This is a two-part post. If you missed NYC Days 1-2, read it here!
We decided to spend day 3 in Brooklyn! We had no big plans other than to wander around and take in the Brooklyn vibes.
I started the morning with a quick run in the hotel gym. I’m doing the Oklahoma City Memorial half marathon in April, so I really should probably have tried to fit in more runs than I did in NYC, ha!
I got some brand new running shoes at Rogue (my favorite little running store in Austin) right before I left for NYC. I was actually really excited to go to the hotel gym to try them out for the first time!
I mean, there’s just nothing like a new pair of running shoes (or a new workout outfit, for that matter) that motivates me to get moving! I hate that high quality workout gear is so expensive, but I do love how it inspires me to workout.
Post run + shower, we headed out in search of coffee! Since we were staying at the Hotel 50 Bower, China Town was right outside our door. The streets were PACKED every morning, and there were produce and seafood vendors lining the streets (despite the 35-degree temps. Is that just not considered cold to New Yorkers or something??)
I loved the location of our hotel; it made putting one foot in Manhattan and one foot in Brooklyn super easy on this trip. The train ride to Brooklyn was just about 10 minutes.
First stop was Williamsburg Bagels. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m pretty sure we found this place because A) it popped up on a google search, and B) it was convenient for where we were, and C) we were STARVING and needed some breakfast fast. They were great little bagels! I’d love to eventually compare different bagels side by side to really tell what makes a bagel a great bagel. I feel like every time I’m eating a bagel it’s because I’m absolutely famished, and pretty much anything tastes good then.
I did love this shop, though! It’s basically just a counter and enough standing room for a single file line. The customer grabs the bagel from those wooden buckets, and you can ask for it to be toasted and prepared however you’d like. I just had mine with cream cheese that morning.
With my boo. Eating bagels. In Brooklyn!
I only ever kept my gloves off long enough to chow down on food. Then I bundled up again as fast as possible.
Next stop: coffee! Have you noticed that checking out new coffee shops is a high priority for me when I travel? Ha. Toby’s Estate was one of my favorites of the trip! It’s a big coffee shop by any standard, but especially for Brooklyn. There’s a lot of beautiful natural light and plenty of seating, and the coffee roaster is tucked in the corner so you can watch it working.
I love to journal when I’m vacationing so I can remember little details, so we sat down for a while with our pour overs and I filled out a few pages in my notebook.
(I use this classic moleskine with lined pages. I’ve been using these for about 5-6 years, so I have a nice collection of matching, streamlined notebooks. I love the look of them!)
On to more food! Best Pizza was recommended by a friend. The name is a little gimmicky, but it really is the BEST! Not kidding. It’s our very favorite pizza to get by-the-slice.
They serve giant slices that are thin enough that you really have to fold it in half, New York style, to eat it. I LOVE this pie!
I love walking a bunch when I’m traveling, so we walked for about an hour through Brooklyn (not the prettiest part….) in order to avoid a 30 min Uber ride through traffic to get to the Brooklyn Bridge. When we were just about there, we saw these Citi Bikes and Nate asked why we hadn’t used them yet; and I had no idea. Friends: I love them! We swiped a card to rent them for 24 hours (it was something like $12 for unlimited 30 min rides) and biked our way around Brooklyn for the rest of the day!
The only catch was that you can only use the bikes for 30 minutes at a time before returning them to a dock (which are literally all over the city….we were never more than 2 blocks from one). But once you re-dock the bike, you can get another code to use one for 30 minutes immediately.
The Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn is so pretty! A bunch of people were doing styled shoots and taking headshots and other photos right here. And I saw more than one fashion blogger doing photo shoots in Brooklyn. I mean, it’s kind of a blogger’s paradise with all of the cool wall murals.
Brooklyn has so many (free) art exhibits, so we spent some time wandering through those.
We hopped back on our Citi Bikes (love ’em, haha!) and biked a few miles to Lucali for dinner. (Anyone else watching David Chang’s new Netflix series Ugly Delicious? This place was the one in the first episode).
We got there 30 minutes before it opened, and there were already 5 people in line in front of us. We returned our bikes to a dock around the corner, walked back, got in line and waited for it to open.
I’m glad we got there early, because it’s a pretty tiny restaurant and by the time they opened there was a long line. A few things about Lucali:
1) It’s cash only (plenty of ATMs around because #duh, but just be prepared)
2) It’s BYOB (wish we had known this before, because by the time we were in line we didn’t have time to take an Uber to a liquor store to get a bottle of wine, and Google Maps didn’t show anything within a 10 minute walk of us.)
