Monday, January 31, 2011

Take-out, Takeaways and Meal Deliveries

Although New York is full of restaurants you can't be expected to eat out every night!  For those nights when you want to stay indoors and don't feel like cooking in your tiny kitchen (ours is so small that when you open the fridge door it almost hits the oven opposite!), you can get almost any cuisine delivered straight to your door.

The best way to find out who delivers in your area is to visit http://www.seamlessweb.com/.  This is a great website that lists all of the restaurants and deli's that deliver to you address, along with menu's and details of special offers.  You can order online, choosing your preferred time slot, and pay either by credit card or by cash on delivery.  SeamlessWeb then instantly places the order with your chosen restaurant. 

It is a really quick and simple way to order food and I would recommend giving their website a try!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Celebrity Spotting

One of the great things about living in New York is that you never know when you might spot a celebrity.  Since I have been here I have had dinner next to Diane Keaton at Ciprani in Grand Central Station and literally bumped into Piers Morgan as I was walking down the street. 

I have also had the pleasure of meeting Tabatha Coffey, host of the 'Bravo' TV show 'Tabatha's Salon Takeover', at her book signing at Borders in Columbus Circle.  If you haven't seen her show watch it on Monday nights at 10pm on Bravo.  It's really good fun, think Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares but with hair salons!

If I spot anyone else I will let you know, and please post if you see any celebrities while you are in New York.

Keep your eyes peeled!

Friday, January 28, 2011

A quick note about my experience of New York Gyms

My first gym class in New York was a bit of an eye-opener for me.  Not only was I the tallest in the class by about 5 inches, I was also the biggest by about 2 dress sizes!  Now, I'm 5"8 and a UK size 12, so not a giant or anything, but I felt like one in this class. 

Also, they dress very well at the gym, no old tee shirts and leggings in Manhattan!  After my first class I went straight out and stocked up on some new gym gear ready for my next session.  I don't want to put you off or anything I just wanted to warn you that people make an effort when they work out here. 

Luckily, after going to a few different classes and exercising in the main gym I have found lots of normal sized people as well-thank goodness! Although, they dress very well too.....

Finding a Gym

If you are anything like me, one of the first things I wanted to organise when I arrived is gym membership.  I love keeping fit and exercising, but also thought it would be a great way to meet people and start getting in touch with the local community.

There is no shortage of gyms to choose from in the city.  They are mostly chains, some national and some local, and each gym will have a different atmosphere and clientele depending on where they are located within the city. 

I had a look at quite a few gyms before settling on 'Club H Fitness'.  They have four locations across New York City and they offer group classes, spinning, personal training, a spa and cafe.  I originally joined their 34th Street location which I loved, but since we moved I now go to the 55th Street gym.  It is still a great gym but not quite as nice as the 34th Street location.  Everyone is very friendly though and offer a good range of classes, although I do miss the Zumba class that was on offer in the day 34th Street.  Compared to some of the other gyms it is reasonably priced and they have lots of January deals on at the moment.

Now is a great time to join a gym as they are offering some really good January deals on memberships.  Here are links to some of the gyms in the area:

http://www.clubhfitness.com/
http://www.equinox.com/
http://www.thesportsclubla.com/
http://www.crunch.com/
http://www.boomfitness.com/
http://www.mysportsclubs.com/
http://nyhrc.com/

As you see there are lots to choose from, and this is only a selection of what is on offer.  Have a look around your local neighbourhood to find the best gym for you and let me know how you get on!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One if by Land, Two if by Sea-Restaurant Review

As Valentines Day fast approaches I thought I would recommend one of the most romantic restaurants I have found in Manhattan.  Located in the West Village, One if by Land, Two if by Sea is a beautiful restaurant with excellent food and service. 

The restaurant has three dining areas, the main room, the fireplace room and upstairs, each with something special to offer.  Dining in front of a burning fireplace when it's cold and snowing outside is just lovely, as it eating upstairs and looking down on the beautiful dining room below.  However, the main dining room, with its stunning staircase and hanging chandeliers, has to be my favourite as you can look out onto the lit courtyard and really soak in the atmosphere of the place.

The restaurant serves American fare and has an array of interesting dishes to choose from.  The food is absolutely delicious, I recently had the sweet potato gnocchi  followed by the beef wellington, both of which I would highly recommend.  The dessserts are scrumptious too and it is well worth saving room if you can! 

