My good pals from Toronto came to New York this President's day weekend and it couldn't have been planned better. The boys played hockey in Central Park and us gals were hitting the shops. We had a lot of ground to cover and had to make time to rest and eat.
If you're having out of town guests pay a visit and you're in charge of the itinerary OR you're traveling to New York and need some help putting together a fun weekend, follow the plan I'm outlining below. And get ready to have a great time! It went a little something like this...
Where your friends should stay...if your apartment is too small or crowded: The Bowery Hotel
This hip hotel is located in Noho and is surrounded by uber cool restaurants and e.m.o. shops. The rooms are designed in a sophisticated but chic way with large windows that help to create the illusion of space. Tip: Request room 902 which is a corner with tons of natural light and floor to ceiling windows.
Arrive on a Friday:
Check into your hotel and refresh. Head back out for a bite at the Bowery Hotel's Gemma. Rustic Italian fare offering crisp, fresh salads as well as meat + cheese boards and pizzas galore. It was a nice day outside when we arrived at this sidewalk hot spot around 2pm and missed the last table out doors. So we ended up waiting a good half hour or so just to eat outside.
This wasn't the smartest use of time. A great alternative would have been to head over to Peels, which is located just next door, to grab a bite inside this cute little joint. Sister to Freemans, Peels is great for a quick eat and of course a glass of wine. Note: They also have a wonderful brunch!
Dinner: Beauty & Essex
By far the latest lower east side craze. Sister restaurant to the Stanton Social (an old fave of mine) this restaurant, which also has a glamourous bar scene, is a great spot to take friends visiting from out of town. A plethora of people watching (like Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers and Carla Gugino) plus food that is pretty tasty. The menu is tapas style. We ordered an abundance of fried food because it all sounded so good. It was. Though by the time the non-fried dishes like the saucy bbq ribs came along (which I was dying to try), I was just too full to eat anymore. So I would suggest the lobster taco and chicken meatballs (my faves!) and to be careful with the rest of your ordering.
10am - Prune. I've mentioned this restaurant on my blog before...because it's my favorite. Get here by 9:30am to guarantee a spot in the first seating, otherwise you wait 45-60 minutes min.
11am - Shop till you drop. Head up to 5th Avenue and 49th street. Hit the J.Crew in Rock Center and then back over to 5th for the flagship H&M, Zara, Bergdorf's, Bendels, Club Monaco, etc.
Eyebrow wax at the BEST: Sania's Brow Bar on 56th Between 5th and 6th.
Facials: Mario Badescu. Simply the best. I use all of his face products. Be prepared - this place is not a spa, it's for dealing with your skin. But you'll still enjoy it!
Late lunch: Fred's At Barney's. Followed by...more shopping. Duh, of course! During this latest trip to Barney's I discovered red J.Brands and have gotten great use out of them since.
Head back over to Rock Center to finish the day at the new and beautiful Anthropology. Make sure you check downstairs where they are always having great sales.
Before catching a cab or hopping on the subway right next door, run into Magnolia at 6th Avenue of the Americas and 49th street for a few cupcakes and a container of their famous banana pudding. You won't be sorry. Trust me.
Saturday dinner: Locande Verde.
Ok, ya I know I'm behind. This place has been hot for ages now. Well I'm just getting there...have been pretty busy, ok?! It was out of this world. The scene, the food and the wine. Divine! A major new FAVE! It is pretty impossible to get a reservation so call a month ahead and just take the best night you can get. It will give you a pretty fabulous dinner to look forward to.
Sunday brunch: Ditch Plains. Has been in my heart for quite some time now. A great place to go with kids as they can run around and be crazy here and also have menus and crayons for the little bats....always a life saver! The food is delish and the service is always great.
I recommend the breakfast tacos or the lobster roll for lunch.
Lazy (likely hungover) shopping: hit soho. Broadway has all of your staples and if you weave in and out of the side streets you can find the most incredible boutiques with all of the latest trends and fashions.
BROADWAY - American Idiot with Billie Joe Armstrong. Limited showing with the Green Day singer himself. With or without him (and I know, I've seen both!) if you like Green Day - what a show!! Such fun.
Post show dinner: Head down to the east village and grab a bite at Lil Frankies. Wood burning oven, pizza and wine. They have the most incredible eggplant there. They whole roast it slicing into it only once it's brought to your table where they drizzle with hot oil and sprinkle thick sea salt on top. Melts in your mouth delicious. And if you're looking to avoid the carbs this night, try the chicken. It's all around perfect.