Recap On Our Quick Jaunt in NYC and LA
I’m currently writing this post curled up on the couch, trying my best to stay awake until night time. I just got home from the States today and I’m already suffering from the nightmare that is jetlag. I don’t know what it is that makes me sometimes get jetlag and sometimes not. Some people say it’s the number of time zones you cross, others say it’s the direction you’re going in. Who knows. All I can say is that it sucks. I also have legs the size of tree trunks after that flight! Does anyone else get this? Even though I do everything right – I wear hideous compression socks, I move my legs and feet all the time on the flight, and I still get off the plane feeling like I’m dragging along two moon boots instead of legs.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I bloody love America. I’ve only been to New York twice, and LA once, but I just love it and can’t wait to explore the rest of the country at some stage. The shopping, the AMAZING American food, and the people are all fantastic. I’m a sucker for good American food like ribs, hot wings, pepperoni pizza etc, so I feel like I’m in food heaven when I go to the States. This time around certainly did not disappoint! I managed to squeeze in some really good authentic Mexican food too, which obviously isn’t a bad thing. On our last night in LA just before we had to go to the Airport, we found a place called Baja Mexican in Santa Monica, and I don’t think I can stress enough how delicious it was. We ordered a half rack of beef short ribs (which was massive, classic America), and some chimmichangas and enchiladas to share. Needless to say we had to roll ourselves on to the plane, and started to feel the effects of the food about halfway through the flight (sorry to the guy sitting beside us if you’re reading this).
We started the first leg of our trip in New York for a week. Art and I split half our time staying at an Air BnB in Williamsburg, and the other half staying with Art’s sister Emily and her boyfriend Jordan in Brooklyn. The first day we were there, it was about 10 degrees so we got quite the shock! We both had our matching Huffer puffer jackets on (cute), and didn’t take them off all day. We spent the day exploring Williamsburg and Brooklyn, sniffing out good coffee spots, and getting our Fitbit steps up to record levels. We drank some daaaamn good coffee in New York over that week, these were some my favourite spots:
1. Little Skips, Bushwick
2. Variety, Williamsburg
3. Maman, Midtown
4. Five Leaves, Greenpoint
During that week, the weather started to warm up a bit and we took the Msomething train to upstate New York to do a spot of hiking, because who doesn’t love a good hike?! Such a good way to see the scenery but also get active and a bit of a sweat on. Here’s a fun fact: the train that we took to get there was actually the one that Girl on a Train was filmed on… Pretty cool. I kept an eye out for the house that was part of the film but couldn’t spot it. We got off the train in a really cute little town called Cold Spring, and I actually fell in love. It was like one of those towns that are in Disney movies where the Dad coaches the girls soccer team, and the Mom does lots of baking for afternoon tea. I was so obsessed that I looked up house prices for the area and tried to convince Art that we should move there. He said I was being weird. I still haven’t quite given up on that idea yet.
We hiked from Cold Spring over a mountain to another really cute town called Beacon where we rewarded ourselves after our 20km hike with tacos and ice cream. If you go to NYC, I would highly recommend taking some time out of the city and heading upstate. It’s only an hour or so away, but completely different to the city, and much slower paced. It’s good to get an experience for both.
Much to Art’s dismay, we did a shitload of shopping while we were over there (oops). Shopping in New York is next level! There is something for every price range, and I love that you can easily find shops that are unique to New York (makes me think of Anchorman, “unique New York”) and aren’t your everyday high street stores which one can easily get sick of. Emily also showed me the beauty of thrift store shopping! I’ve never been a huge fan, as I’m too lazy to sift through the racks to find some gems, but it’s actually a lot more fun than I thought. I got a bunch of insane bargains, I’m talking shirts for $6 and jackets for $21! Here’s some of my favourite shopping areas to hit up in New York:
1. Outdoor Voices for boutique activewear
2. Saturdays for more of a surfer fashion vibe (think RPM, Huffer etc) which also has an awesome little courtyard where you can chill and drink coffee
3. Saks Fifth Avenue if you want a real New York Department Store experience. It's expensive though, so if you get too excited around nice things like I do, it's best to avoid it
4. Beacon's Closet for thrift store shopping. It is MASSIVE, and there is pretty much a guaranteed bargain to be found, no matter what your style is.
