Last days in New York: Brooklyn, Katz Deli, and a Halloween Doggy Parade

After a bit of breakfast and coffee on the roof area of our hotel, we took a walk down to the water and along to the iconic Brooklyn Bridge. It was a bit of a mission to get from the waterfront to the start of the bridge, but we found the crowds in the end. It does get pretty busy, so would probably have been better to go first thing as you do find yourself squeezing past people and dodging cyclists as there’s just not much room for everyone. Even so, the views are fantastic and we had perfectly blue skies to boot. We cooled off with a sit down in Brooklyn Bridge Park and a refreshing beverage from Lizzmonade, serving fresh lemonades, limeades, and iced teas with a range of options of added flavours. Mine was a beautiful zesty limeade with added chunks of fresh crunchy watermelon.

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We took a cab to Williamsburg and headed for Five Leaves, a popular restaurant serving great salad bowls as well as staples like burgers, but it was just too busy. There was a queue with a fairly arbitrary waiting time without shade (it was HOT), and no option to request a table inside which I’m afraid was a deal-breaker for me at this point having been in the sun all morning. It was obviously for the best – we had a wander to see what else was around and as luck would have it we found Tørst. Behind an inconspicuous white door with a very subtle sign, we entered into a gorgeous wood-panelled bar lined with countless taps serving craft beers. We tried a few: Friend Finder, Plateaux, and DDH Double Mosaic Dream. All of them were very different, but really really good.

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For food we ordered the house bread with butter, the brainchild of baking genius Max Blachman-Gentile. The sourdough with a crust of crispy sesame was a true delight and might just be the best bread I’ve tasted, with the sourdough from Frenchie coming an incredibly close second. The other dish that I really enjoyed was the smoked grains with whipped labneh, chunks of melon, and a green habanero chilli oil. The smooth, fresh, spicy, earthy combination worked so surprisingly perfectly.

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Williamsburg is a really nice area of Brooklyn for wandering around, in and out of vintage shops and cafes, and soaking up the feel of the place. We popped into a couple of vintage clothes stores, Monk Vintage and Awoke Vintage which is in a cool little arcade of shops and also sells some nice jewellery and candles. Book Thug Nation is a second hand book shop with a huge range that is fun to browse. We couldn’t resist following our noses into MAST Brothers chocolatiers where we tried a sample of their vanilla and sea salt chocolate and came away with plenty of different flavours to take home, including their smoke chocolate!

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To end our little Brooklyn jolly, we treated ourselves (as if the chocolate wasn’t enough) to the amazing ice cream and milkshake wonders of Milk Bar. The sweet-focused cousin of Momofuku, Milk Bar serves the famous dishes of cereal milk soft serve and crack pie which I’ve had in DC and looooved. Mine was a classic cereal milk ice cream loaded with crunch – so sweet and nostalgic with a perfect hint of saltiness in the crunch. Milk Bar PLEASE COME TO LONDON!

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In the evening, it was back to Manhattan for our last night in New York *sighs* and we made the most of it for sure! We started with some delicious cocktails at the Dead Rabbit Bar right at the tip of Manhattan and not far from where we were staying. It’s a cosy bar but at around 7:30 on a Friday it wasn’t too cramped which can be the case in London.
We didn’t go too crazy with the cocktails as we were off back to the Rockerfeller Center to get in some ice skating. It’s quite expensive to be honest, but suckers like us can’t resist the experience of skating in such an iconic place, and it was such good fun!

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There were also a couple of big screens with a seating area set up for watching the Yankees baseball game, so we got in on that while we waited for our skating slot.
By the time we were done skating it was getting fairly late so we got the subway back downtown and stopped in at Majestic Pizza & Calzone for a late night dinner.

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The next morning, after packing and checking out of our hotel, we headed straight for Katz Deli. Thankfully there wasn’t a line out of the door today! We were handed a ticket as we entered which gets stamped with your order and you pay on the way out (don’t lose it though otherwise you get fined $50!). There was a bit more of a queue stretching out across the long bar, but it moved quickly. We ordered a hot pastrami and a hot corned beef sandwich and what we came away with can only be described as a tower of the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth, flavour-packed pastrami I would argue in the entire world. Show me better and I will concede but I’m pretty confident on this one. The corned beef was good, but that pastrami was out of this world and I will never forget it.

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One of our last activities in New York was probably one of the first things we planned to see – the Halloween doggy parade! I found out about it in TimeOut and we just had to go. Held in Tompkins Square Park, it was quite literally what you would expect – a bunch of dogs dressed up (and some of the owners too) for Halloween in some of the most adorable little outfits!

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We took a last walk down Broadway as we came to terms with the fact that our trip was nearing its end. We were intrigued by Evolution, a downright weird shop selling bones, preserved insects and other animals goods. Some of the preserved butterflies were actually quite pretty but we strongly objected to their lion hides…not cool. Better was the massive candy store we found, Itsugar, which stocked everything from Jelly Belly, to Candy Corn, to bags of tiny little Donald Trump gummy heads – bright orange of course! It was the perfect place to stock up on gifts and a few snacks for our journey home.

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We had such a great time in New York. It’s a great city with a lot of parallels to London, but it certainly has its own magic too. I would go back in a heartbeat just for that hot pastrami sandwich…*drools a little*

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