Posted in Travel

How I Plan An Effective City Break Using Instagram & Google Maps

Amsterdam - January 2020
Amsterdam – January 2020

I know it’s ironic to be writing about travel tips during a global pandemic where we’re all locked down at home, but we have to hope and believe that it won’t always be like this. Onwards.

Anyone who knows me IRL knows that efficiency is practically my middle name. I hate having to do something twice or take the long way round and my husband frequently bellows “EFFICIENCY!!!” at me when I am being impatient because he’s hilarious like that (and it’s true).

Since I started to plan our trips with my patent pending Claire’s Universally Neat Travel method (need to work on that acronym), we both feel like we’ve really wrung so much more out of them – our last US road trip, for example, we fit SO much in without ever feeling rushed so it’s definitely been beneficial to take a more organised approach to planning.

Rijksmusem Amsterdam - January 2020
Rijksmusem Amsterdam – January 2020

With that in mind, I thought I would share my tried and tested method of planning an efficient city break – it really has changed my travel life and made sure I wring out every last ounce of opportunity of a break, mini or plus size.

  1. Make Instagram Work For You

    Instagram Is Your Friend!
    Instagram Is Your Friend!

Do you ever catch yourself stuck in a repetitive cycle of scrolling through images on instagram and wonder what on earth you’re doing whilst the world continues to revolve? Yeah, me too, especially at the moment. But here’s where the scrolling can come in useful!

A large part of my trip planning revolves around food because I’m a committed glutton and it’s important to me to eat well and often wherever we go. I never want to be in the position of having to eat a poor meal because we can’t find something we like (Paris 2005 trip, I’m looking at you, le bastarde) so here’s where Instagram comes in useful.

Committed Glutton, Instagramming His Lunch
Committed Glutton, Instagramming His Lunch

Committed gluttons like me exist all over the world and if there’s one thing we love doing more than eating, it’s taking photos of food and posting them on the internet.  Check out some relevant hashtags and get to scrolling – when planning our most recent San Francisco trip, I found some great tips by searching the #sfeats, #sfrestaurants, #eatersf and #brunchsf hash tags. It can be a bit of a rabbit hole – you’ll end up clicking through to one restaurant, seeing something interesting in the comments, clicking through that and before you know it, 4 hours have passed, it’s dark outside and your dog is starving.

Johnny Rockets Nostalgia Road Trip Lunch, Monterrey CA, May 2019
Johnny Rockets Nostalgia Road Trip Lunch, Monterrey CA, May 2019

I found a lot of great restaurants and bars through this method for places in San Francisco, Palm Springs, Las Vegas and for our most recent trip to Amsterdam but it’s worth pointing out that this is also a great method to find new places in  your own neighbourhood!

2. Make lists!

I fucking love lists
I fucking love lists

I mean, this is no hardship to someone like me who loves to write things down and tick them off (yep, even stuff I’ve already done. I can’t help it). I like to make a list of things under the following headings:

  • Things To Eat & Drink
  • Things To See
  • Things To Experience
  • Other (because there is always something that doesn’t fit in the first 3 categories).

These are intended to just be long, freeform lists – jot down places, addresses, instagram handles as you see them. This is intended to be the longlist – you’ll edit it down later – so just put EVERYTHING that sounds remotely interesting down. As an avid Food Network viewer, any time some loudmouth is eating a giant burger at somewhere interesting, I jot down the name of the restaurant so I can look it up on Instagram later.

3. Create Your Shortlist

Amateur Hour With The Bullet Journaling, Travel Edition
Amateur Hour With The Bullet Journaling, Travel Edition

So, you’ve taken note of about 47 different burger restaurants in Amsterdam now but you’re only there for 3 nights – something’s gotta give. This is the time to look them up and suss them out a bit. Again, I like to use Instagram for this – check out their account and see if they’re a one hit wonder or if there is more to hold your interest. If you’re into Trip Advisor, now’s your chance (remember only 1% of reviews on there are written by sane people like me).

