. . . that city
That doesn’t sleep
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heap . . .
Sing it, Ol’ Blue Eyes! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMfz1jlyQrw
What a great song about a great city. After living in The Big Apple for a New York Minute, as they say, Franz and I agreed that we had to return for a visit every year. Last year a pesky hurricane cancelled our trip, so we were super excited to return this year. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never stepped foot in NYC, or if you have been so many times you feel very comfortable telling a cabbie about to hit you as you cross the street to stick a knish where the sun doesn’t shine, it’s overwhelming because there are so many options!
This year we opted to stay in the downtown area, right across the street from One World Trade Center. Hotels can be a little less expensive, its away from the major foot traffic, and it is easy to get from here to anywhere on the island and beyond with the subway. Interested in seeing One World Trade Center? Wait a year or two. It’s a pain in the butt, especially if it’s snowing or raining, entering the space. There are so many people visiting and I felt like I was going through airport security. Not a peaceful entrance to say the least. You can walk around the two impressive waterfalls, but the museum is not scheduled to open until Spring. Again, wait a year and then go. It’s best to make a reservation well ahead of time. One year we went and didn’t have a reservation and it was booked for the entire weekend. This time one could get a spot without a reservation, but it requires waiting in an additional line which was very long. After getting through all of the check points, waiting in line after line, and removing coats and belts, I felt very moved and beyond sad seeing the actual site and all of those names listed around the fountains. It’s a tough way to start a trip, but necessary, I believe.
Between checking into our hotel and making our appointment time at One World, we grabbed the subway and headed over to Brooklyn for a pie at Grimaldi’s (http://grimaldisnyc.com/about/). Again, this is where one can get very overwhelmed. You can read websites, blogs, newspapers, Facebook post, whatever – you will get so many great recommendations for pizza. I like Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn because I love their pizza and I love seeing the Brooklyn Bridge. The crust is a nice thin, but not too thin, crust. They put just enough fresh sauce on it to make me smile, and not so much cheese that I want to take a nap. I like my pie simple: pepperoni with fresh ricotta. They put fresh basil on it, but I asked for extra on the side. I like lots of fresh basil. And pepper flakes. That’s it. Fold that baby in half (lengthwise) and now we are talking!
Day 2 of our trip was Thanksgiving. We slept in (which we never do!), polished off some coffee and amazing bagels in the Hell’s Kitchen area called Pick A Bagel. We found it through Yelp, and it was way better than some of the reviews! Just like the pizza, you can become inundated with recommendations for a good bagel place – and there are bad ones. Sometimes you have to wing it and you might be pleasantly surprised! Our plan was to walk throughout Central Park after the Macy’s Day Parade was over (we had zero interest getting into that mess), call the family in Ohio, check out our old neighborhood around 71st and 1st, and then meander up to Harlem for our Thanksgiving Buffet reservation at Ginny’s Supper Club.
Making plans for Thanksgiving was a huge deal. I love making a turkey dinner, and I’ve never gone to a restaurant for the special day. Thanksgiving and Halloween are my favorite days of the year by far! I didn’t want to screw it up! I’ve been wanting to go to Chef Marcus Samuelsson‘s Red Rooster restaurant (http://redroosterharlem.com/) for years. While trying to find the perfect dinner spot, I discovered Red Rooster has a restaurant on the basement level, Ginny’s Supper Club (http://www.ginnyssupperclub.com/). My checklist for the perfect restaurant Thanksgiving dinner:
Buffet style. We didn’t want one plate of food or a silly 3 course option. Boo!
- Not crazy expensive.
- Turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing had to be on the buffet.
- Cozy atmosphere with a Holiday vibe.
Ginny’s hit everything on my wish list. And there were fabulous entertainers throughout the meal, too. I felt like I went back in time. I ordered a Moscow Mule and let the eating games begin! I would highly recommend this place. My only complaint was that we officially had the worst server in the world. Everyone else around us had great servers. Ours, to put bluntly, sucked.
Here are just a few photos of what was consumed . . .
I will give you a few more recommendation in the next post. One of my goals on this trip was to spend more time in Brooklyn which we accomplished. It is an amazing area with so many things to do. I’ll fill you in on some spots not to miss and a couple of places that you can pass by.
Whenever I go to NYC, I always go with an itinerary in hand. However, the best tip to give on traveling around the city is to be flexible (and learn to use the subway! So easy and so much faster than a taxi!). If you see an interesting bar or shop, stop in. If you can’t make it to that amazing cupcake shop you read about in some random blog like this one, who cares? I love looking back at my itinerary to see which places I never visited. Hey, it’s a list for another time!!
Take Care and Happy Eating!