OK I know American stereotypes are just that, stereotypes, but we really wanted to enjoy a diner while in New York. We searched for a diner to go to and found a few, but we were strongly recommended West Way Diner in the Meatpacking District. So off we went.
Stacks of pancakes and frenchtoast topped with bacon, eggs and maple syrup. They weren’t the best pancakes we had (we’ll get to those on another blog) but the experience was cool, with loads of booths and the traditional formica furniture. We are still getting used to the idea of tipping so much for everything so we didn’t have any cash left to pay the bill. So, once we’d paid at the counter with card, Jenny walked back to the table and duly left our tip since our waiter was pretty nice. Unfortunately, karma wasn’t on our side and she slipped over in the middle of the diner, causing a scene, hurting herself and meaning we walked out rather red faced.
We picked ourselves up (Jenny literally) and went for a walk around south west Manhattan heading for Greenwich Village but ending up walking around the West Village which was very pretty with more cobbled streets. We even took our first NYC bus which was weirdly quiet and unbelievably cold from an overzealous air-conditioning unit. Completely in contrast to the summer we had been experiencing in London with sauna like buses packed to the rafters.
New York’s 9/11 Memorial
For the second time on this trip we made our way down to the World Trade Center memorial which, luckily, this time was open. This is a very impressive memorial with water cascading multiple times down to a depth which you are unable to see the bottom of. The whole place which sits on the perfect square location of one of the former towers was surrounded by people reading the names of those who died in 9/11, which are starkly punched through a steel plate which runs around the whole memorial. It is worth a visit and, feeling sufficiently touched, we decided to skip the long queue for the museum and move on to other parts of NYC.
Continuing our stereotypical tour through New York we started chowing on a tasty american hot dog, again from one of the many convenient street vendors. These vendors are so good, that they are genuinely a reason to move to New York. Unfortunately though, the rain started. This put our plans of going to the top of the Rockafeller centre in a bit of jeopardy, as we didn’t really feel like paying 80 dollars to stand high up in the rain with no view. When I say it rained, I mean it poured. And when I say it poured, I mean we were nearly drowned.
Time to drink New York
Instead we made our way towards East Village to have one of our best nights of the trip. We actually went around in circles but found a casual local bar called “Phebe’s” to start the evening. This place had the typical offer of hearty american food (think 25cent wings), a range of American lagers and more TVs that customers. But we really enjoyed sitting up the bar, soaking up the atmosphere and re-hydrating with beer. Well, Jenny had a cider actually, but they seem to lump beer and cider together here.
Not knowing where to go in the city, we just became sheep and followed the hoards of young people and came across a cool Japanese bar restaurant (we can’t remember the name). This place was quite dark, but they served drinks in zip lock bags with LED ice-cubes which made it possible to just about see. This place reminded us a lot of the teppanyaki bars back in Japan which was really cool. It actually looked to do really good food too. The problem is, Jenny wanted Mac’n’Cheese and would settle for nothing else. So after one drink we moved on.
As if by divine intervention
Finally, by chance, we found what we were looking for, Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese, and my was it worth it. The whole place sells only Mac and Cheese (duh) in all different flavours, sizes, choices of toppings… you get the picture. I had a buffalo chicken mac n cheese which came in a searingly hot 8 inch skillet, whilst Jenny had the same size, cut into 8 slices, all with a differing variety of ingredients and/or toppings. To say we enjoyed ourselves would be an understatement.
The one thing we have noticed while we have been in New York is that all meals seem to cost the same amount. Maybe partly due to our self consciousness, we seem to spend $40 each time whether we have drinks or food or both. Just a weird phenomenon, but except for a few occasions it seemed to hold consistently true.
It was another long day for us in NYC so we hadn’t walked far from our dinner before we happened upon a pretty cool and hipster bar called the Holiday Cocktail Lounge. It’s in places like this that we feel really at home, and it feels quite like London. That is, you forget that there are huge towering buildings above you and you can relax into a strong intricately prepared beverage.
After a couple more drinks, we made our way to bed as quickly as possible. We aren’t made for these busy days and staying up late! New York though, you are starting to grow on us!
See you next time!