So, this one was my very favorite pie of the whole trip. Lucali serves two things: pizza and calzones. The pizzas are available in one size with four different toppings. It’s all so simple, yet so perfectly made. We had the margherita pizza (they put so much fresh basil on top, and I love it!) and we added pepperoni to half of it.
After dinner, we stopped by two breweries. The first was Folksbier. The ambiance was so cozy and cute, and I could see myself hanging out there all the time if I lived in the area, but the beer was honestly just “meh.” It was totally fun to check out some the brewery, though!
We finished the day at Other Half Brewing Company. I’ve never seen so many Imperial IPAs on a menu before! That’s pretty much all they do, so there were about 12 of them. We had little mini tasters of a bunch. Just like with cocktails, I noticed that beer is about 20% more expensive in NYC than in Austin.
And….oh wait. We had to finish day 3 with another trip to Milk Bar. 🙂
Good morning, day 4! How cool is this building? It’s 56 Lenoard Street, and the condos in it cost between $3.5 million and $50 million for a 2-5 bedroom. Uh, what? It’s the most expensive place to live below midtown Manhattan.
We stopped for coffee at Kaffe 1668, one of my favorite coffee shops from the last time I was in NYC. We had some good pour overs, but I feel like they really shine with their milk-based drinks.
And then a quick stop for bagels at Zucker’s Bagels and Smoked Fish. I got a giant breakfast sandwich, and although it tasted good (hi, I was starving again, the same way I always am when I eat a bagel), the bread wasn’t as dense and chewy as some other bagels I’ve tried.
I ate the entire bagel and made sure I would stay full for a long time, because from there we went to the 9/11 museum for the afternoon. I had heard that one can spend a long time in this museum, so I planned to be here through lunch.
This museum was beautifully made. It’s not the type of thing that you can skim, so we spent nearly 5 hours walking around. A few things about the 9/11 museum:
- It’s obviously a pretty emotional place to be. It should be.
- The most emotionally-charged video clips and photos were hidden behind little walls, so if you’re there with young kids and want to filter it for them, the museum makes it easy to do that.
- I was a bit shocked at how crowded it was. There were lines to read almost everything, so we kind of shuffled our way through the crowds.
- It’s a dense museum. We could have stayed longer, but we were both starting to get tired/thirsty/hungry, so we left after 5 hours.
- Bring a water bottle. The main part of the museum takes a few hours to walk through, and there are no drinking fountains. The crowds are dense, so it would take you about 30 minutes if you have to exit, go up the elevator to the cafe for some water, and then go back down to the museum.
Once we were out the door, I noshed on this. #iheartmilkbar.
Next stop: more coffee. We started at City of Saints, which is a roaster from Brooklyn. We didn’t have a chance to make it when we were in Brooklyn, so we went to their darling Manhattan location. This is one of my favorite coffee roasters to use at home when I’m brewing my own coffee.
And then, because Nate and I love visiting coffee shops, we walked over to Third Rail Coffee for another pour over…
I looked at my google maps and saw we were just around the corner from Momofuku, and I looked at my watch and saw it was about to open. I said, “Nate, let’s just see if there’s a line!” We walked over there and were able to be seated immediately. Score!
We started with an order of the shrimp buns. Super yummy.
And then we shared a bowl of ramen. I love David Chang; he’s a fun personality and a talented chef, and he’s one of the driving forces behind getting Americans really excited about ramen. But I still think that Ramen Tatsu-ya in Austin is the best ramen I’ve ever tried.
More walking! We went past the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. I just read this really good historical fiction book about the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911 (read about it here in January Reads), so I wanted to walk past the building to see what it looked like.
We ended up at The Up & Up, a super cool basement cocktail bar. I loved this place! We put our name on the wait list around 7 pm, and by 8 pm they texted me saying our table was ready. (Again, the cocktails seem to be more expensive, but lots of the bars here are sitting-room only and give each customer her own table and waiter.)
We didn’t order the same drinks, but they looked the same! Both had Campari in them.
We had 9 pm reservations at Codino, an adorable, un-pretentious Italian kitchen and wine bar. I LOVED this sweet little place! It was packed and noisy and cozy, and we shared a bottle of wine and a bunch of pasta dishes and had the best date night.
