NoLita, New York

Posted on May 11, 2012

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I have  been back to New York a couple of times recently and am starting to fall in love with the city. I stayed with a friend who lives in NoLita, the perfect downtown location – full of restaurants and beautiful boutiques and walking distance to SoHo and the East & West Villages. For the first time ever I ♥ NY.

Given that I live in Paris, home of the Macaron (and have even named my cat so), I was surprised to find a Macaroon shop that I adored. It’s called Bisous Ciao, on Ludlow and Stanton, in the East Village. The salted caramel was as good as I had tasted anywhere. The Jasmin and Green Tea was out of this world and just the mention of Yuzu still makes my mouth water.

My friend that I stayed with is a lawyer by day and a writer by night. She loves the McNally Jackson Independent Bookshop. I bought the Paris v New York book and just can’t put it down. It sums up the two cities perfectly (I believe they have some kind of weird affinity even though they are so different).

I managed to get to two shows, neither of which were on Broadway but both of which I would recommend. Sleep No More is bizarre and well worth the experience. Set on several floors in a mock hotel you follow actors around. Have one of their absinth shots before you are given your mask to walk around, it really does enhance the experience. I have never been to anything like this and although it was expensive at $125 a pop, it was well worth it.

Lonely I’m Not is a complete contrast and had me giggling at this kind of RomCom at Second Stage Theatre. The set was modern and inventive and the actors believable and witty. Worth a trip if you get a chance.

I also fell in love with the Elizabeth Street Gallery. It holds a range of enourmous furnishings collected by it’s owner who is a fascinating man to chat to. If you are lucky, he may take you upstairs in the lift – I’ll leave it as a surprise but again has a French feel. Also check out the working shooting range that he managed to get from Coney Island (back right of the gallery).

And now onto more of the important stuff, food. There are so many restaurants in the vicinity but I only managed to try a few. Here’s my run down of places that are worth a try:

Bowery Hotel, on Bowery and Great Jones, is good with a bunch of friends. I went with a hangover – the bloody mary followed by eggs benedicte sorted me out no end.

NY seems to bring out the worst in me. After another boozy night I met a friend at the perfect Mexican: Barrio Chino on Broome and Orchard (no, I don’t understand the name Barrio Chino either, it’s not actually in China Town). An enourmous Enchilda with home made salsa verde and one, or maybe three, grapefruit margaritas, I was raring to go again.

Bread, on Spring and Elizabeth, is a great breakfast/brunch place. The baked eggs with fennel sausage were delicious and hugely filling.

Peels, on Bowery and Bond St, served up an egg white omelet with goats cheese and spinach that was light and fluffy yet filled me up nicely for the morning. For another day I’d love to try the build your own biscuits  (which are like savoury scones rather than sweet cookies)

ACME on Great Jones and Lafayette I didn’t manage to try but had queues out the door every time I walked past. It’s so trendy that it’s website is bare and unnecessary. Reserve for yummy Cajun cuisine.

Katz’s Deli is touristy and the food is ok – good to try for what I would call real American food like a Ruben. The main attraction is that this is where the famous fake orgasm scene was filmed in When Harry Met Sally.

Also see my last post on NY for more on Esquina, Indochine and the Mercer which are in this area too.

If, like me, you feel the need to work some of this food off then hunt out one of the gyms where you can often get a free trial if you smile hard enough. I tried two: the upmarket Equinox (although no where near my Parisian favourite Klay), and the cheaper Crunch. Both gyms were enourmous with tons of equipment and no waiting to get on machines. Equinox is definitely nice but doesn’t warrant doubling the price in my lowly opinion.

Or if you feel like working out is a bit much, you could try Great Jones Spa (reservations required) or have a mani-pedi at bargain prices (around $25) in China Town which is about a 10/15min walk south. I went to Nails on Elizabeth St (just above Canal St) who did a great job.

If you go and explore this area, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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Posted in: Destinations, USA