Travel Diary: NYC

Posted by Isaac Forman on

VNTLPR Travel Diary

"Not in the Guidebook"

Making & selling wine can sometimes take you to wonderful & strange places. Recently I realised that when I'm getting to know these new places, I can share my favourite parts here, for the benefit of my followers and for posterity.

Like many people in and around my generation (Y if you must know) I love uncovering gems that are on the road less travelled. This post marks the beginning in a series of thoughts and ramblings about the places I visit (mostly food & wine adjacent), sharing my recommendations for the best experiences you won't find in a guidebook.

Don't expect great detail; my wish is that you will discover these for yourself and I do not want to influence your opinion. I will however provide a short description of why/when/how/whatever. 

Each city / place will have a format unique to it. For Part I, I'm giving you my top 20 list; here goes...

Part I - New York


20. Lobster Joint 
The name says it all. Lobster is 'a thing' in the USA but don't assume it's all good, it's not. Here, you'll be in safe hands. 

19. Death & Co.
These people are serious about Liquor. If you value a good cocktail, this is the place and you are guaranteed to actually be cooler after you've been there. 

18. La Creperie LES
S'mores Crepe. Do it. 

17. Highline 
Despite my claim "not in the Guidebook" occasionally those things are in said books because they really are great. Enter the Highline. It only takes about 30-40 minutes to walk it and it really is a truly unique perspective on Manhattan. 

16. Stanton St Pizza
The best 'slice' i found in NYC and believe me, I did loads of research...

15. Smorgusburg
A street food market, about as big and high quality as you can imagine. 

14. Sunday in McCarren Park 
A great day to chill in Brooklyn, head to McCarren Park with something to sustain you and watch the kick-ball, softball, volleyball, hacky-sak, playing Brooklyn hispters in their natural habitat. 

13. Analogue Jazz & Blues Lounge
Just like my call on the best 'slice', I did loads of product testing and I found Analogue to offer the most authentic NYC jazz experience. Unforgattable for good and other reasons...

12. Bluestone Lane Coffee - West Village.
The best coffee I had in NYC, by a margin. 
Honourable mention to El Rey and Irving Farm; both in LES. 

11. The Wash House
When travelling, doing your Laundry is important. This is the place to do it. It's less a Laundromat with a Bar, more a Bar with a Laundromat. Great food too!

10. 10 Bells
A brilliant casual wine experience. Magnum specialists so if you have a decent group, as we did, you can 'go large'.

9. Clinton St Baking Company
Unfortunately this place is all over Yelp / TripAdvisor, so it gets a lot of attention from camera totting foodies, but with good reason. Don't waste any time & just get the pancakes. 

8. 5 Leaves
Amazing food, tip-worthy service, typically gentrified Brooklyn vibe. 

7. BaoHaus
Skip Momofuku and be ahead of the curve. Eddie Huang's BaoHaus is cheap, fast, fresh and excellent. 

6. Black Seed Bagels
Hand rolled artisan bagels filled with deliciousness. Stumptown Coffee too. 

5. Central Park
Forget all the touristy crap and find your way to the softball fields on a Tuesday around lunctime. Find a good seat along the 3rd base line, near the bag if you can, and let the banter flow. There is something authentically New York about watching 35-65yo's play (not-so) social softball on their Tuesday afternoons. 

4. New England Clam Chowder - Chelsea Market
Is that the red or the white?

3. Sleep No More
A fully emersive and interactive theatre experience. Brush up on your Macbeth basics before you go. 

2. Red Rooster.
Go Monday night. Booking recommended. Soul.....


1. The Honorable William Wall
No details. Just consider that I've put it at number one for a reason. 

If you have been to any of these and think i'm wrong or would like to know more, I'd like to hear from you.

Twitter: @Vinteloper

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