. Aside from denim, they’ve got a huge inventory of 90s flannels, sweaters, bombers and leather jackets as well. Come here if you love the thrill of the hunt!
S I G H T S E E I N G // T H I N G S T O D O
DUMBO: Probably everyone’s favorite place to come for a selfie is on Washington Street in this Brooklyn neighborhood. Here is where you’ll get the closest view of the Manhattan Bridge with the buildings on either side. You’ve probably seen this iconic picture everywhere (the first picture I posted above), and this is where it’s at. Dumbo is also a great place to walk around and check out the awesome graffiti art. Every corner you turn, there is new graffiti just waiting to be seen. Also talk a walk along the pier for amazing views of the Brooklyn Bridge with the breathtaking Manhattan skyline as your backdrop. If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you can even walk on top of the Brooklyn Bridge for the full experience!
MoMA: I’m sure everyone’s heard of this famous contemporary art museum, but here I’ll mention it anyways. MoMA is a great place to come when the weather’s not looking to great outside, or you have a few hours to kill in the city and aren’t sure what else to do. To be honest, I do feel like MoMA is a little over-hyped, and that’s why I would only recommend it under those circumstances. Most of the exhibits are well curated and thoughtful, but I guess I was just expecting MORE. For the price of admission, I do think it’s a bit steep. Apparently they have free Friday night admission, so perhaps this would make a good date night on a rainy Friday.
The Oculus: If you’re sick of the traditional train stations (ahem Grand Central), come to the Oculus, the new transportation hub that was built to replace the PATH that was destroyed during 9/11. The Oculus was built to resemble a dove in flight from the outside, but I love the architecture from the inside, where you can see the symmetry of the modern architecture. A great place to view and snap some pics, all the while being apart of the chaos that is New York City.
That’s a wrap on this NYC recap! Let me know your favorite places to eat, shop, and hang out in NYC in the comments below and I’ll check them out when I’m back next time. I leave you with a song from Sam Fermin below. I had such a good time seeing them at the Brooklyn Bowl while I was in the city, that when I found out they were playing a show in my hometown of Toronto a week and a half later, I went and saw them again! Truly a group of talented individuals that each bring their own vibe to the band. Definitely give them a listen if you’re into Arcade Fire – I think you’ll enjoy San Fermin as well.