If you couldn't tell by my Instagram marathon, I was in New York City last weekend. All NYC stigmas are so real; the city never sleeps, people are cold, you walk EVERYWHERE, it's dirty, it's humid, it's loud - but its still got a piece of my heart nonetheless. I've done touristy New York trips in the past, but this time I really just wanted to live daily life with my two best friends and it ended up being just what I needed. We did a lot of exploring (aimless wandering) that found us some pretty sweet gems that I have compiled as a little travel journal for myself and quick tips if any of you are planning a weekend getaway to the concrete jungle!
As always, I overpacked for this trip. I managed to bring my entire closet in one carry on, and of course I wore about ten percent of what I brought. We walked what seemed like twenty miles through the city and I would have hated myself for wearing anything but runners. These essentials were my go to for this trip, aside from the outfits I brought for special outings like brunch (duh).
What: Chalait NYC
Where: West Village | 224 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014
Eat: Farmhouse Crunch & Classic Avo Toast
Drink: Matcha Latte
I stumbled upon this West Village gem on Instagram before my trip; they posted a photo of a sandwich called the Farmhouse Crunch (top right) and I was sold. Country ham, cheddar, kettle chips, lemon aioli, pickled onions, arugula, KETTLE CHIPS... Of course I ordered it and it was all I ever wanted and more. Amanda got the Classic Avocado Toast (right) which is straight out of a food mag; let's just say we'll be going back. The best part about Chalait was the employees, some of the nicest I encountered in NY which is hard to come by.
What: Refinery Rooftop @ Refinery Hotel
Where: Midtown | 63 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018
Eat: Burrata Toast, Hand Cut Herb Fries, Hummus, Burger
Drink: Mimosas (they just taste better on a rooftop)
If you're looking for the quintessential New York rooftop brunch, Refinery is your place. Nestled on the rooftop of Refinery Hotel, Refinery Rooftop hosts some of the best views of Manhattan, like a straight shot of the Empire State Building. Refinery is perfect for a larger group, we ordered a ton of shared plates (left) and it did not disappoint. The mimosas aren't the best in the world, but they definitely taste better with that view. The weather wasn't the permitting, so we sat in the indoor-outdoor seating with a glass roof; it's like eating and drinking in a greenhouse.
What: Two Hands Restaurant & Bar
Where: Tribeca | 251 Church St, New York, NY 10013
Eat: Two Hands Beef Burger, Smashed Avocado
Drink: Iced Chai
Best. Burger. Ever. Cheese, fried egg, pickled cucumber and beet relish, the best beef I have ever tasted, with a side of fingerling potato smashers and house made ketchup. I mean, I'm drooling just thinking about it. I split the burger and the avocado toast (top left) - you can never go wrong with some perfect toast.
What: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Where: Upper East Side | 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY 10028
Why: Manus x Machina Exhibit, Temple of Dendur, Rooftop
The Met is one of the most beautiful museums I have ever stepped foot in. This monster of a building hosts some of the most jaw dropping exhibits, namely the Manus x Machina: Fashion in the Age of Technology. This was also the theme for this year's Met Ball and it took my breath away. We are surrounded by some of the most innovative designers and we get to live in an amazing time of fashion. This is unlike any other fashion exhibit I have seen - everyone needs to see it while it lasts! The more permanent installations are worth checking out as well. The atrium room hosting the Temple of Dendur is so peaceful, I wish I could live there, and the rooftop of the museum has the best views of the NY skyline and Central Park. If you're on a budget, this is a great place to check out as the entry fee is all donation based; give what you can!
Overall, the trip was a success. Mostly because we saw Chrissy Teigen and John Legend going into a restaurant two doors down from where we ate the night before... I guess we picked the wrong place. But I really did get to do so much exploring and I was so thankful to have two of my best friends as tour guides. Shopping in SoHo, wandering aimlessly in Williamsburg, eating enough food to feed a small family, then walking it off block by block, cookie delivery (yes we did), bar hopping in NoLIta. By the end of the trip we were laying lifeless on the couch trying to stay awake, thats how I knew it was a good one. I'm at the window buying a train ticket back to the airport and the attendant says "You're from California aren't you?" I was so out of it I didn't even answer I just burst out laughing, was it that obvious? He said "You just have that California vibe about you, much nicer than New Yorkers." That was the greatest complement I had received in awhile. I love that no matter where I go or where I end up, I always carry my roots with me.