New York City is great to visit anytime of the year, but there is something special about Summer – when the weather is warm, and it’s easier to explore on foot. NYC is the perfect place to meet up with girlfriends and shop ’til you drop, see some spectacular ballet and broadway shows, sip refreshing cocktails, and of course – Eat!
I’ve stayed in many hotels in NYC and one of the best is the St. Regis on 55th & 5th Avenue — a stone’s throw from great shopping and Central Park. This hotel is “old school” to the core, and The King Cole Bar, located in the hotel, is where the first Bloody Mary was created. Definitely stop by for a cocktail or small bite, and explore some of the art work. Another cool perk about staying at the St. Regis is butler service with fresh pressed coffee delivered minutes after your morning wake up call.
Dining in New York City is essential, with some of the best restaurants, cafes, bakeries and hole-in-the- walls on the planet. On this trip I explored a few new spots, but as always, visited many of my favorites.
Jean Georges – for lunch – some of the best dining in the world. Lunch is almost half the price as dinner, and you have time to walk off the meal before bedtime. A couple of my favorite dishes — Fresh Crab and Mango Salad with Chili Sabayon and Parmesan Crusted Chicken Confit. Both plates were divine and prepared to perfection. Another treat at the end of meal was the Housemade Marshmallows – always a favorite.
Nougatine is the slightly more casual dining in the front of Jean Georges, where you can experience the same high quality food, but with a casual feel. I enjoy sitting at the bar where you can grab a drink and a small plate, and chat with the locals who may live in the building, or tourists like me who come to enjoy the great cuisine. The Tuna Tartar with Spicy Radish was refreshingly light and made beautifully. Definitely have a Manhattan at the bar is absolutely essential.
ABC Kitchen – Also, a Jean Georges restaurant creating farm-to-table dishes with seasonal pizzazz. Lunch or Dinner is dynamite and don’t miss the shopping at ABC Carpet & Home inside the same building. The Roasted Carrot & Avocado Salad and Crab Toast were lovely.
Union Square Cafe – falls under the Old Favorites, even though it was been totally redone, and moved to a different location. It felt like a completely new dining experience. The menu and space are nicely updated with some dishes not to miss – Sugar Snap Pea Salad with Guanciale and the Rabbit Papparadelle. The salad was fresh and crisp with a hint of porkiness, and the hand-cut pasta tasted as if you were in Italy.
Blue Hill – farm-to-table cuisine – tasting menu only. No pics allowed – bah humbug!
Danji – Updated small plates Korean food. Walking distance from Broadway Theater and open late. Super casual communal dining with fun loving food like the Housemade Fried Spicy Tofu and Beef Sliders. Both freshly prepared and great with a glass of wine or a cocktail.
Boulud Sud – Daniel Boulud’s slightly more casual restaurant, across from Lincoln Center, serving Mediterranean cuisine. Sardines Escabeche were light and tangy, and the Carrot Burrata Salad was more interesting, than outstanding. Maybe next time grab a drink and small plate at his bar next door.
Levain Bakery – Cookies, cookies and more cookies! Some of the best ever made, definitely worth the walk to the Upper West Side.
Bouchon Bakery – Yes, I know it’s in Yountville and Las Vegas, but you can’t miss the baked items here in Columbus Circle. Some favorites are the Pistachio & Citrus Brioche (which they didn’t have), Rye Ham & Cheese Croissant, Pastrami Sandwich (pressed & served warm), Macarons and Kouign-Amann (croissant dough with sugar & butter folded inward).
Grom on Broadway – Gelato from Italy what else can I say…..
Neuhaus Chocolate on Madison Avenue – chocolates and ice cream from Belgium. Make great gifts!
Plaza Food Hall at Plaza Hotel – great quick bites, bakeries and sweets. Don’t miss Francois Payard for chocolates, sandwiches and macrons.
Eataly – for a quick bite or better yet, ingredients and chocolate from Italy.
Other Great Things
Broadway Theater – Definitely do not miss! Go see something. Dear Evan Hansen was a cute musical – tickets are hard to come by – plan ahead.
NYC Ballet at Lincoln Center – definitely worth seeing. We were lucky enough to see Onegin on their last night – outstanding.
Rockefellar Center – no ice skating in the summer, but always a great place to people watch and shop.
Bergdorf Goodman – great shoes, clothing and housewares! They always seem to have a shoe sale when I am in town, don’t miss it!
Henri Bendel – handbags, jewelry and fun fashion from NYC.
M. Gemi in Soho – shoes made in Florence, Italy with seasonal flair and comfort.
Madewell – casual clothes in NYC for all seasons.
Coach on 5th – very cool display made with purses and belts.
Kalustyan’s – for Indian & other Middle Eastern spices. They also have a great website!
Dean & Deluca – great snacks and ingredients to take with you.
Bars for Cocktails!
King Cole Bar – as mentioned above.
The Living Room – W Hotel Times Square, especially before a show.
Top of the Strand – Best view of the Empire State Building without the crowds. Drinks are just okay.
230 Fifth Rooftop Bar – we didn’t quite make it here, but I read it was great!
New York City is a magical place and whether you are visiting for the first time or the hundredth, it is a fantastic trip to take with family, spouses and definitely girlfriends! There is so much to explore in NYC and with every visit there is always something new to discover.