I ran out of steam with my previous posting and took a long break from any new posts. Hopefully I can get back on track and finish our trip, which now was over 3 months ago. Here’s hoping!
I’m starting to sound like a broken record but we again decided to rent a car for our last port in Akureyri. Akureyri is at the base of Eyjafjörður Fjord in northern Iceland. Luckily I was able to make a car reservation from my phone before we left Ísafjörður. The water was fairly active on the way to Akureyri but turned foggy upon arrival in port.
They do like their hatchbacks in Iceland (and Europe). Here’s our little Kia that we used to traipse around the countryside.
The sea day (Day 6) was on the open waters. We definitely felt some rolling of the boat and I heard that some people had some sea sickness on the way from Scotland to Iceland. I may have had just a very small touch of queasiness but it didn’t stop me from eating! The overall trip from Scotland to Iceland actually took about 1.5 days. We reached Reykjavik in the early afternoon and the weather was very overcast (much different than it had been in Scotland).
Since we had gone to bed relatively early, we woke up mid-morning and got ready for the day. The plan was to check out the upper east side area before eventually meeting up with our friends in Brooklyn for some steak at Peter Lugers.
We had created a google maps with specific points of interest (mostly food, bars, museums). You can reference this map and see where all your “pins” on the map are located. Our plan was to hit up the Met so we found a breakfast place nearby. The pin by the Met said Zabar’s so we headed there. However, once we walked by its address, we noted there was no Zabar’s but there was EAT by Eli Zabar. Turns out the actual Zabar’s is on the west side of Central Park (whereas we were on the east side). We decided to eat there and had an all right breakfast. D had an omelette with tomatoes and mozzarella (the mozz was very fresh and delicious). I had the smoked salmon on healthy bread. It did taste healthy but was all right. For the table it came with some of their freshly made breads and also my meal came with a side of sliced cucumber and dill.
With breakfast/brunch/lunch out of the way, we walked over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (or The MET). Last time I was in the City, I didn’t go. Man, I did not realize how enormous the place is. D really wanted to see the Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology exhibit that was going on so that was the first thing we hit up. After being with D for so long, I’ve come to appreciate some fashion so it was impressive to see the various ways of creating and making dresses.
Since we knew that we could spend all day (and then multiple days at the museum) to see everything, we agreed upon a few various exhibit/halls. I wanted to see the armor and armorer exhibit, which was pretty cool since you were able to compare the way various cultures created similar type weapons (like swords).
We also briefly went through the Egyptian exhibit since that is not common art/artifacts that you find in many museums. It was amazing to see that they had so many sarcophagi along with the contents of said sarcophagi (aka mummies).
We hit up some 19th and 20th century European art and then made our way up to the roof of the MET. My cousin suggested we go up there as you get a pretty spectacular view of the city (and you don’t have to pay!) and can have a cocktail while you’re at it. There were a bunch of people up there. They also have an art installation of a building on the roof as well. It was smaller than I imagined. As the sun was beating down, it was fairly warm so we didn’t stay to have a cocktail but did soak up the views of Central Park and the skyline.
NYC Skyline and Central Park
NYC Skyline and Central Park
Rooftop of The MET with house art
After the MET, we were a little bit hungry and wanted to check out a NY classic institution and walked over to Papaya King. We each had a hot dog and shared their papaya drink. The papaya drink was good stuff.
From Papaya King we walked to the Carlyle and the famous Bemelmans Bar. This bar was featured by Tony Bourdain as a place to go drink but also was in a Christmas Special movie with Bill Murray. The walls of the bar are decorated with drawings by Ludwig Bemelman (the creator of the classic Madeline children’s books). D had the Old Cuban and I had the Fleur de Paradis and then we shared The Carlyle Punch. All were quite tasty.
Walls of bar
The Carlyle Punch
Afterwards we decided to stroll through Central Park. We walked by the little pond where people do the model bowl sailing. From there it was a short walk over to the Loeb Boathouse. I didn’t expect to see so many people out on the water on a rowboat. Next to that is Bethesda Fountain and Terrace.
We walked down the area of the park that has a bunch of benches lining both sides of the walkway. From there we made our way to the southeast corner of the park and walked back towards our hotel. Along the way we passed by all the fancy stores on 5th Avenue .
Across from our hotel is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is an impressive Neo-Gothic style Roman Catholic cathedral.
For dinner, as mentioned above, we made our way down into Brooklyn to Peter Lugers Steakhouse. Many places list Peter Lugers as the best steakhouse in America year after year. I figured since we were in the area we might as well check out the supposed best steak in America. Our friends Matt and his wife Lisa met us at the restaurant. We ordered the steak for 4 (makes sense given there were 4 of us). This ended up being two huge porterhouses (fillet and a strip steak). This was cooked at a medium rare. I gotta say the fillet portion of the steak was uber tender and tasty. The strip steak was also good though not as tender as the fillet. Was it the best steak ever? Probably not, but it was a good steak. I still am a fan of real Kobe (wagyu) beef though that is super duper expensive. We also had the creamed spinach and german potatoes, which were okay. They also do thick cut bacon and that was very tasty. It was great to catch up with Matt and Lisa as we hadn’t seen each other in 4 years.
Not wanting to end the night early (and show D that you really do stay out super late in NYC, we’re usually in bed by 10), we headed back to Manhattan to get some drinks. Our first stop was at Essex and Beauty in the LES (lower east side). The 4 of us hung out on a couch next to the bar area. We were between the dining area and the restrooms/front doors so there was a constant stream of people going back and forth. Interesting to see how people in NYC really do it up when they go out (guys in fancy dress shirts and slacks/fancy jeans and ladies dolled up in fancy dresses).
With multiple recommendations to go to Death and Co. (cocktail bar), we headed out of Essex and Beauty after a drink and wandered our way through the LES to find Death and Co. You had to put your name down at the front and they’d text you when they had an availability. By this time it was around midnight and luckily our wait was only about 15 minutes. On the walk from Essex and Co., I started feeling a few drops of water fall on me. At first I thought it was from the window A/Cs but realized it was probably some rain.
There was an extensive list of cocktails and had some interesting names. We ordered as a group: Beyond the Sea, Tramps Like Us, Birds of Prey, Minaseno, Lord Baltimore, Francois Dillinger. Overall the cocktails were good. I actually expected the cocktails to be more expensive than they were but they ranged from around $14-17 per drink. I was expecting closer to $20 per drink. After 2 cocktails at this place we were done. Matt called and Uber and they dropped us off at our hotel (which was good because it had started lightly raining by the time we left Death and Co.).
D and I were getting a bit hungry since it was now like 1:30. I looked up places that may still be open and a few blocks away was a 24 hour place called Uncle Paul’s Pizza. The slices we got were only okay and nothing like I remembered as a true NY slice. I told D we’d have to try again at another place.