Earlier this year when we saw the spring and summer quickly filling up with weddings, tailgates, and picnics, we knew we might need a little break towards the end of the summer. It just so happened that there was a large design tradeshow in New York the third week of August that I wanted to attend, and Tall Guy found some food related events he wanted to check out that same weekend. So we blocked off the weekend and booked tickets to NYC!
Day 1 we arrived in NYC in the afternoon. Our hotel was in Midtown, so we decided to explore our neighborhood. We happened upon a street festival on 6th Avenue (The Avenue of the Americas) where there were food vendors and all the $5 scarves and sunglasses you could want! We got some yummy scratch-made, pan fried pierogies. SO DELICIOUS.
Then we realized we were in the neighborhood of Rockefeller Plaza. We had never visited the observation deck at Top of the Rock, and Tall Guy wanted a Late Night with Jimmy Fallon t-shirt so we headed in that direction. The views from Top of the Rock were amazing! It was so cool walking around the observation deck and hearing so many different languages being spoken by all of the tourists. We managed to snap this selfie while up there!
We then took the subway to Brooklyn to dinner at a place called Buttermilk Channel. You can read about how they got their name here, it’s a pretty interesting story. The interior reminded us of a place we had visited in our beloved Charleston. Very warm and eclectic. The waiter started us out with fresh baked popovers drizzled with honey butter and sprinkled with sea salt. They melted in our mouths. We then ordered an appetizer of Beer Steamed Mussels that were in maybe the best broth I’ve ever had. For dinner Tall Guy had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Cheddar Waffles. The waffles were savory, maybe a cornmeal base? He said the taste of the chicken breading reminded him of fancy, ungreasy KFC. This in no way is a dig, and we have no problem saying that we like the actual flavors of KFC chicken:) I had the Parsley-Crusted New England Hake. The whitefish was perfectly cooked and had a nice char on it. I am normally not a huge fennel fan, but I actually ate ALL of the fennel in the orange-fennel broth the fish sat on top of. Lastly we had to try some dessert. Our server recommended the Pecan Pie Sunday, and that we get a half order. Now, Tall Guy and I can take down a good sized dessert, but the HALF order of this was huge! It was exactly what you think, ice cream and chunks of pecan pie. And I ate most of it.
After dinner we headed to The Moonlight Mile, the new bourbon bar where Tall Guy’s cousin Noah bartends. I’m not a hard liquor kind of girl, but Tall Guy was in heaven with all the bourbon choices. The space/decor also got a thumbs up from this girl. We talked to the owner, and he said he and his wife just picked out stuff they liked and put it in the space. Their great taste shines through the mix of reclaimed barn wood, Edison bulbs, and subway tile.
Day 2 (Sunday) we had plans with cousin Noah and his lady-friend Kate to go back to Brooklyn to an event called Spoons Toons and Booze at the Nitehawk Cinema. For our Milwaukee readers, this theater reminded me of a hipster version of the Rosebud or Fox Bay Cinema. For the ticket price of $11 you got to hit up their all-you-can-eat cereal bar, complete with your childhood favorites like Lucky Charms and Cookie Crisp. Then they showed four different cartoons from anywhere between the 70’s and 90’s. Our selections of the day were Pepper Ann, Rocko’s Modern Life, Animaniacs, and Hey Arnold (I was pulling for Muppet Babies!) In addition to the cereal bar, you can also order adult beverages and other brunch items from their kitchen. They even had ‘cereal shots’, which were shots of Kahlua or Baileys that you could pour directly into your cereal. Great idea!
We made sure not to eat too much because the main event of the day was Smorgasburg. Smorgasburg is a food market that is held every weekend in two locations: Saturdays at East River State Park and Sundays at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 5. 75-100 vendors attend this market selling fresh and packaged food and beverages. We had to walk around twice before we could decide what to eat, there were so many choices!
We started with pigs in a blanket from Brooklyn Piggies and a Vermont maple lemonade. The pigs in a blanket were so dried out we could barely eat them. In all fairness this was an outdoor festival where they sat under a heat lamp. Maybe fresh out of the oven they are tasty, but they were the low point for me. Next we had some Jack’s Chedbred, which was flavored cornbread. The favorite was Garlic Chive (this was also the most moist), second choice the Bourbon Bacon (sweet and savory), third the original Cheddar, and last (but still yummy) was the Honey Sea Salt. The highlight of all of Smorgasburg was the Ramen Burger. There were barricades for the forming line, and we had overheard people talking about this burger. We got in line at just the right time, they ran out about 6 people after us! In case you are not familiar, a ramen burger is essentially a beef patty between two round disks of cooked ramen. It sounds crazy, but it was so good we immediately started searching for recipes. The burger was hot-held in some sort of Asian sauce that brought the sandwich together.
Day 3 we headed to my giant gift show, and somehow got through it by 1PM. I mean, you can only look at so many scarves and pillows, right? It was time to walk to The Meatball Shop in Chelsea. Tall Guy has been afan of The Meatball Shop since we saw the owners cooking on Martha Stewart years ago. He bought their cookbook shortly after, and has modified several recipes from it (not the Bourbon BBQ meatballs though, sorry!) The way the restaurant is set up, you pick your meatball (beef, chicken, veggie, or meatball of the day) your sauce, and then any sides (pasta, mashed potatoes, etc.). I picked chicken meatballs with parmesan cream sauce and eggplant risotto. Tall Guy went traditional with Italian sausage meatballs in marinara over pasta. Phenomenal taste and texture. Yes some good old comfort food was a great end to our trip!