December Trip to NYC

We arrived home late Monday night after an awesome four days in NYC! This is my favourite time of year to visit New York. There’s a bustling cheery vibe to the city at this time of year and an iconic Christmas scene around every corner.

This year, we stayed with our friends, Jer and Melissa, who are living in Manhattan for the next two years. The four of us took full advantage of the holiday buzz. We ate and drank ourselves silly over the weekend, countering the calorie binge with long hours of walking — which is the proper way to do NYC. I’d love to recount our trip for you…

 

We arrived Thursday night. Mel met us at home. She’s studying at the Institute of Culinary Education this year so her fridge is stocked with her “assignments” from school. She immediately pulled out a few welcome snacks like venison with roasted squash, baked quail on foie gras and the best pumpkin cheesecake I’ve ever had. Melissa, we love you.

The next morning, Mel and Jer headed off to school and work so S and I hit the town. We walked, shopped, museum-ed at one of my favourites MoMA (which has a great Edward Munch exhibit) and ate our way from the Upper East Side down to the start of the High Line, an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. After trains stopped using the rail line in 1980, nature took over and greenery started to grow in along the trail. A few years ago, the High Line opened as a formal walking path. Today, you can walk, hang out, take in cool views of the city. It’s an incredible urban renewal project.

That afternoon, we met up with two of my editors at the lounge at the Standard Hotel, which sits at the south end of the High Line. We caught up over cocktails as we watched the sunset over the Hudson.

The four of us had our Christmas day on Saturday. We visited the famous tree at Rockefeller Center and loaded up on lattes from Blue Bottle coffee, part of our daily ritual. We checked out the elaborate windows in department stores, visited the Tiffany diamond and picked up our own Christmas tree. That night, we ate dinner at Gramercy Tavern, one of the most popular restaurants in NYC. I ate a delicious butternut squash soup with lobster. S and Jer ordered an incredible beef & pork bolognese — so good that we’re still talking about it.  We finished off the night at a speakeasy bar. Speakeasies become really popular in NYC over the last few years. At most, there’s only a small sign out front to suggest the dimly lit bar inside.

Sunday, we followed the same pattern: a day of walking, an evening of incredible food and a night of cocktails at a speakeasy. We wandered Central Park and Greenwich Village. At night, we dined at Jean Georges’ Nougatine (where we saw one band member from One Direction. We had no idea who he was. We only knew he was famous from the hundred girls outside waiting for him. We also saw Charles Barkley, which was much more exciting.) Again, the meal was delicious. I started with two exquisite appetizers — the tuna tartare and a kale salad — and finished with a red snapper. We ended the night drinking cocktails while sitting on dark velvet couches at the Raines Law Room. (Check out their website — it’s so good!)

And now, we’re home. Thanks, J&M, for an awesome weekend!

~Chris

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