Another good thing to do is check out the location tag for the restaurant or bar in question and see what real life other people are posting about it – they may have some good intel or feedback (or tell you that it’s not worth it!), too.

Don't forget to research coffee breaks too- Sightglass Coffee, San Francisco, May 2019
Don’t forget to research coffee breaks too- Sightglass Coffee, San Francisco, May 2019

I tend to whittle restaurants down to 2 or 3 options for each meal per day, so as to allow for it being too busy to get in, not open when you get there, etc.

Once you’ve gotten a more manageable list, you can start to plan out your itinerary in a bit more detail and allocate items from your list to specific days, depending on your travel plans. Voila – instantly you’ll feel a lot more organised!

I’m shit at bullet journaling but everyone can make a list, right? Also, don’t judge me, I much prefer pen and paper lists over digital ones. I’m old.

 

4. Make friends with Google Maps

Google Maps Is The Best
Google Maps Is The Best

I cannot stress enough how USEFUL a custom Google map can be. Ever since I made one for dog walking spots about 10 years ago for a friend who was moving to the area we lived in, I’ve been fairly hooked.

I am not going to reinvent the wheel and tell you how to do this – it’s fairly simply laid out by Google themselves.

Amsterdam Custom Google Map - January 2020
Amsterdam Custom Google Map – January 2020

The main thing is that you should absolutely do it and plot each of your shortlist items on the map. This means that when you’re out and about in your destination, you only need to have a quick peek at your map and see what’s in your location that you were interested in. They’re also shareable so you can make it a collaboration with your travel partner and even colour code the pins if you have a lot of time on your hands.

“But what about my data?!”, I hear you bleat. YOU CAN SAVE GOOGLE MAPS FOR USE OFFLINE. You’re welcome.

Look How Happy I Am Now I Know About Saving Google Maps For Offline Use!
Look How Happy I Am Now I Know About Saving Google Maps For Offline Use!

Seriously, finding this out about Google maps has been invaluable. We learned the very hard and very expensive way about 12 years ago just how expensive data roaming can be and although mobile providers have introduced caps so you can’t run up huge bills anymore, it’s still really ingenius to be able to use a saved map without worrying about using all your daily allowance to find out where that one good cafe is.

Cruising Kentucky's highways and byways - September 2016
Cruising Kentucky’s highways and byways with my free sat nav – September 2016

The other amazing thing about offline Google maps is that if you’re on a road trip, it will also act as a sat nav for you – just like if it was online (expect you won’t get traffic updates and all those extra features). I believe this is what millenials would call a “hack” – but it’s what I call some pretty useful intel indeed.

Saving Google maps for use offline has literally driven us across all of Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee, California and Nevada (clearly not all in one go) and I cannot recommend it highly enough. DO NOT PAY a car hire company for sat nav if you have a smartphone and you’re going somewhere like the USA. It is simply not necessary. You’re welcome once more.

5. Enjoy!

The excited face of a man who thought he was going to work but ended up on a plane to NYC
The excited face of a man who thought he was going to work but ended up on a plane to NYC

My whole travel planning regime actually came about when I organised a surprise trip to New York for my husband Lee’s 40th birthday a few years ago but it’s really stuck with me.

Basically lists and spreadsheets are ace and Instagram and Google Maps are, too. So, if you’re anything like me and think half the fun in travelling is in the planning, hopefully these wee tips will help you wring just a little more out of your next trip, whenever that may be!

Looking for my next adventure on the horizon - Sutro Baths, San Francisco May 2019
Looking for my next adventure on the horizon – Sutro Baths, San Francisco May 2019

You can follow me on Instagram at @ tinyotterpaws for more travel/food/cross stitch/hilarious content.

Posted in Travel

Dinners Not Winners – 10 Things To Do In Vegas That Aren’t Gambling

If you find the idea of visiting Las Vegas a bit daunting, then you can be reassured there’s plenty to do without ever spending a cent at the poker tables. Sure, there are slot machines EVERYWHERE and it can feel a little overwhelming, but plan ahead and you can spend your time soaking up the culture and experiencing some taste sensations rather than losing your shirt on red.

