If you know us well, (or have read any posts from the winter ever), when the temperatures drop, the wino and I have a serious problem with the whole “leaving-our-apartments” charade that other people call “living.” Apparently it’s ok if bears bury themselves underground for months, but less endearing when humans do it? Also, here is where I note: neither of us actually know what hibernation is or where the bears go, exactly.
Anyway, as we already addressed, this year we are trying to change things.
I’ve found that the best way to get me out of my pajamas and into the real world is with food. And, when it’s cold, it’s even more effective if it’s with something hearty and warm and delicious. Luckily, New York in the off-season–meaning January through March–is perfect for travelers and locals alike. The crowds are much, much smaller, meaning restaurants are much, much more likely to have a reservation for you. Win/win, no?
Because I like you (and because I’m currently ravenous), I’ve been pouring over the menus of some of my favorite wintertime escapes in NYC. You ready?
I went here with friends a little over a year ago and since then, have been telling the hubs every day that we need to go back. I’m not sure why we haven’t, but you should. And when you do, ask about the appetizer that consists of little tiny breadballs filled with scallion happiness because they’re not on the menu for some reason? But I know they exist and I want to live inside of one.
Though the menu is to die for, the ambiance of the restaurant is perfect for sweater weather, too. Think big wooden tables, exposed brick, twinkling lights, and a soundtrack that involves a lot of Mumford & Sons. Coincidentally, the hubs has pointed out Mumford as the perfect background soundtrack. It’s literally impossible to sing along to because you can never tell wtf they’re saying!
2. Shake Shack
One could argue that Shake Shack is more traditional summer fare–what with the burgers and shakes and their most famous location being entirely outdoors–and one would be correct. But, but, but… hear me out. There is a Shake Shack directly between our apartment and the subway, and something about the smell of French Fries and beef fat is so comforting and just makes me want to come home, get into serious comfy clothes, and stuff my face with burgers.
In other news, doesn’t the hubs just sound like the luckiest guy in all the land?
Yeah, I promise my main criteria isn’t just a cute menu typeface and dim lights, despite what my Instagram feed will tell you. This place is a blend of Italian mixed with a dash of crazy and I liked it. If there’s one link you click on in this whole post, click the one to Perla and tell me that homepage doesn’t just scream wintertime joy. You can’t.
I would be remiss not to highlight an ideal wintertime daydrinking spot, and Radegast is at the top of my list. We met friends here back in October, and 80% of the group showed up in flannels and puffer vests… it’s just that kind of place, I can’t explain it. (Though part of the reason is definitely because it’s in Brooklyn and you have to wear flannel in Brooklyn so that you don’t anger the hipsters). Other highlights include their ginormous soft pretzels… and you know we’re suckers for soft pretzels.
Manhattan alternatives include the Eataly Birreria–the roof closes and the heaters come out and it’s cozy and cute and you’re on a roof!–and, from what we hear, Houston Hall. We’ll be testing that second one out in a few weeks and will dutifully report back.
Tapas and red wine and crystal chandeliers for purchase? Sold. Except, you know, not really sold on the crystal chandeliers because they’re from the neighboring ABC Carpet & Home and cost approximately one bajillion dollars per bulb, but they’re pretty to look at and add a certain je ne sais quoi, non? Perfect for groups and perfect when it’s dark and snowy.
Next on my winter list of foodie goodness to try? The Meatball Shop. Don’t disappoint me!