New York, New York: Part One

by Jenn (eating bender) on December 12, 2011

It was an absolutely picture perfect weekend to be in New York City!

Technically, this picture was taken in New Jersey, but more on that later. :) I’ve decided to divide our trip into three installments, in order to capture as much of the Big Apple as possible. It was truly a jam-packed, fun-filled trip!

We arrived late Wednesday night to our hotel, the Millennium Hilton. Our room had a rather sobering view of the 9/11 Memorial, as well as all the construction still going on around it.

We also had a clear view of One World Trade Center, otherwise known as the Freedom Tower.

It was definitely cool to see how much has been built already. It’s a beautiful structure!

The reason for our trip to New York was a business conference for Bobby, so he headed out early that morning, while I stayed back and got a few extra winks of sleep at the hotel. I didn’t sleep too long, though, because I was on a mission to explore the city while getting work done, too.

First stop: 71 Irving Place for coffee!

This coffee shop was recommended to me by my friend Marcy, who claimed it would not disappoint.

She was right. My vanilla latte was incredible, and the ambiance inside the shop was warm and cozy. It made for a great perk-me-up first thing in the morning!

Unfortunately, the shop didn’t have wireless Internet, so once I had finished, I was off to a Starbucks. I worked from there for a few hours before meeting up with my best friend Sam for lunch at Chop’t!

This is an über creative salad chain in New York and D.C. that makes build-to-order deliciousness.

I decided to follow Sam’s lead and went with the fall classic, which comes with house roasted turkey, crumbled blue cheese, apples and walnuts. It’s chopped with romaine and mesclun lettuce and served with a cider vinaigrette. We asked to wrap our salads for easier consumption.

The verdict? A definite yum! It was great to catch up with Sam, too. We said our goodbyes so she could head back to work and I wandered back through the city. There was a gorgeous tree in front of The New York Palace that I couldn’t resist photographing.

I continued walking and decided to return back to the hotel for the rest of the afternoon, in order to finish up some work before Bobby got out of his conference. On the way, I passed Max Brenner just south of Union Square.

After hearing from my friend Lauren that his hot chocolate was not to be missed, I headed inside.

I am very glad I did. There were so many unique chocolate gift items to peruse!

Of course, I was not leaving without hot chocolate. Dark hot chocolate, to be exact.

Hands down, the best chocolate drink I have ever had. Lauren knew what she was talking about. Wow!

Once I arrived back at the hotel, I realized I had walked a total of EIGHT miles!! It’s incredible how walkable New York City is. Although I was admittedly tired when I finally slowed down, I enjoyed every minute of my exploration.

After meeting up with Bobby around 5:30, we got dressed up and ventured to The Carlyle for dinner.

Last year, I was honored to receive a Rosewood Hotel 30 Under 30 award. The hotel made a $100 donation to the non-profit of my choice, and was also kind enough to supply me with a gift card dinner at any of their properties.

We were originally going to be joined by a friend of the family, but after a last minute cancellation, it ended up being just the two of us. This restaurant was very ritzy and, I will admit, not necessarily my normal taste. But the food was definitely a treat and I am grateful to Rosewood for the complimentary opportunity to dine there!

We started with a basket of rolls and a bottle of wine: a Benzinger merlot.

The waiter brought out an amuse bouche of cucumber, salmon and créme fraiche. This led Bobby and me (and our immature brains) to discuss an episode of South Park. That said, it was delicious. :)

We also shared an order of the lobster bisque, which was creamy and rich.

For dinner, we each had the halibut, served on a bed of mushroom risotto. I’m not sure how the sauce was made, but it was amazing, and the fish melted in our mouths. We eagerly enjoyed every bite!

We decided to forgo dessert, though they did bring out a small plate of assorted cookies and sweets, which we gratefully accepted. My favorite was by far the lemon muffin in the middle.

But we had bigger plans. Sweeter plans.

Dylan’s Candy Bar plans.

After visiting Dylan’s with Jill last year, I knew I would be making a return trip with Bobby.