From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, the service is second to none.  The staff are very accommodating and nothing is too much trouble.  Let them know if your are there for a special occasion, when I booked my husbands birthday I was able to pick our table in advance and they wrote a special birthday message in his dessert.  It's the little things that make it special.

I am not alone in my recommendation of One if by Land, with the restaurant receiving excellent reviews and scores on both 'Open Table' and in the 'Zagat' guide.  As it is very popular you may need to book in advance to eat there at the weekend and I wouldn't recommend walking in without a reservation.

I hope you enjoy this restaurant as much as I do, and let me know how you get on if you do visit.

Happy Eating!

One if by Land, Two if by Sea
17 Barrow Street
New York City
10014
Tel-(212) 255 8649
http://www.oneifbyland.com/

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Restaurant Week

Every year for two weeks in January and February, restaurant week takes place across Manhattan.  Many restaurants take part in this event, offering a 3-course set lunch for $24.07 or a 3-course set dinner for $35 Monday to Friday.  It is great value and a good way to try lots of different restaurants without having to pay a fortune. 

For more information and to make reservations go to http://www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek/.

Eating out in New York City

In New York they say 'get organised or go hungry', and although it's not quite that bad it is a good idea to book ahead for the more popular restaurants, especially at the weekend. In order to eat anywhere decent on a Saturday night you will definitely need to make a reservation ahead of time.

If you get really stuck you can often get a table in the touristy areas, such as around Times Square and Broadway.  Restaurant Row on 46th Street between 8th and 9th Avenue has an abundance of interesting places to eat where you can normally get a table relatively easily.  Check out their website at http://www.restaurantrownyc.com/.   Also, many nice restaurants allow you to eat at the bar without a reservation which can be quite handy.

I use OpenTable: NYC Restaurants to make the majority of my restaurant reservations.  The website allows you to make instant confirmed bookings at the majority of New York's restaurants.  Also, every time you make a booking you receive dining points which can be exchanged for vouchers to use for a free meal!

For reliable reviews, a recent copy of the 'Zagat-New York City Restaurants' guide is a must.  It lists the majority of New York restaurants with accurate reviews, as well as ratings on food, decor, service and price.  A good Zagat rating indicates a good restaurant.  You can pick up a copy of the guide in most book shops or online at http://www.zagat.com/newyork

However, no matter how much research you do, there is still quite a bit of trial and error involved when finding decent restaurants.  This is true of any city though and it can be great fun finding the hidden gems from the tourist traps in your local neighbourhood.  I will be posting regular reviews of the restaurants I visit on this blog.

There are so many great places to eat I am sure you will have a wonderful time exploring the culinary delights on offer in New York City.  Happy eating!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting to know your new city

So, first things first, getting to know your new home.  It might sound a bit cheesy and touristy, but taking a bus tour around the city is a great way to get an overview of the place and allows you to have a look at some of the neighbourhoods in New York.  There are so many great neighbourhoods to visit and a tour is a good way to get a feel for a place and get idea of where places are in relation to others.  We are all tourists at first so make the most of it!

I went on "The Ride" which is unlike any other bus tour I have been on!  I won't spoil the surprises along the way, but it offers a great overview of Midtown and gave some useful information about New York.  Singing Frank Sinatra's 'New York, New York' along with the whole of Times Square is an experience you will never forget.  Check out their website http://www.experiencetheride.com/ for more information.

Another great tour is the "Sex and the City" location tour.  It is really good fun and takes you to some of the trendiest places in the city.  Obviously some of these places can be a bit touristy, but there are some great recommendations for restaurants, bars and shopping locations.  The tour is geared towards women, but there were quite a few men on the tour when I went, and it looked like they were having as much fun as the ladies!  The website for this tour is http://www.screentours.com/. They offer many different tours around New York, but I haven't tried any of these yet.

Tours are a great introduction to a city and New York is no exception.  There are many on offer so let me know any that you recommend and I can check them out.

Have fun and enjoy being a tourist while you can!

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Girl in New York

My husband and I have been living in New York for about 2 months now and I am slowly but surely learning my way around Manhattan.  Before I came here and when I first arrived I wanted as much information about my new home as possible.  There are lots of guide books and websites but not that much information about what it is really like to live here and how to settle in.  I am hoping that my blog will provide some useful information to expats coming here from the UK and other places around the world.  I won't comment on, or recommend anything I haven't experienced first hand.

Little things make a big difference, so maybe some of my discoveries and experiences will help you settle in to this wonderful city.