New York City
New York City is undeniably the most exciting city in the world with its center of finance, fashion, art and culture, and its epitome of fine dining.
If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere as the song suggests, New York, New York, sets the standard for excellence. So we decided on a short 4-day get-away to pay New York City a visit this past October to experience grand performance throughout the city - the stage for the worlds finest chefs and restauranteurs.
On our first day, we strolled through three of New York Citys most intriguing neighborhoods on an insider walking tour with Savory Sojourns (www.savorysasojourn.com). We began our tour amid the cast-iron buildings, cobblestone streets and trendy galleries in the ultra chic Soho , with breakfast at a European-style bakery where we watched as artisan breads were made by hand. In Little Italy our included a visit to a homemade pasta store and a family-owned cheese shop offering tastes of their fresh mozzarella which wet our appetite for an amazing lunch. We walked a few blocks to Chinatown, where the tiny, crooked streets are filled with sights, scents and sounds that transported us the Far East. With cuisines from half a dozen Asian countries, this area offers many options for delectable dining. Our guide however recommended an excellent choice for lunch, The Modern, (11 West 53rd Street - 212-333-1220). Set in the Museum of Modern Art, the fine dining establishment features original cuisine prepared by Chef Gabriel Kreuter, superb dishes such as chorizo-crusted Chatham Cod, or Long Island Duck Breast with black truffle marmalade. While there, we took a refreshing walk through the museums AbbyAldrichRockefellerSculptureGarden.
If you are inclined for an afternoon of shopping, New York offers you a world of choices. If you are looking for bargains, check out the trendy shops and vendors on the Lower East Side. If you are looking to splurge, check out the lavish chic designer boutiques on Fifth Avenue.
After a long day of walking, museum and gallery visits we went back to our Hotel, the Essex House (www.essexhouse.com) which is nestled between Central Park and Broadway. This lovely hotel is recognized around the world as a model of graceful elegance and art-deco design. We picked this hotel because it houses the restaurant Alain Ducasse (www.alain-ducasse.com) for which we had secured reservations months in advance. Alain Ducasse offers innovative cuisine, an elite selection of great wines, high style, and is rated #1 in New York City for meticulous service by Zagat.
As an alternative, you could head to the Upper West Side for an early dinner at Picholine (35W 64th Street, 212-724-8585) where Chef Terrance Brennans menu showcases creations such as roasted John Dory with grapes and truffles. And for dessert, you could indulge with an evening performance at the LincolnCenter. A world-class opera, music, or dance would the perfect grand finale to your Big Apple day.
We, however, after a superb diner at Alain Ducasse, just took the elevator up to heaven to contentedly fall asleep in our wonderful room, to do it all over again the next day.
On day two, we arranged a cooking class for two, at the Instiute of Culinary Education in Chelsea, (www.iceculinary.com, 50 West 23rd Street). Courses range from Cooking of Imperial Russia to Regional Thai Cuisine.
Afterwards we relaxed at Arabelle (www.arabellerestaurant.com, on 37East 64th Street at Madison Ave. 212-606-4647) with a traditional afternoon tea featuring delicate sandwiches, homemade scones, pastries and chocolate. New York City is the ultimate destination for dining, with more than 18,000 restaurants serving cuisine of ecvery culture, from Argentina to Ukrainian. After freshening up a bit, we headed to Kittichai, (www.kittichairestaurant.com ) called a little bit of Bangkok in Soho by Vanity Fair. Chef Chalermkittichai, former chef of the Four Seasons in Bankok, has gained a worldwide reputation for combining traditional Thai cuisine with international favors and techniques. Kittichai is located in the hip boutique hotel in Soho 60 Thompson Hotel that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times and Conde Nast Traveler. It was rated Best New Asian Restaurant and Best Manhattan Thai Restaurant. Our dinner was excellent and the service perfect. We had a little life left in us and so we headed up to the Blue Note in the WestVillage where once Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn and Ray Charles have played. We stayed another night at the Essex, nestled between Central Park and Broadway. Or you could try to stay at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, set on a cobblestone corner in Tribecca, one of the richest, most sought-after neighborhoods in Manhattan, and within walking distance of Soho, Chinatown, Greenwich Village, Little Italy, and the Hudson River.
On day three, we started out doing a little window shopping on Fifth Avenue, went browsing in some of the galleries and boutiques and then took a romantic carriage ride in Central Park. What a delightful way to spend the morning.
After that we made our way to Brooklyn to take in the spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline, as we tried to get a table for a waterside lunch at the River Caf (www.opentable.com - 1 Water Street, Brooklyn Tel 718 522-5200). The outstanding menu showcased American cuisine, such as Grilled Hanger Steak Medallions with chanterelle mushroom sauce, creamy spinach and crispy shallot rings. We then spent the afternoon exploring the Brooklyn Museum of Art, where vast collections, from Egyptian masterpieces to contemporary art, represent a wide range of cultures. We felt like steak and so we decided to have dinner at Sparks Steak House, (www.sparkssteakhouse.com 210 East 46th Street, Manhattan 212 687-4855) rated the best steak in Manhattan by New York Magazine and awarded Wine Spectators Grand Award annually since 1981. Before returning to our hotel, we enjoyed a performance at the renowned Brooklyn Academy of Music. That evening we sank into our beds after a more than full day of fun.
On day four, after a lovely breakfast, we hailed a cab to Queens, one of the nations most culturally diverse areas, to explore the varied ethnic neighborhoods. Attractions include the iconic Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona part and the Queens Museum of Art. After a full morning, we stopped in Long Island City at The Waters Edge restaurant (www.watersedgenyc.com at 44th Dr at the East River, Queens 718 482-0033) for our mid-day meal, offered al fresco in season, with views of the soaring skyscrapers across the river. Next, we marveled at the P.S.1 ContemporaryCenter, affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art, or you could check out the nearby IsamuNoguchi GardenMuseum, with over 200 works of the renowned sculptor. After a busy afternoon at the museum, we hailed a cab to take us to 155 West 51st Street in Manhatten where we had dinner reservations at Le Bernardin, (www.le-bernardin.com), a four-star seafood restaurant where Chef Eric Rippert, recentlyh recognized by the James Beard Foundation as Outstanding Chef of the Year, presides over extraordinary culinary creations.
The next morning, for our grand finale, we had breakfast at the Ritz Carltons restaurant, the Atelier, (50 Central Park, S. Manhattan, 212 521-6125) and then my husband took me to Tiffanys, located around the corner on Fifth Avenue, just to have a look.
Message Edited by lhbrown on 12-25-2007 09:23 AM