in a new york minute

As an early birthday present from Craig, he and I spent last weekend in New York City visiting Charlotte, one of my best friends from college. I love getting to visit friends in other cities, and NYC takes the cake as one of the most fun. It’s nice to visit such a huge, busy city (with a rather intimidating subway system compared to MARTA in Atlanta) and know we don’t have to worry at all about where we’re going or what to do because we’re with a local. I’ve visited Char many times, but this was the one of the first trips that involved almost no sightseeing or touristy activities — just going to hang out with our bestie in one of the most amazing cities there is.

We decided to visit from Friday night – Monday morning so we’d have the most amount of time to spend with Char while she wasn’t working. After a delayed flight (thanks to too much air traffic at LGA), we had a surprisingly quick cab ride to her apartment in the Financial District. And as a random surprise, I ran into Sara, one of my sorority sisters and summer roommate from college in the bathroom at the airport! She had just flown in from Rome and we happened to be in the same place at the same time. I also found out that she just opened her own boutique candy shop in Brooklyn called Sugar Shop. We didn’t end up making it over to check it out, but it looks amazing, and I am so excited for her. I mean… isn’t that every kid’s dream to own a CANDY shop??

Charlotte promised to take us to her favorite pizza place in New York, so we walked to dinner at Adrienne’s Pizza Bar in Financial after we got in. One of my favorite things about New York is how accessible everything is by walking on my own two feet. It makes me not feel so bad about myself when I spend the day eating brunch, pizza, and cookies. (Adrienne’s was mentioned in this week’s restaurant review post, along with La Bottega, where we also ate last weekend.)

We also went to one of her other favorite places, Brother Jimmy’s, which is a Southern BBQ restaurant/bar. They are all over the city, but she and her friend Erin used to work at the one we went to all weekend. Craig liked it so much that we had to go every day. The karaoke on Friday night was less than impressive, but the live band on Sunday afternoon was great.

Mimosas and brunch was a big favorite on Saturday and Sunday. I looooved my nutella french toast from the Russian place across from Charlotte’s apartment. Ironically, it was an Italian restaurant — just run by a bunch of nice Russian folks.

Our one touristy activity for the weekend was riding a shark! No, no… not a real shark… just the shark speed boat. There were all kinds of rules for not being able to ride the boat. One of them was that if you don’t like getting wet, don’t ride the boat. We didn’t think too much of it, but we got a big surprise when all of us were SOAKED on the way back — Charlotte, especially. It was so hot out, though, that the water (although sticky with salt) was kind of welcome.

Charlotte, Craig, and me at the South Street Seaport before boarding the shark::

The Freedom Tower, which stands in place of the World Trade Center towers::

Up close and personal with Lady Liberty::

Under the Brooklyn Bridge::

Before we were drenched. I’m being nice and not posting the after photo here::

Oh — and we also got to see Craig’s Chartis office building in NYC — big timers. He had to show a work ID and tell them about where he worked just so they’d let us in the front door to take this::

There was a massive food fest going on with more food trucks than I’ve ever seen. I thought Atlanta had a lot, but that’s nothing compared to this. Steets and streets of ice cream/yogurt/shaved ice, pizza, chicken… and ice cream sandwiches! We got the bourbon ice cream/ginger cookie and the cinnamon ice cream/snickerdoodle cookie… although I really liked that bright green guy.

Touristy shot by the Brooklyn Bridge::

Yummy group dinner at La Bottega in the Maritime Hotel. I love al fresco dining::

Night #2 at Brother Jimmy’s::

Sunday Funday started with brunch at Essex and ended at Brother Jimmy’s::

Craig says we need this sign for the entrance to our basement::

As always, it was sad to leave New York and our favorite person there, but it’s so nice knowing we can go back and visit. And Char’s moving soon, so next time we’ll be going to Brooklyn!

2 NYC restaurant reviews:: adrienne’s and la bottega

While we were in NYC last weekend visiting my bestie Charlotte (more on the trip in a later post), we ate at some YUMMY restaurants, so I had to share my faves! Coincidentally, both were Italian.

Restaurant #1:: Adrienne’s Pizza Bar in the Financial District
We walked to dinner after we got in town on Friday night, which I just love. We can’t walk anywhere from our house in Smyrna, so walking to eat is sort of refreshing, especially when I’m planning on pigging out on pizza and bread and wine…. The restaurant is located on the cutest cobblestone pedestrian street. As soon as we turned onto the street, I felt like we’d been transported to Europe. The rows and rows of outdoor tables were filled to the brim, even though it was hot hot hot. What a perfect way to kick off the weekend with friends or family.

Some of Charlotte’s friends met us for dinner, and we shared a couple of the traditional rectangular pies that I sense they’re known for. Char and her friend Erin immediately insisted on the “pepps and mush” pizza…. I had no idea what sort of special pizza that was until I realized it was just their shorthand for pepperoni and mushrooms. Should have known with Char and her abbreviations. Anyway, we tried that, a veggie, and a pepps and pepps (my own version with pepperoni and bell peppers). The pizza was so so tasty — just the right amount of dough and crunch and spice. We also had hot bread to dip in olive oil, caesar salad, and caprese salad (Craig’s new fave). Everything was perfectly delicious. The restaurant was really hot, but we were also sitting right by the kitchen. Char claims it’s the best pizza in NY, and I am sure there could be a debate about that for days, but I’ll take her word for it.

Restaurant #2:: La Bottega at the Maritime Hotel
Saturday night, we had reservations here for one of Charlotte’s friend’s birthdays. It was such a neat place! I love dining al fresco, and this place felt like we were eating in a big park in the middle of Chelsea.

How fun is this arial shot of the umbrellas on their patio?

And the Chinese lanterns… so festive!

We started the meal with some hot-out-of-the-oven pizza dough dipped in olive oil… mmmmm. Charlotte tried the watermelon and watercress salad (below) and I got the Tri Colore salad (hers was better and much more interesting). Craig got the farro salad (which is a grain) with mozzarella and orange segments. It was more filling than I’d want for a salad/appetizer, but it was interesting to try.

A big plate of the Burrata Caprese was passed around the table as well. I wasn’t a huge fan of the watery texture inside the mozzarella ball, but it seemed to be pretty popular with everyone else.

I stuck with one of my new faves for the entree — Tagliatelle alla Bolognes (basically pasta with a bunch of meat sauce) and it was good. I ate most of it, despite having eaten all day.  Craig chose the artichoke and goat cheese ravioli, which were HUGE and green and tasty-looking. We had a large group and shared several pitchers of the white sangria, which was filled with fresh fruit. So refreshing on such a hot, humid night!

We went to a number of other restaurants while in the city, but these were my faves. I can’t wait to go back and try more. What are your favorites in the big city?