I’ve been back from New York for over a week now and I’m daydreaming about my visit constantly. Well, that and working because when you go away for 3 weeks you’ve got a lot of work to attend to. And emails to respond to. Don’t even get me started on peeking at my blog feed because I’ve ignored Google Reader for way too long. Getting back to real life is hard especially when summer has decided to grace the Pacific Northwest with her glorious presence. There’s been super fun bike rides, picnics at the beach and catching up with friends over cold beers at favorite places.
But let’s talk a little about New York, shall we? First off I want to thank you for all the suggestions and tips in the comments of this post. We stayed in downtown Brooklyn which is really nothing to write home about, but it was a great area because it was within walking distance of so many great neighbourhoods (Fort Greene, Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Boreum Hill, Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO) and we were within walking distance to 3 different subway stops (DeKalb, Hoyt Schermerhorn, Jay St.) so we quite enjoyed our location. But instead of giving you a complete rundown of our visit, I’ll just mention a few of my favorite things.
What I loved about New York City
1. The zoetrope animation leaving DeKalb station on the Q train heading into Manhattan. Look out the right side windows and enjoy the show! There’s a great video of it here.
2. Red Hook. I loved pretty much everything about this neighbourhood and we went back to visit it a second time. It feels like a get-away from the city with a ton of character and personality. We walked from Downtown Brooklyn, through Cobble Hill, into Carrol Gardens and crossed the expressway and past the Red Hook housing project and just started exploring. Walk along the waterfront and Stop off at Baked for a delicious chocolate pecan bourbon square & iced coffee. Get a key limeade & key lime tart at Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies (& kicking myself that I didn’t get a swingle). Beers in the garden at the Brooklyn Ice House & a much needed $4 beet & blue cheese salad.
3. Dia Beacon. Take the train outside the city along the Hudson to experience this amazing gallery. Seriously the best art gallery I’ve ever been too. The conceptual art was playful and inspiring and the space is gorgeous. Also, this lovely lady works there!
4. The Brooklyn Bridge. Walk across it, though perhaps not on a busy Saturday afternoon.
5. Long Island City, Queens. Check out Moma PS1 – part of the MOMA’s collection housed in an old high school and then go for a cookie and the best iced coffee at Sweet Leaf coffee shop and listen to Jimi Hendrix on vinyl. Then walk down to the gorgeous waterfront park that tricks you into thinking you are back in Vancouver but you can’t be because the view of Manhattan is amazing. Walk up to Astoria if you feel like it. Don’t regret that you didn’t make it to Jackson Heights like I did.
6. Pizza. Eat lots of it cuz it’s all good. The brussels sprouts pizza & the broccoli rabe pizza at Motorino in Williamsburg was great (thanks Crystal!), so was the uber-thin crust pizza at Nice in Bed-Stuy. Didn’t try any of the famous pizza must-do’s but I happily survived.
Other food highlights include dumplings and the sesame pancake at Vanessa’s Dumpling House for the cheapest meal ever! The almond twice baked brioche at Mile End. The weirdly amazing hot sauce at Chicken Festival. The burger and birch beer at Bark. Our entire meal at Pequena in Fort Greene – coconut margaritas, guacamole, green pork enchiladas – (& thanks to the amazing Kelly over at Eat Make Read for the recs and the meet up). A chocolate egg cream (or an ice cream treat) at Farmacy. A Nathan’s hot dog, of course, at Coney Island.
7. Jaywalking. Man, Vancouver is way too weird about jaywalking (which is something I noticed when I moved here from out east). Bring on the jaywalking!
8. Gardens. Many restaurants & bars throughout Brooklyn had gardens and I loved these outdoor spaces! Good spots were at the Milk & Roses in Greenpoint, the already mentioned Ice House, Spuyten Duyvil, and Washington Commons.
9. Dive bars. Oooh, I love a good dive bar, and we enjoyed a few beers in more than a few dives and not so divey bars. Best bar (not a dive) goes to the Brooklyn Inn – great beer on tap and a fantastic atmosphere. And The Commodore which not only has a fantastic happy hour but serves the BEST fried chicken I’ve ever eaten. Two words: honey butter. One order can easily feed 2 hungry people.
