NYC + Brooklyn City Guide: Drinks

July 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

New York has so many bars and places to purchase alcohol, you almost don’t even need me for this category. That is, unless you have a more refined taste for drinks and want to try something new and special.

I’m primarily a beer drinker, but when I go out for drinks with friends, I like to treat myself to a well-made cocktail now and then. That’s why most of my favourites are speakeasies. Read on for my Top 6 Places to Drink in NYC!

1. Radegast Hall & Biergarten – Brooklyn

I love this old-fashioned beer hall. You’ll feel like you’re in Europe with the vast selection of beers from around the world, served in huge beer steins that you lift to your mouth with both hands. Enhance your experience by coming here a night they have a live jazz band playing and eat a pretzel and kielbasa when you’re not dancing.

2. Raine’s Law Room – Manhattan

My favourite speakeasy! Ring the doorbell for the Belgian doorman to let you know if there’s room for you, otherwise they will take your number and call you when there is. Feel like you are in Paris in the thirties while you sip your drinks slowly, enjoying the ambiance and decor of this gorgeous downstairs spot. Make sure you check out their custom-made wallpaper!

3. Pegu Club – Manhattan

My good friend Courtney first brought me here years ago. This gorgeous bar will make you feel like an Asian gangster from the sixties. Shelling out money for the Earl Grey martini will be the best decision you made that day.

4. 2nd Floor on Clinton – Manhattan

My speakeasy-finding partner Kate and I found this place one night after dinner in a noisy restaurant and were delighted to relax in this quiet, dim, and relaxing upstairs spot that makes you feel like you’re in someone’s home library. In addition to carefully-made cocktails, they also sell chocolates!

5. Beauty & Essex – Manhattan

Beauty & Essex is quite a scene, but definitely worth checking out at least once. This restaurant is “hidden” behind a pawn shop facade. The drinks are great, but pricey. Luckily, if you’re a lady, you can even out the cost by partaking in some of the free champagne served in the restrooms by beautiful bartenders (seriously!)

6. Death + Company – Manhattan

Another speakeasy that you must get past the doorman to enter. It’s small and dark, but worth the wait. If you’re a design-lover like me, you’ll appreciate everything from the custom-made coasters you get to the bar’s decor.

I couldn’t quite make it to 10 for my favourite bars, but if you have any suggestions of places I haven’t named here, please let me know! I’m always up for trying to new places :)

Advertisements

NYC + Brooklyn City Guide: Shopping

July 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

Like restaurants, New York has countless stores. Some people come to New York just to shop! With all the choices you have out there, sometimes you need a little guidance, someone to point you in the right direction. If you have taste similar to mine, I’m sure you’ll enjoy my Top 10 Places to Shop in Manhattan and Brooklyn.


1. Uniqlo – Manhattan

This store makes New York the envy of every other North American city. Well, maybe it’s just one of the reasons. Really though, with their incredibly affordable basics and great jeans, I can’t begin to tell you how many Canadian friends ask me to buy them things here to bring home when I visit. Do yourself a favour and make sure you hit up one of their three NYC locations when you’re in town and stock up on your favourites!

2. Strand – Manhattan

This legendary bookstore is a must-visit for bookworms visiting New York. It’s full of new and used books as well as great Strand and NYC merchandise.

3. Dalaga – Brooklyn

My personal favourite clothing store for the past three years. This boutique is owned by sisters Michelle and Mary, but every lovely lady who works at this store is friendly and helpful. Have a question about how comfortable that shoe is? Chances are, one of the girls working there is wearing that pair and can tell you all about it. The best part is that the clothes are gorgeous and unique, but are still affordable. I love to bring friends visiting here and watch them buy half a new wardrobe.

4. Catbird – Brooklyn

The mecca for cute, beautiful, and unique jewelry. Much nicer than costume jewelry, but it won’t break the bank. They also sell letterpress cards, Saipua soap, and summer hats.

5. ABC Carpet & Home – Manhattan

A perfect destination for window shopping, interior design lovers. Even if you can’t afford that $1500 end table, you will be inspired by their displays and merchandise.

6. Journelle – Manhattan

This lingerie shop is the anti-Victoria’s Secret. Find pretty underthings from Eberjey, Elle Macpherson, and Fortnight that make you feel beautiful instead of like you’re some kind of unfamiliar raunchy version of yourself.

7. J. Crew – Manhattan

I love J. Crew’s new, fresh, colourful, and fun looks these days. Great for bright jeans, cute tops, purses, shoes and more. A great place to go just to get outfit inspiration.

8. Madewell – Manhattan

Sometimes called “J. Crew’s little sister”, Madewell is a chain that’s clearly in-tune with the latest fashion trends. The store in Soho can be a little overwhelming as it fills up fast on the weekend. Just take your time and try to shop through all those racks of cute stuff while dodging people!

9. Word – Brooklyn

I’m lucky to have my favourite bookstore right in my neighbourhood! This shop is cozy and on the smaller side, but this just means quality over quantity. The staff gives great reading recommendations and their comment cards provide the perfect opportunity to get rid of your “reader’s block”. I buy almost all of my greeting cards here too.

10. Eastern District – Brooklyn

This beer and cheese shop is such a treat for food lovers. Order a turkey sandwich with gouda and bacon marmalade on fresh bread, pick up some tasty cheese, try some new craft beers, or take home some tasty treats (anything from chocolate to honey to pickles). You’ll be glad you did!

(photo: Benjamin Lozovsky)

NYC + Brooklyn City Guide: Food

July 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

Of course there are countless food options in New York (especially when you’re exploring both Manhattan and Brooklyn), but I’ve managed to pare it down a little with my current Top Ten Places To Eat. Enjoy!

