05 October 2013

NYC: Hazy Days and Gin Nights

On Thursday morning, I went for breakfast at Abraço, a tiny coffee bar in the East Village. I enjoyed a giant slab of chocolate and almond pound cake with my morning macchiato and, energised, headed on up to Union Square and the Flatiron to do a bit of shopping.

I went to Stumptown's new-to-me flagship café in Greenwich Village for the second coffee of the day, before returning to Soho to meet some work friends for lunch. We went to La Esquina for some delicious pulled pork tacos, which we ate on the sunny pavement outside the restaurant. West Coasters might diss the authenticity of New York's Mexican food, but this Brit was pretty happy with the quality of the tacos on this trip.

In need of a bit of chillout time, I spent most of the afternoon on the hotel's rooftop with a good book, and then it was time for dinner. I do love being on holiday! Although I'd had some good cocktails thus far, on Thursday night, it was definitely gin o'clock, so we headed to Gin Palace in the East Village. They have dozens of varieties of gin — including, to my surprise, my local favourite, Jensen's Bermondsey Gin — as well as G and T on tap and some creative gin-based cocktails. First, I decided to try a Dorothy Parker gin with mint eucalyptus tonic, which was refreshing and delicious. Not wanting to miss out on the cocktail fun, I then tried the Power, Curruption & Lies (gin, lime, cucumber, rosemary and jalapeño-infused honey), which really made the tastebuds tingle. With its black-leather-clad interiors, Gin Palace is a very cool place to while away an evening (or two).

After a quick late supper at Peels, we returned to the hotel to snap a few shots of the Empire State Building from the rooftop — it was red, green and blue, for National Self-Esteem Day, I think. In any case, I liked the colours.

Yesterday was our final day in New York, sadly. We got up relatively early for another run over the Manhattan Bridge, back across the Brooklyn Bridge and back to the hotel via the West Street running track. It was even hotter and more humid than the rest of the week, so we soaked up as much of the hotel's air conditioning as we could while we packed up the room, before wandering up to Union Square, which was starting to get its Halloween on.

Shake Shack, in Madison Square Park, meanwhile, was still in Oktoberfest mode — or, rather, Shacktoberfest mode. I stuck with the Smoke Shack burger (bacon cheeseburger with chillis) and a blueberry lemonade.

We then decided to go up the Empire State Building, which I haven't done for years. Although it was still very hot and sunny, it was also very hazy, but I liked the fuzzy effect this had on the skyline and we spent a happy hour on the observatory deck eyeing up our favourite buildings.

We walked back downtown along the High Line, where I took a few obligatory silly photos, as it was too hot to leap. Then it was time for our last supper, which we took at the quirky, Scandi-influenced Acme in NoHo. I'll write more about the food on this trip in a separate post, but suffice to say, the fish tacos were possibly the most exquisitely presented of the trip, and my chicken, roast potatoes and eggs were very tasty. It certainly beat plane food, and we journeyed to the airport full and happy.

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