Here is a little summary of where we stayed and ate during our 2 weeks in NYC. As with all the places I write about none of these places paid me or gave me free food in return for any kind of reviews
Le Parker Meridian
We stayed here once before and LOVED it, however it is usually one of the more expensive hotels in NYC and so we usually choose the slightly cheaper The Westin at Grand Central.
For whatever reason this trip we were able to get very good rates. Maybe we booked far enough in advance… I have no idea but I was certainly very happy about it.
When we arrived we were upgraded to a junior suite (That Lifetime Platinum Starwood membership has its advantages) which was nice and after a long flight we just completely crashed out, unaware that the room had not been de feathered as per our profile. This wasn't a great start and I woke up on Sunday morning feeling pretty miserable and very congested but everything was rectified quickly and the duvet and pillows were replaced with foam and a wool blanket.
As a platinum member we get a gift which is usually free breakfast. In Le Parker Meridian this is vouchers for a coffee and pastry in Knave their small coffee/lunch/bar spot. This was great for me as I was able to use both my husbands voucher and mine due to them only being usable after 8am. Now this is fine if you are on holiday (me) but makes them pretty useless if you are here for work (husband)
Generally, the rooms are looking a bit tired, the wood in the bathrooms of peeling, and my husband didn’t have a bedside lamp, it had obviously broke and the wires were covered with a plastic square on the wall.
I also noticed that bath robes and slippers aren't automatic here. It was only when I wanted to visit the pool on the 4th day that I realised we didn't have them and had to call housekeeping. Toiletries being replaced is a bit hit and miss, and there are no cotton buds, cotton wool balls or anything beyond shampoo, conditioner, and soap.. not even body lotion.
The gym is excellent and the rooftop pool with floor to ceiling windows is also a rare find in NYC and certainly gives you something to do for a few hours if its raining outside or you are a bit jet lagged and need a bit of a kick start.
The Burger Joint on the ground floor of Le Parker Meridian is a big bonus. The burgers are amazing, some of the best I have eaten. I have written about them before....
We would probably stay again because the location is very good, but it would be a coin toss over here or the Westin Grand Central.
119 West 56TH Street New York City NY 10019
The new restaurant of Chef Dan Kluger ABC Cocina and was on my restaurants to visit list as I had been to ABC and really enjoyed it and so was quite interested to see what Loring Place had to offer.
It was really hard to get a table, even the bar was packed. So we were quite pleased that a friend secured a table for four. Great way to get to sample lots of dishes.
We had drinks in the bar before dinner, and service was very good, the staff were very knowledgable about the gin collection and especially the American Gins and the 'boutique' syrups that were made to go with soda water instead of tonics.
We were seated at our table and ordered a selection of the 'signature' dishes that we could all share.
The hummus and flat bread was very good, nice flavor, spiced cauliflower was also very good. The sprout pizza a big disappointment, it was lacking in flavor but the pork chop with pomegranate was very good, though quite small.
For dessert we had the recommended Hostess cupcake dessert but sadly that was just average at best.
Sadly the meal was really nothing special. ABC was memorable but I don't think Loring Place offers anything new or exciting. It's a nice sized restaurant and the tables are well spaced and you can actually hear your friends speak which is nice but sadly there wasn't a single dish I would return for.
21 West 8th St
New York , NY 10011
Il Bucco Alimentari
I was in the area with a girlfriend visiting Great Jones Street Spa and so I booked this place for late breakfast. We were given our menus but we were a little startled by the size of the plates on the table next to us, However when our food arrived it was more 'normal' portion sized.
I had Eggs al Forno and my friend had Avocado Toast and we ate every last bit. Both dishes were tasty, and a good sized portion. Service was good and we enjoyed a lovely quiet restaurant until the lunch crowd started to appear.
Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
53 Great Jones St. 10012 New York
+1 (212) 837-2622
Restaurant Marc Forgione
We arrived a little early to meet our friends and were greeted warmly and shown to the bar where we enjoyed gin and tonics before dinner. The bar area is nice, spacious and if you can't get a table then you can eat smaller plates here.
The restaurant is dimly lit and tables are arranged so we were not too close to our neighboring table.
