Last week I had the great pleasure of spending 5 days in New York with 2 amazing girlfriends. We booked into a simple hotel called Park Central on 7th Ave. between 55th and 56th. This hotel has been redone in the past year and worked fine for us. Perfect location and great price. We had 2 Queen beds and a good bathroom. the price for the 3 of us was $359 a night plus all the crazy taxes NY has.
The weather was perfect so we covered the city top to bottom. The first night we went to “Mercer Kitchen,” located at 99 Prince Street. We ate downstairs where the energy was wild, we had a corner table so other than Very low light it, was a little quieter. This was the beginning of the sort shell crab season and they did a top job.
The next morning we hit the stores and then after our shopping fix we headed to Eately for lunch. You can take the subway and it opens right at 23rd and 5th Ave, across the street from Eately. Eately is over whelming when you first walk in, it is often described as a grand Italian food hall. You will have several choices for eating, an area for pasta and Pizza, a vegetarian restaurant or one that serves cheese and meats with you favorite glass of wine. You may have to wait for a seat in your choice of areas. As you leave you can buy anything from fresh fish, beautiful selection of cheeses or dried pasta. You wish you had a kitchen to cook dinner in later.
After wandering for blocks we headed back to the hotel for a rest before dinner. Friends had reserved a table in a simple restaurant called Bacaro–136 Division Street, 212-941-5060. The lower level of Bacaro is described as walking into the catacombs. We had 14 of us so we ordered family style. The first dish was razor clams, the little ones like you see in Italy, served in the shell with bread crumbs and garlic butter topping, could have eaten the whole plate myself. The Frito Misto was so crisp and each vegetable and piece of fish was cooked perfectly. Be sure to try the different pastas they do a great job with all of them. The prices were very reasonable and the fillet of sole for $19 was enough for several of us to share. Everyone wanted to try several deserts and raved about the ice creams and chocolate cake.
Since we did not get home until late we just took it easy in the morning with breakfast up the street at a nice bakery and good coffee. We had gotten tickets to the new Ground Zero museum so took the subway down for our 10am time slot. Be sure to get tickets on line so you can just walk in when your time is called. Allow time to wander the park out side first, the Museum was an interesting collection of photos, pieces of the building and artifacts from the tragic event that took so many lives. Plan at least an hour or more. Then leave the area and walk to the small church, St. Paul Chapel, a couple blocks away that was the safe place for so many working on the relief during the days that followed the tragedy .
We headed to SoHo for lunch and time to explore a few unique shops. I love Barbara Bui on Wooster Street. Very up scale clothes, but so special it is always worth the stop along with so many others on both sides of the street. We walked on the Balthazar for a late lunch, located on 80 Spring Street, good idea to make reservations 212-965-1414. You can always order a seafood platter with great fresh oysters while you wait for the rest of the meal, if you are still hungry. Across the street is the Sur La Table store that was one of our favorite stores when we owned the company.
Back to the hotel for a rest since we had a 9:30 dinner at The Red Rooster, Marcus Samuelson’s restaurant. The Red Rooster is located at 310 Lenox Ave in Harlem, cross street is 125th, The bar is hopping and the lower level Jazz club was packed. The restaurant is know for American Soul food. We started by sharing the cornbread, love the corn kernels and moist texture, and the fried wings, Very hot so be prepared. We shared several dishes and the meal was fine not great. We loved the energy and enjoyed the people watching and our waiter was very good.
Of course, since we had the morning free we had to hit the museums and MOMA was first on our list. The exhibitions are ever changing and It is always great to go back and visit the regular collections, I always love to stand and look at the Vincent Van Gogh pieces over and over or Lichtenstein’s many pieces and wonder how they were created.
We had matinee tickets for the play “Beautiful”, Carol King’s story about her music and life. The music was from our era, so of course it brought back so many memories. The entire audience was on their feet at the end and the cast gave us one last number to have on our minds as we left.
After the play was over we wondered through Time Square just to see all the crazy things, like the naked cowboy playing his guitar, of course getting a few dollars for a picture with a naked body painted woman was a big attraction.
Dinner that night was at the new “Chalk Point Kitchen” only open about a month, but will get nice review soon. (527 Broome Street, 212-390-0327) We shared a bottle of rose to start and then after eating 2 plates of their amazing dill pickles we could not wait to order. We shared many small plates and nothing knocked our socks off but we enjoyed the space and the food was fine. It will be interesting to try after they have gotten their feet firmly planted in a few months.
With only one day left we went to a friends jewelry studio to see her amazing collection. Patricia Von Musulin has been creating beautiful pieces that are sold around the world. We purchased necklaces that we loved and look forward to showing them off when we get home, Patricia’s e-mail is VonMusulin@Aol.com
Lunch was outside at The Surrey’s wonderful restaurant, “Bouleu”. We drank rose, had perfect fresh pea soup and salads worth a picture. the deserts could not be passed up. This restaurant is great in the winter in the white table cloth room or outside all summer. If it is warm the rooftop bar in the summer is a must for that late afternoon drink.
We worked our way back to the hotel to rest after wine and a 2 hour lunch. We had a dinner at 8:30 at Il Mulino uptown on 60th street. Make your reservations in advance, 212-750-3270, since the place is small and very popular with the high end traveler and local business executives. The waiter brought us several small tastes from the kitchen while we decided on a wine and dinner. The wine we chose was an Italian Gavi since we chose the whole fish baked in salt and perfect veal with lemon. We had the waiter choose 2 pastas that we shared before our main course. One with fresh peas and a cream sauce and the other with a tomato base and as light as a feather. This is a great Italian restaurant and a must for uptown Italian cuisine, fine dining.
New York is always a great spirit lifter especially with friends and perfect weather. We called Uber for a quick trip back to the airport in style. Until we venture back to NY great memories will keep us thinking how to get together with friends again before to much time passes.