Not to toot my own horn or anything... but this past weekend I pretty much rocked Dr. H's birthday socks off (toot TOOT!!) There were surprise visitors and festive dinners, late night shenanigans and even horseback riding. We ate like kings (and drank like fish) and overall it was just one of those weekends that reminds you that these are truly great times.
Since now I look and feel kinda like THIS, I thought the best thing to do today was give you a little recap of some of our adventures since I heartily recommend everywhere we ate/drank/went/played.
* Friday - La Esquina & Brinkley's
Do not be fooled by the "taco counter" storefront at street level! Walk in the main door, head down a flight of stairs and through the kitchen (literally) and you end up in a cave meets-awesomely decorated bar and sit-down restaurant space. Though La Esquina can be a biatch to get a large group reservation at (one month in advance, limited space, etc) their price fix menu includes copious amounts of insanely delicious food which go quite nicely with their awesome cocktails. For a regular dinner, arrive early, make a reservation or be willing to sit at the bar and La Esquina will be a chic and tasty night on the town.
I've walked past Brinkley's dozens of times, but post-La Esquina (just around the corner in Soho) was my first time heading inside. The bar had a great atmosphere, a decent number of tables and barstools and though it got crowded as the night went on, it never filled to the "whose armpit is this in my face?" capacity that I detest. Gonna have to head back for eats sometime soon!
* Saturday - Coffee Shop, Union Square Farmer's Market & Ginny's Supper Club
Rising and shining(ish!) on Saturday morning our crew of 6 (siblings and 1 tiny niece included!!) headed to a birthday brunch at The Coffee Shop in Union Square. This spot is a go-to for me in the neighborhood with a menu filled excellent options (brunch or lunch/dinner) at reasonable prices. Items like the "Hangover Sandwich", pancakes, french toast and steak and eggs were hits all around my brunch table and the atmosphere is always lively (plus outdoor seating!) Reservations recommended if you want to avoid a wait.
I absolutely love the Union Square Farmer's Market. The produce, flowers, cheese, baked goods, meats, fish, (Martin's Pretzels!) and more are fresh, delicious and locally sourced. Though it can get a bit crowded on beautiful Saturdays, arrive early and get the fresh stuff before the crowds. (Open M,W,F,Sat 8am-6pm, more info HERE)
Below the (deservedly hyped) Red Rooster Harlem restaurant, is Ginny's Supper Club, a modern reincarnation of the glamorous Harlem speakeasies of the 1920s and also serving delicious eats by chef Marcus Samuelsson. Our table for two had a prime view of the wonderful live jazz performance and the food was Ah-MAZ-ing. From the chicken and waffles and deviled eggs appetizers to our "Helga's Meatballs" and Mac and Greens (a mac and cheese of epic deliciousness in my humble opinion!), every bite was more delicious than the next. I even glutinously enjoyed the homemade ice cream sandwich for dessert because... BECAUSE. If you like live jazz and you want a glam, unique, DELICIOUS night on the town, reservations at Ginny's Supper Club should be it. (Note - you can also just buy tickets for the performance and drink/listen at the bar in the back!)
Dr. H is obsessed with horses (strange, but true) and somewhere in my birthday surprise hype-building we developed a running joke that I was getting him "a stallion" for a gift. The stallion jokes invaded daily conversation so much that I felt I had to do something horse-related for my beloved equine-enthusiast. Recalling an episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte went riding in the city and turning to our trusted friend Google, I discovered Kensington Stables located just off Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Bizarrely situated just like any other business on a city street corner, the stable is home to more than 20 horses and for the reasonable price of $37 you can take an hour-long ride through the park (including an only-in-NYC, is this really happening? horse ride through a traffic circle to get into the park!) The horses are all beautiful and riding through the city park was truly a unique experience. Kensington Stables also offers lessons or for just $3 your kiddo can take a pony ride up and down the block. Not too shabby NYC, not too shabby at all.