Earlier this Spring, Rachel and I took a long weekend trip to NYC to use my Christmas present: tickets to a Knicks game! After doing my research for my latest trip to New York, there were a lot of places that I wanted to check out this time around that I didn’t get to on that trip. And I feel like we did an outstanding job! You be the judge…
We were up early to make the 5.5 hour drive from Rochester to New Jersey, where we would then take the NJ Transit train into Penn Station. We arrived at Penn Station, took the subway to the Grand St station in Chinatown, and walked to the edge of Chinatown and Little Italy, where we checked into the NobleDen Hotel at around 4:00pm.
For around $230 a night, we thought that the NobleDen was a great deal – the rooms were very clean, and the hotel itself was quiet despite being on a busy street. While we weren’t able to walk to the places we wanted to go, we were within a 3-5 minute walk from three different subway stations all serving different lines, so getting to other parts of the city was very easy (as long as you know what you’re doing on the subway).
Rachel’s primary objective on this trip was to get some outrageous desserts, so we made that priority #1 upon arrival!
We chose Taiyaki NYC, a short 5 minute walk from our hotel. Taiyaki is a very small hole-in-the wall place which makes absolutely delicious fish-shaped waffle cones to hold their equally delicious ice cream. But make no mistake about it, the cone is the draw here. It was unbelievable – soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, with a little bit of chocolate infiltrating the dough. And very ‘Grammable. Taiyaki is certainly no secret, so be prepared to wait – the line moves quickly though!
After ice cream, it was on to one of MY primary objectives: Los Tacos No. 1 in Chelsea Market. This place was referenced in Master of None as having the best tacos in NYC, so I had to try ’em. I know, we kind of did the meal and dessert out of order, but we were on a tight schedule and this was the best way to get everything in. Anyway, I guess I’m running out of ways to say shit tastes good, so I’ll just say the tacos were really, really good!
Carne Asada is definitely a must here, but the others were excellent as well (we had the Pollo Asado and Nopal tacos as well – Nopal is cactus).
After tacos, we hopped in an Uber to get up to The Met with enough time before it closed to make the trip worth it. Fun fact for those who don’t know, if you are a New York State resident, you pick how much you pay to get in! I paid $100,000, because I am a great person.
As my legion of fans may know, I am not typically drawn to museums, but once I’m there I usually enjoy them. The Met is obviously a legendary museum, and it did not disappoint at all. I highly recommend it to any first-timers! The numerous, expansive collections are truly impressive and very interesting. We probably could have spent a full day there if we wanted to.
We were kind of rushing to see as much as we could before it closed, so I unfortunately didn’t get too many photos:
After the Met, it was back to the hotel to prepare for dinner! This was Rachel’s delayed Valentine’s Day dinner, so naturally I spent a lot of time researching. She specifically requested Italian, so that left me with about 500 options to choose from. We finally narrowed it down to Italian in Greenwich Village, and I ended up selecting L’Artusi. To be honest, we had a little bit of an odd experience in terms of the service, but I’m not usually one to judge a restaurant on its service alone and based on only one visit. The bottom line is the food was very good – particularly the fish dishes and the desserts. We also really liked their (incredibly extensive) wine list, which was broken down by Italian region.
I can’t bring myself to say that you MUST go here for your Italian NYC meal, just because there are so many greats to choose from. What I can say is you won’t be disappointed, at least not in the food. It was a solid choice, and in a great neighborhood!
We called it a night after our late dinner, and the next morning we were up and at ’em early, with a run down to and over the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn!
After the run, we showered up and took the L train over to Bushwick – it was time for a Bee Sting at Roberta’s. It’s not always on the menu, but trust me, you must order it. This is without a doubt my favorite pizza in the world to date.
The charred crust with just the right thickness and fluff, the spicy, almost crispy pepperoni, the dollops of fresh mozzarella, and the drizzle of honey…it’s all so good. Just go get it.
Next, we had to do some walking to work up an appetite for Smorgasburg. We took the subway back to Bedford Avenue and did some walking around, popped into some shops, and ended up having a beer at Luckydog, which was packed with puppies!
We still weren’t too hungry, but we went to Smorgasburg anyway! Rachel had never been, but this made it two years in a row that I was there on opening day. This time I went straight to the Baonanas stand for some outstanding banana pudding, while Rach went for some kind of crazy ice cream.
Next up, we had to high tail it back to Manhattan in time for the main event – the Knicks game!
The game was a lot of fun, even though the Knicks were in full tank mode by this point in the season. The atmosphere was almost geared more toward the celebrity-sighting spectacle than it was toward cheering the Knicks on, which was entertaining and creates a buzz in and of itself!
After the game, we tried to get into a few speakeasies, but just like last year, we were shut out of all of them! Death & Co, PDT, and Attaboy all had crazy long waits or were booked for events. Instead, we revisited Tree Bistro for a glass of wine, before continuing on to Momofuku Ssam Bar, of the David Chang empire.
Everything here was exceptionally delicious, and this was probably the meal of the trip (with the exception of maybe Roberta’s). I highly recommend checking this place out, but get your reservation early! David Chang is probably the most well known chef in America right now, and some of his restaurants book up immediately once a new day becomes available!
After another late and large dinner, it was time to head back and get some sleep. Looking back on it, this was a heck of a day. Jam packed, we saw a lot, and ate quite a bit of really awesome food. Success!
On Easter Sunday, we had just enough time to sneak in one last iconic NYC restaurant for breakfast: Russ & Daughters, another place that lived up to the hype. Get one of the “boards,” with smoked salmon, a fresh bagel and various toppings for a great breakfast that doesn’t make you want to go back to bed until 3pm.
After that, it was time to hit the road back to Rochester, as another great trip to NYC was in the books. And dare I say a very successful trip! We hit almost every place that was on the Steintinerary, with the exception of Death & Company! I’m sure I’ll be back soon to check that one off the list.
What else should be on the list for next time? Leave a comment!
And if you’re traveling to NYC soon and don’t know where to begin, find me on Fiverr!!