If you’re short on time – check out where we went and what we ate in New York City at the bottom of this page.
For Christmas, my wonderful fiancé surprised me with a plane ticket to New York for a weekend trip with my ladies. I was so excited because I’ve never been to NYC during the holiday season. Obviously, we planned the most important things first – like where we would eat. Let’s be honest, everything else is secondary.
We began our culinary adventures on a Thursday night at ABC Kitchen; a farm-to-table, small plate restaurant from celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The restaurant has an open, airy, super chic design. Here are some of the standouts from our order:
- Honeynut squash, winter truffle, kombu on grilled bread (to die for)
- Fried organic chicken, rainbow swiss chard, hot sauce butter (THIS. WAS. EVERYTHING.)
- Sundae with salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts, popcorn, and hot fudge (drool-worthy)
We sat at a round, rustic, white table in the corner, which was perfect for people watching. From this vantage point, we had our first celebrity sighting of the weekend. One of my friends was in the bathroom and overheard someone talking about a man in a baseball cap seated next to their table. The hunt was on. We were going to find and identify this celebrity – and possibly embarrass them and ourselves by requesting to take a photo. The latter 2 did not happen. We sat there squinting across the room at the mysterious man in the baseball hat. Was he an athlete? We decided no. An actor? A musician? No and no. Finally, someone from another table came by and told us it was David Blaine, the magician. Apologies for not recognizing you, David.
Day 2 started with coffee at Café Grumpy and once we had our caffeine fix, we hit up Russ and Daughters. This brunch was incredible. I loved everything! If you don’t believe me, it was even listed as one of Oprah’s favorite things of 2018 (everyone trusts Oprah). What I tasted:
- Potato Latkes
- Cinnamon Babka French Toast
My one regret?…Not ordering a bagel. Although, I went to try on wedding dresses after brunch, so I’m slightly glad I resisted the temptation.
Next up was a quick photo op near the Flatiron building, a stroll through the Eataly shop (it’s a good thing I was still full from brunch), and an appointment at Kleinfeld Bridal.
My experience at Kleinfeld was amazing and was the venue for our 2nd celebrity sighting – none other than Randy Fenoli! It was exciting to see so many of the consultants that I’ve watched over the years on “Say Yes to the Dress.” I worked with Farrah, who was wonderful! The customer service exceeded my expectations and everyone was so sweet. I did say, “Yes to the dress,” but a few weeks later I ended up saying, “Just kidding.” I canceled my order after seeing the dress on the model online and realizing it didn’t quite have the shape I was looking for.
After dress shopping, we headed to checkout the beautiful Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and then off to dinner at Ippudo. We ate at one of the tonkotsu ramen house’s 3 NYC locations near 5th Avenue. I haven’t eaten much ramen – primarily because my chopstick skills are not up to snuff (they’re atrocious). This ramen was the perfect hiatus from the chilly and rainy evening, and the steamed pork buns were top-notch! Ippudo began as a chain in Japan and expanded to several international locations, including London! I know where I’ll be going for some cozy comfort food this winter.
Day 2 ended with the Broadway musical, Waitress. The music and lyrics (written by Sara Bareilles) were wonderful and the storyline (if you haven’t seen the movie) had a cute romcom-y nature. And don’t worry, if all the talk of pie is giving you a sweet tooth – they offer mason jar pies at intermission!
Day 3 began with Ess-a-Bagel. Eater, Thrillist, and TimeOut all listed it as one of the best bagel joints in the city, and it did not disappoint. This prime spot also came with a primetime line. The shop hosts a wide variety of house-made schmear – from chocolate chip to scallion. I ordered a whole wheat everything bagel with jalapeño cream cheese. It was a little heavy on the cream cheese, but other than that, it was everything I hoped for. I’m drooling a little just thinking about it. Don’t judge me – bagels are hard to come by in London.
After our stomachs were filled, we walked off our bagel babies at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which currently contains an extensive Andy Warhol exhibit. The building also includes some artwork in a few outdoor spaces that are awesome for a photo op. Cute restaurants and lots of shopping surround the museum. We strolled around and took in some of the Christmas décor before making our way to the Bryant Park Winter Village.
There were dozens of vendors setup in stalls similar to the Champs-Elysées chalets (now at Jardin des Tuileries) in Paris. Perfect for holiday shopping and snacking on festive bites. We were on a mission for some mulled wine, which we found in “The Lodge,” an Urbanspace bar and food hall situated right next to the ice skating rink.
On the way back to our hotel in Soho, we made a pit stop at Trapizzino. This restaurant is known for their triangular pizza pockets, but we grabbed some suppli to-go. We each ordered two of the giant fried rice balls: classico (bolongese) and cacio e pepe. They were the perfect snack to hold us over until dinner.
Before dinner, we went to the oh-so-instagrammable Ice Huts at Arlo Nomad for drinks. The igloos were cute, cozy, and had a gorgeous backdrop featuring the Empire State Building. However, the service had much to be desired. We arrived a little late, but our igloo still wasn’t ready. We were escorted to the rooftop, and our drinks were waiting for us. However, when we tried to place a 2nd order, there was no server to be found. We called the restaurant, but no one answered. We called the hotel and they took our order. 20 minutes passed and no one arrived. Another call was made to the restaurant to place our order again. After a while, our drinks finally appeared. We had to push back our dinner reservations due to the delay….good thing we ate that suppli! I’m sure rooftop service is much better during the summer, but it was an unfortunate experience. On top of everything, the restaurant over-charged me.
We followed one instagrammable locale with another; Pietro Nolita. From the cocktails, to the tables, and even the bathroom – this Italian restaurant is PINK AF! It was adorable. The food was simple, but delicious. We ordered lots of shared plates and noshed on a little of everything. After eating here, I decided that shishito peppers are my new favorite snack.
Nothing is better for a belly full of Italian food than some dancing (ok, I could name a few better things…like sleep). So we hit up Mr. Purple, a rooftop bar at Hotel Indigo. They happened to also have a giant igloo set up on their roof for the holidays. It was a little too chilly outside, so we mostly stayed inside and tried to influence the DJ (he wasn’t having any of it). After some dancing, we walked to a karaoke bar that we passed earlier that evening. Our song of choice: “Africa” by Toto. Lastly, it wouldn’t be a night out in NYC if we didn’t end it with some pizza.
The next day, I flew back to London with a hoarse voice and a fun (miserable) virus. But it was all worth it.
What I Wore:
Halogen Ruffle Neck Sweater – Comes in green and pink too!
- Photos at the Flatiron building
- Dress shopping at Kleinfeld
- Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and ice skating rink
- Broadway musical Waitress
- The Whitney Museum of American Art
- Bryant Park Winter Village
- Dancing at Mr. Purple
- Karaoke Boho Orchard
Yummy Food and Drinks:
- ABC Kitchen
- Café Grumpy
- Russ and Daughters
- Arlo Nomad
- Pietro Nolita