NYC - Day 1: Carrots Wellington, Shake Shack, Irish Countryside, and Cool bathrooms

All of It - NYC - Hotel Hugo

Like true wannabe local New Yorkers, we hopped on the the right subway, only after three visits to the wrong entrance. Heh heh heh.

We arrived at Hotel Hugo a bit early and our room was still being cleaned, so we dropped our bags off and headed out. 

The Hudson River Park was a complete delight. There are large green areas right along the river for people to lay in the sun, have a picnic, or read a book. We saw a dog park with water features and room for the doggies to run around.

There was a skate park, a water park, mini golf, kayaking, and even a trapeze school at Pier 40. One of my favorite things was the Community Center that had a bunch of ping pong tables set up. 

All of It - NYC - Hunger Memorial

We ended up at the Irish Hunger Memorial. The memorial is a strip of lush verdant greenery that transports you out of the bustling city and into an Irish country side from a different time period. The jasmine was in full bloom, the crickets were chirping, and the long grasses were swaying in the wind. The fauna consists of native Irish plants and stones from each of Irelands 32 counties. A memorial without statue or human forms, it represents an abandoned battlefield. The memorial is a metaphor of the famine that claimed  one million lives in Ireland from 1845 to 1852, and is also meant to bring light to present day hunger issues. There are boxes of text on the bottom part of the memorial, which looks similar to an Irish tomb and is made of limestone. The text contains recipes modified for lack of food due to the famine, lines from newspaper editorials, and can be switched out to display next facts about hunger. The memorial also pays tribute to the immigrants who traveled to New York City to escape the famine and helped to shape the city as we know it today. 

What an experience. 

All of It - NYC - Shake Shack

We explored the riverside a little bit more and then I started seeing people with Shake Shack cups and was instantly hungry. (The worst most flippant transition ever.) Turns out we were .1 miles away, so we arrived at Shake Shack as second in line!! A miracle from what I have read and heard about the lines that can grow around the block. 

Shake Shack did not disappoint. They even have vegetarian options!! Crinkle fries are my favorite 'fry form'. I love how many crunchy parts there are and how it is soft on the inside. Moving on to the shake. We tried the flavor of the week which was banana pudding, but ultimately settled on peanut butter. Holy Mother of Pearl. Since I'm allergic to milk, I only had a few sips. I want to go back and try all of their sundae creations! One of them uses Mast Brothers chocolate. Sign me up!!!

That evening, we had drinks on the rooftop of our hotel. From a swanky couch with an Cuban inspired cocktail in hand, you are treated to beautiful view of the Hudson river.  We’ve had better cocktails, but it was fun to enjoy a drink at dusk on the rooftop in NYC. 

For dinner we walked to Narcissa. Located in the Standard Hotel in East Village, Narcissa has atmosphere that harkens back to the era of supper clubs. Also, the bathrooms were freaking awesome. You can barely even tell they're bathrooms and the journey to get there is dark and beautiful. 

We sat at the bar and I overheard one of the bartenders reaffirming that table 32 likes theirs less sweet, right? Narcissa offers Californian inspired food, focused on rotisserie and slow cooking. The name comes from a feisty, bossy cow who resides at Hudson Valley Farm which supplies vegetables and herbs planted specifically for use at the restaurant.

Our cocktails were perfect for ending the warm summery day. I had a 'So Pretty' cocktail which was a refreshing take on a gimlet with vodka, lime juice, beach plum liqueur, and basil. Chris had the 'Fly Me to Tulum'; tequila mixed with mezcal, blood orange, pomegranate, and a bit of spice from a jalepeno. 

Next up, the potato gnocchi. Soft pillowy bits in the most delicious, savory sauce I've ever tasted, chanterelle mushrooms, green garbanzos, and parmesan. The only way I can communicate what the sauce tasted like is to compare it to the best grilled cheese you've ever had. I know that isn't very sophisticated, but I mean it in a very delicious way. 

But the real star of the show was the Carrots Wellington. 

 This photo was borrowed from Gotham Magazine, you can find their article about Narcissa  here . Photographer: Josephine Rozman

This photo was borrowed from Gotham Magazine, you can find their article about Narcissa here. Photographer: Josephine Rozman

I have never had anything like this before. The carrots are hearty, meaty morsels, cured with spices like coriander, cinnamon, and fennel, and then rolled in cocoa, ground coffee beans, walnuts, and shallots. The carrots are stacked like a bundle of dynamite and wrapped in a flakey, buttery pastry crust.

It is unreal. A celebration of vegetables. Every single bite was astounding. 

We left without dessert, too full and incredibly satisfied with everything we'd just indulged in! 

Day 1 in NYC. A total success!!!

What are your favorite things to do in NYC??? Share them with me by leaving a comment below!!