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.