At the very end of the my New York trip I had one of the best days there when I met up with my friend Abby and we roamed all around New York taking each other to our favourite haunts in the city. Abby and me first met during my last trip to New York, when we paired up to go to a La Roux concert and to have late night tofu salads at Yaffa. It's funny to think that it's been two years since we saw each other and yet nothing - or everything! - has changed. This time we knew we only had a day and a night and a morning together, we were splitting a beautiful room at the Lafayette House and we wanted to make the most of it. So we packed a whole lot of New York and a helpful respite sitting in our room eating macarons and drinking tea into one day and it was absolutely glorious.
Lunch at The Smile was one of those spur of the moment decisions that turns out to be absolutely fantastic. We both opted for the Penne - a delicious wriggle of pasta and ricotta with a massive helping of parmesan over the top with the crunch of sugar snap peas throughout. It was something quite magical. After, we wandered up 6th Ave to the famed location of C.O Bigelow chemists and spent a long time perusing through everything that they had on offer, especially their own-brand range which is stocked at the Lafayette and smells like a dream. I picked up a little treat, a bar of the Mentha exfoliating soap that smells like dewy, garden-fresh mint. After that we hopped on the F train - takes me anywhere I want to go! - uptown to check out Abby's favourite bookstore Rizzoli. This is how bookstores should be, with creaky staircases and sales assistants who talk to each other in French and ladders to reach the top top top shelves high from the floor. Abby picked up a heap of things but I was at the end of my trip and money was running low. But when I got home I saw that mum had bought me one of the books that I was mulling over from amazon. It's a tale of New York City in the 1930s, speakeasys, dive bars and fast cars. I can't wait.
After that we strolled right up Madison Ave for a pilgrimage to Laduree. It's right next to the freshly opened Celine store and it's well worth the wait. I had forgotten, really, what a proper macaron tasted like. There are many imitators and there are some that are very good. But no-one makes a macaron quite like the French. crispy on the outside but soft as anything on the inside. We picked up Salted Butter Caramel, "Incroyable Amande" which was an almond flavour with a mashmallow (YES, MARSHMALLOW) filling and is my new favourite, grapefruit and vanilla, and then raspberry for me and rose for Abby.
Dinner was at Lucky Strike at the bottom of Soho. This was a fantastic meal. We shared the polenta calamari with spicy tomato sauce and then ended up with burgers after seeing the people at the tables around us consume theirs so happily we had no choice but to order them. I loved this poky little bistro. I remembered it from that garance photo, and Abby had seen a recommendation on one of her favourite blogs. I'm glad we ended up here for dinner too, since it turned out to be another of those surprise great meals. I rarely dined at the same place in New York more than once, partly because I'm greedy and I wanted to try something everywhere, just once, but also because there is so much on offer in that city you need to keep roaming around. Finally, a nightcap at The Bowery Hotel. I asked the bartender to make me something with ginger and makers mark, and the result was something so perfect I only wish I had paid more attention to what he was doing. I know that some kind of bitters went in there but other than that it was a blur of cocktail shakers and up-ended bottles of bourbon.
Just another perfect New York day, really.
The Smile - 26 Bond St, Soho
C.O Bigelow - 414 6th Ave, Greenwich Village
Rizzoli - 31 West 57th St, Midtown
Laduree - 864 Madison Ave, Upper East Side
Lucky Strike - 31 Grand St, Soho
The Bowery Hotel - Corner of Bowery and East 3rd St, Noho