Our waiter was very good, and patient, explaining all the ingredients that we didn't recognise - there were a lot !! The menu was unnecessarily complicated/cryptic. I'm not sure if they are aiming for confusion or superiority, but a little more description would be great. I'm perfectly happy to admit my lack of knowledge and ask questions but if your menu has the potential to intimidate your customers is that something you want to do? There were many things I'd never heard of mangalista lardo, rutabaga, and nduja to name a few and having foods to share like skewers of love, hot little bitches and lunchables was actually just a bit irritating.
We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, we had a few small plates to start, an amuse bouche from the kitchen, chili lobster was delicious (but a little messy), fois gras was beautifully presented and the halibut and the monkfish were both cooked perfectly.
I might go back, but the cryptic menu kinda took something away from the whole experience.
134 Reade Street
New York City 10013
+1 (212) -941-9401
Excellent service once again. The is the second time we have visited and it was just as good as I remembered. We were very lucky to get a Saturday night table through our hotel concierge as the restaurant was very busy.
I had the fixed price 4 course menu which is great value.
Oysters were a bit miserable to be honest. I said I liked meaty and creamy ones but 2 of the ones that arrived were so small they were almost none existent. however that was the only complaint. The risotto was tasty and cooked perfectly, my scallop main course was delicious and quite substantial. Large tasty scallops. Chocolate dessert was the perfect end to a delicious meal.
Everything my friends ate from the amuse bouche to the petit fours - mini tiramisu received great compliments. Service was seamless and we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. I'll definitely go back again and won't hesitate to recommend mares to friends.
I'll be going back to Marea again and again.....
Marea 240 Central Park South NYC 10019.
La Pizza La Pasta - Eataly
Well first of all I love Italy, I used to come here to buy ingredients when we lived in NY, second it is a great place to eat lunch during the week as there is a lot of choice. (forget the weekends they are crazy busy) We arrived around 1 pm and had no problem getting a table. My friend and I both had the Vongole and it was DELICIOUS. This is my favourite Italian dish and it was coked perfectly with fresh pasts. I would recommend not only the restaurant but also this dish.
Eataly 200 Fifth Avenue NYC 10010
Of course we ate at LOTS more places, but these were the hi-lights.. I hope they are in some way helpful.... I'd love to hear if anyone has been to any of these places and what they thought....
There are several cities my husband regularly visits for work. Depending on the level of interest and time he spends there I decide if I am going to tag along and take advantage of the hotel room. Believe me, I know how lucky that makes me. Its fabulous. I love it !!
And New York is a 'no brainer'.
Even more so since he was spending 2 weeks there, we had some friends from London in town for a few days AND one of my best girlfriends from Melbourne was also going to be there at the same time.
I booked myself a great priced premium Economy ticket with British Airways, and was lucky enough to get an upgrade to business class. I've mentioned before that I LOVE travelling with British Airways, I LOVE the champagne lounge at Heathrow and as a loyal Gold Card holder I get treated well and have a few nice upgrades. It makes a big difference to any trip.
I even managed to get an appointment for a facial in the complimentary Elemis spa at the lounge. This trip was off to a very good start...
As with a lot of my trips to NYC I do tend to make a lot of plans. There are lots of things I like to do and restaurants that I want to try, if I don't make the reservations I can't get tables where I want to or the spa I want to go to is full so to avoid disappointment I do make quite a few plans.. Also, this time around I was co-ordinating a few things with some friends and so being organised was important.
On this trip we were staying at Le Parker Meridian, an SPG hotel very close to Central Park. Its a great location for Shopping, the Metro, and Hubby can walk to the office. Its often quite expensive, but luckily this time, for whatever reason, their rate was very competitive. We use the SPG chain a lot and have lifetime platinum status, and they are quite good with rewarding their loyal guests. This time was no exception and we were up-graded to a suite which is great when you have 2 weeks of luggage and plan to do a lot of shopping. A review of the hotel and the restaurants we ate at will follow in the next post. 2 weeks in NYC - Part 2.
Top of my list of appointments in NYC is always a visit to the hairdresser for a cut.
I have naturally curly hair and there is a great company called Devachan who have 2 salons n NYC, and trained stylists all over the USA and even some in the UK.
If you have curly or even wavy hair check them out. Their cutting technique makes absolute sense and bad hair cuts will become a thing of the past. I discovered them whilst I was living in NY years ago and apart from a Deva trained stylist in London there is no-one else I let near my hair. I use their products (thank you Amazon) and my curls are happy, bouncy and I'm often complimented for them.
