With two of my best fronds living in New York, it is always one of my favorite places to visit. Just six hours by land or one and a half by air, the trip to the city that never sleeps is always quick and fun. There is an endless supply of spots to visit and I always leave feeling like I need more time! Not only have I not visited in almost 2 years, but James and I haven't traveled to NYC together in almost 8 years! Celebrating our Judys, Adam & Sean's One Year Wedding Anniversary was the perfect reason to plan a trip! I love a good marriage celebration plus I was so excited to spend quality time with my friend family.
BROOKLYN HOUSE HOTEL; BUSHWICK
I am typically a couch surfer but I'm starting to realize that I'm too old for that shit. James and I opted to stay at the Brooklyn House Hotel; a quaint traveler's hotel right in Bushwick, Brookyln. It was right off of the J Train, the Flushing Ave stop. It was simple and quick getting around town, except for when we Uber'd from LaGuardia and got dropped off at the Beaver Street in Manhattan. OOPS. We also walked the opposite way down Flushing Ave for about 5 minutes, but really other than my human error, it was super easy to navigate. This was a great spot for a reasonable price, about $165 a night. The rooms were cozy and bright, the bathroom had a funky shower, there were beers in the lobby, and they offered continental breakfast, waffle maker and all. Also, check-out isn't until 12om, which is SO CHILL.
RANDOM PIZZA; MIDTOWN
After our initial Uber blunder, we dropped off our luggage and met up with Adam. We took an excursion to B&H Photo Video in Hell's Kitchen, the largest non-chain photo and video equipment store in the country. It was a successful trip for all; Adam picked up his ring light, James; a camera bag, and I found a pink Mophie portable charger. We hadn't eaten since pretzels on the plane and were starving. We popped into the closest pizza spot en route and got a few slices and garlic knots. I shamelessly sipped a Sugar-Free Red Bull because I knew I was in for a long ass night.
We met up with Makiko and Lauren and made our way to the Flower District in Midtown. We were scared that all of the flowers would be gone by 3pm on a Friday but Adam was able to create beautiful arrangements full of white flowers, like honeymoon tulips and sweet peas.
Afterwards, we took a brief stroll through Eataly; Flatiron. i wish I could spend hours in there but also it was giving me slight anxiety. James was so psyched to see an entire case dedicated to Grana Padano, his favorite cheese.
Y'all know I'm matcha obsessed. I follow quite a few matcha cafes around the country and I knew I had to visit Cha Cha Matcha in Nolita, which I just learned stands for North of Little Italy.
Adam is not so into matcha, but I am convinced that I can make him believe. I got a coconut matcha latte while Adam kept it safe with a matcha lemonade that was SO DELICIOUS. We had to go back a second day so that James could get one. We got matcha macarons and I so wished that I had been in the mood for a matcha-lavender soft serve. I was bloated all weekend and didn't want to get overly decadent.
Why is green and pink such a beautiful combo? I've seen a trend with matcha bars adopting this color way. With 60s surf rock, fronds everywhere, a neon sign and a super friendly staff, I felt at home at Cha Cha Matcha. I just had wished there had been a place for me to sit down! If we had the time, I would have gone there a third and fourth day because that's just the type of Judy that I am.
EL VEZ // FINANCIAL DISTRICT
Although Adam and Sean had been married for a year, we still wanted to have a bachelor-esque type dinner with the night before the celebration. With a party of 9 and a couple of dietary restrictions, El Vez was a great choice for a super Manhattan-y dinner. We started with margs and guac and chatted with our server. The menu was huge and I was impressed by all of it's vegetarian options. Queso fundido with mushrooms, brussels sprout tacos con cashew crema, and butternut squash quesadillas! I went out on a limb and ordered a red bell pepper margarita made with Del Amigo mezcal, ancho reyes, red bell pepper juice, and thai bird chili. It was crispy yet smoky and super refreshing to suck down. I have been way into tequila and mezcal lately. We had a great dinner and now it was time to porty.
I love photobooths so much and couldn't think of a more perfect crew to snap pix with. I was pumped when the machine let you swipe a card for a photo session. The location of the restaurant is pretty difficult to get to and waiting for our Uber on a windy ass night was so brutal. My new latest party trick is to pass out DoTerra Peppermint Oil Breath Beadlets.
MACRI PARK // WILLIAMSBURG
Our first stop was a bar in Williamsburg called Macri Park. It was tiny and playing all of the good dance hits, synched with it's respective music video on the big screen. There were a few drag queens chillin and I managed to spot Acid Betty from Rupaul's Drag Race; Season 8. Are those her pubes hanging out of her corset? It honestly was kinda snoozy. We only stayed for 2ish drinks and made our way to North Williamsburg.
ORE BAR // WILLIAMSBURG
I immediately loved Ore Bar because they were playing reggae/dancehall all night ! It was dim yet bright, loud yet I could carry on a convo. I had been drinking Espolon & Soda all night and I accidentally ordered rail tequila here and I just couldn't drink it. So I switched to soda water and I also might have eaten a psychedlic chocolate. I just remember sitting at the bar and laughing for a solid two hours. I had so much fun despite having been up since 4am that morning. I was fading and couldn't afford the hangover. Luckily Adam wanted to be in bed by 2, so we went back to Bushwick leaving our party girls behind. We hit the Tiger Mart for an abundance of snacks; chips, m&ms, and coconut water. The holy trinity.