Having been to Las Vegas a few times before, for our recent trip, we decided to make a list of the things we missed out on previously and try to see some of Old Vegas this time around. Our itinerary was based on being in town for three full days and with a trip to the Grand Canyon as the main anchor point, it was really easy to slot our excursions in around this.

We stayed at the Bellagio and scored an upgrade to a fountain view room on arrival, which was a great deal! I highly recommend researching your accommodation options thoroughly before booking. We used Agoda to book this as it was hands down the cheapest of all the comparison and booking sites we checked out, including going via the Bellagio direct. Plus they often have a book now, pay at hotel option for no extra cost which can be really useful if you’re planning your trip on a budget or quite far in advance.

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There are obviously pros and cons to staying right on the Strip – it can be more expensive, sure, but it’s also right where most of the action is. For first time visitors, I’d definitely recommend it so you’re in the thick of things, but if you’re a returning visitor, you might want to venture off to one of the more resorty places off-strip.

One thing I’d recommend if you’re road tripping is drop your car off when you arrive in Vegas! There is zero point in having a rental car unless you’re planning on driving to some out of town locations plus the parking charges are a killer. Vegas is, I reckon, very walkable plus there are buses, little monorails between some of the hotels and if you must, Uber – every major hotel has a designated and well signposted Uber pick up spot. You’re just gonna be wasting money having a hire car sitting in a parking garage, so save yourself the hassle and moolah by ditching the wheels!

Here’s my top 10 tips for a super fun, non-gambling time in Sin City (spoiler alert: a lot of them are food/based).

1. Eat at Dirt Dog

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I’m not sure where I first saw Dirt Dog, but as a dedicated foodie, it was probably on some sort of Food Network show. I really LOVE corn, and I had seen that they do an elote dog (Mexican street corn on a hot dog) and knew we had to try that golden goodness.

We went for the elote cup, filthy fries and flaming dog – all absolutely delicious and washed down with a Mexican Coke, natch. Seating is limited and it can get busy, but it’s really worth it!

It’s right outside Bally’s hotel in a little plaza area also beside the Paris hotel – hunt it down!

2. Fly To The Grand Canyon

Having missed out on going to the Grand Canyon on our previous trips, this time we were determined not to miss it again. But with limited time, we puzzled long and hard over the best way to see it. Many of the coach tours take all day – like 16 hours long – and who has time for that? I did not fancy the idea of being in a helicopter AT ALL but we found a great solution that meant we saw the majestic canyon without using up a whole day.

Scenic Airlines’ Highlights Air Tour takes less than 6 hours door-to-door, you’re collected from your hotel and dropped right back there, too. A friendly coach driver will take you to Boulder airport, about a 40 minute drive from the Strip, and there you board your little plane for a trip around the west rim of the Grand Canyon. Whilst you do not land on this tour, you will see some truly breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon – it was an almost spiritual experience to see this natural phenomenon in real life! Words cannot really do it justice – it has to be seen to be believed.

With prices starting around $130 per person, it’s not a budget trip but it is a quick and relatively affordable way to see a bit of the Grand Canyon without spending all your time and money on it. We had to get up at 3.30am to catch the early morning flight but it was so worth it and we were back in Vegas, breakfasted and in bed by 11am for a snooze.

3. Explore the hotel lobbies

Many of the major hotels on the strip will decorate in a theme at different times of the year, making for quite a spectacle as you’re passing through. If, like me, you have a creative mind, it’s fascinating to see not only the finished article but to get a sense of just HOW much work and planning and care goes into what is essentially a dead space in a hotel. What is just a giant corridor turns into a beautiful Japanese garden and is tended to by an army of housekeepers around the clock.

The best thing about this of course is that it’s free! You can wander in and experience the stunning tableaus in all the hotels without spending a dime – the later you go in the evening, the less busy it tends to be, if you’re looking for the perfect Instagram shot!

