just a girl living her best life in the upper lefthand corner

Travel Diary: A Weekend in the Big Apple (Pt 1)

I am thirty-one years old and this was my first time visiting New York City. I’ve always wanted to visit, but was never able to make it work until this weekend. My husband had a few meetings in the city earlier in the week and we decided to make a weekend out of it! I took the day off of work and flew in on Friday to meet him. We always try to fly Alaska Airlines (and their partners) when we can and luckily they had a few direct flights into both La Guardia and JFK airports! I decided to take the flight leaving Seattle at 7:35am which arrived in New York via JFK at 3:35pm (which sucks when you are trying to get into the city because it’s basically prime rush hour 🙈), but that time seemed the most advantageous for us because we wanted to have time to go out to dinner and maybe explore a bit (read: to find a cool place to grab a few drinks afterward).

I arrived to New York during a heavy rainstorm, but coming from the two rainiest cities in the world it didn’t scare me — I’m not made of sugar! 😂 The rain DID add some time to my travel in to the city though…

(Excuse my crappy photo from inside the cab, but I had to snap it! I was so excited about my first glimpse of NYC!)

(image sourced from Roosevelt Hotel website)

We had chosen to stay at The Roosevelt Hotel (a charming boutique hotel) because of its location in the heart of the Midtown neighborhood of Manhattan. It’s kind of central to all of the sights in the city and was conveniently located for my husband’s meetings earlier that week so it made the most sense for us this time.

We had made reservations a few days ahead for dinner at Empellón (if you don’t know by now, I’m pretty obsessed with Mexican food). The restaurant ambiance was pretty cool and our little table was sort of tucked away so it was a nice romantic meal for us. We started with margaritas (the “¿Por Que No?” and the “Mezcal”) and their guacamole + salsa sampler. O-M-G… you guys, there were seven different kinds of salsas varying in flavor and heat levels. It was perfectly balanced with the creamy guac — if you stop by Empellón, it’s definitely a must-try.

We also got an order of the blistered shishito peppers to share (don’t worry, they’re not spicy, but they taste amazing with the charring on the pepper skins!). We honestly wanted to try ALL of the “Vegetables” section as appetizers, but we had totally gorged ourselves on guac/salsa 😂🤷🏼‍♀️. My husband decided on the steak fajitas, which are prepared tableside -such a cool experience!- and I ordered the hash brown tacos (they have such creative taco flavor combinations!! We had a difficult time deciding!). **Just so you know: the taco orders are not a la carte, so each flavor comes with a plate of two tacos, otherwise we would have tried more! We were so full, but really wanted to try one of their desserts so we each ordered one tiny corn ice cream taco apiece. Such a perfect couple of bites to end our meal!

After dinner we were so stuffed, but managed to rolled ourselves down to Grand Central Station for a peek inside and to look for The Campbell Apartment for a round of cocktails. The interior of Grand Central Terminal is absolutely gorgeous — the ceiling is a stunning mural of constellations and the marble floors and brass finishes are truly… well, grand!

Back outside on the Vanderbilt side, just down the same block in an unsuspecting pair of double doors, you will find the entrance for the Campbell Apartment – a speakeasy style bar with an interesting history! We each ordered a cocktail (for him: a Vieux Carre; for me: the Grand Central Spritz) and both were delicious! The decor is plush and the lights are dim… it’s a delightfully romantic atmosphere for anyone looking for an intimate experience with delicious drinks!

With our bellies full and smiles on our faces, we made our way back to the hotel hand-in-hand.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

xx, Natalie

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  1. […] the rainy night before (in case you missed it, I talked about my first night in New York City here). After crowdsourcing a local bagel spot recommendation, we headed out on our first adventure of […]

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