425 Broome St (At Crosby), New York, NY 10013
220 West 79th Street, New York, NY 10024
Next on the list of bookings was a spa day with my friend. We chose Great Jones Street Spa as it had been recommended by a friend. I don't have an photos from inside as its a full on spa with saunas steam rooms and jacuzzi as well as all the treatments a girl needs to make her feel beautiful and ready to face the world. Its spread over several floors and is very spacious, you would never be able to tell from the outside.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time there, I had a fabulous facial and a Mani-Pedi. It was a beautiful oasis in the city and I'd highly recommend it... not at the weekend when it gets crazy busy, but on the Tuesday afternoon in March, it was just perfect.
29 Great Jones Street, New York, NY 10012
My last booking was for a personal shopping experience at Macy's Department store.
This was lots of fun and a very good time and money saver.
I contacted them via email and sent a photo of myself with my clothing size and a brief explanation of what I was looking to buy. I decided this would be a great way to shake up my wardrobe and try some styles and colours that I wouldn't normally. It worked out very well and I arrived to find a whole room of outfits and accessories ready for me to try on.I found a few pieces that I loved and my personal shopper rushed away to find them in other colours for me. I didn't have to run around the worlds largest department store myself, instead I enjoyed my complimentary drinks and waited for the clothes to come to me. Perfect.
To add to the experience is the 20% discount offered on all the items you buy from the personal shoppers suggestions. On the day I was there some of the items already had a discount, and so the additional 20% really did bring the overall bill down considerably.
I left with some great jeans, a couple of pairs of cropped trousers for the summer, some tops and t-shirts in colours I would not normally choose and a beautiful wrap dress.
A very successful, stress free shopping trip I will definitely repeat.
151 West 34th Street NY 10001 4th Floor
I'll write a separate post about the restaurants we went to during our stay, some new ones, and an old favorite... READ THIS POST HERE
All in all the trip was a great success, a fabulous mixture of 'me time', catching up with friends and eating in some great restaurants, updating my wardrobe ready for spring and getting a haircut. What more could I ask for....
I've eaten Gnocchi many times in restaurants and really enjoyed it. I have no idea why I have never tried to cook it myself.
It is a lighter option than pasta and if it is cooked fresh it is absolutely delicious. I found a great recipe online and it was so easy to make and it produced enough dough that I froze some for another day. (I have since used that and it defrosted and cooked without any problem)
I'm not going to lie, It is a time consuming recipe but I just did it on a day when I had lots of other chores at home. My husband loved it. I served it with a pork and mushroom stroganoff. Give it a try, its well worth it.
250g rock salt
1.25kg potatoes (I used ones for baking/Rosti/fries - we don't have the same names in CH as the rest of the world)
200g plain flour
1/4 tsp pepper
200g parmesan finely grated.
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
2 egg yolks
100g unsalted butter
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. scatter the rock salt on a baking tray and put the potatoes on top. Bake for 1 hour / until tender. This will depend of the type of potato and their size. Remove and allow to cool.
Slice the potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh. In a bowl mix the flesh with parmesan, flour nutmeg, salt, and egg yolk. Using a potato masher helps to also ensure there are no potato lumps. Mix into a lump and divide the lump into 4 smaller balls.
Roll the balls out on a floured surface to form a roll about 2 - 2.5 cm wide and slice. See the picture below. Use a fork to flatten, this also gives them the indents on top.
In batches cook the gnocchi in boiling water until they float to the top (about 1 minute). Remove and plunge into iced water then transfer to a plate with kitchen towel to dry.
Leave these to dry for anywhere between 1 - 4 hours. I put mine on trays in the fridge but you can keep them anywhere cool.
When you are ready to cook them heat the oven to 200 degrees.
Melt butter in a large fry pan and cook the gnocchi in batches turning them to ensure they are a nice light brown on both sides (about 4 minutes).
Transfer to a baking tray and bake in the oven for about 5 mins until they are puffed and golden.
Serve with a nice meat ragu or a mushroom stroganoff... whatever you feel like.
I just use them wherever I would normally add potato or pasta to a creamy sauce dish.
If you want to freeze them you can do so at the stage where you have a dough. I did this and defrosted it, rolled them and continued from that stage and they were just as delicious.
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