4. Play A Round Of KISS Mini Golf!

This is so much fun! Even if you’re not KISS’s number one fan, mini golf is always fun and doubly so when it’s in the dark and your path is lit by UV and neon lighting! I was given a gift voucher for this for my birthday and it truly was great fun! It’s based in the Rio hotel which is off-strip but easily accessible.

I didn’t win. Gutted.

There is also a sister course at Bally’s hotel which is The Twilight Zone themed – you KNOW we did that too. We got free vouchers to have a game there at the end of the KISS course, so you’re really getting two for the price of one – result!

Didn’t win that either. Huh.

5. See A Show!

This trip, we wanted to see a show without breaking the bank, so we waited until the day of and used one of the abundance of late tickets booths around the strip. It turned out about 15% cheaper than booking with the theatre directly, but it’s definitely worth shopping around.

We saw Penn & Teller at the Rio hotel (right after our mini golf experience!) and it was a super fun show. Plus we met them both in the lobby afterwards!

6. See The Wedding Chapels

Now, I’m not suggesting you elope or do a Britney, but I am definitely suggesting a walk north of the Strip to see the most kitsch collection of wedding chapels you’ll see anywhere.

My particular favourites were the Little White Chapel with its drive up window and Wee Kirk O The Heather wedding chapel – truly just like being at home. Ahem.

This area can be a little sketchy, so if you’re walking, go in daylight and take all the usual precautions. This is a handy little self-guided walking tour map.

7. Eat Evel Knievel Pizza

Have you always dreamt of visiting an Evel Knievel themed dive bar that serves hot and tasty pizza, too? Then dream no more! Evel Pie is the place you need.

It’s in the Fremont Street area and makes a great reward if you’ve walked all the way from the top of the Strip to take in those wedding chapels!

8. Get Fried At The Mob Museum

Also in the Fremont Street district is a really interesting museum all about the mob, its involvement in the foundation of Las Vegas and what became of all the major players and indeed playaaas.

With interactive displays, lots of eyewitness accounts and fascinating artifacts, this place is a gem that tells the story of the less glamorous side of Las Vegas. Plus you can pretend-electrocute your friends, so that’s always fun.

Oh and there’s a speakeasy in the basement that serves DELICIOUS cocktails hidden inside fake books – just don’t tell the Feds.

9. Visit The Neon Museum At Dusk

Of course, the best time to visit a museum full of neon signs is at dusk – it’s getting dark so you can see the signs in all their lit glory but it’s light enough that you can see the detail and workmanship that’s gone into them, too.

With new additions coming in regularly, I really loved this outdoor museum – it really gives a sense of old Las Vegas and the look and feel of that bygone age.

It’s a bit of a walk away from the Fremont Street area, but again, it’s easy to access by cab or Uber. They have a Tim Burton exhibit at the moment, too. Excellent gift shop.

10. Visit The Art-O-Mat

Tucked away inside the Cosmopolitan Hotel (which has some GREAT eating options – Lardo, I’m looking at your porchetta sandwich) is The Art-O-Mat, a repurposed cigarette vending machine which now dispenses art! This is SUCH A GREAT IDEA.

The contents are always changing, so swing by and check it out.

BONUS! 11. Make a withdrawal from the Cupcake ATM

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The Sprinkles Cupcake ATM is a fun way to get a delicious cupcake to tide you over as you hike around Vegas!

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Also, it’s right next to In N Out. You’re welcome.

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Are you planning a trip to Vegas soon? Go on, it’ll be fun.

Posted in Travel

Round-Up

A short and sweet round up of our trip – it feels like it lasted for months, in the very best way. We ate so many great things, so many awesome things, sweated A LOT, spent too much money, drove over a thousand miles across Kentucky, went to a drive-thru ATM more than once just for the lolz, and best of all, spent the most time we could with that pair of goofballs. All the heart eyes forever. Next trip cannot come soon enough.

