Tag Archives: nyc

Restaurant review: Fear and food – a lethal combination

edit 4With the constant opening of new restaurants across the city, New York foodies and tourists are always looking for the latest flavours, the place that pushes the boundaries of everyday grub and something with just a little more wow-factor. As a result, loads of entertainment-related restaurants have opened up with cabarets, live music, comedy and all sorts of entertainment. Some do it well, others less so. The problem is that so many restaurants, both in NYC and over here in the UK, put either full emphasis on the food, or the entertainment and the other is done rather half-heartedly, or, worse, they are both done badly. So when we spotted the Jekyll & Hyde Club, just off Times Square, we couldn’t resist finding out if it really was all that – or just a bit of fun.

edit 1The outside of the restaurant was what caught our eye when on the way back to our hotel one night and we had to stop and chat with the scary looking chap outside in his top hat and tails. We checked whether we would need to book for one of the following nights and were told just to turn up and prepare to be scared.

After having been to Disney in both Paris and Florida, plus theme parks like Alton Towers when they have had special events, I’ll be honest and say that we were expecting it to either be really good entertainment with average food, or really cheesy entertainment with average food. We didn’t go there expecting a gourmet meal and we weren’t even convinced the entertainment would be that amazing. How wrong we were!

edit 2Don’t worry, I won’t be giving all the shocks and surprises away. But here I just want to give you a taste of this incredible restaurant – the decor alone speaks for itself! We were led into the building – with a choice between the scary or the regular entrance – of course we chose the scary one and make sure you do as well! After being led through a series of small rooms – all of which came alive in unique ways – we were a bit giggly by the time we reached the restaurant and didn’t know where the next surprise would come from.

IMG_4933A walk round the restaurant showed us the whole room was filled with unusual items hanging from the walls, spooky portraits with eyes that followed you, crazy Siamese twins, huge elephant or mummy heads, skeletons and much more. It was an astonishing sight and there was so much to take in. In front of us, as you can see from the top picture, was the main stage where the mad scientist brought Frankenstein’s monster back to life before our very eyes in one of the many dinner shows.

IMG_4934Throughout our meal, and the evening, the walls and statues around us would unexpectedly come to life to talk to the customers, play music, as spiders scuttled across the paintings or blood dripped down the walls. There was even a robot behind my dad who nearly made him choke on his dinner when it started doing “The Robot” dance! So funny! It was just spectacular and so well done, plus all of the staff were thoroughly involved and in character the whole time which made it all the more spooky and magical.

edit 3Now for the food – the bit you’ve all been waiting for! We all dug into the best burgers that I think we have ever had in the city throughout our four trips over there. We didn’t expect to be overwhelmed by the food at all, but these gorgeous hunks of juicy meat smelt divine and the flavours were just perfectly combined. The quality of the meat made them all the more delicious, which always seems to be of such a better standard everywhere than it is in the UK.

 

I went for the barbecue burger – with a delicious bourbon barbecue sauce, plenty of cheddar, bacon, grilled red onions and salad. Wow – I normally wouldn’t go for a barbecue burger because I often find the sauce overpowering, but this bourbon sauce sounded so tasty I couldn’t resist. It was so tasty it is making my mouth water to even write about it, and served with these home cut French fries – just perfect. My mum went for the steakhouse burger to get her fix of the blue cheese crumbles after a burger she ordered elsewhere with them turned up without. She said it was worth the wait and she reckoned it was one of the best burgers she had ever had and the home-made steak sauce tied it all together. My dad went for the California burger which came with avocado and cilantro mayonnaise – it smelt lush and he certainly enjoyed it. The food was just perfection and washed down with delicious wine and local beers – all the other customers seemed to be enjoying their meals just as much. I think if I went back, I could definitely have to try a steak – I’m sure they would have been just as juicy and delicious!IMG_4926We all left with a big smile on our faces and we knew it was well worth the trip in. The night was made all the better thanks to the amazing staff and our lovely server (whose name I sadly have forgotten but I remember she was from Alaska!) who kept us entertained and well stocked with food and drinks all night. She was so lovely and friendly, chatting to us about what we had been doing on holiday and about her plans to visit London. Service like that really makes a meal out and we all really appreciated it – plus the amazing outfits they were wearing and all those involved in the shows. All of the staff worked hard to keep up the spooky atmosphere and you could tell how much they enjoyed their jobs.IMG_4935A truly awesome restaurant, not at all cheesy, and definitely one to make sure you visit when you next go to New York. It’s also great for birthdays or parties – if I ever spend a birthday in the city, I will be sure to head back!

