I’ve been doing a spot of travelling since my last blog post, hence the slight delay. Mr B and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary with a long weekend in New York. It’s been a decade since I last visited so was really eager to catch up with friends and immerse myself in a city that has the most wonderful, infectious energy and of course, never sleeps.
We parked ourselves in The Standard, East Village with it’s fabulous vistas spanning the whole of Manhattan with it’s floor to ceiling windows; I never tired of the view from our bedroom.
The hotel totally lived up to our (high) expectations and the staff made a real effort to make our stay extra special. Would I return? Most definitely.
Sunrise on our first morning from our room
We walked and walked and walked for hours on end, exploring the little streets in the Villages and Soho with it’s stunning wrought ironwork on the sides of the buildings.
To give us bursts of energy we would refuel with fresh juices from the juice trailers parked in the streets. With around 80 different juice combinations to choose from it was hard to decide which one to pick. At around $4 a pop they are great value and ridiculously healthy – a win win.
They cleanse the body and totally refresh the tired wanderer. Competitively priced and they would do so well here in London – a great business idea for a budding entrepreneur!!
The stunning High Line with the old tracks visible
The High Line really impressed us – a great example of urban regeneration. It’s a stunning elevated greenway mile that used to be the New York central rail road spur, known as the West Side Line. It spans the meat packing district all the way up to Chelsea and is cleverly designed with shrubs, plants and trees interspersed with benches and seating areas around and on top of the old tracks. I particularly loved the raised seating, similar to an amphitheatre that looks over one of the roads with a huge glass window.
Clever designs and architecture throughout the High Line
Instead of watching a movie you sit and watch the traffic buzz beneath you. Later in the day when I was passing underneath it in a taxi it almost looked like advertising poster, and then I saw the people moving around. A clever effect and a fun way to be creative with the old rail road.
Walkways along the High Line
The peace and serenity that the High Line offers is a welcome respite from the manic life that goes on down below. If you are planning a trip my recommendation would be to go early as it definitely becomes crowded as the run rises higher in the sky.
Me sitting on the attractive wooden seating on the High Line
Friends beckoned us over to Brooklyn, a place I definitely want to explore further on my next visit, to an area that is gentrifying and that has become rather hip - called Dumbo. Looking across at Manhattan from the Brooklyn side of New York, gave a new perspective to this sprawling city. The sun was shining and the crowds were out and if the ice cream queue at The Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory had anything to go by the area of Dumbo has becoming hugely popular.
Looking back at Manhattan from Dumbo in Brooklyn
A couple other must-see destinations for foodies is the Italian food emporium of Eataly, which is just by the famous Flatiron building, which in itself is piece of interesting architecture worth seeing.
The famous Flatiron building
It’s only a matter of time before we’ll see an Eataly in London, having already got branches outside the US in Dubai, Japan, Istanbul and Italy itself. The shop is bursting at the seems with delicious Italian produce, and yet it has a calm serenity that makes wandering around it very pleasant indeed. There are bars and a couple of cafe’s (the one on the roof is perfect for sunny summer days and has a huge selection of beers) and it’s quite acceptable to browse around the store with a glass of wine in your hand. All very civilised if you ask me.
The other food mecca worth seeking out is Chelsea Market, not far from the High Line, so perhaps the perfect pit stop after a High Line stroll. It’s a stunning food court with a great atmosphere and an incredible choice of eateries, bars and cafes.
strolling through Chelsea Market – loving the exposed bricks
Aside from eating, walking and socialising we managed to squeeze in a little culture with a visit to the ‘The Frick Collection’ . Based in the Upper East Side it gave us a great excuse to explore the neighbourhood and central park. The collection itself is fascinating and housed in the mansion of the wealthy industrialist Henry Frick, one of America’s greatest art collectors who died in 1919. His house contains many masterpieces of painting, sculpture and decorative art that the public are freely allowed to view and admire. He bequeathed the house and all it’s contents to the public upon his death. It’s a relatively small collection so won’t take too long to amble around so is easy to fit into a quick stop in New York. Go visit.
New York is jammed full of incredible restaurants. A list of some of those we visited is listed below:
The Dutch – happening bar with tasty American food and an exciting wine list. Based in Soho.
Lafayette - sister restaurant to The Dutch (we did not realise this at the time). Larger in size to The Dutch and a little more formal. More French style menu.
Atrium - This Dumbo restaurant is buzzy with a delicious brunch/lunch menu. Mr B found the pulled pork bun too small for his liking – I on the other hand found the size spot on. Interesting foliage structure upon the main wall.
Spice Market - based in the Meatpacking District across the road from Soho House. Old kid on the block but still going strong. Large restaurant so not intimate and filled with locals, but seriously tasty Asian food.
Noho Star - Neighbourhood cafe in East Village. Highly recommend the spicy Mexican Huevos Rancheros. Deeeelish.
Cafe Standard – Within the Standard Hotel East Village, this hip eatery is always buzzing and has a great menu with delicious juices.
Back in London we craved spicy Indian food so rustled up one of our favourite chicken curries. We tend to cook it on the bone (seriously it tastes much better this way), but if the thought of cooking and eating off the bone doesn’t appeal simply cook the curry with breast and boneless chicken thighs instead.
Eating nourishing, homely food also really helps with jetlag ;0)
Traditional Bengali Chicken Curry
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 chicken, cut into 10/12 pieces and skin removed
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
5 cardamon pods, split open
1 pieces of cinnamon bark, split into three
2 tsp salt
8 garlic cloves, kept whole
2 tsp of fresh ginger paste
4 medium potatoes, chopped in two
2 or 3 large carrots, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 tbsp natural yogurt
2 tbsp of tinned chopped tomatoes
1. In a large deep pan heat up the oil. Place the onion in the oil and gently fry until the onion becomes translucent and soft. This should take around 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and allow them to whiten completely. Turn them at intervals so that all sides of the chicken pieces are white. This will take around 10 minutes.
3. Once whitened add all the spices and salt followed by the potatoes, garlic cloves, carrots, tomatoes and yogurt. Stir in well so that the chicken and vegetables are completely coated in the spices.
4. On a medium heat allow the curry to cook through, stirring at intervals. No extra water is needed as the chicken pieces release plenty of water during cooking.
5. After 40 minutes the curry should be completely cooked. Using a knife make sure the carrots and potatoes are soft. If they remain hard, stir into the sauce and cook for another 10 minutes.
Serve with rice or Indian bread. As it is on the bone it is easier to eat the traditional Indian way – with your right hand -but I’ll leave that for you to decide.