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Posted in Travel

Bourbon Country

This year, we were lucky to be able to coincide our visit to Kentucky with the annual bourbon festival. Lee was especially pleased that I basically did all the driving so he could do all the sampling.

I highly recommend a road trip around Kentucky. We completed the Bourbon Trail, having done bits of it a couple of times before and picked up our commemorative giant t-shirts in Lexington afterwards.

We also had a poke about Bardstown, aka the most beautiful small town in America, which easily lives up to its name. Lots of quaint little shops, the awesome Bourbon Marketplace, where we spent a happy hour chatting to the very knowledgeable owners about, well, bourbon, and even, gasp, a roundabout to drive the wrong way around (the right way for there, I mean, but wrong for me, I didn’t kill anyone).

The Bourbon All-Star Sampler event, one of the key highlights of the Bourbon Festival was our primary reason to be in town and it was LOADSA FUN. Most of the major distilleries were there alongside some newer ones, some craft makers and representing Cincinnati/Newport, our pals from New Riff – HOLLER.

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All in all, beautiful countryside, warm and welcoming people and sunshine by the bucketload – please go to Kentucky soon.

Posted in Indie Design, Travel

Fleas

If there is one thing America knows how to do right, it’s a flea market. I’ve been to a couple in my time, but this time I made it to not one, not two, but THREE. My cousin Anne loves antiqueing, and we both have a ruthless policy of strategising our approach to both looking and purchasing, with me being the haggler, so we make a good team.

This trip, we made it up to Springfield for their twice-yearly outdoor extravaganza at the county fairgrounds. I think the cannibal hotdog was my favourite spot. SO many pieces of industrial furniture I could have brought home, and most of it so cheap – next time, I should book a container ship.

The other type of flea market is the City Flea, Cincinnati’s premier independent designer/maker monthly event. It’s held in Washington Park in the Over The Rhine district, which is full of cool art, shops, restaurants and stuff.  I’ve been a couple of times and I think it must have been the first one we went to that I first saw the work of James Billiter, the smiley guy pictured above.I finally got to meet him this time properly and as well as being super-talented at the artwork game, he’s super nice and also a bit of a sneak, as he and Lee cooked up between them to send me an absolutely beautiful piece of art for Christmas – look how excited I was to open it!

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Can’t wait to get that framed and on the wall. Hooray for fleas.

Posted in Travel

Copenhagen

A few weeks ago, I spent a delightful 48 hours in Copenhagen with my BFF, Jo.We’d both really wanted to visit for some time, and we finally made it.

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Our Air B&B was simply perfection – great location, and in the oldest building in the city! Highly recommended if you’re visiting.

It is such a beautiful place to explore and there’s a lot to see – we crammed in food  halls, flower markets, a pilgrimage to Hay, exquisite pottery shopping and a lunch time feast at Paper Island, a permanent street food market.

Other highlights including hiring our own boat to explore the canals for an evening, which was SUPER fun. You just turn up, bring a picnic, and off you go! Turns out my sense of direction on water is not as great as it is on dry land, so Jo did most of the driving whilst I posed in my blanket/cape.

Another top notch spot was the open air harbour swimming pool! You can have a dip in the icy river in the specially designated pools absolutely free of charge. There are lifeguards, diving boards but no changing rooms, so bring a large towel to change behind. I was so proud of myself for getting in and letting go of the side and swimming!

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Overall, 10/10. Would recommend.

Posted in Travel

Wig Wam Bams

This past weekend, Lee, Max and I took off to the Cumbrian countryside to spend a few days in a wig-wam.

It was a lovely sunny weekend, although a little cold. We motored down the A74 and in less than 2 hours, were in our very own wooden hobbit house for the weekend.

Lee has a camping weekend on his bucket list, but as I am addicted to being clean, and cannot contemplate being without a shower for even a day, we compromised on “glamping” – a heinous term but a great idea. Imagine, the wig-wam even had its own full-sized bathroom, with plenty of piping hot water!

