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New York City Holiday Weekend

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.

Empire State Building on Labor Day
Empire State Building on Labor Day

Important Update
Many businesses have revised their hours due to COVID-19. Some may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information.

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.

With advance planning, we booked a cheap hotel room and scored a difficult dinner reservation. 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.

Independence Day in NYC

We were in NYC for less than 24 hours. That was just enough time to buy a new camera lens, eat NYC food favorites and celebrate our brother-in-law’s special birthday.

Lunch at Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop

Gotham West Market in NYC
Gotham West Market

We were curious to check out Ivan Ramen in the Gotham West Market after our superb meal at the flagship location on Clinton Street. Plus we had heard good things about the market.

So, our first stop on this quickie weekend was for ramen. Daryl ordered the Tokyo Shoyu Ramen, and Mindi ordered the Roasted Garlic Mazemen.

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop in NYC
Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop

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.

Pro Tip

Skip Ivan Ramen at Gotham West Market and go to the flagship Ivan Ramen on Clinton Street instead.

Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop is located at 600 11th Ave, New York, NY 10036, United States.

Shopping at B&H

Candy Bowl at B&H in NYC
Candy Bowl at the photography counter at B&H photo.

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 DSLR 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

2foodtrippers at Alder in NYC
2foodtrippers 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.

Food at Alder in NYC
Food at 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

Birthday Cocktails at Booker and Dax in NYC
Birthday Cocktails 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 served 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 was located at 207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003, United States. It is now permanently closed.

Coffee at Birch Coffee

Mindi at Birch Coffee in NYC
Mindi 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.

Birch Coffee in NYC
Birch Coffee

That’s how we ended up at Birch Coffee, one of the best coffee shops in NYC.

Pro Tip

The New York Times has an interactive map for coffee shops. 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

Baguettes at Maison Kayser in NYC
Baguettes at Maison Kayser in NYC

There’s nothing like a Paris Baguette. That’s why we eat so many whenever we’re in France.

Now we don’t have to, though, because Eric Kayser has brought the French baguette to New York with his Maison Kayser bakeries. And the best part? Maison Kayser serves brunch on weekends and on holidays.

Brunch at Maison Kayser in NYC
Brunch at Maison Kayser

The menu of French food is just right for a casual meal, especially when enjoyed with a bread basket. Then again, almost anything would taste good with bread like this.

Eclairs at Maison Kayser in NYC
Eclairs at Maison Kayser

Pro 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

Eataly Shoppers
Eataly Shoppers

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.

Plan Your New York City Stay

Click here to research rates for hotels in New York City.

Or click here to find an Airbnb apartment with a kitchen.

Hungry for Pizza in NYC?

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Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

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Revati

Saturday 29th of November 2014

Cant wait to visit NYC!

Alejandra

Thursday 27th of November 2014

Well, that title was misleading :P I love B&H I can be there for hours (and I hate shopping). Ive never heard of Maison Kayser but that bread looks so fresh!

Bianca

Saturday 13th of September 2014

Sounds like a fun trip and I certainly didnt know there was ever a quiet moment in NYC but I will be sure to visit during the summer holidays now that you say that its the cheaper period too with hotels!

Bonjournal

Saturday 13th of September 2014

Seems like fun trip to New York. We love Birch and can spend hours in B&H. Did you get anything?

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saturday 13th of September 2014

Yep. We bought a new lens.

Elaine

Saturday 13th of September 2014

I used to love holiday weekends when I was living there and everyone emptied out to the beach! Alder looks great!

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