Thursday, October 3, 2013

Travel | Girl's Weekend in the Big Apple | My Recommendations

Last Friday I headed to NYC for the weekend with one of my best friends.   We left for the airport at the ungodly hour of 5:00 AM and arrived in New York just as the sun was coming up.  We met up with another friend who used to live in Cincinnati but is now living, temporarily, in Buffalo.  We only had two days in the city so our time was filled to the brim with excellent food, miles of walking, scary cab rides (as in near death experiences), a Broadway show, and shopping.  I was so thankful for all the excellent recommendations I received from many blog and instagram friends that I wanted to write them all down in one place and share them with you.

I used to go to NYC quite often when I was still working but I've never been just for fun.  So much of the city is unknown to me and I find it can be a bit overwhelming.  Unlike Boston or even Chicago.  All the different neighborhoods, the way everyone gives directions in intersections,  you're in Soho one second than West Village the next.  It's confusing and takes a bit of time to get oriented.  We relied on our phones to navigate us, a lot.

The highlights for me were seeing Matilda (It's amazing.  If you enjoy musical theater and are going to NYC, it's a must see.  Perfect for kids too.  About age 6 and up since there are a few scary-ish aspects. ) and the food. The FOOD.  The abundance of adorable, quaint restaurants is astounding.  Everywhere you turn you spot another place that you'd love to go.  I'm still dreaming about this very thinly sliced, white chocolate, brioche (served with strawberry jam and Nutella) that we had with cappuccinos at this little French cafe (Name?  I forget the name! Very close to Fishs Eddy in the Faltiron District.. with cute, orange, folding bistro chairs and tables...) where we sat outside and watched the sunset behind the Empire State Building (very iconic NYC moment).  The one thing I wasn't blown away by was the clothes shopping.  If I were a millionaire, yes, but for my J Crew/Anthropologie shopping self I didn't come across anything I really wanted or shops that I wished I had back home.

I hope the following list of recommendations helps you as much as it did us. You'll likely need to stay a month to eat everywhere!

Shopping Recommendations:
John Derian (he now has three stores right next to each other) - my favorite store
Fishs Eddy (Flatiron District) - my second favorite store
Aero Studios
ABC Carpet + Home

Dining Recommendations 
(from IG and blog friends, some we ate at others we didn't)

Peels  - Oh my is it CUTE, but we didn't get a chance to go on this trip. Would be perfect for breakfast or lunch.  Heard mixed reviews though, some love it, some say it's over rated.  I'd eat there for the cuteness factor alone.

 - My favorite restaurant on the trip. Very French. Perfect for lunch.

August  - For dinner, sit on the patio.

Magnolia Bakery - The original location on Bleeker.  Honestly, I didn't love them.  It's iconic and charming and the one that started the cupcake phenomenon so it's worth a stop, but flavor wise - a bit over rated.  The vanilla buttercream was better than the chocolate.

Pastis (Meat Packing District) - This one came highly recommended but I was expecting more of a Hammersley's Bistro (in Boston) and it fell short.  The food was really, really good but not exceptionally good.

Balthazar - French bistro food.

Momofuku Noodle Bar

Eataly - Walked through but did not eat here, it was INCREDIBLE.  Too crowded on a Saturday night but it looked amazing!!!

Shake Shack (original location in Madison Square Park) - For burgers.  The line looked long but is was super quaint at night inside the park with all the white lights.  Will definitely stop next time!


Drinks at the Plaza or Bowery Hotel

Sweet Revenge - Cupcake, beer + wine bar!

Pearl's Oyster Bar- Best lobster rolls (or so I hear, didn't eat here, but it looked super fun!)

Le Bernadin - For seafood

Laudree - For French macarons! This in the only location other than the one in Paris.

Carnegie Deli
Think it is probably a bit touristy but there was a long line (that wasn't all tourists!) so it must be good.  Known for their Reuben sandwich and cheesecake.  Portions said to be HUGE.

Otto - For pizza. Mario Batali on the cheap.

Mezzaluna - For lunch.  Looks so quaint!!


Mermaid Inn




Things to Do:
Walk across Brooklyn Bridge
Central Park
Brooklyn Flea
Rickshaw ride - but only do it for 5 minutes.


  1. My sister and I (Cincy residents) are traveling to NYC later this month to visit our other sister, who lives in Manhattan. She has already mentioned taking us to Buvette and asked us what restaurants/shows we are interested in, so I have enjoyed your list. I've heard great things about Matilda, so I think we'll see that. Thanks for the rec's. Glad you had a good time!

  2. Good times! I love NYC, my hometown. We moved to NJ when I was 5 but NYC will always feel like my hometown. We always took trips in to see my aunts, uncles and cousins when I was growing up. Going to see the ballet was a favorite birthday present of mine. Such an amazing city. One of my favorite restaurants is Gramercy Tavern. Had an incredible lunch there. I actually loved the cupcake I had at Magnolia Bakery, but it was years ago, so maybe their quality has changed? That neighborhood is my favorite. Where did you stay?

  3. We are finalizing plans for a girls trip in November. I love all of your recommendations!