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There was plenty of sights to see in the immediate area – lots of tiny lambs gambolling out, pretty blossoms and every meal served up from the barbecue.

And beautiful beaches a short drive away – Max loved those, almost as much as Lee enjoyed playing with these boats (mine was broken).

I like the idea of getting away from it all, but home comforts, and being able to drink wine and lie on the bed and watch Eurovision made it all the more enjoyable.

If you fancy a stay in a wee wooden wig-wam, you’ll find it’s really great value at Pasturewood Holidays. They didn’t pay me to say this. I’ll definitely go back in future, it was pretty ace.

Posted in Travel

Inverness

This past weekend, we knocked another thing off Lee’s bucket list and travelled up to Inverness by train. He sometimes has to drive up that way for work and never gets to admire the scenery, so going by train seemed the perfect way to allow him to gawp at the hills for as long as he liked, plus, I quite liked the idea of it too.

Inverness though, it has to be said, is a bit of a shit hole. I think I had romantic notions of a quaint Highland getaway, but it was pretty grim up there, to be honest. The nicest thing we saw was this old shopfront in the Victorian market.

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All repairs executed by practical workmen is my favourite bit. The rest of the market was a dive, much like the surrounding streets. Everywhere you look are charity shops and pubs you wouldn’t stray into, and even the shops which are not charity shops look like charity shops, which is a very confusing state of affairs.

We arrived mid-afternoon and made the best of it by strolling along the river (twice).

There’s Lee putting a brave face on things. Even the weather was grey, despite the rest of the nation apparently enjoying a heatwave. We did stumble upon a hipsterish bar and fortified ourselves with fancy cocktails before trying to find somewhere to eat dinner. I even overlooked their terrible use of commas and inappropriate receptacles.

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We tried to visit this interesting looking house, apparently the oldest secular building in Inverness – closed.

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Inverness Castle – also closed.

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An old lady looked at me disapprovingly for saying the word fuck quite loudly near here.

One of those snaps I took whilst mildly sozzled to text to my vegan friend. The other, I took so I could try and figure out what it could possibly mean later.

The bright spot in our Saturday was finding by accident La Tortilla, an amazing tapas restaurant near our fairly average hotel. It was a welcome oasis of deliciousness in another otherwise barren grey wasteland of drudgery. We ate like Spanish kings and the churros were out of this world.

On the way home on Sunday, the weather started off like this:

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and ended up in a glorious reversal of fortunes like this:

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The weather put on quite a show for our return journey, as if to make up for the disappointing trip. I even got some stitching done on the train.

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Moral of the story: Inverness – don’t bother.

 

Posted in Travel

Liverpool

Over Easter, Lee and I trundled down to Liverpool in the Raptur (my car) for the weekend. We were attending a bourbon festival, you may recall. I am happy to report that they served not only lashings of the alcoholic stuff, but also the biscuits – best of both worlds.

We stayed at Hotel Indigo which I heartily recommend. Liverpool is a lovely city and feels very similar to Glasgow – they’re both crammed full of big fancy buildings, mixed with the new, with friendly people and awash with “American” restaurants. Oh, and they’re also both built on tobacco and slavery.

We ate some terrible and some average food, we walked around a lot and visited Lee’s spiritual home, Anfield. Sadly there was no football on, but we saw a really scary puppet, so it wasn’t all bad.

Posted in Travel

Lanzarote

I know what you’re thinking – when did this turn into a travel blog? It sort of accidentally has, recently. I popped to Lanzarote for a few days recently with my best friend and her toddler son. We had a great time swimming in this sea and building sandcastles…

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..shouting “volcano!” every three seconds…

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..making friends with the locals…

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..debating the pronounciation of the best ice lollies (Cah-lee-po)…

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.. and seeing some amazing sunsets, from the ground and the air.

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I think this goofball was pleased to see me back though.

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Where to next?!

Posted in Eating, Travel

NYC 16 – Katz’s Deli

Warning – contains gratuitous meat-based food porn.