Have you ever been to the Jekyll & Hyde Club? What did you think?

Hunks of meat and hot stuff

image (33)For those interested in something more substantial, what trip to the US would be complete without a big, fast, juicy steak? We found an incredible grill restaurant just opposite our hotel, sadly we saved it until the last night and only got to experience one of these amazing plates of meat. These steaks were just melt in your mouth, dribble down your chin good. So moist and juicy, barely any fat and simply not even comparable to the gristle you get in the UK. You could choose sides, so my mum and I chose mash potatoes and broccoli which we have always found to be our favourites after being served them everywhere in Florida with some amazing steaks. Astonishing to think, but when I met my boyfriend eight years ago, I was practically a vegetarian! Now I can’t imagine a life without a steak or a nice big burger. My sister gets a little grossed out watching us all eat steaks because she can’t deal with meat – she’s more of a tofu kind of girl, and after trying it while on holiday, I still don’t understand it (Sorry Laura!)

image (25)Laura also took us to a lovely Thai restaurant in Brooklyn after we made our way across the city in the rain with broken umbrella. Soggy and cold, we arrived and took in the menu – full of lovely hot curries to warm us up again. Plenty of wine and beer later, and I had chosen calamari with sweet chilli dip followed by a delicious Thai green curry with king prawns and coconut rice. It was absolutely lovely and well worth the trek to get there. The rest of the family had Pad Thai, Thai red curry and tofu curry.

image (26)More pictures and restaurant reviews to come in following posts with burgers and pasta dishes featured at some amazing restaurants!

A slice of something nice makes the world go round

image (30)One thing you can say with absolutely certainty is that my family loves cheesecake – fresh, baked, fruity, chocolate – we love them all. So whenever we go to New York, we always fit in as much cheesecake as possible because quite frankly none of us have ever had cheesecake that is better than you get in the delis out there, not unless my mum makes one herself. Always a winner is blueberry – one of my absolutely favourites and a total classic. Here is a picture of the blueberry cheesecake from the previously mentioned Fluffy’s – all of their stuff is to die for and it is just a couple of blocks walk up from Times Square. Well worth seeking out for any food you fancy – all of their stuff is amazing from muffins and cheesecake to pancakes, sandwiches and omelettes.

image (27)The perfect thing about these delis is after a long day of walking around the city, it was lovely to grab a bit of cheesecake on the way home from the pub, with a hot chocolate and head up to bed. I’d prop my feet up on a pillow to stop them aching and dive into this, the chocolate brownie cheesecake. Wow. Words don’t do this justice. While American cheesecakes often lack the base we Brits love, half of this cheesecake was a thick, fudgy chocolate brownie base with another thick wedge on top. Yum.

image (24)Another snack we often indulged in for lunch was the rather delicious slices of pizza sold in delis and cafes across the city. I’m not really one for meat pizzas, so I loved the huge range of veggie pizzas on offer with loads of spinach and ricotta slices to tantalise my taste buds. I don’t normally eat much pizza at home, but these were freshly made in front of us and on thin, crispy bases which in my view, make the pizza. It was especially good when you wanted to eat something light and fast between visiting the sights.

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Are you a sweet or savoury person – which one do you like the look of more?

Back in the Big Apple and it’s a sight for sore eyes

10172670_10151979965742617_2022132837779848396_nAfter months of waiting and planning for my family trip to New York, we finally touched down at JFK and were launched straight into holiday mode! We flew through security (pardon the pun), although the alarms did start going off as my fingerprints were scanned (eek!) and quickly grabbed our bags, eager to dive into the Big Apple. Jumping into a classic yellow cab, we sped out of the airport and along the highways towards Manhattan, giving us our first taste of the crazy driving that I absolutely love. Definitely something I have brought back with me, I was almost dizzy from trying to predict the driver’s next move as he jumped into any available space and edged his way through the traffic. I have to say I really prefer the way Americans drive – I wouldn’t give up the gear stick for anything – but I like their efficiency. They just focus on getting there as quickly as possible and aren’t frowned upon for using their horns to tell people to move – I hate how British drivers are so afraid of using their horns to tell people when they do something wrong or dangerous – that’s what they are there for! Sorry, I digress…

1017163_10151979965342617_3151856071614876702_nI was sitting in the front seat next to the driver, and yes I tried to get in the wrong side of the car at the airport – whoops! After the long flight, I was glad he wasn’t a chatty driver as I was more than happy just to take in my first glimpses of the big city, especially when we went over the bridge and got our first amazing view of the New York skyline – just perfect despite the mist surrounding it. It always takes my breath away to see that sight again.