Oh yes, I made him put on a cupcake hat. And take a picture. He might tackle me for posting it. :)

We explored every inch of this sugary paradise and each came out with a bag of joy. Mine was full of various gummy candies – including frogs, penguins and bears – as well as sour strings and dots. Mmm…my sweet tooth was happy with me.

We couldn’t resist snapping a picture in front of the chocolate bunny before we left.

We decided to walk a bit longer since it was such a nice night. As we headed in the direction of our hotel, we looked to our right and saw none other than Rockefeller Center and its gorgeous Christmas tree!

It was fun to watch all the skaters and see all the lights up close, rather than on television.

Our walk also took us past Radio City Music Hall

…and into Times Square!

As this was Bobby’s first trip to New York City, he was impressed by all the ads and grandeur. Who am I kidding? So was I! Times Square certainly doesn’t disappoint, though I’m not sure if I could ever brave the crowds on New Year’s Eve!

We ooh-ed and ahh-ed a little longer before finding our train and heading back to the hotel for the night. Our first day in New York City was a lot of adventure – and a lot of walking – but there was still plenty more to come! Can’t wait for post number two. :)

Have you been (or do you live) in NYC? If so, what’s your favorite part of the city?

Happy Monday to all of you. Hope you have a wonderful week!


1 Cara (Twinthusiast) December 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

So fun! I think Bobby’s nice suit and tie combined with the cupcake hat really makes a stunning effect. My fav NY thing to do is run in Central Park :)

2 Jenn (eating bender) December 12, 2011 at 11:52 am

I really wish he would have bought that hat. 😉

3 Katie December 12, 2011 at 11:12 am

Friday was a gorgeous day to explore the city! I moved here this past spring and I will probably have enough to explore until I move one day. I’m going to have to try some of your suggestions though, delicious vanilla lattes and hot chocolate sound amazing!

My favorite part of the city is the reservoir in Central Park. Day or night, it is absolutely gorgeous!

4 Jenn (eating bender) December 12, 2011 at 11:55 am

There is certainly no shortage of things to do – but vanilla lattes and hot chocolate should definitely go on your “ASAP” list! :) We unfortunately did not make it to the reservoir, but that will have to go on my list for next time!

5 Karla December 12, 2011 at 11:22 am

What at amazing day one, Jenn! Your pictures are FANTASTIC and you both looked so cute in those hats! :) I agree with Katie and Cara, Central Park is great, and I also love the nearby Columbus Circle area.

I’m so happy we were able to (briefly) connect while you were in town and hope we can meet up again soon!

6 Jenn (eating bender) December 12, 2011 at 11:53 am

Thank you, Karla! It was so wonderful to see you, too, though I’m bummed we did not get a picture. We definitely need an extended catch up soon – hopefully early in the new year! P.S. I owe you an email!

7 Maureen December 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

You really travel well – I mean between your descriptions and photos – I so wish I was there! Any chance you got to see the Pack win another one? Woo Hoo!

Take care and safe travels,


8 Jenn (eating bender) December 12, 2011 at 11:51 am

You better believe I taped it and watched it as soon as we were back in Chicago! Go Pack – and fingers crossed for Greg Jennings! Thanks, Mo. :)

9 Megan (Braise The Roof) December 12, 2011 at 11:45 am

I grew up in a suburb of NYC and have visited many times- I LOVE going at Christmas-time! My dad always used to take me ice skating at Rockefeller and I still have such fond memories of it.

10 Jenn (eating bender) December 12, 2011 at 11:53 am

That’s awesome! We didn’t end up skating while we were there but it looked like so much fun. :)

11 Rose December 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm

You two are so cute. Love that picture of you by the tree – and glad you got to see it! I always like your recap posts; keep ’em coming!

12 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Thank you, Rose! :)

13 Mara@ What's For Dinner? December 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I may actually have that cupcake hat :)
Miss you!

14 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm

That is AMAZING. :) I miss you, too! Need to plan a weekend date after the New Year!

15 Erica December 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm

WOW! So much yum in this post. I’m loving the dark hot chocolate and lobster bisque most. I can’t wait to read more. I’ve been to NYC a couple times but it was a while back

16 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:10 pm

This was my first time truly exploring the more “touristy” parts of the city. Definitely worth a trip!

