Sunday, January 30, 2022

Celebrating New Year's Eve 2021 in New York City

Exactly four years ago I visited New York for the first time. It was a dream come true to finally walk around the city and experience it myself. My love for New York has grown more and more since and I had this dream to one day spend New Years Eve there and in 2021 this finally happened! 
I still can't believe that after two years I was finally strolling in the West Village with a coffee in my hand, eating pancakes at Bubby's and taking it all in. Since I am now at home - still experiencing holiday blues - I decided to write it down for you all - and a little bit for me since I love reading my old travel posts.

Day 1
After arriving, meeting up with my NYC partner in crime, going to Whole Foods for some snacks and waking up way too early - hi jetlag I have not missed you - we decided to go to Bubby's for breakfast. I previously visited their location near the High Lane, but I think that is closed, so we decided to try their café near the Ghost Busters building. It has been three years since I ate their famous, fluffy pancakes and I have been thinking about them ever since. You can imagine my excitement when they arrived and it was everything I thought they would be.
After that delicious breakfast we walked around my favorite neighbourhood: the West Village.

There is just something about the atmosphere there that I can't get enough off. Oat latte in hand, we popped into Magnolia Bakery for some banana pudding, took some pics at the Friends building and walked on the High Line. We then went to Bleecker Street Pizza to eat a slice of their delicious pizza, following by yet another coffee at Blank Street and some cookies to-go at Chip City. Whilst sipping the coffee we decided to people watch in Washington Square Park. I love soaking up the city, watch all the different people and have a look at what everyone is wearing - one of the problems of working in fashion. We ended our day very jet lagged at Flat Iron Building, Ulta Beauty and Sephora and decided to go back to our hotel to watch Brooklyn and Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist.

Day 2
The last day of the year started at The Wild Son Lunch Counter in the East Village. I visited The Wild Son before near the High Line, but I think that location is closed, so we decided to check out the other side of town. I went for the blueberry waffle - as you expect - and my friend Claire chose a wild rice bowl. It was delicious and as we were sitting outside - most restaurants have build these huts to eat outside - it felt so surreal that this was the last day of 2021.
I think that you cannot go to New York in December without watching the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. The gorgeous tree was a bit overshadowed by all the tourists so we quickly decided to walk towards Central Park Zoo as we both had never been there. I am going to be honest here that I kind of expected it to be like the Madagascar movie, so it was a bit of an underwhelming experience. Zoo's always make me feel sad as well, so after a short break - we already walked tons - we went for yet another walk in Central Park, eating hot dogs and pretzels, and taking in the gorgeous trees.

Something that I didn't realize before is that NYE parties in New York are really expensive. And although I would have loved that experience, I always prefer a more chilled down New Years Eve. Which is why we went to The Smith in the East Village for lots of food and drinks. It was such a nice experience to celebrate it like a local and ring in the new year with champagne, party poppers and so much more. It will definitely be a New Years I am never going to forget.

Day 3
The next morning we woke up bright and early once again and went for a more casual breakfast at Blackseed Bagels in NoHo. I don't know if it was the evening before or the jetlag still kicking in, but it was one of the best bagels I have ever tasted. Just the right amount of bread topped with eggs, cheese and bacon - the best combination in my opinion.  
After that delicious breakfast we popped over to MoMa museum to soak in the culture and art. I had been before, but they put up so many new things that it was very nice to explore again. After that we rushed to the movie theater to watch Spiderman No Way Home. I have actually never watched a Spiderman film, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was and the ending was so sad I had to wear a new face mask because of all the crying. Still feeling very emotional - the rain didn't help either - we went back to the hotel as I actually fell down the subway stairs that morning - is it really a holiday without me falling? - and I had difficulty walking. We ordered some ShakeShack and watched Dirty Dancing 2, which in my opinion might be better than the original film.

Day 4
We started our day off right in Brooklyn at Five Leaves. A cosy café right in the middle of Greenpoint. Again I had to go for the pancakes and when you see the pictures you can understand why. They were so fluffy, covered in strawberries, banana and lots of maple syrup. Nothing beats Bubby's but I have to say that these will definitely make my top five. 

