But First, NYC

Hello Lovers of Random.  As if my first post outlining my impending travel wasn’t jealousy inducing enough, this past weekend, the #PIC and I jetted off for a 36 hour whirlwind trip to one of my favorite places, New York City.  I was almost as excited for this trip as I am for Earhart (the name of my RY program, for those of you who have other things in your mind than my travel shenanigans). The food, the city, the air that is so distinctly New York… AH!  24 hours before takeoff and I get an email that we’ve been upgraded to first class… way to spoil me before I fly budget for the next year. Hey, I am not complaining.  I’ll take it.  With a rye whiskey before take off please.

A fantastic dinner with the crew the eve before takeoff made our 6am flight a slight challenge, but we managed to slide into our seats just in time to get delayed by a faulty jetway. Gotta love Delta and those spicy ATL connections!  Lucky for us, the travel gods were on our side and we made it to our LGA chariot with a few moments to spare and only a couple of dirty looks. One anxiety ridden Uber through a very crowded Queens and bridge under construction and we arrive in Manhattan.

First on the agenda, feed me.  Seriously Randomers, hangry is a thing for me and it is not pretty.  The lavender chocolate chip cookies provided by our beautiful hostess from the night before are long gone and I need to be refueled.  I can’t think of a better spot than Balthazar, so it’s off to SoHo to get my French fix.  True to form, Balthazar does not disappoint, and after a short 10 minutes wait, we belly up to the bar (easy access) and I get my carnivore fix with some steak tartare and a cheeseburger… those fries though…

Now that I’m satiated nutrition wise, its time for some exploring.  The #PIC has never been to Eatly and was craving a beer, so we set off toward the Flatiron (my fav bldg in NYC), stopping at an art/flea gallery and catching a dance party parade on the way.  Only in NYC.

I’m like a kid in a candy store when we get to Eatly.  Its like this place was designed for me.  My little Italian heart (and tummy) wants a little something from every corner, but we shoot up to the roof for a little La Birreria action.  Now, I know, we’re at a beer garden, but guys, the cocktail list here is mouth watering.  Inspired by our previously mentioned cookies, I opt for the Bloody Greyhound with a lavender salt rim (gasp!  She didn’t get whiskey!).  Even the #PIC opts for a bourbon cocktail before switching to beer.  Before heading back to the hotel for a wardrobe change, we swing by the meat counter and get some prosciutto and some mozzarella for hotel munchies.  I am sad to report the mozz was forgotten.  The prosciutto, however, was everything we hoped it would be an more.

The plans were a quick drink with some fellow Earhart digital nomads and then dinner at the bar at Gramercy Tavern (noticing a pattern yet?), but an ill-timed yet much needed nap caused us to have to make a decision.  Now, I am never a fan of choosing against Gramercy Tavern, but we made the right call and headed to Black Barn to crash my travel mate’s going away party.  I’d like to tell you I was as cool as Frank Sinatra stepping out of a helicopter with a (rye) whiskey, but I was not.  Meeting my Earhartians brings a whole new level of real to this journey, and I was a bundle in nerves in need of a rye stat.

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All of my worry was for nothing, because as soon as I walked in the door, I hit it off with my #IPIC (International Partner in Crime).  The #IPIC and I are going to find some trouble, but damn it is going to be fun.  The PR Queen, who was gracious enough to let us use her party was a meeting vessel, introduced us to the chef as well as the FOH manager, who is actually from Croatia (pro tips incoming).  Later, my Croatia Roomie showed up and we swapped tips on managing our curls in 12 different climates.  While confirming fears and sharing packing strategies, the kitchen sent us out a smattering of desserts.  Now, I live in the South, and bread pudding is the South’s jam, but this bread pudding was the best I’ve ever had.  And the bourbon ice cream.  And the apple cider doughnuts.  And I didn’t think it could possibly get better than the bone marrow and the chicharrones.  If you find yourself near Madison Square Park, give them a try.  After an amazing evening of food and bonding, the #PIC and I took our leave and decided to relax in Times Square before heading off to bed.

Day 2 started with a tour of the 9/11 Museum.  I won’t write much about this, because I found it to be a pretty personal experience.  Go, take tissues, be ready for the roller coaster of emotions.

We made the grave mistake of not eating before going to the museum, so hangry was making her way back into the scene.  Not to worry though, we were headed back to the Flatiron district to satisfy my eternal craving for the brunch at Maysville.  I’m well aware that there are a thousand spots to get brunch in NYC, but I will ALWAYS go to Maysville.  I mean, they have a WALL of bourbon.  Initially disappointed that my bourbon milk fizz was no longer on the menu, the bartender Aaron became my hero when he offered to make it anyways.  Once again a happy girl, I dove in and ordered us the crispy grits, arctic char tartare and my personal fav, the hay roasted oysters.  We plowed our way through the menu, chatting with Aaron about rare ryes and sampling some of his spot-on suggestions. We were pretty sure we couldn’t eat another bite, but there was no way we were not going to try the monkey bread he brought out (we finished ALL of it).  Special shout outs to Aaron for being a rockstar brunchtender, and Kyle Knall for keeping the menu at Maysville mouth watering.

Next stop: walk the Brooklyn Bridge.  It was on the #PIC’s bucket list, and his only request for the trip.  He had obliged me all the other decisions, and I was happy to oblige this one. But Brooklyn to Manhattan, because the views, of course.  We hopped into the best Uber ride I’ve ever had and headed to DUMBO.  Before grabbing a pre-bridge trek cocktail, we wandered a photo exhibit depicting mothers in nature.  Then it was a quick rye and we were off the bridge.

Walking the bridge is one of my favorite NYC activities.  If I haven’t previously mentioned, the #PIC is an engineer, so walking it with him didn’t only bring new memories to it, but also a different perspective and some cool new stories.  I also have a new book at read, and Savannah, GA has been added to my bucket list.  After the bridge, we opted for a drink in the park, and while he wanted Central, I convinced him to take me to Bryant where I could stare at the BofA Tower, another fav of mine.  A rye on the rocks for me and a gin martini for him (yes, the bartender got it backwards) and we’ve got just enough time for one more NYC meal.

I haven’t written much yet about the Funday Partner.  He’s not Sunday Funday or a Friday Funday, he’s an erry day funday partner.  I’ve decided that it is impossible to be around this guy and not have fun.  #Lifegoalz for sure.  He’s a big reason I have the courage to go on Remote Year, because he refused to take no for an answer.  Anywho, the Funday Partner is the kind of guy that when he recommends a restaurant, you go – which is how we ended up at Indian Accent.  If you’re not looking for this place, you’ll NEVER find it, so lucky for us, we knew where were going.  Cherry bourbon cocktails, sweet ribs, pumpkin curry and build your own lamb tacos were a perfect end to our NYC culinary tour.

No trip to NYC would be complete without a stressful ride to the airport . I’m still not sure how we made it onto our flight when 15 minutes before takeoff we were still in the Precheck line (which at La Guardia meant that we got to the usual asshole line, we just got there quicker).  We earned our pre flight bourbon with a full on sprint to the gate (apologies to my orthopedist) and settled in for our direct flight back to BHM.

Until next time, NYC.  I’ll always love you.

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Check out my Instagram  #butfirstnyc for all of the pics.

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