If you're a romantic like me, when you think about New York you get a feeling.
It's the big city. The place where so many of my favorite movies are set, or were filmed. The place where my favorite jazz musicians got their start in those old famous clubs below street level. The city where my favorite actors and actresses have a second home, and pop over to the shop around the corner get their morning juice. The place where my favorite writers have lived, or been published. The place with some of the most delicious food, some of the most beautiful and unique clothing, and some of the most exquisite inspiration and history.
I love New York.
Michael and I take some sort of trip for our wedding anniversary every year, and this year we decided we'd love to see the Big Apple for a few days. While Manhattan is wonderful, and is quintessential "New York", we wanted to give Brooklyn a try this time.
Brooklyn is booming, hip, and wonderful. We had a blast exploring, trying lots of food and drinks, and staying in the most lovely hotel that is literally worth a trip in itself.
What a city, what a trip.
My favorite thing about Brooklyn was The Wythe Hotel.
It's in the middle of Williamsburg, which is my favorite part of Brooklyn. The hotel was walking distance to most of our favorite spots. When our uber pulled up and dropped us off about a block away, it set us up for the most picturesque reveal. We walked around the corner to see this gorgeous brick building, with a tiled courtyard covered in twinkle lights. Inside there were exposed brick walls, thick wooden beams, intricate tile, big, bright windows. There is a gorgeous coffee shop/restaurant and the most lovely, classy rooftop bar. Our rooms had hand drawn wall paper, all white linens, and a soaking tub.
We arrived mid-morning, so brunch was the first item on our itinerary. The main floor of The Wythe is open to the public for meetings, coffee, and food. The restaurant is called Reynard, and it was a highlight of our trip, for sure. White marble cafe tables lined the room, there were these gorgeous tiled floors, a solid wood bar. The whole place has this perfect natural light. This dish with black rice, poached eggs, sweet potatoes and curry aioli was absolutely perfect.
Checking into our room was a treat in itself, and we both seriously considered spending the whole day there. The mini bar had everything we could need, including the ingredients for a little cheese and charcuterie plate (the way to my heart). But there's a tradition of ours that began with the dream of opening our own donut shop, and ended with us attempting to taste all of the best donuts in the United States. A lofty goal, I know. But in every city we ever visit, we research the donut happenings and try to make our way there. We've had donuts from several other places in NYC, including one of our favorites of all time, The Doughnut Plant. But there's one famous donut shop in Brooklyn that we had never made it to, and always wanted to. So we decided to go ahead and catch a train over to DOUGH.
Dough was everything we hoped it could be.
A little out of the way, but the staff was friendly, the donuts were fresh, and the service was quick. We bought a little carton of milk and took our box of donuts to a park bench to taste a few different flavors. I didn't expect to like this one, but the Hibiscus was by far my favorite.
I blame Michael Harrison for my love of donuts. Man, they're so good.
The first night we ran into our dear friends (who both have just moved to New York and both happened to be in our wedding almost 5 years ago) Alysse Whatley and Aaron Chewning. What a perfect evening.
It's so wonderful running into friends when you're traveling.
Is it just me or does it feel so surprising and meant to be?
I love catching up with an old friend in new city. Dinner with Alysse and Aaron in Brooklyn was so fun, and completely picturesque. We found a restaurant in Brooklyn that sold $5 Manhattans and slider burgers. That's so cheap for New York. So we were soaking in the good deals and the fact that we all happened to be in the city at once. Oh and of course some ice cream afterwards. It was so lovely.
What's my favorite spot in all of Brooklyn? Without a doubt, Maison Premiere.
Most of my favorite travel stories have come from our Wild Sam Travel Guides. These folks know how to tell a city's history, and they really know how to find good food. We were digging through the Brooklyn book a few trips back, and we found Maison Premiere listed as an oyster and cocktail bar. Because I love both of those things with my whole heart, we decided to make a trip out there. We were so pleasantly surprised.
The oysters were so delicious, and they have really great happy hour prices. This was also my first place ever trying an absinthe cocktail. I had a drink that they call the Walcott Express, which has absinthe, fresh mint, creme de menthe, and some other delicious ingredients. It was so fresh and perfect for my taste. Absinthe has a very unique flavor-- not everyone likes it-- but I definitely recommend you trying it! I like how their vintage absinthe drip makes it feel like you're in Paris in the early 1900s.
The next day we had brunch at Marlow & Sons,
which I highly recommend. They had homemade sausage patties and biscuit sandwiches that were to die for. They have great coffee, and a cute little general store in the front. It's definitely worth a visit, and they also sell some oysters and main dishes when they're not serving their delicious brunch. I mean, look at those pastries.
We did end up taking a train into Manhattan to see a dear friend. Kevin had promised to show us "his New York", so he took us to his favorite spot in Central Park near the reservoir.
He was right, it was absolutely magical.
We stood on the edge of the lake and watched the city light up and talked about our hopes and dreams (what else is there to talk about in New York, in Central Park, at night?). I can see why so many New Yorkers spend a lot of their time in the park, it's truly a sliver of peace in the middle of one of the craziest cities in the world.
Later that night we ate some incredible Thai food that Kevin said represented "his New York" because of how often he had ordered take out from there on the way home from work and eaten it at home. We laughed and shared Pad Thai and Green Curry. He took us to a little bakery down the street and we brought home a few pastries to have with our coffee. He showed us his apartment on the Upper East Side, where we had to teach him how to use his own coffee maker. He makes me smile. We sat and listened to music, catching up on all the changes in our life.
It was such a sweet, New York memory.
You're not doing your New York trip justice if you're not trying some sort of heaLth fad.
NYC is famously ahead of the curve, especially with their diet and wellness trends. I had been hearing about matcha smoothies and matcha lattes for months, and I had to see what this green super-food was all about. We stumbled on Matchabar, because it happened to be near our hotel. It was flawlessly decorated and the baristas were really friendly and helpful.
For those of you wondering, matcha is an oriental tea with wonderful health benefits, and it's made from grinding all parts of the green tea leaves into a fine powder, which you make into a tea, latte, smoothie, etc. It's better for you than green tea because you're consuming the whole leaf.
Let just say it's a taste I'll have to get used to. But I do want to continue having matcha. It's said to make your skin lovely and balance out your body chemistry a bit. Add some honey if you want to make the experience enjoyable. If you are already a green tea fan, you may like it right off the bat!
Oh New York,
I love you so much. Thank you for delicious food, for health trends, for jazz music, and for some of my very favorite movies. I hope to visit many, many more times.
Next on the list in Brooklyn is Red Hook.
It's a little further down south, so for our one-day trip it was a little difficult to get to. But for our next visit we hope to make there, as well as to:
Brooklyn Bridge Park
Stumptown Coffee Roaster
Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club
& Brooklyn Bowl
Check these spots out before we do if you're interested!