1. Paulie Gees – Pizza, Brooklyn

Hands down the best pizza I’ve eaten in my life. And I’ve eaten a lot of pizza.

Bonus: Paulie himself plays host every night. He walks around the restaurant with his coffee mug, asking how your pizzas are, what you ordered, and where you’re from. He loved it the time I brought 5 Canadian girls in for dinner.

P1000949

2. Eataly – Italian, Manhattan

A huge Italian grocery store, owned by super-chef Mario Batali, smack dab in the middle of Manhattan. You can choose one of the many cafes in the store to eat at – including pizza, pasta, fish, gelato, meat, and vegetarian restaurants – and you can buy some pasta, bread, or sauce to bring home with you!

Tip: go on a weeknight. It’s much less busy.

3. Five Leaves – Cafe, Bar, Oysters – Brooklyn

Surrounded by hype and sometimes line-ups of hipsters waiting to get in, Heath Ledger was one of the restaurants’ first investors. Go early and enjoy one of their tasty gin cocktails. My favourite meal so far is the Atlantic Char, but I’m working my way up to the Five Leaves Burger! (Pictured above.)

4. San Loco – Mexican, Manhattan & Brooklyn

This spot is almost fast food, but still way beyond Taco Bell. Get a Guaco Loco – a hard taco, wrapped in a soft taco shell, held together with guacamole. Beans or catfish are my favourite. Enjoy with a Corona or, if you’re feeling saucy, a frozen margarita!

5. Dos Caminos – Mexican, Manhattan

When you find yourself in the Union Square/Gramercy Bermuda Triangle of not knowing where to eat, settling on this chain is actually a pretty decent bet.

My favourites: sangria and their great guacamole!

6. Peter Luger Steakhouse – Steakhouse, Brooklyn

This is a steakhouse the serious meat lover. Go here and feel like you’re a New York mobster. Have waiters ask you “how much steak you want?” instead of giving you a menu. If you aren’t so keen on spending a small fortune on meat, I actually prefer their burgers. BEST BURGERS EVER. But be warned, they are only available at lunchtime. Finish off with cheesecake.

Tip: Make a reservation, even for lunch.

7. Juliette – French, Brooklyn

“A Taste of Paris in Brooklyn”. My favourite brunch spot in Williamsburg. Very cute decor with a pseudo-patio you can enjoy in any weather.

8. Smorgasburg – Food Stands, Brooklyn

This is a food festival to end all food festivals. Best of all, it takes place every Saturday from about May to October. Eat everything from anchovies to BBQ to donuts to roti to pupusas. Go ahead and eat three lunches then dessert!

9. Sidewalk Cafe – American, Manhattan
A good staple, perfect for meeting friends for dinner and drinks after work. With a 2-for-1 Happy Hour, you can get a little tipsy with your tasty meal for about $20!

10. Anywhere you can get a good New York bagel!

These aren’t your store-bought bagels, they’re chewy, salty, hearty, and soooo delicious.

My favourites: Murray’s Bagels, Baker’s Dozen, but of course there are many more throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. Get the whole experience and slap some lox on that bagel along with your cream cheese! Yum.

My New NYC & Brooklyn City Guide

July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Being from Toronto means that I have a lot of friends and family who want to spend their vacations in New York. It’s just far enough to make you feel like you’re in a completely different place, but the plane ride is only one hour. This also means that I give out recommendations for restaurants, shopping, and things to do and see year-round. Summer is an even busier time for visitors (which I love!), so I thought this would be a perfect time to update my New York & Brooklyn City Guide.

This time, I’ll break it up into categories, posting one a day. Stay tuned for what could be your new favourite place to visit in New York!

{photo: Joisey Showaa}

Reasons To Write Real Letters

July 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

A big reason to write and mail real letters is to keep in touch and share photos with your little niece and nephew in Canada. If you’re lucky like me, you’ll get a video back.

Two Years

July 22, 2012 § 3 Comments

DSC_5468

Two years ago today, Nick and I got married at City Hall in Manhattan.

N_C_Wedding-9534 copy

And since then, I’ve fallen in love with him even more.

N_C_Wedding-9828 copy

I’m truly a very lucky lady. Happy anniversary, donkey!

(To see more photos and read the play-by-play of our city hall wedding, go here and here. To see our favourite wedding present, go here.)

Friends

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

I read an article today that I really identified with. The author visits the topic of friendship as it applies to age and reaching certain points in your life. “Why is it so hard to make friends over 30?” he asks. Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who ponders this question!

After moving to New York from Toronto two years ago, I found I had a few American friends, but mostly, as the article calls them “kind-of-friends”. I came straight from spending the majority of my twenties in Toronto, where I met countless amazing people through mutual friends, my ex-boyfriend, and work. Not everyone was in a relationship or even felt the need to be, and we all spent time together at house parties, bars, parks, concerts, cottages, and the occasional planned food fight with little to no drama and everyone got along.

Now that I’m married and 30, I find my standards for friends are higher and the frequency of cravings to go out every weekend are lower. Luckily, I’m very fortunate to have a great husband who would rather spend time with me than anyone else and I’ve managed to make a few great NYC friends. I’m also happy to keep up the relationships I treasure most in Canada, but I now know that the volume of friends I have there will never exist here. And I’m okay with that because I’ve finally realized I have new things to look forward to.

As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other, said Rebecca G. Adams, a professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. This is why so many people meet their lifelong friends in college, she added.

Read: Friends Of A Certain Age

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for July, 2012 at I want to go to there.