Fun, Luxury, and Good Eats in NYC
Have I told you how much I am loving living in New Jersey? No? Well, I do.
But, how is it that a Brooklyn girl can settle so quickly and so well to life in the ‘burbs? Well, there are a lot of little reasons, like more space for less money and a slower pace of life (you know, for when I am not traveling). But, I think the reason my life in Jersey is going so well is because New York is only a short train ride away.
In less than 40 minutes I can come out from the depths of Penn Station and out onto the world that is Manhattan. I think, even if you are local, you should indulge in a staycation in the city. There’s just so much to see and do that sometimes it’s enough to “vacation” there. We do it often. There are some things we do every time, like a visit to Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and Toys R Us, and then there are new things we like to try.
Though we’ve enjoyed hotel stays at the Grand Hyatt New York before, this most recent stay was a bit more of an upscale experience. The Grand Hyatt invited my family and I to experience their hotel in a new way by providing us access to their Club Lounge as well as a stay in one of their suites.
Their club lounge has an outdoor, rooftop terrace. On early mornings and later afternoons, when the sun isn’t as strong, it is a nice experience. Enjoy the complimentary food and beverages that come with club access, including breakfast. They have a section that is reserved for adults only, so that those without children can relax, read the paper, have a meeting, or quietly enjoy a drink.
The suite was bigger than most people’s NYC apartment, certainly bigger than any apartment I lived in. Ours had two bedrooms, one with two double beds and another with a king size bed, both with their own bathroom. In the center, separating both bedrooms was a living space, complete with a full size living room as well as a bar/lounge and dining area, also with its own bathroom. Business travelers would find the space incredibly useful, but as a large traveling family we found the space very comfortable. It’s quite a luxury to have that much space in a NYC hotel, especially when traveling with kids.
We had made reservations to dine in the hotel’s restaurant, New York Central, with the kids, but after a day of walking around and sightseeing, the kids got to the room and started crashing. We walked over to Two Boots pizza located in the food court of Grand Central, got the kids a couple of slices, and left them dozing off watching cartoons with our cell phone numbers in hand (such is the beauty of having kids old enough to leave alone in the room, as well as staying in a hotel with an awesome bar and restaurant in house). Our family dinner turned into a fabulous date night, where we enjoyed some wine, some Italian specialties, and a romantic night out.
There is a really great kids menu option within the Hyatt properties. It’s called the For Kids By Kids menu and it features the organic dishes of Alice Walker and 12-year-old chef Haile Thomas, who has cooked for the First Lady, Michele Obama.
New Eatery Finds
I want to highlight to new places we got to try out that I think you will enjoy as much as my family did.
BareBurger is an organic burger mini-chain with multiple locations in NY. BareBurger proves how good “less” can be. What is missing from their burgers? Well, no matter what you order, it will all be free of hormones, pesticides and other yucky stuff we hate in our food and in our bodies. It will have all organic ingredients and tons of flavor.
Even my little ones raved about the flavor and toasty crunch of their whole wheat burger buns and fries. Their list of burger types are incredible. You can choose from the basic beef, turkey, and farmers quinoa veggie burger to unique choices like wild boar, elk, and ostrich. I really enjoyed my Habanero Express (with pepperjack, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, poblano pepper relish, raw red onions, spicy pickle chips, and habanero chipotle mayo. I choose elk, which is a leaner meat). I’ve had a lot of really good burgers in my lifetime, and I have to say, the one I had at BareBurger is on the very top of my list of favorites.
Todd’s Mill, in the Lower East Side, makes for a pretty cool NYC dining experience…like neighborhood cool. This is the kind of place NYers wake up for on Sunday morning for brunch. It’s also date-night worthy, even they know it. But if you’re not convinced, check out their drink list.
My family and I enjoyed brunch. Like, really enjoyed it. The food is so good, it is definitely worth more trips back. I am still savoring the pastrami Benedict (with mustard hollandaise, brussel kraut, and fingerling potatoes). My husband had the just as delicious chorizo & egg burrito(with avocado, cheddar, refried beans). What makes the space sweet and romantic for date nights, is exactly what makes it cozy and comfortable and welcoming for brunch or afternoon lunch and why I recommend adding it to your list of must-tries.
The NYC scene you focus on can pretty much be whatever you want it to be. We really just enjoyed walking around together and taking in the street art, the people, and the energy of this wonderful city. Granted, by the time we got home we were exhausted, and that’s where NJ is good to us, where it helps us sort of just relax a bit more. But, while we were in NYC it was nonstop fun and we enjoyed every minute there.
We are still very much New Yorkers who have never missed an opportunity to take in all the city has to offer, except now we get to enjoy it a little bit more as the occasional tourists, something which we think everyone can enjoy too.
In case you missed it, you can check NYC Weekend adventure on Storify!
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