As we rocketed up the traffic-free turnpike and easily parked our car on the streets of Midtown Manhattan for free, we knew that it could only be two things – a holiday weekend and yet another New York Quickie.
We shouldn’t share our secret, but we’ve figured out that New York City empties out on the summer holiday weekends, giving opportunities to savvy travelers to score cheap hotel rooms, easy dinner reservations and free parking.
We booked the cheap hotel room through Hotel Tonight and a dinner reservation via Open Table. New York’s Holiday suspension of parking rules allowed us to park in spots on the street usually reserved for commercial vehicles. Check, check and check.
Travel Tip: If you reserve your first Hotel Tonight with invite code mhirsch26, you will receive a $25 credit. (And so will we.)
We were in NYC for less than 24 hours. That was just enough time to buy a new camera lens, eat great food and celebrate our brother-in-law’s special birthday.
Yet Another New York Quickie
Lunch at Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop
So, our first stop on this quickie weekend was for ramen. Daryl ordered the Tokyo Shoyu Ramen, and Mindi ordered the Roasted Garlic Mazemen.
Both bowls were tasty, and we appreciated the multidimensional flavors of the shoyu ramen broth and the garlicky savoriness of the mazemen. However, we were disappointed by the dining experience which is more suited to a quick lunch. The surly service and crowded atmosphere had us feeling like just another number in the New York tumult. We also missed the cool manga art and convivial patio seating that we had loved downtown.
Tasting Tip: Skip Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop and instead go to the flagship Ivan Ramen on Clinton Street.
Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop is located at 600 11th Ave, New York, NY 10036, United States.
Shopping at B&H
We do much of our shopping online, especially for gadgets. Sometimes, though, we want to sample an item before we plunk down our hard-earned cash. When it comes to cameras and photography equipment, there’s no better place than B&H – the NYC photo and electronics superstore.
This store has it all from colorful iPhone cases to cutting edge 3D printers. More importantly, the store has a full selection of lenses to try and buy, including the one we bought for our new camera. (They even place little candy bowls on the sales counters – a plus when you have to test a lens for food photography.)
Almost anybody would be in shopping heaven at B&H. We were no exception.
B&H is located at 420 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001, United States.
Dinner at Alder
It’s not every day that we get to eat food designed by a leader in the molecular gastronomy movement. Since it’s relatively easy to get last-minute reservations on holiday weekends, we celebrated our new lens by sharing small plates at Wylie Dufresne’s Alder.
We’ll be writing about this dinner in more detail later. For now, here’s a tease of our meal.
Alder was located at 157 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003, United States. It is now permanently closed.
Drinks at Booker and Dax
A special birthday warrants special drinks. As part of the David Chang empire and right next to Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Booker and Dax fit the bill.
Booker and Dax serves drinks concocted by true mixologists. We tried some great drinks like Bee Sneeze (milk-washed gin, honey, lemon and cracked black pepper) and BDX Marg (mezcal, yellow chartreuse, cointreau and lime). Our drinking companions enjoyed snacks like steamed shitake buns and a mason jar of spicy kimchi. Best of all, we got to toast Brian’s birthday in person
Booker and Dax is located at 207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003, United States.
Coffee at Birch Coffee
It’s fun to try new coffee shops when we travel. We had originally planned to get some Stumptown coffee at the Ace Hotel. However, the line was too long so we changed our plan. That’s how we ended up at Birch Coffee.
Tasting tip: The New York Times has an interactive map for the best coffee shops in New York. Use the application to avoid caffeine withdrawal and/or bad coffee. Life is too short for bad coffee.
Birch Coffee is located at 21 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016, United States.
Brunch at Maison Kayser
There’s nothing like a baguette made in France. That’s why we eat so much of it whenever we’re there. Now we don’t have to, though, because Eric Kayser has brought the French baguette to New York with his Maison Kayser bakeries.
Maison Kayser serves brunch on weekends and on holidays. The menu of French food is just right for a causal meal, especially when enjoyed with a bread basket. Then again, almost anything would taste good with bread like this.
Tasting Tip: Try to save room when you’re at Maison Kayser so that you can enjoy the lovely desserts. We didn’t do that, but the pastries sure looked good, especially the eclairs.
Maison Kayser has multiple locations in NYC. We ate at the one located at 921 Broadway, New York, NY 10010, United States.
Walk Through Eataly
We ended the weekend with an obligatory walk through Eataly, where we bought some cheese to go with the baguettes that we bought at Maison Kayser. We’ll surely be back again for more New York quickies. In our opinion, it’s the best way to celebrate holiday weekends without getting on a plane.
Eataly is located at 200 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10010, United States.