Sunday, August 16, 2015

NYC Trip 2015 - Day 4, Part 2: Peter Luger Steakhouse

Day 4 was so packed I broke up the post into two parts.  For Part 1, click here - NYC Trip 2015 - Day 4, Part 1

Peter Luger Steakhouse is located in Brooklyn.  We had reservations for 8:45pm, so had plenty of time for more exploring before dinner after our afternoon break.  Zac had heard good things about the Park Slope area, and that it was good for browsing and taking in all that is Brooklyn, so we headed there first via the subway.  Now for a shout out to "the other 5th avenue" of Park Slope! What a lovely area, great place to stroll and visit shops, stop for coffee (or may be a chocolate!) on what turned out to be a perfect late spring afternoon.  We emerged from underground right at the Barclay's center (which looks like a giant space ship by the way), headed south on Flatbush Avenue, and turned right on 5th avenue, entering Park Slope.  We stayed on 5th avenue for many many blocks, ending at Washington Park at the corner of 5th avenue and 3rd street.  On the way we stopped in several shops including The Chocolate Room (for aforementioned chocolate), Gorilla Coffee where I was tempted to get one of their t-shirts but didn't, and Annie's Blue Ribbon General Store, full of all kinds of cool things.   So, are you in the need for a nice peaceful area very close to Manhattan but want to feels worlds away? Visit the Park Slope area of Brooklyn!

Residential side street in Park Slope

Another residential shot, love the blooms!
So we've seen what we want to see in Park slope, where to next? We want to land somewhere close to Peter Luger, so we can have a nice stroll and end up there close to 8:45pm.  We Uber over to Grand Street, another area Zac has heard is great for perusing and is in walking distance from our dinner destination in Williamsburg.  I somewhat randomly decide to have the Uber drop us off at Grand Ferry Park, thinking we may be able to get some good views of Manhattan across the East River.  At the time of deciding this, I wasn't at all cognizant of the time, or what the sun had planned very soon.......

Surprise! Sunset over Manhattan across the East River. Just stunning.  Needless to say we stayed here and soaked it all in until there was nothing left to soak in, and I realized I was under dressed for a late spring evening with a breeze coming in off the East River.

Check it out! View of Manhattan from Grand Ferry Park in Brooklyn

Empire State Building and Chrysler off to the far right

Me and my sweetheart (thank you strangers for taking this!)

We walk down Grand Street for a ways, and stumble across a little shop called Insiders1 (check it out at where a nice woman and her husband sell made-in-brooklyn leather purses and such with photography she's taken around the city.  Very cool place and I may now have a red leather purse with a photo of Patience (or is it Fortitude?), one of the lions perched outside the NY Public Library.  It's getting close to 8:45 by this time, so we head on our way.  Below is a shot of what I thought looked pretty cool,  Post sunset but not quite all the way dark.  Williamsburg Bridge all lit up on the right, and Lower Manhattan all lit up on the left, in the center a large mural of what I have no idea, but all together it looked quite cool to me.  It looks like I stopped in the middle of the road to take this, but I assure you that I broke no pedestrian laws, and this street had an island in the middle of the street.  Really, it does. Broadway and Bedford streets in Brooklyn.

We arrive!  None to soon, I've worked up quite an appetite. 
 Being the smart people that we are, and not wanting to be completely clueless when we sit down, we (ok Zac) uses his sleuth skills and knows exactly what and how to order.  To be true regulars, we would have said "no menu needed", but we don't do that and at least looked at the menu before ordering our pre-determined fare.

We order appetizers - the shrimp cocktail and bacon.  Yes, just a slab of bacon.  It was as good as it looks!

Signature sauce
 And here we are at the main course, the Porterhouse for two! Sizzling and popping and smelling wonderful with lots of juices to spoon over and further baste the meat in tastiness.
The main event!
For our side to the steak we get the tomatoes and onions, because that's what you do at Peter Luger's Steakhouse.

Zac totally posed for this, he would never actually gnaw on the bone.  I was tempted....


After dinner
We can both easily say why Peter Luger Steakhouse is consistently named, ranked, chosen, whatever as having the best steak in New York.  It was tasty and moist and cooked perfectly.  A great experience overall and would recommend it to everyone! Oh, just remember cash, no credit cards at Peter Luger!

After dinner we head back to Manhattan via the subway, and head over to the area just East of Central Park near Lex and 60th St. We got a nice view of Bloomingdale's at night!

We do have a plan, and that plan is Serendipity 3 and a giant frozen hot chocolate.  Yes, we just scarfed down a huge porterhouse steak.  But we have walked a lot, and it's a vacation after all. So onward to Serendipity 3! 

So here we are, doing a quintessential NYC thing and having dessert at Serendipity 3, me with a frozen hot chocolate and Zac with a sundae. An insane chocolate-y gooey dripping and incredibly delicious sundae!  It was SOOOO good, perfect ending to yet another perfect day on our NYC adventure of 2015!!  

