Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Basics: NYC Roundup

If you keep up with us on InstagramFacebook or my personal Insta, you may already know we returned home this weekend from a chilly week spent in NYC — and when I say chilly, I mean some of the coldest temps we've ever endured:

Needless to say, we're happy to be back in the milder temps of RVA (which are only in the 30's) and wanted to share a roundup of photos and memories from our most recent trip to the city, if you care to see...

When staying in the city, we usually stay at the same Williamsburg area hotel since we're familiar with the neighborhood and are pretty much creatures of habit. This past week we tried out a new place on the Lower East Side of Manhattan — The Ludlow Hotel. We were excited to get to know a new spot, plus it's 3 F train stops from the Etsy offices in Dumbo where Mary commuted in each morning as opposed to the complicated route between Dumbo and Williamsburg.

The Ludlow was a convenient spot, but also a really unique space with so many inspiring details:

I think Mary would have picked up the bathroom and transplanted it into our master bath if she could have. It was done in white & black tiles with marble and brass fixtures throughout:

Yes, we are those weird people that take pictures of hotel bathrooms to share with our family and friends. #noshame 

We were also able to catch breakfast one morning in the hotel restaurant called Dirty French. Now this place is a quiet tame breakfast spot but at night it turns into one of the most happening hotel restaurants we have ever walked past. Because of the draining cold days we are saving an evening visit for when return. Definitely more to come.

Right across the street from the hotel is Katz Delicatessen, which is a bit of an iconic NYC destination (that famous scene from When Harry Met Sally was filmed there). While we've passed it several times, neither Mary nor I had ever stopped for a bite, so we decided to change that this go round.

When you enter, it's a large space, completely packed. You are handed a ticket that's used to tally up your order before checking out:

Mary got the half pastrami and soup — yeah this is what a half sandwich looks like at Katz's:

I opted for the full reuben and as you can see, appear to be hopeless when it comes to taking photos of my food (I was also tired from waking at 3:30am for the drive up):

Speaking of nearby eats, we stopped into Taverna Di Bacco (which I have dubbed besta meatballa in NYC, say it with me), an Italian restaurant just across the street from the Ludlow (it was cold so we didn't want to walk far) for dinner. This is a space I'd been wanting to try since we both love Italian food (it's how we met), and the space is owned by Chef Maurizio Crescenzo, who was a recent winner of the Food Network's 'Chopped' show.

We walked in expecting great food, but not expecting Chef Maurizio to actually be there — so it was icing on the cake. After an amazing evening eating at the bar and a few glasses of wine in, we mustered up the courage to ask for a photo and he obliged:

This evening was certainly one for our memory books and a great spot to stop in if you're in or near the Lower East Side.

While Mary would make her way to Dumbo each day, I worked on a few deadlines from a handful of different spots — the fact that I can work from anywhere still boggles my mind now that I'm almost 2 years out from my previous daily office trek. The Ludlow Hotel lobby was actually one of my favorite spots. You can probably gather why:

It's light-filled with a blazing fireplace, a bar and comfortable seating options. One day while working on a batch of photo-editing, I noticed a photography shoot getting set up right near the bar. It turned out to be Sharon Radisch, a NYC based food and travel photographer who was prepping a shoot for a magazine:

I don't know if I'm alone on this, but love getting a chance to see other photographers at work — I feel like there's always something I can learn from or be inspired by. Sharon's style was a good reminder that natural light is always key and that by flipping the lens hood around, you can keep it on the camera instead of having to fish around in the camera bag for it while on shoot. She was nice enough to say hello and indulge me in a few questions after shooting. Check out her Instagram feed for some awe-inspiring photos!

Outside of the hotel and nearby spots, I did get a chance to venture out, checking out city views and hitting up some of my favorite routine spots, like the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Dumbo Shake Shack:

Oh, and random photo — a Manhattan shaped coffee table:

It was a short week, and before we knew it, it was time to head back home. We made it back in a straight shoot outside of a quick pit stop at the Maryland Chesapeake House. This on-route rest area has been closed for revamping the last several trips we've made up north, so when we saw it was open, we were curious to stop.

The entire rest area had been demo'd and this new, modern building is now serving as the stopping hub — it's pretty neat to see. The building has modern lines and is wrapped in a wooden-like facade. Indoors, the the space is a completely open format with so much natural light peering through. The ceiling looks like the bottom of a ship, with wooden beams that curve and bow down.

Thanks for taking a peek at our travel pictures and sharing a few of our favorite memories from this past trip. We're hunkered down in Richmond this week, braving the final few weeks of cold and dreaming about our yearly trip to Mexico coming up in March. Cheers to the week ahead!

Discover More:


  1. I recently found a very nice deli near my NJ office, but nothing like Katz's!