We then hopped on the Q-train to Coney Island. I definitely want to go here in the summer as I think it will be more lively with the amusement park and restaurants being open - it looked like a scary ghost town now - but it was still nice to see what it was all about, eat hotdogs at Nathan's and breathe in some fresh sea air. It's crazy how close it is to the actual city and I would probably be there on the weekends all the time to relax. 
After our relaxing day at the beach, we travelled to the Target near the Barclays Centre, which is my favorite Target as it is HUGE. After browsing - I bought way too much food once again - we had a quick break before going to dinner at Serendipity. Unfortunately for us we didn't book and they had no space available. Luckily I remembered this cute Italian place on the Upper East Side where I ate the last time I went to New York. So after quickly going to Levain Bakery - the BEST cookies - we went to Uva and enjoyed a lovely evening with bruschetta, truffle pasta and lots of red wine. 

Day 5
This day was a bit ruined by stressing about our pre-departure covid test, but we still started the day off right at Clinton Street Baking Company. I - again - went for the blueberry pancakes with maple butter which was delicious. We then spent about 3-4 hours on queueing for a test which was a bit unfortunate. Since our day was basically ruined for all the other things we intended on doing and it was freezing outside, we decided to go to Sephora, Ulta Beauty and The Strand to buy the last bits. I got my hands on this gorgeous Tarte blush, Shape Tape concealer and a Rare Beauty foundation which I cannot wait to use.

For dinner we ate ramen at Momofuku Noodle Bar, which was so good and with that in our bellies we went to Times Square to soak up all the lights and get that New York feeling. Especially at night I am amazed by all the lights and how bright they are. Crazy how it takes the most touristy place to remember how amazing New York really is.
After way too many photos we ended the evening by a walk on Brooklyn Bridge. I took a few photos, but they don't do the real thing justice so I can only advice to do this walk yourself - maybe not when it's windy and cold, because I was really struggling with the temperature this evening.

Day 6
Sadly this was our last day and I was not ready to leave yet. Especially after not being able to visit for such a long time, it felt like I was coming home. To end the last day on a high we visited Bubby's - again - for pancakes. I honestly cannot describe how good the pancakes are and it felt as the perfect 'last' breakfast. With a chai in hand, we went to Dumbo and walked the Brooklyn Bridge in the daylight. I do prefer it at night, but the pictures do turn out better during the day. Especially since it was a sunny, blue sky kinda day. 

After this we went to the last restaurant that I wanted to visit on this trip: S'MAC. This cosy restaurant is located in the East Village and serves the best mac n cheese. Again it felt like a perfect ending to a perfect day. Especially since we stocked up on more Levain cookies on our walk to the hotel which I ate when I was back in London. It was then time to take the AirTrain back to JFK and exchange the buzzing city life for another lively city: London.

As I am typing this I am starting to miss New York again (especially since I went to see Hamilton on the West End last week and all I can think about how it really is 'the greatest city in the world'. Hopefully I will be able to visit soon, but for now I will just reread all my other New York posts to make me excited all over again.

Have you ever been to New York? What has been your favourite things about the city?

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The London Food Hotspot: Sunday in Brooklyn

New York has a special place in my heart - together with pancakes - so Sunday in Brooklyn was a café I had to visit. It was one of those places that I wanted to go to when I was in New York, but since the city has so much to offer I never managed to make it. 
The café originally began its story in Williamsburg, NY but decided to open up their first international café in London after their succes in the US, and since travelling is still a bit difficult at the moment I am very happy to experience a little bit of New York, even if it's only for two hours.

Located in Notting Hill, close to other favourites such as Granger & Co and Tab x Tab, it's the perfect spot for weekend brunch, cozy dinners and early breakfast. When you set foot in the café you immediately get an airy feel with bright windows, earthy tones and lots of plants. Add a suburb menu on top and you have a killer combo that translates well to every country. 

On weekends it can get a bit busy, so after an hour or so we were given a comfortable seat near the big window. I already knew I wanted to try their famous hazelnut maple praline pancakes with brown butter and ordered a latte on the side. My friend went for the egg sandwich and a mocha. 
The food arrived quickly and I must say that it was a really good pancake! It kind of felt more like a cake with lots of Nutella and I immidiatly regretted getting two. There is an option to order one, two or three pancakes and since I thought one looked a bit sad I went for two. Safe to say one would have been fine as well, but if you ask for a box you can take the leftovers with you - which is what I did. The egg sandwich was also really good, so overall we really enjoyed our meal there. 

If you are looking for brunch with a New York feeling, Sunday in Brooklyn is the place to go. I really enjoyed my time there and would only wish it wasn't as busy on the weekend, but I guess other people must be a fan of it too. Hopefully I will be able to visit this café in New York soon, but until then I am happy that we have this spot right here in London.

Have you been to Sunday in Brooklyn already?

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