10. The Highline which starts in Chelsea. A great use of old elevated train tracks – gardens, art, walking paths and lots of seating. Go and grab a hummus sandwich from Amy’s Bread in the Chelsea Market and have a picnic.
11. Eat at a Polish restaurant in Greenpoint (and if you go to Karczma get the pickle soup!). I loved Greenpoint – an old Polish neighbourhood with lots of interesting places to stop and nosh. And stop by the Rite-Aid which used to be an old disco and you can check it out as the large disco ball is still on the ceiling!
12. The Brooklyn Flea/Smorasburg. Good food stands. At the Fort Greene Flea, I happily split my huge doughnut from Dough with the husband while I also snacked on Mexican corn on the cob and a rhubarb shaved ice. In Willamsburg, I loved the sopes my husband ordered and we split another doughnut from Dough (the cafe au lait crumble is amazing!!) and I had a super sour rhubarb limemade from a stand that also sells hibiscus and rose limeade as well as flavour syrups.
And the rhubarb limemade syrup is the first thing I wanted to take away from my trip. I overheard a girl complaining a few market stalls over that it was way too sour, but I disagree completely, it was refreshing and tart and perfect for a hot sunny day. My version isn’t as tart, but next time I’ll easily solve that by cutting the sugar in half or more. While it’s refreshing mixed with plain old tap water, adding some club soda instead makes it truly special. So go fizz or flat, either way, it’s the perfect start to summer.
rhubarb limeade fizz/flat
4 stalks rhubarb, roughly diced
5 limes, zested and juiced
1 c sugar
cold water or cold club soda + ice
In a medium sized saucepan, add the rhubarb, lime juice and zest and sugar along with a 1/2 cup of water and let simmer until the rhubarb becomes soft and pulpy. Strain the solids using a fine mesh strainer and try to remove as much liquid as possible. Save the pulpy mass for baking and pour the syrup into a jar with a tight lid. Refrigerate – should last a week or two.
To serve, pour about 2 tablespoons of the syrup into the bottom of a tall glass. Add ice and tap water or club soda. Stir and enjoy.
RE your visit to New York: Ya done real good, lady!
Jealous of your trip – sounds like it was fantastic. And this looks like a delicious drink – perfect for the summer (maybe with a little gin?)!
I would love to go to all these places.
The pastry chef from Dough is doing the show this week.
It sounds like you enjoyed NYC to it’s fullest potential! In fact…I’m going to have to take pointers from YOU on things to do here, since I never really venture into Brooklyn!
Mmm that rhubarb-limeade fizz sounds amazing. The perfect amount of tart.
My husband & I got engaged in NYC and it always brings a smile to my face when I read about it. Your list sounds great–I can’t wait to get back there when I get the chance.
i am so with you on the dive bars. I love going over to st marks to the dives there–but artists around.
Haven’t been to red hook….yet. But I want too.
Was it hot there? It can get steamy.
Wow- another reason to visit NYC! You’re making me jealous! But interesting how one enjoys the gardens and little breaks from urbanity. I’ll have to keep this list in mind if I ever go!
I love rhubarb and I squirreled some away in the freezer, so I will make this. Where does everyone get these adorbs straws for food styling? You got them in America, didn’t you.
I went to Steve’s Key Lime Pies too! Kind of in the middle of nowhere, right? I can’t wait to go back to that city. Glad you loved it.
Thanks Meister! It was a great trip.
Laural, gin would be a perfect addition! Good call.
Joy, all wonderful places!
Crystal – omg!! That should be awesome!
Joanne, I loved Brooklyn so much! And yes, I think there’s a good amount of balance between sweet and tart in this drink (but my tart-tooth wants more!!)
What a great city to get engaged in, Gretchen! Lucky!!
Vanilla Sugar, red hook was amazing – like a vacation in the city!
I loved being in a place so urban, but definitely appreciated the green spaces, Ashely!
Lydia, I got the straws in Victoria when I was there last (at a paper store that was beside a housewares store and close to a games store – near the Bay). As for NYC, I’d like to find a source in town! I also want to go back because we never went to Shake Shack!!