5. Vice Versa VIntage is another thrift store that is beyond amazing. Emily and I found some doozies here (see pic), but also some keepers. I got a brand new shirt for $6. I know. $6.
I feel like New York does nightlife really well. The bars are super cool and quirky, and they really love their rooftops! In most suburbs you’ll be able to find a rooftop bar pretty easily. We didn’t have any big nights out in New York, but we did have some cockys (cocktails) in some pretty spectacular settings. The rooftop bars at The William Vale and The Standard stood out to me. The William Vale was a little more “trendy” whereas The Standard was more luxe. The clientele at The Standard reminded me a little bit of Gossip Girl, and there was even a Chuck Bass lookalike there, I kid you not. Oh, and the toilets at The Standard were all right in front of the window from the xxth floor. Insane. Omg I ALMOST FORGOT that I spotted Anna Kendrick just outside The William Vale. Like I’m 90% positive it was her from her side profile and voice… So I’m totally claiming it.
Great places for Dinner/Drinks:
1. Robertas in Brooklyn for amazing pizzas
2. Rooftop bar at The Standard for drinks
3. Rooftop bar at The William Vale for drinks
4. Burger and Lobster for dinner. The menu pretty much reflects the name.
Now, on to LA. Oh, LA you incredible place, I miss you already. There’s something about a city that gets sun 90% of the year that makes people so happy all the time?! In New York, every one is edgy and doesn’t take any BS, whereas in LA everyone is suuuuuper nice and always up for a chat. Art and I stayed at an Air BnB in Venice Beach which was an ideal location for us. It completely depends on what you’re in to when it comes to accommodation as LA is ENORMOUS so you kind of want to stay closest to the place you will spend the most time. It seemed like everywhere was about an hours drive away (without traffic). LA people will tell you about traffic until their lungs give out. I guess it’s like Aucklanders and the whole “4 seasons in a day” thing. We love talking about that.
We were about a 5 or 10 minute walk away from Venice Beach which is hilarious for people watching. We spent a couple of hours just sitting on the grass watching the roller skate dancers which is just a bunch of people from all walks of life getting their roller skates on, and skating to music. Something about it made me so happy, and it was probably the highlight of my whole trip. Just around the corner from Venice Beach and our accommodation was a strip of boutique shops and trendy bars and restaurants called Abbot Kinney. Abbot Kinney was probably my favourite street in LA. The shops are awesome, and the coffee is AMAZING. Art and I hit up Blue Bottle every day (sometimes twice), and it was really adorable listening to the Barista try and say Art’s name the Kiwi way every time (like Ahhht). These are my recommendations for places to shop and eat around the Venice area:
1. Blue Bottle for coffee
2. Garrett Leigh for sunglasses and specs
3. Wild Poke for poke bowls on Venice Boardwalk
4. Stout for amazing burgers in Santa Monica
5. Greenleaf Venice for yummy hearty salads
6. Baja Mexican is a Mexican food chain, but it's affordable, authentic and the meals are huge, which is right up my alley!
We also had one night out in LA which didn’t end as well as we planned. Art and I had planned a big night out on the town exploring all the bars and clubs that people had recommended to us. I bought a bottle of locally distilled vodka, Art bought some beers, and we were rearing to go! We had some pre drinks at our Air BnB then went to a place called Bungalow in Santa Monica which was like an old villa turned nightclub which has the vibe of one big house party, it’s awesome. We arrived, and were having a great time, talked to some really friendly locals, and that’s where it ended for me. Let’s just say our hopes of a big night bar hopping all over LA fell a little short thanks to me getting too excited over the locally distilled vodka.
If you are interested in people who have really nice houses (like me, I don’t know why I find it so intriguing), then take a drive around Malibu and Beverly Hills. I’ve never seen houses like that in all my life! We drove up to the Playboy Mansion to see if we could try and yarn our way in, but their security were too smart… this time.
We had such a whirlwind trip, so didn’t get to anywhere near the amount places we wanted to check out, but I hope this little recap has given you some ideas if you’re planning on heading over to ‘Murica any time soon. And if you’re not, then you should, because it’s swell. I can’t wait to go back!