Archive of ‘Ten Lovely Things’ category

Ten Lovely Things: Eating & drinking in New York

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you may have noticed the few (hundred) photos of New York recently. Charlie and I spent just over a week in the big apple, and, to coincide with all of the usual tourist attractions, we made a seriously long list of places we wanted to eat in/drink at along the way. Isn’t that what being on holiday is all about?

Unfortunately we didn’t manage to hit every spot, however, there were a few stand out places that I wanted to share with those who might be planning a trip to NYC, or those of you who’re lucky enough to live right around the corner from the following awesome restaurants and drinking holes. Enjoy!

Best food in New York

If you’re visiting New York, you have to eat a slice of pizza – it’s basically the law. Artichoke is a straight up independent pizzeria that deals in excellent slices for less than $5.

The Standard Grill
This beautiful bistro situated inside a boutique hotel is the perfect place for dinner – especially if you’ve worked up an appetite walking The High Line, which runs underneath the belly of The Standard. Popular with the Meatpacking District/Chelsea crowd, you’ll be met with excellent service, strong cocktails, and the best duck bolognese ever.

KATZ’S Delicatessen
Famous for it’s huge sandwiches (and Meg Ryan’s fake orgasms), Katz’s deli is THE place to go for a lunch you’ll never forget. You won’t be faking anything when you sink your teeth into one of their huge pastrami on rye sandwiches – Charlie and I had to split it as we couldn’t handle one each!

Lanterns Keep
Lanterns Keep is a wonderful gem of a cocktail bar, tucked away inside the Iroquois hotel. The secret salon is open when the lantern on the exterior of the building is lit and delivers everything a girl could want; excellent service, the best cocktails, and attractive staff.

P.S Let the barman suggest a drink for you, you won’t regret it.

Beauty & Essex
A slightly more expensive eatery that’s well worth the hype. I heard about Beauty & Essex through Dawn Porter on Twitter and after doing some research (and drooling over hundreds of tweets of recommendation) we decided to give it a whirl. Situated on the Lower East Side, you’ll enter into this dark and stylish restaurant through a real pawnshop, be handed champagne in the Ladies, and feast on small plates of everything from lobster tacos and bone marrow, to bacon and tomato soup dumplings.

In the lead up to our trip, a couple of friends grabbed me by the shoulders and said “OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE TO GO TO BALTHAZAR”, and it didn’t disappoint. Charlie and I went here for our anniversary dinner and throughly enjoyed ourselves as we tucked into beautifully cooked French cuisine and worked our way through the extensive wine list. If you can’t afford a trip to New York just yet, you can find Balthazar in London now too!

Big Gay Ice Cream Shop
A glittering unicorn muriel painted on the wall, She-Ra defending the Universe on a shelf near by, and an ice cream called ‘the salty pimp’. Do you need any other excuse to visit Big Gay Ice Cream?

Death & Company
Impossible to find at first, this cocktail lounge turned out to be just a 3 minute walk from our apartment! Death & Co is a dark-as-hell exclusive bar with a no reservation policy. As you step inside, you’ll see why they don’t accept groups large than 7 (it’s small, narrow and almost pitch black) but if you can secure a seat at the bar, the cocktails will soon knock you off it.

In our experience, the service wasn’t as great as we’d heard (however the place was rammed and our waitress was fairly new to the job) but the flavoursome food was definitely worth the wait! Check out Bareburger‘s super cool website and you’ll soon be transfixed by their mouth watering organic burgers.

McSorley’s Old Ale House
McSorley’s was the last ‘men only’ pubs (it only started admitting women in 1970) and is, according to local legend, the oldest watering hole in New York. E.E. Cummings apparently drank “the ale which never lets you grow old”, and there’s even a photo of Abraham Lincoln drinking at the bar! There’s also sawdust on the floor, newspaper cut outs, bottle caps and photos covering the walls, and you’ll only find 2 drinks on the menu; light or dark beer. This snug ale house doesn’t have a website (!) but you can read more about it here.

Ten Lovely Things: Autumn

As friends and regular readers will know, autumn is my favourite time of year. The crisp air, the smell of bonfires, colourful leaves on a grey pavement, homemade soups and pies, layering with chunky cardigans, wearing knitted socks and boots…there’s something about this time of year that makes everything feel enchanted, like anything is possible.

If like me you’re currently feeling a little overwhelmed by the world, why not take a step back and pick something lovely to do from my autumnal list – I’m making it my mission to savour every moment.

things to do in autumn

Bake a pie
If you’re lucky enough to have the weekend off, why not bake a pie? Savoury or sweet, there’s nothing better than sitting down in front of a good movie with a thick slice of homemade pie and a pot of tea.

Put together a weather appropriate playlist
You know when you’re listening to music on your journey to work and light bursts through the trees at the perfect moment, or when the beat of a certain song matches your footfall and for a second everything feels awesome? That’s what your autumn playlist should sound like.

Put a pair of fresh pyjamas on the radiator for 10 minutes before putting them on
Mmmm, cosy pyjamas. Need I say anything else?

Write a letter to a friend
When everyone is running around like it’s the end of the world, it can be difficult to find time to see even your nearest and dearest. If you’re struggling to pin down your pals, set aside an hour in the evening and write to a friend you haven’t seen in a while; having an unexpected letter land on the doorstep can put a smile on someones face for the rest of the week.

Make a vat of soup
Whether my bones are aching, I’m suffering from a cold, or when I just fancy something for lunch that will warm my cockles, soup never fails to sooth me. Making your own is fun (and easy!) plus if you’re super organised, you can make a ton and take it into work with you; you’ll be the envy of all your colleagues AND you’ll save money too.

Find your nearest woodland/park and go for a walk
I can’t recommend this enough, especially if you don’t go to the gym very often or if your work requires you to sit down all day. Taking half an hour to stretch your legs, clear your head and get some fresh air will not only re-energise you, it will inspire you.

Turn off your computer and curl up with a good book
Even if you don’t work with computers, chances are you still spend far too much time staring at a flickering screen. Your laptop, your iPad, your phone, your television…turn it all off for an hour and get lost in a book instead – your brain will thank you for it.

Eat dinner by candlelight
I used to live in an area that was susceptible to power cuts in winter, which resulted in eating dinner by candlelight on more than one occasion. One time in particular, my housemates and I had just finished baking pastries when the lights went out and the TV fell silent; we ended up having a wonderful evening filled with conversation, wine and soft lighting! Instead of drifting into your usual dinnertime routine, turn out the lights, turn off the TV and light some candles – you might have fun! Make sure you have plenty of cheese and a good bottle of wine to give it that extra autumnal atmosphere.

Compile a list of things you’re thankful for
I know it sounds a bit soppy, but if the change in seasons has left you feeling lost at sea, the best thing you can do is focus on the positive anchors in your life. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and be honest with yourself – does your life really suck? List EVERYTHING that you’re grateful for, even the smallest details, like the ticket man who smiles at you in the morning, or the woman in the coffee shop who knows what you want without asking.

Treat yourself to some new socks
Nothing, I repeat, nothing, beats a new brand new pair of fluffy socks.