Disclaimer: there is no one perfect New York City date weekend. You could probably go 1,000 weekends and plan 1,000 unique dates, and they'd all be pretty close to perfect. There's just so much explore, eat, and learn. For this trip, we knew we wanted to see and do a few things that weren't typical tourist attractions. We'd been a couple of times before together and once with our boys and wanted to get off the beaten path at least for part of our trip. This itinerary is truly a weekend date- two full days, two nights. Here's what we explored:
Day 1 Our flight left Atlanta very early on a Saturday morning. Upon arrival, we dropped our bags off at The Lexington Hotel, a quirky art deco hotel where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio lived while Monroe filmed "The Seven Year Itch." After taking care of the bags, we headed to the Red Hook area of Brooklyn. We first took a walk around to get a feel for the area and stretch our legs a bit before heading to our first stop:
This place was small, eclectic, and friendly. We were seated at a cozy table right at the front window (they also have an adorable patio for al fresco dining). The food was incredible - We had the chicken tinga tostada, which included pickled onions, black beans and eggs, and the breakfast sandwich. This sandwich sounds simple enough, but it was absolutely heavenly- eggs, maple bacon, pickled onions, and black-pepper aioli. We’ll definitely return here if we're in Red Hook again!
2. The Red Hook Winery https://www.redhookwinery.com/ The winery, a cool industrial space filled with old brick and wood, sits right on the harbor. They offer a free 15 min tour to anyone that enjoys a tasting of their wines. The wines were lovely - we particularly enjoyed their offering of reds. The grapes come from New York, and the wine is made in-house. They also offer local cheeses that you can order along with your wine. This place exudes a relaxed vibe that is perfect for talking and reconnecting.
3. Raaka Chocolate https://www.raakachocolate.com/ This was the activity I was most looking forward to on our trip, and it did not disappoint! I discovered Raaka at our local Whole Foods, and it is now my favorite chocolate bar. They aren't too sweet, the chocolate itself has unique undertones, and the flavors they craft are innovative and fun. Raaka doesn't roast their cacao beans which is one way they get those unique undertones. We took their Chocolate Making 101 class which explained the entire bean-to-bar process. After the tour portion, they guided the class in making custom chocolate bars. It was informative and lots of fun, plus we sampled copious amounts of chocolate- how can you go wrong?
4. One World Observatory https://oneworldobservatory.com/en-US We said farewell to Red Hook and headed back into the thick of things at One World Observatory. The elevator ride up tells the story of how New York City was built - quite impressive! The observatory itself offers spectacular sweeping views of the city. After taking in the view, we took a break at the One Dine Bar where we shared an appetizer and a drink against a beautiful skyline backdrop. The bar also offered a selection of mocktails. I had one made with lavender and lemon- refreshing, delicious, and perfect for toasting the gorgeous skyline.
5. Rooftop Bar
After nibbling our way through day one, we decided to find a rooftop bar for dinner that we could walk to from our hotel. Sharing a few small plates and enjoying the city night was the perfect end to our day.
1. The High Line https://www.thehighline.org/ We started our day with a long walk along the High Line. The High Line is a beautifully designed park/walking trail that utilizes an old railway line. It's the perfect mix of industrial cityscape and botanical gardens. We both loved this activity because we got some exercise, the setting was lovely, and we were able to talk and catch up with no interruptions.
2. Brunch at McKittrick Hotel Gallow Green https://mckittrickhotel.com/gallow-green/ This was the coolest brunch I have ever attended! Getting up to the roof felt like entering a speakeasy minus the code word (at least I imagine it was- I am not cool enough to have actually been to a speakeasy) Once up top, we stepped into a lush secret garden with a jazz band playing and tables filled with food. Brunch at Gallow Green was an experience I absolutely want to repeat! (The rooftop is open for weekend brunch during the summer season).
3. Broadway play
We walked off brunch by hoofing it to Broadway rather than taking a cab - it was a pleasant day, and we enjoyed seeing the different areas of the city as we made our way downtown. We were lucky enough to see Katherine McPhee in "The Waitress" at the Brooks Atkinson Theater.
4. Dinner at B Side Pizza https://www.bsidepizzabar-nyc.com/ We had no particular plans for dinner. After deciding we felt like pizza, Jon did an internet search, and we picked this hopping little restaurant. We sat on barstools in front of a large window overlooking the city street - perfect for people watching and talking. We shared the D.F pizza and a beer recommended by our waiter. The pizza was divine-we both still crave it- and the beer paired nicely with the spice of the pie.
Day 3 Flight home -all good thing must come to an end, but it's easier to go home knowing those you love are there waiting!
Souvenirs When we travel, I like to bring back souvenirs. Sometimes, these are actual physical items that remind me of a particular part of the experience. Often, they are just ideas, things I want to incorporate into my life, or things I'd like to try.
Souvenirs from our New York date weekend: 1. Finding uninterrupted time to talk and dream together is sustaining. Back home, we don't have access to the High Line, but we do have Kennesaw Mountain and the sidewalks in our neighborhood (and the Beltline if we venture a bit farther). We may not go to a winery on the water, but we can retreat to our screen porch with a glass of wine or a mocktail for some good conversation.
3. I see an at home Jazz brunch in our future - (Check back in the spring for details and recipes!)
3. Raaka Chocolate was our physical souvenir from this trip. We purchased a 1st Nibs Subscription. I get so excited when I get the email each month telling me which bars to expect! Here's the description directly from Raaka's website: " The ultimate subscription for anyone who enjoys good chocolate and a good adventure: fresh, creative, and innovative micro-batch bars sent monthly from our factory to your doorstep. Each month, you'll receive two completely novel and seasonal chocolate bars, with the option to add one Raaka classic bar, gifted in our signature muslin pouch. We'll also share our story on craftsmanship and sourcing from our head chocolate maker Nate Hodge to create a full tasting experience." https://www.raakachocolate.com/pages/first-nibs
I hope our NYC date weekend itinerary inspires you to explore and reconnect whether it be in New York City or your own hometown!
While you're waiting to explore NYC, here is my pizza recipe inspired by Bside and a delicious side/appetizer to pair with it.
Spicy Chorizo Pizza This non-traditional pizza brings together the delicious flavors of chorizo and cilantro.
Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts A touch of bacon and blue cheese makes these Brussels sprouts taste just a bit decadent, and the spicy-sweet vinaigrette balances the whole thing perfectly.