FRANKIE'S 457 SPUTINO // CARROLL GARDENS
Adam and Sean chose a wonderful location for their wedding celebration. Frankie's 457 is in Carroll Gardens and it was my first time visiting that neighborhood. The restaurant was poppin on a Saturday night and the reception was in a separate carriage house behind the building. It was the perfect space for an intimate dinner with framily (family and friends).
We sipped on prosecco & moscow mules while sampling a variety of apps before sitting down for dinner.
We started with cheese, meats, arugula salad before feasting on delicious decadent pasta. My favorite were the pillows of gnocchi in a simple marinara sauce that straight up melted in my mouth. We ended the meal with ricotta cheesecake, chocolate torte, and coffee because we were in for a long night!
BEDLAM BAR // EAST VILLAGE
With this crowd, the after party was going to be fierce. After a hilarious car ride to Avenue C, we made it to Bedlam Bar. Adam & Lauren reminisced about seeing Cazwell at this spot in the early millennium. I heard that Anderson Cooper's boyfriend owns this joint, so I was totally feeling boujie and cool. I felt even cooler with the entire back room to ourselves, personal bathroom included! So happy not to pee with the commoners hehe! Especially after all of the vodka redbulls that I drank 😳 (Confessions of a Luscious Judy) We danced until the lights came on and went back to BK for the after, after party.
JEEPNEY // EAST VILLAGE
The next morning, we managed to wake up at a decent hour, despite coming home at 5am. However, we missed continental breakfast. I am a major fan girl of Jeepney, a Filipino Gastropub in the East Village and I ambitiously made brunch reservations for 1pm. I ended up cancelling them and figured we'd roll the dice on walking in for a table. (I hate waiting at restaurants and I made this reso over a month ago.) I dined here 2 years ago and didn't order the ube waffles, which I still regret and of course, they no longer have.
We met up with Jon, James' cousin who also lives in Bushwick. We stopped for a juice, en route to the L train. I got the hangover helper and yes, it helped. We were lucky to snag 3 bar seats at Jeepney and I was feeling so overwhelmed by the menu!
I started with a Kalamansi Mimosa and was jealous when the dudes had a piece of jackfruits in their Mango Mimosas. I ended up ordering the Bangsilong, a traditional Filipino breakfast of smoked baby milkfish, garlic fried rice with an egg, and cucumbers. Immediately after ordering, I was unsure. As soon as it hit the table, I was immediately stoked. It was smoked and fried perfectly and not a bone in sight. I ate every piece, including the tail!
To digest, we walked down to the High Line in Chelsea because J'ames hadn't seen it before. It was warm in the sun and freezing in the shade, but of course, we wanted ice cream. We talked about going back to Little Italy but we were losing steam. We made our way back to BK and went to Mr. Kiwi's, which has changed my life forever. $4 for 16oz juice and you can literally create any combo you'd like! They have 3 boards of ailments and rememdies to guide your juice cocktail. They make extra so that you have to drink the juice and they top you off. So incredible. Meanwhile, juice in Richmnd is atleast $7.
Our friend group took a collective disco nap and we planned to meet for dinner. First, we had Coronas in our hotel room.
DINER // EAST WILLIAMSBURG
We didn't even sit down to eat until 10pm, which was so Manhattan-y of us. We ate at Diner, which is fun New American, where the servers scribble the menu on your table's butcher paper. They are known for a magnificent $25 burger. Adam and I both got a moonshine cocktail that had chamomile flowers in the ice cube ! So precious! We split a couple of funky bottles of wine; chilled barnyard red and a kombucha-esque sparkling white. For dinner, we split the most delicious broccoli appetizer. Then I was annoying and had two apps for my entree. A beet salad with nuts, dill, and a pickled herring vinaigrette as well as a salad with a shit load of cheese, just the way I like it.
DRAM // EAST WILLIAMSBURG
In lieu of dessert, we opted for tiki cocktails at Dram. Adam has taken me to this spot before and enjoyed it! I love a spicy drank but I could barely sip on it and keep my eyes open and have a conversation. The whole weekend was starting to catch up to me!
MR. KIWI'S // BUSHWICK
Before we departed, we met up for one last juice and a joint. Since we were conveniently on the J train, we were able to take it to the JFK stop, about a 45 minute ride. From there, you take a quick $5 airtrain ride to the terminals. It was so chill and easy. I may never fly into LaGuardia ever again! We left BK around 12ish and after the train, security, and food..we made it to our gate right in time for boarding around 3:30pm. The gate attendant freaked me out for a minute saying that J'ames was gonna fly to ATL and me to BOS, but she figured it out. No delays, no problems.
Congratulations again to my friends Adam and Sean on their one year wedding anniversary. Thank you for hosting an incredible weekend!!! It was such a special time with my most special Judys.
Can't wait for my next trip to NYC !