Ah, what a weekend. Filled with two basic and lovely things, food (expected) and nature (unexpected). On the edibles front: when we travel we tend to stay in apartments, buy groceries and sprinkle in some nice restaurant meals. So this time around it was a real splurge to just eat out. Here is a list of places we’d recommend:
Cafe Cluny – West Village – A sweet French bistro, where the decor is almost better than the food. Try: Frisée salad with blue cheese, bacon and a poached egg or the short rib hash with eggs and béarnaise sauce.
Prune – East Village – It sure is popular (meaning there is a wait and the tiny space is crammed) but it’s worth the effort. Plus you can grab a fruit shake from a street vendor while you wait in line. Try: The huevos rancheros
Ciao for Now - East Village – This tiny little gem is the perfect place to tuck into for a quiet breakfast and impeccable service. Try: Grandma Linda’s pancakes, or fresh pastries baked on site
The Windsor – West Village – A bright and cheery sports bar, not usually our scene, but it won us over with yummy apps and cocktails. Try: The beet and watercress salad and a fruity tequila drink, like the cider house rules
Le Pain Quotidien - Multiple locations (I like the Soho one best) – Always reliable for a quick, tasty bite. Try: The heirloom tomato tartine—that’s an open-faced sandwich, the best kind of sandwich in my book
Schiller’s Liquor Bar – Lower East Side – Go for the atmosphere and people watching, but leave with a full belly. Try: The garlic shrimp app and the chicken paillard. (I unfortunately had a tuna steak, but it was doused in a horseradish mayo, and horseradish is enough to ruin any party for me. Thank goodness there was no shortage of deliciousness to be found on the drink and dessert menu)
Flatbush Farm – Park slope, Brooklyn – Such a charming place with a gorgeous, twinkly back patio. Plenty of veggie, local and organic ingredients. Try: The basil cavatelli and top it off with a chocolate mousse banana bread crumble
Kafana – East Village – Newsweek recently compiled a list of 101 best places to eat around the world and surprisingly a Serbian resto in New York made the cut. I can vouch that the food and beer selection are directly transplanted from Belgrade in all their Balkan glory. Try: Cevapi or Karadjordjeva, both carnivorous and delicious.
And then there was nature, which we found in abundance in the concrete NYC jungle.
Starting off, our airbnb apartment looked on to a courtyard, instead of Avenue A, so the first thing we heard every morning were birds. On our first day, we spent a good couple of hours walking along the High Line, the most impressive modern, urban park I’ve ever been to. It stretches from West 13th to 30th in the old railroad path elevated above the city streets, and feels a little like a post-apocalyptic eden. Every few steps there was a new thing to discover, a sweet smell from the tall, exotic grass, a peek into someone’s living room which happened to be at eye level, a mural, or stadium seating with a window to the street. Plus, good eats to be discovered there too. Try: People’s Pops orange blossom popsicle.
Next on the list, naturalement, was Central Park. I highly recommend renting bikes from one of the semi-sketchy guys south of the park with a sign. You can haggle them down to about $15/2hrs and pedal to your hearts content, stumbling on all the wonderful things the park can surprise you with, like a kid giving an impromptu violin concert or seniors dancing the morning away on the edge of Harlem.
And nothing has brought out the kid in me lately like the Museum of Natural History. Bioluminescence, totem poles and dark matter, oh my! I’ve been dying to go for ages, and definitely wasn’t disappointed. Ps. It’s not loudly advertised but, it’s ‘pay what you can’, no including the special exhibits.
Even our NYC shopping was nature inspired. I scored a beautiful floral, neon green dress for a fancy work event and a multicolored blazer that looks like a meadow exploded on it from Top Shop. And no trip to this city is complete without a visit to Strand. This time a David Shrigley monograph nearly jumped into my arms.
I couldn’t ask for a better birthday weekend, thanks Ken.