New York City

I ♥ NY!

Just back from a fantastic ♥Valentine’s♥ trip to New York City! Its been five years since my last visit… so much has changed yet so much has stayed the same. That’s one of the many reasons its such a fabulous place to visit! We walked, ate, shopped and wined our way up, down and across town.

Our home for five days…Trump SoHo New York…the tallest structure in SoHo with AMAZING views of the city! (No looking out your window at a wall here.) Everything about the hotel is Trump big…in a good way. You’re greeted by lovely door men, who thankfully open the two-story heavy as lead doors, welcoming you into the SoHo stylish two-story lobby complete with water features and fire pits. The staff and service here are the BEST from bartenders to housekeepers. Guest rooms are enormous by NYC standards, as is the bathroom… no wonder celebrities love to stay here (apparently Fergie & Josh, Chris Brown, Nicole Richie were guests during our visit…I only saw a few ‘C’ celebs in the bar). Our room on the 31st floor overlooked the Hudson River with spectacular sunsets. Quattro, their Northern Italian restaurant, has a small but fun bar. You can also enjoy cocktails in the Library or in Kastel, the ‘cocktail ultra lounge,’ which was hopping Friday night when we went in late night for a drink.

My MUST GO’s from this adventure in NYC…

* Walk the City: We did over 20 miles…on foot is the best way to see it all (but the Subway is there when you get tired). Start at the bottom and work your way up. Cool to see the Financial District even on a sleepy Saturday (and if you’re interested the World Trade Center area offers tours of the site). Then up through Tribeca, into SoHo for great boutique shopping, across into Chinatown and up into Little Italy (yum!). Nolita (stands for North of Little Italy…that was a new one for me), just above SoHo, is an up-and-coming section with cute restaurants and more boutiques. Cross over to Greenwich Village for the Meatpacking District. Boy has this area changed! Lots of designer shops, boutiques, restaurants and the super cool Standard hotel are here. On up to Union Square, Flatiron District (what a cool building and across the street from Eataly, my new favorite place!), Times Square (very cool they’ve made it very pedestrian friendly), pass all the show homes in the Theater District and into Midtown for Fifth Avenue, Rockefeller Center until you reach The Plaza and Central Park. This trip we went as high as the Upper West Side for some yummy eats! Pick up a map or guidebook like The Little Black Book of New York to help (I used their new edition this trip).

* Shop till you drop: On a mission this weekend to find a wedding dress, but not your typical pouffy dress, I went the boutique/department store route (only to find my favorite dress I’ve found here in DC too :)).

  • Boutiques: This is the city for boutique shopping…SoHo, Nolita and Meatpacking District offer the best and most concentration.
  • Department Stores: Bloomingdales and Lord & Taylor for the best selection no matter what you’re looking for (and most affordable). Saks and Bergdorf’s are lovely to browse (but a little pricey for me).
  • Flagships abound on Fifth, Park and Madison like BCBG, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany, you name it.
  • Eataly: New favorite restaurant & grocery store. Yum! More on that tomorrow.
  • Stationers: Kate’s Paper was always my favorite in New York but sadly they’ve closed down every location but the one in SoHo. Still lots of great paper to chose from! We stumbled upon some great spots on West 18th Street like Paper Presentation and Print Icon.
  • Books: Books of Wonder, also on West 18th Street, is an awesome kid’s book store with a selection you won’t find anywhere else. NYU’s bookstore has a fun little kid’s section.

* Fabulous Eats: 3 square meals a day plus snacks 🙂 check out the next post for all the details.

* Spa Relaxation: What’s a weekend away without a spa visit?! This trip I visited Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa and Wine Lounge at The Plaza (you may remember their ‘mother location’ is my DREAM spa and wine destination in Bordeaux). Trump SoHo’s Spa has the only hammam in the city and looks lovely with Turkish influence but I didn’t get to partake this trip.

The gallery has some photos from the trip. And be sure to share any of your favorites herefor other readers and for my next trip! 🙂

I ♥ NY!

♥ Valentine’s weekend in NYC … eating (Eataly, Little Italy, Pastis), wining (Burger & Barrel, Eataly, Caudalie Wine Lounge), Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at The Plaza, staying at the Trump Soho, shopping … and more eating, wining and shopping. 🙂 Share all the details this week for your next trip!  ♥

Eataly in Manhattan

Italy comes to the heart of Manhattan…no not Little Italy… its Eataly! A new mega complex of Italy food comprised of shopping, eating and learning. The original in Turin, Italy has a few other locations in Italy and Japan but this the first U.S. spot. Brought to you by Eataly founder Oscar Farinetti and famous chefs/restauranteurs including Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich (NY restaurants Babbo, Del Posto) and Lidia Bastianich (star of Lidia’s Italy on PBS).

At 50,000 square feet, Eataly boasts everything Italian…restaurants (formal, casual and to go), groceries, beer, wine, a school and even a travel agency! Their mission is to celebrate and foster understanding of the Italian table. And they’ve assembled the best Italian producers under one roof to do so.

Check out this map from the New York Post to see all Eataly has to offer. I can’t wait to hit the Pasticceria and Gelateria for some of Luca Montersino’s creations and the Rooftop Beer Garden opening in November. Located in the Toy Building, 200 Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets, Eataly is open every day from 10am-11pm. Their website has more details and I’ll report back after my December visit.

Have you been to Eataly in Manhattan, Italy or Japan? If so tell us what you think!