Bagels to start the day! I need to try the brunch at Sadelle’s one of these days, but it’s always so packed! A bagel was a pretty good way to get going, though. These are about $3, but if you add salmon they’re $18!
Anyone know what makes it so expensive? I mean, they’re really good…. I just am not enough of a Lox aficionado to know the difference between a $5 bagel and an $18 bagel.
Walking around, happy as can be!
On the way to the Subway, we stopped at Prince St Pizza for a slice of their square deep dish. Y’all are gonna be so sick of me comparing NYC to Austin, but I just have to say this: this pizza isn’t as good as Via 313! I mean, it’s not bad pizza by any mean, but I think that Via 313’s crust is way more flavorful. This tasted cheaper, more like a pizza chain deep dish.
But everyone famous and their grandmother’s dog has eaten here, so I’m glad that we at least tried it and checked it off our list. I probably won’t go back next time I’m there, but it was fun to try!
Two more coffee shops for us: Stumptown first (we went to the location at the Ace hotel…gorgeous!!)
And Paper Coffee, which is a tiny shop in the lobby of the Paul NYC hotel.
Ok, so this is the one part of the trip when Nate and I actually went separate ways. He really wanted to see the MOMA, but I went there two years ago and wanted to check off another museum. Although, I definitely could have gone back to MOMA and been very happy with that, at this point in my travels I’m just trying to see as much as possible. Then, when I go back to NYC in the future, I can re-visit my favorites. So I headed to check out the American Museum of Natural History.
But first I had to stop by Levain Bakery for one of their famous chocolate chip cookies. Holy Smokes, you guys! This is the best cookie I’ve ever eaten! Now, if you prefer chewy or crispy cookies, this wouldn’t be for you. It’s so thick that the inside doesn’t really get baked, so it’s gooey like cookie dough. And I freaking loved it. (I bought a second one for Nate to try later in the day, and it was so hard to not eat it!)
On to the American Museum of Natural History for me while Nate was off looking at modern art.
Ok, so yeah. Just me. Alone. Looking at dinosaurs. Haha! I felt a little funny being here alone, because most women my age were there with little kids. It’s definitely a kid-friendly museum. I didn’t get to see any of the special exhibits in the few hours I had, but I hear that’s where this museum really shines.
I don’t know…I enjoyed it. I’m glad I’ve checked it off my list. I probably won’t go back until l have kids of my own who are old enough to enjoy it.
I met Nate for our dinner reservations at Taquiera Empellon, Alex Stupak’s restaurant. The guac was delicious, but the smoked cashew salsa was crazy stupid good. We finished every single little drop of that stuff!
We picked two tacos that sounded amazing, and for the third, I said that maybe it would be fun to pick the taco that sounds least appealing. You know, to really give the restaurant a chance to impress us? Here’s what I mean: If order a pastor taco, I’m expecting to love it, and I probably will! But when I saw “brussel sprout taco” on the menu, I had about 0 good expectations. So I knew that if I loved it, it would be REALLY good.
And you know what? The brussel sprout taco ended up being my favorite one of the night! The corn tortillas are perfect on all of the tacos, so that’s a great start. And these brussel sprouts were cooked in different sizes, so some of them were large and soft, and others were caramelized and chewy, and other were tiny and charred and crunchy. There were also toasted almonds on top, adding more demenition, and the most delicious sauce (I don’t remember what it was) that tied it all together so nicely!
I wanted to finish up the night at Death & Company, so we walked over there to put our names on the list (they don’t take reservations). The wait ended up being about an hour long on a Saturday night, so we killed some time at this super tiny Italian bar called Amor y Amargo that specializes in craft bitters.
It’s just a couple doors down from Death & Company, so when I got the text that they had room for us at the bar, we were able to get there pretty quickly. Death & Company was amazing! We tried three different cocktails, all so different and beautifully prepared. Out bartender was extremely helpful in answering all my questions and finding something that I’d love to drink.
And one more stop for pizza on the way home at Williamsburg Pizza. This is another one I had wanted to visit in Brooklyn, but we ran out of time, so we stopped into their Manhattan location on the way back to the hotel.
And on Sunday morning we woke up bright and early for our morning flight back to Austin. It was nice to land around noon and have a half day to do laundry and prepare for the week ahead.
And if you have any questions about NYC, email me at [email protected]
Thanks for stopping by today, friends! Happy Monday!