Your trip to NYC sounds amazing! I will have to revisit this post when I eventually go there so I can check out some of these places. Oh, and that girl you heard complaining that the rhubarb drink was “too sour”…you sure that wasn’t me? Just kidding – despite my aversion to super sour things, I do love lemonade/limeade drinks! Is that a jam jar you are using as a glass? Cool idea!
Oooh rhubarb in a drink is such a good idea! And I LOVE your straws!
I’m the one who’s kicking myself now. You were at Brooklyn Farmacy which is TWO BLOCKS FROM MY HOUSE. Super happy you enjoyed your trip to NYC!
Bijoux, you have to go! As for the sourness, don’t fear this drink – you can make it as sweet as you like!
Thanks Sues, I love my straws too!
Martine, then you must be so close to the prettiest street (verandah place, I think?) So cute! One night we walked all around the residential neighbourhood before ending up at Farmacy. And thanks for your recs!!
It sounds like you had an AWESOME trip! How great that you got to spend such a nice chunk of time there.
Man, you really did NYC right. I love this drink. And I support your preference toward erring on the tart side. I support it fully.
Glad you had a great time down there! Do you mean that you wish Vancouver was more lax about jaywalking? I think the reason it doesn’t work well here is because people are too lazy to be cautious when they do it. They just stroll across without barely glancing.
Thanks Lynn, it was fantastic!
Kimberley, the tart way is the only way 🙂
Six Balloons – when I first moved here from a place where jaywalking was the way, I was shocked that cars wouldn’t slow their cars down for you! In Vancouver, they want to run you over! I couldn’t believe it (and that was crossing Commercial Drive). I’m all for jaywalking!
Jaywalking! Yes!!! About ten years ago, my friend came to visit from New York, and a month later, I went there to visit him. He kept walking right out into traffic, looking only one direction, and I would grab his arm and demand to know if he’s a crazy person! He wasn’t accustomed to two-way streets where you had to check for cars coming both directions, and he was used to drivers at least sorta expecting there to be people in the road (I mean, New York drivers hardly go around pedestrians, but are at least prepared for the chance of a human in their lane). Then, when I finally visited New York, I got it. It was no less terrifying the first day, haha, but then I adjusted. Till then, I just thought my friend needed a chaperon. I didn’t get that that’s just how you roll down there.
Glad you went to Motorino. It’s my favorite when I’m visiting my family in the city . We go to the one one the east side. In season, they have ramps on the pizza.
I have lived in California for 37 years now and still have trouble not crossing the street if no cars are coming and the light is red. Just makes no sense to me at all!!
Glad you had a good trip.
I adored NYC too, and have also been plotting a way to get back! And rhubarb limeade fizz?? are you kidding? wow!!
Hi there! I would love to visit NYC one day, its on the top of my (expensive) holiday list 🙂 And rhubarb limeade, that sounds so cool and refreshing!
♥ Mandy (and the name of my blog is: MENNEPEN)
Amanda, glad you understand my jaywalking comment. Too funny!
I loved Motorino and so glad that we went. Nice to meet another jaywalker on the west coast, Janice!
Thanks Julie, it’s a goodie.
Thanks Mandy – NYC can be done cheap-ish-ly.
I finally had a chance to read this post and it’s fantastic. When I eventually make my way to NYC I’m going to come back here and put all these things into a Google map. It sounds like you had a wonderful and delicious time. Wahoo!
Really? I used to jaywalk ALL the time in Vancouver – especially downtown & on the Drive.
Your trip sounds amazing, I will have to take notes for the next time I get to go to New York!
Thanks Brie, it was so much fun – you’ll love it (and thanks for the Amy Sedaris tips!!)
Amelia, I jaywalk all the time in Vancouver too, but cars are more likely not not slow down for you. I was shocked about that when I moved here.
Quick question – you suggest saving the pulp for baking. Baking what?? Do you have a recipe to share? Thank you!
Jessica, originally my plan was to use it in a banana bread. My friend with a juicer always saves her pulp for baking, so that was my original plan. Then, at the last minute I used the leftover pulp to make a tangy rhubarb barbeque sauce. It was delicious, but I didn’t take photos so there will be no recipe until I can make it again.