Next up - our last full day in New York.  Three words - Letterman, Le Bernardin.  Stay tuned!!

Click on the recent posts on the right of the screen to read about the rest of our NYC adventures on this trip! 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

NYC Trip 2015 - Day 4, Part 1: Katz's, Russ and Daughters, Lower Manhattan, Chelsea Market

Day 4 of our New York City adventure started out like every other day - with perfect weather! View from our hotel room with very clear blue sky.

Being the subway pros that we now are, we hop on the 6 train south and get off at the Bleeker St stop to begin our Lower Manhattan exploration.  We head east on Houston St and arrive at our first destination, Russ and Daughters Appetizers.   Like many other NYC fixtures, Russ and Daughers has been around "appetizing" for over a hundred years (since 1914).  They specialize in smoked fish, caviar, and other delicacies.  

smoked salmon case
Zac orders for us with the ease of a local.  We partake in gravlax, potato latkes, smoked herring and cream sauce, and smoked salmon and onions (no cream).  No bagels and lox for us this time, something to get when we return!

Gravlax and potato latkes

Herring and cream sauce

Smoked salmon and onions

We left room for a second breakfast at our next stop, and only one block east on Houston, Katz's!

view from our table.  this place is huge! 
We shared two Katz's specialties, their classic hot dog and pastrami sandwich, with an egg cream to wash it all down.  I have never had pastrami so tender and flavorful in my life!  Nothing to this point that claimed to be pastrami that I have eaten should be allowed to be in the same category of food as Katz's pastrami.  It was that good.

Two very full people
Stuffed to the brim, we set off to explore more of Lower Manhattan.  We meander our way back down Houston Street to the Nolita neighborhood.  Nolita is perfect for exploring, quaint streets lined with interesting shops, cafe's, and everything a stroll through NYC could deliver.  We walked down Elizabeth, Mott, and Mulberry Streets between Houston and Spring streets.   Along the way we discovered a very cool shop Made In Earth, where I picked up a fossilized memento; walked past Lombardi's pizza, and stopped for a pick-me-up at Nolita Mart and Espresso Bar on Mott St, on the border between Chinatown and Little Italy.   We wandered through some neat Italian groceries that have been around for close to a century or more, Di Palo's Fine Foods and Alleva Dairy.

Di Palo's Italian fine food shop

Alleva Dairy
Before leaving Little Italy we visit the Italian American Museum, and by visit I mean we looked in through the windows.

We still saw something worth noting.....a professional wrestler seems to get more prominence in this particular display than the Pope....

We don't really see much of Soho or Tribeca, no time, except to walk from Little Italy down Walker Street (parallel to Canal), past the Tribeca Grand Hotel on our way to the E train, Canal Street station. On our way, just past the Tribeca Grand on 6th Avenue, across from Tribeca Park, we see a film crew!  Curious, we walk right up to the film crew to see if we can figure out what is going on.  Someone quickly directs us to stand up against a building and out of the middle of the sidewalk.  I have just enough time to figure out they are filming someone walking down the street, and I get this photo.  I recognize him immediately as someone I'd seen recently on TV. Zac, not so much, but after Zac does some googling, he figures out this is Rami Malek, likely filming for Mr. Robot, a show on USA.  (Earlier this year I watched HBO's The Pacific, and Rami was a young soldier, likely why i recognized him).   So, that was cool.

Next up - Chelsea!  We take the E train from Tribeca up to the 14th Street station, where we emerge just a block or so away from Chelsea Market.  Chelsea Market exceeds all our expectations as a foodie's wonderland of fine foods to buy and eat! We opted to tour on our own (they have official food tours), which worked out well.  I was especially fascinated with all the fresh seafood, including sea urchin! 

Inside Chelsea Market
spices and teas as far as the eye can see!


Very near Chelsea Market is Artichoke Pizza, a perfect mid afternoon pit stop and late lunch spot. We get a sampler of pizza's to energize us for the rest of our day. 

Next up - the High Line! After pizza, we hop on the High Line around 18th street and walk up to 23rd.  There is more to see on the High Line, but we got a glimpse with some great views of the city.

Hudson River and New Jersey in the background

After the High Line our feet are in need of some rest (mainly MY feet), so we take the subway back to the hotel for our mid afternoon break, have to rest up for our evening in Brooklyn!  Stay tuned for Part 2 of Day 4: details on Brooklyn's Park Slope (the Other Fifth Avenue!), unexpected sunsets, and Peter Luger Steakhouse!

Catch up on the first parts of our trip here:
Day 1 - Dinner at Per Se, a Thomas Keller Restaurant
Day 2 - Momofuku Noodle Bar and Babbo
Day 3 - Flushing, Sushi Yasuda, and Spot Dessert Bar