17 Angela Ten Clay (@AngelaTenClay) December 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Ugh, I still haven’t been to NYC and I’m dying to go! Sounds like it was an awesome trip. Such a deal for Bobby to have a work trip and for you to go along with! Jealous. :)

18 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:11 pm

It was Bobby’s first time there, too! You must put a trip to NYC on your “list” for 2012. You will love it, Angela!

19 Hermoves December 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm

If you have time I would try to get tickets to see Chris Botti at the Blue Note Jazz Club in Greenwich Village! He’s playing 2 shows a night through New Years Day. I went last year and it was amazing. Nothing like jazz at Christmas time :)

20 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Thank you for the great tip! I would have loved to go to that – unfortunately we flew back to Chicago on Sunday night! Ah well – I will know for next time. :) I appreciate it!

21 Melissa @TryingtoHeal December 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Ah, I am so jealous and it’s only the first part! Haha! I’ve only been there once, almost 6 years ago, and it was only for a few hours. I need to go back with you! I wasn’t a foodie then, so I missed out on so much!!!

I can’t wait to read the next part!!!

22 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I’m thinking a foodie New York get together is due someday…sooner rather than later!!

23 BroccoliHut December 12, 2011 at 7:50 pm

YAY! Love the picture in front of the Rockefeller tree!
I haven’t been to NYC for about 10 years, but I always really loved the Broadway shows–I’m a choir dork at heart :)

24 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Aw – love that you were in choir! I did it all through grade school and enjoyed every minute. Daniel Radcliffe was a great singer/dancer!

25 Molly Harlow (@MollyHHR) December 12, 2011 at 10:30 pm

How fun! I love NYC! I haven’t been in years though and am dying to go back soon! I’m glad you had a good time! :)

26 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Add it to the list of must-dos in 2012. :) Thank you, Molly!

27 Joy December 12, 2011 at 11:46 pm

Your pictures of NYC are stunning – the pic of the tree in Rockefeller made me realize how big it is

28 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Thank you, Joy! It was absolutely enormous – I had no idea how massive it was until I was there!

29 Susan December 13, 2011 at 10:26 am

Love hearing about your trip! :) Oh, and I definitely laughed when I saw the créme fraiche reference…

30 Jenn (eating bender) December 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Haha! When I was writing it I literally thought, “Susan will appreciate this.” :)

31 Lindsay December 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Looks like you had a great weekend! We were in NYC this past weekend as well!

32 Jenn (eating bender) December 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm

So cool that you were there, too! Checking out your recap now. :)

33 Kimberly Rae Miller December 13, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Oooh, 71 Irving is my absolute favorite. You should check out its sister-restaurant Friend of a Farmer next door, they use farm fresh ingredients from local farms. The food is amazing. Also, Chocolate by the Bald Man–good choice!

While you’re in town you should check out 16-Handles ( they have awesome fro-yo flavors.

While you’re in town you should take a walk on the HighLine, it’s great for people watching and at the end there are a whole bunch of food trucks to try out.

34 Jenn (eating bender) December 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I heard great things about Friend of a Farmer, too! Unfortunately, we arrived back in Chicago on Sunday, so I was not able to check out 16-Handles or the HighLine. :( But those are officially added to my list of “things I didn’t get to do but want to do next time,” which will hopefully happen sooner rather than later. I feel like both of those would be perfect for late spring/early summer in NYC. Thanks, Kim!

35 withasideofhope December 14, 2011 at 6:34 am

I love your recap! You took beautiful pictures and introduced me to some new places I had never heard of before. I love Dylan’s Candy Bar! :) I was just in NYC on Monday for a taping of the Anderson show. It was SO cold outside! Have fun!

36 Jenn (eating bender) December 14, 2011 at 3:34 pm

So glad you enjoyed it, Hope! And yes, Dylan’s and I have a love/hate relationship. I LOVE the store, but hate that they don’t have one here in Chicago. :) Maybe someday!

37 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) December 14, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Love the cupcake hats! So cute! Saw the tree at Rockefeller Center last year – it was beautiful!

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