3 Days in NYC

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This past weekend, I skipped out on the Easter festivities, packed my bags, and headed out for a long weekend in NYC. New York is beautiful any time of year, but I particularly like it in the Spring, when the sun is shining and the trees are starting to bloom, but it’s not hot enough to have you schvitzing like a Bubbe in synagogue during the Rosh Hashanah rush.

DAY 1

We arrived on Friday and went straight to The NoMad Hotel to drop off our bags. I would have been perfectly happy spending the afternoon lounging in our Parisian-inspired suite, with its soaring ceilings, ornate rugs, and crisp Frette linens, but Manhattan was calling my name, so off we went.

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Our first stop was a bite to eat at Barn Joo, a Korean-inspired gastropub in the Flatiron District. I’ve been dying to try bibimbap in Toronto for an eternity, but after trying the classic Korean dish at Barn Joo, I fear I may be ruined for any subsequent tasting experience.

When we finished lunch, we popped in next door to Fishs Eddy, a dish and glassware shop where kitsch rules. From there we wandered half a block to ABC Carpet & Home (can you tell we were really ambitious with our Day 1 mileage?), where I got lost among the magical stalls of jewelry, clothing, gifts, and décor.

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Eventually we had to drag ourselves away because it was time to head back to the hotel and get ready for the raison d’être of the trip, a performance of Beautiful on Broadway. For anyone who grew up listening to Carole King’s Tapestry album (and if you didn’t, download it on iTunes immediately and rectify this oversight), this production is a must-see. I spent the show alternately crying or wanting to burst out into song, sometimes both simultaneously. Suffice to say it was a spectacular performance and we fell into our beds that night, lulled to sleep by the show’s melodies, playing in our heads.

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DAY 2

Saturday morning started surprisingly early (never a moment to waste in NYC), and, feeling like the early birds in search of a worm, we headed to Buvette, one of my favourite brunch spots in the West Village. With a coffee in hand we waited outside the doors until they opened, and were rewarded with a table, where we spent the next couple of hours noshing on steamed egg dishes, piled high with yummy prosciutto, and making friends with our neighbours in the tiny space.

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After fueling up, we walked to the Meatpacking District and hopped on the Highline, the pedestrian-only raised path that runs alongside the Hudson.

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23 blocks later, we had built up quite an appetite (I mean really, when am I not ready to eat in New York?) so we cabbed it back down to NoLIta for lunch at Café Gitane, where I feasted on avocado on toast (my favourite dish) and watermelon juice (hydration: the key to a marathon travel day). We spent the rest of the afternoon walking through NoLIta and SoHo, with the requisite stops at the Prince Street J.Crew, Love Adorned, and Joe Fresh, to support the Canadian brand and see if there was anything different south of the border (there wasn’t).

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After a brief rest at the NoMad (finally a chance to test out that luxurious robe!), we headed out to dinner, an intimate affair at The Smile, where the service was fantastic and the food was as well. If you get a chance to try it out, I recommend the asparagus crostini, the Moroccan lamb meatballs, and the cauliflower crumble. Delish! I wish I could offer some thoughts on dessert, but believe it or not, we were so stuffed after the main courses that even my sweet tooth couldn’t tempt me to eat another thing. Besides, my bed was calling and Sunday was a new day.

DAY 3

Our last day in the city had a late start, but thankfully the NoMad is located just around the corner from The Ace Hotel and its in-house Stumptown Coffee Roasters, where a strong espresso gave us the boost we needed to start the day. I was itching to visit another of my favourite brunch haunts, but when we arrived, we found the place shuttered, with a sign on the door about landlord disputes and a new restaurant coming soon (note to anyone heading to Peels on Bowery, you’re about to be sorely disappointed).

Thankfully, a couple of blocks away we found refuge in Lafayette, the latest restaurant in the NoHo Hospitality family (which also includes The Dutch and Locanda Verde). The bright and airy space was busy with Easter gatherings, and we happily slid into a booth to join them.

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After brunch we headed to the southern tip of the island to the 9/11 Memorial, a site I hadn’t visited since 2003. To say it was a moving experience is an understatement. The two reflecting pools, each nearly an acre in size, are beautiful and sobering reminders of the Twin Towers that used to rise from their footprint. We walked the perimeter of each pool before sitting to admire The Survivor Tree, a pear tree that pre-dated 9/11 and is now planted on site.

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With only a few hours left before our flight, we decided to head back to NoLIta for one last culinary hurrah. That included tacos at Tacombi and a stop at The Little Cupcake Bakeshop, where we cleaned them out of their cocoa rice krispies and gluten-free banana oatmeal coconut cookies. Snacks for the plane people!

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All in all, I’m shocked they didn’t charge me for overage on the plane ride home, given the amount of food I consumed in three short days in New York, but maybe all that walking counteracted the good eats. If you have the opportunity to escape for a mini-vacation, consider three days in NYC. Pop into some of these spots and let me know what you think. Happy trails! 

All images my own, except for Buvette’s steamed eggs, avocado at Cafe Gitane, and The NoMad.

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