Have you ever seen When Harry Met Sally? Needless to say, to those who know me personally, I haven’t (I haven’t seen many classic movies at all). But I am familiar with the scene in which Sally has a really good sandwich.

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I’m fairly sure that’s what she was shouting about, anyway. One of the things on my small list of must-dos this time around was to have a really good sandwich, so we moseyed down to Katz’s Deli for brunch whilst on our way to the Tenement Museum (which is really ace, you should go).

Oh my. That pastrami. To die for. The matzoh ball soup, I was less keen on. I’d always wanted to try it and can safely say that’s done and I don’t have to do it again now. Super-pricey for a sandwich, but I’d say, as someone prepared to pay for good eats, that it was worth it. I need to sign off now, I’m drooling on my keyboard.

Posted in Eating, Travel

NYC 16 – The National

I’m a big fan of watching competitive cookery, especially American competitive cookery. I think I’ve exhausted all of Netflix, both UK and US versions (although new episodes of Chopped AND Cut-throat Kitchen just popped up, goodbye spare time).

So when I booked us up for NYC secretly, I thought I’d throw a little something for myself into the pot by booking into Geoffrey Zakarian’s The National for dinner on our first evening. Luckily, Lee is also a fan of good food and drink, so it was no hardship for him to tag along!

The food was incredible, just as I’d hoped it would be. It’s not cheap by any means, but it is great ingredients cooked with skill and care and that’s pretty much my requirement when it comes to dining out.  That cauliflower dish was to die for, but the star was the cider and mustard-glazed brussels sprouts. I know, right? Amazing.

I’d mentioned when I booked that we were in town celebrating Lee’s birthday and they sweetly made a note and brought out a free dessert complete with candle – such a nice touch which really made our first night in NY special.

And as it’s just round the corner from the Waldorf Astoria, we were able to waddle back to the hotel and collapse into bed after a very lovely evening indeed.

If you are turning into a bit of a foodie, like me, then you might like peruse the menu here. The signature NTL. Mule cocktail was also HELLA good – I may have had more than one (three).

Definitely will be heading back here once my credit card recovers next time I’m in the region.

More tales from the City soon!

Posted in Travel

NYC 16

Imagine waking up one morning and your wife saying, let’s not go to work today. Let’s go on a trip! To London! We’ll see a show, we’ll spend a few days, it’ll be fun. Don’t worry, I’ve squared it with your boss – let’s go to the airport. I’ve packed a bag!

Then imagine you get to the airport and your wife’s pal happens to be on the same flight. Isn’t that a coincidence (it was)? Nice that he can take a snap you all happy and excited on the escalators.

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Then imagine you go to board the plane to London and you find out that you’re not even going to London, you’re going to NEW FUCKING YORK.

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Oh yeah, and you’re going Club Class because you managed to wangle a sneaky upgrade, so you can lie on the flat beds, lounging around in your fancy socks drinking champagne and having afternoon tea at 37,000 feet.

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Where are we staying, by the way, asks your shell-shocked husband? Oh, just a wee place in Midtown Manhattan.

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Am I the best wife? Hold your judgement, there’s more.

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Imagine your wife didn’t actually lie about catching a show and snags front-row seats for Jersey Boys which you’ve been wanting to see for EONS.

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Oh, yeah, and imagine your wife finds out your favourite band of like a zillion years release their album whilst you’re there and organises taxis out to the arse-end of Long Island to attend a Q&A launch party thing and you GET TO MEET YOUR HEROES.

Pretty rad wife, eh? But wait, there’s more.

Just consider how exciting it would be if your wife also arranged the perfect New York evening – amazing dinner, a carriage ride in Central Park in the dark and you get to finally sample that £2,000-a-bottle mega-rare bourbon you have always hankered after, only at the bloody Plaza.

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Oh, yes, and she secretly colluded with your favourite cousins for them to join you for a few days and gad about town like gleeful kids.

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Time for a smug super-wife Plaza toilets selfie, I’d say.

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Thank you, New York. You played a blinder in the best surprise ever.