We drove up to Brooklyn in the wee hours yesterday morning (my old stand-by for avoiding all traffic), which gives us a full day together in the city before a busy work week. We took advantage of the early Sunday morning (where oddly, most of NYC seems to sleep in until about 11:30am) and hit up a few of our favorite (and usually) crowded spots.
First up, we drove into Red Hook, one of our favorite neighborhoods in Brooklyn where we spent the better part of the morning. Red Hook sits right on the Hudson Bay, just below Manhattan which ends up giving this area some of the best views of the Statue of Liberty we've seen.
It will sound silly, but our first destination was a grocery store. Yep, if you've never heard of Fairway Market, the Red Hook store is an awesome destination for anyone interested in food and incredible city views from the water. The grocery sits on the entire bottom floor of a huge warehouse-type brick building.
When Mary lived up here, driving out to shop for groceries at Fairway was one of her favorite things to do on the weekend and it had been a few years since we'd stopped in, which was a lot of fun for both of us. This place has it all.
By the time we finished up in Fairway, we were both hungry, so we grabbed a quick brunch at Hope & Anchor, a true neighborhood diner neither of us had tried before.
It gave me a chance to get my weekly NYC dose of a cream cheese stuffed everything bagel with salmon and capers, but Mary and I both agreed that the side of chorizo & green onion hash was the real winner at this place.
After brunch, we stayed in Red Hook and moseyed on over to Ikea! Mary had been itching for another trip to Ikea since we wanted to check out some storage and decor ideas we've had in mind for the Airstream and needed to pick up one of their rail systems for our own kitchen. I on the other hand thought it would be pretty much the same store as in Woodbridge, it just sits in Brooklyn. I was mostly right on that front, but have to admit this view of the Freedom Tower in the skyline was pretty amazing:
As we'd happen upon small space ideas for the Airstream, we'd snap phone pics to keep them on file when back and able to measure:
Most Ikeas are generally set up the same, but it was interesting to see how this Brooklyn location had small space pods completely set up like full apartments. They had configurations for 520 square feet down to 270 square feet. It was amazing walking into these small pods, seeing how they could be transformed into a fully functioning space without feeling too cramped.
After Ikea we parked the car at the hotel in Williamsburg, then took the train into the City for the rest of the day — first venturing up to Gotham West Market.
Namely the Ivan Raman Slurp Shop — I'd been here before for the ramen, but wanted to introduce Mary. I opted for the spicier version and ordered a sea-salt based (Classic Shio) ramen for Mary.
Gotham Market is in Hell's Kitchen up near Times Square, an area we typically avoid because of the touristy crowded nature. The Hell's Kitchen side has beautiful side streets and vertical gardens lining the sidewalks:
Since we were up there, we walked along that classic stretch of Broadway, taking in the hustle and bustle and all the bright sights — both agreeing it'd be just fine if we went another 5 years before walking that stretch of the city again, ha!
While packing for this week's trip and generally cleaning up the house, we knocked out a marathon session of PBS's The Mind of a Chef season 2. It's a show we got hooked on when they originally featured David Chang (of momofuku fame) and this season features 2 chefs — Sean Brock of Husk Restaurant in Charleston, SC (huge fan here) and April Bloomfield (now a huge fan) of The Spotted Pig, The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, The John Dory Oyster Bar and Salvation Taco, all in New York City. After watching April's episode and being in the city this week, Mary and I thought it would be fun to try and get in to one of her places to try. We're shooting for The Breslin which is located in the Ace Hotel (how cool is that?), so we'll let you know if we're successful later in the week!
P.S. There's still time to enter for a chance to win $50 to spend at MightyNest in our latest giveaway — find all the details here.