I'll Always Be a Tourist.

After almost eight years in New York City, I am still a tourist. I am still the girl that has to periodically stop and look up at the amazing architecture when everyone else's eyes are forward. Still the girl that has to carry a camera with me at all times, just in case I need to snap a picture during my daily commutes or errands. And I am still the girl who can spend a day sight seeing with a smile stretched across my face from start to finish. So when family comes to visit, with their significant others who have never been to New York City, I get over the moon excited. Which brings me to how I was feeling last Thursday when my step brother, his wife Jamie, and my step sister, and her fiance Corey, arrived in the city.

My step dad also happened to be on the east coast for work, so he took the train in on Thursday night so we could all have dinner together. We shared several appetizers and entrees at Ruby Foo's in Times Square as we told stories, laughed, and talked about our upcoming plans for the weekend. For dessert, we walked up to The Redeye Grill, the restaurant where Brian and I met and worked together. We called ahead and had a table all set up for some sweet treats and coffee. We were lucky enough to have our close friend, Marino, be our server. After ordering two of the restaurant's infamous slices of banana cream pie and the creme brulee strawberry cheesecake (my personal favorite), we were shocked when not three, but five desserts were dropped at our table. In addition to our ordered three, we also got to try the strawberry maringue and "Grandma's Mixing Bowl," which is a huge glass bowl full of ice cream scoops, Oreos, and fudge. With a wooden spoon. We almost died. After plates were passed, a bowl of warm cookies and a bottle of champagne was brought to the table to complete our dessert experience. Thank you so much to Marino and the Redeye Grill for a wonderful night!

After we were beyond full, we headed back to my apartment in Queens to relax and plan the next three days. We collectively made a list of all that we wanted to see, and then I went to work to route out three jam-packed days of sight seeing. We called it a night pretty early in anticipation of our early morning wake up and brunch on the lower east side.

On Friday morning, we met up at the Queensboro subway stop a little before 8 am to commute to the lower east side together. Destination: Clinton Street Baking Company. I have blogged about this restaurant before, and was super excited to return for another delicious breakfast with my family.
Because of our early arrival, we were seated right away and ordered soon after. Coffee was slowly sipped as we talked about the plans for the day and how we were going to avoid the rainy weather as much as possible. And then the food arrived. Oh yeah. Katie and I split the southern breakfast, which included sugar cured bacon and cheese grits, and the banana pecan french toast. And it was amazing.
After taking a few bites of our eggs, I knew some buttermilk biscuits were necessary. So, I ordered myself some and thoroughly enjoyed bite after bite of biscuit, egg, and grits.
Corey had some difficulty fitting his manly hands into the small coffee cups, and had a bit of spillage going on. Soon after I took this picture, he dropped the cup and spilled all over the table as well. Oh, Corey...
After brunch, we went on a little tour of my favorite sweet spots on the lower east side. Not ideal timing since we had just consumed enough food and calories for the day, but we handled the challenge like the pros splitting treats at each location. First stop: Economy Candy.
Next, we walked over to Sugar Sweet Sunshine to indulge in one of their amazing cupcakes. These chocolate peppermint ones with cream cheese icing were tempting, but we opted for the strawberry cream cheese.
Then, we were off to Babycakes, a vegan bakery that Jamie had been dying to try. Jamie got the bakery's cookbook from my parents for Christmas, and has been starting to bake the recipes over the past few months. She got a cookie and piece of carrot bread, which we decided to save for later. From Babycakes we made our final stop at Doughnut Plant, where Chad chowed down on pomegranate cake doughnut. He let us each try a bite of course.
Our next destination was the American Museum of Natural History. We dried off and warmed up on the B train as we listened to soothing subway music.
The museum was a perfect way to take a break from the constant, cold rain that fell throughout the day. We started on the top floor exploring the dinosaurs, made our way through African animal and primates, and finished our tour in the meteorite and gemstone rooms.
Brian met up with us after the museum and we all enjoyed a meal at PRET A MANGER in Rockefeller Center before heading downtown. Chad loved Pret while he was abroad in London, and couldn't wait to enjoy one of their sandwiches again. The thing that I love most about Pret is that not only is the food super fresh, but any food not sold during the business day is donated to local shelters. After lunch, we headed to SoHo for some shopping. Remember that architecture I was talking about? This is exactly what I mean...
We were loosing steam fast as we walked from store to store, so after Jamie found an adorable pair of lace-up TOMS, we headed west to the village.
The rain kept coming down, slow but stead, so we found shelter at...
Grom Gelato. Katie first tried Grom when she studied abroad in Florence, right around the same time my mom and I discovered their Manhattan location. Fresh gelato with ingredients straight from Italy. Hell yeah.
After gelato, we stumbled upon Caffe Reggio, the site of the original cappuccino. How I never knew about this place, I have no idea. It was dark and cozy with large wooden chairs and Renaissance art. The  cappuccinos were delicious, and the pastries were good too (yes, we ordered a pastry, our gazillionth treat of the day).
We wondered through Washington Square Park, fed the squirrels, posed under the arch, and walked to Patsy's for some comforting Italian food for dinner. Caprese salad, red wine, pasta, and pizza hit the spot after a long day of wandering and sight seeing.
I will be forever grateful to live in a place like NYC, where I can always be a tourist with the ones I love.
Saturday and Sunday posts coming soon!


  1. I am still a tourist in Seattle, too. And I've lived here my entire life. You always look like you have such a blast. I've only been to NY once, but I loved it. If I ever come back, will you be my tour guide?? :)

  2. Of course Mandy! I need to be a tourist in Seattle, I have never been. I think everyone should always be a tourist wherever they live; it just makes life so much more fun!

    If we ever are in each other's cities, we will play tour guide :)


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