 

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I was also enjoying the gorgeous old school soul CD that the driver had popped in, with his dreads and cool manner he sang along as we came over the bridge and through the city to our hotel, the Hotel St James, just off Times Square. As you may have read in a previous post, we were made so welcome by the lovely staff on reception who spotted mum’s birthday badge and instantly went out of their way to upgrade our rooms.

 

The hotel was lovely, clean and comfortable. It actually looks nothing like the pictures on the website – which don’t do it justice – and is really nice. A perfect base for anyone on holiday and looking to explore the city – you are seconds walk from the centre of Times Square and a five-minute walk from the subway station. You’re also just a short walk from the best shopping in the city, some of the amazing sights and Central Park. One of the best deli’s I have found in the city is right next door – really recommend the smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels – and it is surrounded by loads of great restaurants including an amazing grill restaurant opposite! The hotel staff were so kind and loaded us up with maps and information for our trip, after unpacking and having some birthday cake with my sister, we headed out into Times Square to see the bright lights!

10170891_10151979965637617_7722635128611760455_nI always feel so excited when I stand in Times Square – it just epitomises the ‘bright lights bigger city’ with all those flashing signs and adverts everywhere, the random people dressed up as Disney characters or drugs, people trying to sell you tickets everywhere and just the hustle and bustle of it all. There’s so many people in such a small area of New York, you can’t help but feel you are really in the thick of it all and I always have to take a second to breathe it all in. Wow. Yellow taxis racing through the centre of the square, wafts of burger and steak smells coming from the restaurants, huge queues outside Planet Hollywood and Hard Rock Cafe, and all different accents around me expressing their excitement.

I’m so pleased that each time I have been to New York with my family (Four times now – I’m so lucky!) we have found deals to stay in the streets close to Times Square – it really is the best part of the city because you are only a few minutes away from some of the most incredible parts. I always love to imagine what it would have been like there 50-100 years ago. I know that not everyone will agree because many others prefer to avoid areas like this – but I think it is hard to avoid tourist traps in New York without missing out on a great deal. I’m really looking forward to sharing everything else that we did during the week we spent there with you, I’ve got lots of photos!

What’s your favourite part of New York? Do you love or hate Times Square?

 

A Big Apple birthday celebration

10153675_10151979965082617_606819510619480673_nLast Friday, my parents and I jetted off to New York for a week of celebrations for my mum’s 50th birthday and for a chance to catch up with my sister who is studying fashion over there at the moment. It was an amazing trip – I still can’t believe how much we packed in and it certainly hasn’t sunk in that I’m back home – and a fitting celebration for my mum’s birthday! We started the celebrations early with presents and cake on the Thursday night as a surprise for mum before we set off in the early hours to Heathrow. She was spoilt with lots of lovely presents including jewellery, a pair of Ray Bans and lots of other treats, but the best present had to be the smallest one – a birthday badge I got for her which helped us out with lots of lovely freebies over the week!

984034_10151969151407617_2146575378_nAt the airport we continued the celebrations with a gorgeous breakfast of smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and Prosecco, which definitely got us in the holiday mood and helped stave off the boredom when we ended up being early for our flight. Didn’t stop us spending a fortune on make-up and perfume in Duty Free though! The flight was great and with mum wearing her birthday badge we were treated to warm chocolate chip cookies from first class and constant top ups of wine and coffee – star treatment!

After the flight, we were excited to arrive in the Big Apple and to see the Manhattan skyline, we hopped in a taxi and arrived at the hotel where were greeted by the lovely chap on the front desk who straight away spotted mum’s badge and promptly went about reorganising the rooms so that we were all upgraded – mum and dad to a Queen-size room with a great view, while I was a few floors down in a King-size. What a treat! The rooms were lush and it was really lovely that he went to such lengths to treat mum for her birthday – more than you would ever get in the UK!

10015005_10151979964962617_1079715113244753862_nAn hour later we were joined by my sister who had come straight from college with a gorgeous Red Velvet birthday cake for mum – I tell you it was absolutely divine! The best Red Velvet cake I have ever tried. And mum was so surprised when she opened the hotel room to find us waiting to sing her Happy Birthday with cake and more Prosecco! We just had to dive into the cake there and then while we had a catch-up, then a bit later headed out to Times Square for dinner.

The birthday celebrations continued all week but we decided the birthday meal was to take place in our favourite restaurant in Little Italy – we have returned on four holidays in a row now because it is just so good! Mum finally got the incredible carbonara she had been craving, along with a nice glass of red wine. Here’s the birthday girl loving life in the restaurant – 50 years young!

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