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New York, New York

December 16, 2011

Last weekend, I took a four-day weekend to visit friends and see the wintertime sights in New York City. I had a great (somewhat exhausting) time, and below is a rundown of my trip.

Warning: This is going to be long, but there are lots of photos.

I like to do these types of overviews in case someone stumbles upon this and could use recommendations, but also for my own memory. I know how hard it is to remember exactly what I did months and years later.

Thursday:

  • I arrived at LaGuardia at about 8 p.m., and took the NYCAirporter bus to Penn Station. (It also goes to the other local airports and to Grand Central Station and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.) For a round-trip ticket of $22, this was a bargain. I highly recommend it for anyone flying and trying to get to Manhattan, but allow plenty of time, as you’ll probably be waiting for a bus for about 30 minutes.
  • McGee’s Pub: This is the bar around which the writers of How I Met Your Mother modeled McLaren’s Pub. It had the same chill, dark feel, and I enjoyed it. I had a slice of pumpkin pie and a Goose Island IPA (not sold in Georgia) since I’d already had dinner.

Friday:

  • Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree: Since I’d never been to the city at Christmastime, and it was near Shannon’s apartment, we decided to stop by for the obligatory photo opp.

  • Citi Pond at Bryant Park(ice skating): I enjoy ice skating, so I’m glad I got to do this. Since it was midday on a Friday, it was relatively uncrowded. It was also less expensive than I expected. Skate rental is $14, but if you own your own skates, it’s free!
  • Dylan’s Candy Bar Pop-Up: After skating, Shannon and I stopped by this temporary store (for the holidays) to browse. We ended up buying four candy bars: caramel, espresso, peanut butter, and s’more.
  • Kate’s Joint: I love vegetarian restaurants, and this place did not disappoint. We had hummus roll appetizers (which I need to try to make myself), and I had a chili cheese burger with a salad. It was all delicious, plus there was a Scoutmob for it!
  • Big Gay Ice Cream Shop: Originally a truck, there is now also a store, which we visited. Shannon also went the week before with her mom, and since she was interested in returning, I knew it must be good. I had a “salty pimp,” which includes vanilla soft-serve ice cream in a cone with dulce de leche, sea salt, and dipped in chocolate. It was delicious, but next time I would get something with a Nutella-lined cone.
  • Shannon with her ice cream
  • Beacon’s Closet: We hopped on the train under the East River and ended up in Williamsburg to visit this very large, very fantastic thrift store. There was so much selection. I ended up buying a gift and a few things for myself. Definitely a must-visit if you love thrift stores.
  • The Whiskey Brooklyn: If you couldn’t tell by my Asheville post, I love visiting breweries. And Brooklyn Brewery is directly across the street from Beacon’s Closet. While waiting for the brewery to open, we stopped for a drink here. I had a Sly Fox IPA, which I’d never seen before. It came in a can, so that was pretty cool.
  • Brooklyn Brewery: I’d never really had anything from this brewery before. I had a Radius (a saison, just OK) and a Blast! (a pretty solid imperial IPA). It’s a little expensive for a brewery. $4/token or $20/6 tokens. Regular beers are one token, but the higher gravity ones are two tokens (such as the Blast!).
  • Tavern on Jane: After some beers, we rode the train all the way to the West Village for dinner. (I was making an effort to see as many neighborhoods as possible.) There was a bit of a wait so had some more beer (Harpoon IPA for me), and then we split two meals: fish and chips and a buffalo burger. Both were incredibly good—I’d definitely eat there again. And once again, there was a Scoutmob, so 50 percent off doesn’t hurt.
  • Three of Cups: Back to the East Village, this place had a nice lounge feel. We were planning to meet up with some friends. But after a glass of wine here, we were sleepy and decided to head back to Shannon’s apartment to turn in.

Saturday:

  • Libation: After sleeping in until 11 (!), we headed to the Lower East Side for brunch. Apparently this place is also a night club, but it was pretty good for brunch. I had blueberry pancakes and unlimited mimosas. Just don’t order coffee here. It’s not very good, and they charge you for each refill ($3 each in a small cup).
  • After brunch, we met up with the friends we were going to see the night before, Ross and Julie, and went back to their apartment to see their incredible view:
  • DessertTruck Works: For a sweet snack, we visited this place full of tasty treats. There was even a cooking class going on when we got there. There were three of us and we each ordered a different dessert to share: creme brulée, warm chocolate cake with ice cream, and doughnuts filled with Nutella (pictured below). All were totally delicious.
  • The Belgian Room: While waiting for one of my friends from high school, Tulsi, to join us for dinner, we grabbed a drink at this Belgian craft beer bar. Pretty good selection. I had a Corsendonk Christmas Ale, and it was very good.
  • Yuca Bar: After meeting up with Tulsi, we settled on this tapas restaurant for dinner. Long story (somewhat) short: after waiting for a table for 45 minutes, we got a table and ordered a pitcher of sangria and a tapas sampler platter. After the sangria arrived, the hostess came over and told us we needed to move to the (packed) bar because we didn’t order enough to sit at a table. Since it was too late to cancel the order, we got it to-go, and downed the sangria. It was annoying, but everything worked out. My main issue is that the waitress didn’t tell us when we ordered to we could just leave. Oh well.

Sunday:

  • Shopping in NoHo and NoLita: It was cool wandering around this area and popping into several shops. I didn’t buy anything, but had fun looking. A highlight was TopShop since it’s one of two shops in the U.S.
  • Lombardi’s Coal Oven Pizza: A popular tourist spot, the pizza here was pretty good. I had no problem eating half of a small mushroom pizza. If you go here though, make sure to bring cash, as they don’t take cards.
  • La Bella Ferrara: After wandering around some more, we stopped here for canolis. We got four of the small ones: two regular, one chocolate, and one mint. They were all absolutely delicious, but I think the mint was my favorite.
  • Caracas Arepa Bar: After getting back to the East Village, we popped in here for a drink (and a need to use the restroom). I thought the food was pretty good, but not spectacular. Maybe that’s just because I wasn’t actually hungry. The tinto de verano (similar to sangria) was tasty, but low in alcohol.
  • East Village shopping: Then we dipped into some small shops and boutiques in the area. Many were very cute, especially Dusty Buttons.
  • Café Mocha: After we were shopped out, Shannon and I met up with our friend Jenny here for a couple glasses of wine. Loved the atmosphere here—very laid back. Plus, they have a special: when you buy a bottle of wine you can get a free cheese plate. (We were too full for cheese.)
  • Upright Citizens Brigade East: For only $5 we watched an improv show here with some friends from Saturday night. Lots of fun!
  • 7A Café: After the show, the group went here for more wine and lots of chatting. Perfect end to a great trip!
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