This past weekend Julie and I headed to New York for some baseball and family dinners. So I took this opportunity to check out a couple of places for the first time. We got into town Thursday afternoon and stopped in Astoria for Greek food before heading to our hotel. We stayed at the World Trade Center Hotel because it was the cheapest 4-star hotel we could find on Hotwire. The location isn’t bad (it’s close to public transportation) but once we hit Saturday it was tourist nightmare. Although, when we’d return at the end of the night, the area was a complete ghost town. The view from our hotel window overlooked the 9/11 Memorial which is part construction zone and part tourist attraction. All very bizarre.
Thursday night we went to Upstate Craft & Oyster Bar in the East Village before meeting up with some of Julie’s hockey girls at Blind Tiger whose taps were recently taken over by Sierra Nevada. Upstate was a game time decision as we were looking for something not quite a full-on meal since we had a late lunch. It was great. They had a serious beer list and we ordered Little Neck clams which you can have steamed with the beer of your choice. I stuck with the Hop Crisis by 21st Amendment which is now officially my favorite IPA. Really, I can’t recommend this place enough. Blind Tiger was wall to wall people but they had a huge beer selection and a ton of Sierra Nevada which I’ve never even heard of.
Friday, I pretty much had the day to myself before heading out to Forest Hills, Queens for Dee’s lasagne. We made sure to get Julie a NY style bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and then I headed to the Morgan Library and Museum for the Churchill: Power of Words exhibit. The exhibit was great but the layout, staff and lack of information bothered me. I spent 20 minutes walking around before I could find the exhibit. I had no idea the library has three Gutenberg Bibles and I completely missed them. Just a lot of stuff I missed that I don’t think I would have if the place was better organized or the staff was more inviting. That being said, I was the youngest person at the Churchill exhibit by about 47 years and I nearly witnessed two octogenarians in a cane fight over a bench seat.
After the Museum I went down to Madison Square park for the food stands at Madison Square Eats 2012. Literally blown away. There were probably more than 20 vendors, everything from BBQ, Mexican to Asian food including desserts and a couple pop-up bars. I went with the Lobster roll from Red Hook Lobster Pound, Connecticut style. It beat the hell out of waiting in the hour-plus line at Shake Shack. I killed the rest of my afternoon at the Old Town Bar which is one of the oldest bars in the city being in continuous operation since 1892.
After dinner at Dee’s, Julie and I headed back into the city and met up with Jim at Top Hops which is a craft beer store that has a bar. Basically you can pull any beer from the large bank of coolers and either make your own six pack or drink it there. Massive selection. I wish I had more time to really methodically go through the coolers.
Afterwards, we headed to Fraunces Tavern which is probably one of the more historic bars in New York City. General Washington bid farewell to his officers just days after the final British troops had left following the end of American Revolution:
‘With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.’
Fraunces Tavern also lays claim to the best Porter in the world. It’s definitely up there. The building is an amazing sprawling space with several rooms and multiple bars. I could have spent 8 hours there without any problem. It’s up there with McSorley’s in my book.
Saturday we headed to Citi Field for the Mets – Marlins game. More on that over at chicagometsfan.com
A long weekend. A lot of ground covered. I might be getting too old for this.