Bidding a Fond Farewell to New York!

After the busy few days we had had, Matt and I decided to have a bit of a lie in on Sunday. Some people had agreed to meet for breakfast but we just knew we wouldn’t make it in time, so we decided to do our own thing and would meet up with everyone later.

After lazing in bed for too long, we finally got up and decided to head to out for breakfast. We weren’t really in the mood to be walking around trying to find somewhere, so we decided on Applebee’s before we had even left the room. There was no particular reason for choosing there, only that we had noticed it from our window, I had vaguely heard of it and they had a big sign saying they did breakfast. Sold!

It was really quiet and empty which shocked me however the servers seemed friendly and I loved the decorations they had put up for graduation. I really wish the UK would go all out for celebrations!

I decided to go for waffles (as usual!) with a cup of tea and Matt went for an orange juice and egg and bacon sandwich. When the food arrived, for once we didn’t feel overwhelmed by the portions it was just 1 round waffle and that was perfect for me, it did lack fruit though as you can see by the picture they could use a little more! I don’t know if I would rush back to Applebee’s again though, as the food wasn’t that great.

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Over breakfast, Matt was in contact with Bruce and the rest of the group, and we decided that we were all going to meet up around midday to get a ferry over to Brooklyn for lunch. So once we had finished, we headed outside into the sunshine to find the closest subway station. We had had enough of taxi’s and wanted to try something different, plus we had some time to spare.

The subway is so easy to use and so cheap! So much cheaper and less confusing than London! For a 1 way trip it was $2 each. I believe that was any trip, anywhere but correct me if I’m wrong! We got the number 1 red line from a station in Times Square all the way down to South Ferry, which took roughly 30 minutes maybe quicker. It was air conditioned (another luxury London is slowly getting), clean and we both managed to get a seat. It was just nice to be on the move and not stuck in the traffic!

Once at South Ferry, we took a walk through Battery Park and along the waterfront. The weather was so hot! Which I was a bit unprepared for, jeans were not a good choice! But still, I love being near the water and in the sunshine. The friends we were meant to be meeting were running late as their breakfast/brunch had run over, so we could have actually joined them all along, but oh well! We then realised we were walking the wrong way, so turned around and headed back along the water in search of Pier 11.

Pier 11 is actually on South Street, a bit of a walk and not near Battery Park or the day trip boats. But we finally found it! and our friends! Only to be told that not everyone was here and so we wouldn’t be getting a boat quite yet. So what to do on a Sunny Sunday? Find a bar of course!

We all walked along together chatting about our breakfast experiences and quickly found Nelson Blue a New Zealand Bar and Grill. We grabbed some stalls along the large window which was actually all open so you could still feel the breeze and the sunshine and took a quick scan of the menu. We were only looking for drinks and the friendly waitress happily recommended a wine for us ladies and beers for the guys and I must say the wine she chose was delicious!

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We could have easily stayed there all afternoon, but the rest of the group caught up with us and Erin recommended an outside bar around the corner (I’m really sorry I didn’t get the name) On walking around the corner, we seemed to have stepped into some sort of market or festival day. I don’t know if this is a usual Sunday thing or if something was going on but it was a lot of fun. There were clothes stalls, outdoor bars, dance classes, live music, the list goes on. So we grabbed a picnic bench and settled down to enjoy the atmosphere and more wine πŸ˜‰

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^^ How cute isΒ consuela, Bruce and Erin’s dog!? She was adorable but a bit of a diva πŸ˜‰

It was now around 2pm and a few of the group had to leave as they were flying back to the UK that night! Which was a bit of a shame, so at that point the rest of us decided to head back over to Pier 11 to catch the water taxi over to Brooklyn.

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^^ The View of Brooklyn Bridge from the taxi queue

The queue was quite long and so we waited a while to get onto the taxi, however they are free to use at weekends, so you can understand why a lot of people were using them! Once on the boat, we quickly sped across the water over to Brookyln, taking in the sights of Brooklyn Bridge and The Statue of Liberty along the way.

Once off the boat, it was only a couple minutes walk to Brooklyn Crab, where we would be spending the rest of the afternoon.

iBtvkm5tPrmI^^ Don’t you just love the look of this place? You could smell the seafood straight away, I had salt in my hair and the sun was shining brightly. It was bliss and I felt like I was on an Island in the middle of nowhere.

We had to wait for a table as there were so many of us, but jugs of beer and all the arcade games, kept us happy, along with friendly competitions of basketball hoops and air hockey! If we had to wait longer, we most definitely would of had a game of mini golf!

Below Deck Bar, Brooklyn Crab

We were seated upstairs so had a lovely view of the sea and New York skyline. Now let’s take a look at that menu..

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We decided to get a few starters to share which included the oysters, fried calamari and popcorn shrimp, all of which were delicious. For mains, I won’t go through everyone’s, but Matt got the Blue crab roll and I got the shrimp basket. I love shrimp! We all received so much food so it was well worth the money, I couldn’t even finish all mine and it was so yummy.

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^^ Phil and Jess

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^^ Dan and Sarah

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^^ Group Shot!

It was such a lovely afternoon spent with friends, that I was sad our trip was coming to an end. I would love a place like this, near to home, that I could visit every weekend in the sunshine. Shame the UK weather is so unpredictable!

As usual the time had flown by and it was now early evening, so we headed back to the taxi.

11009945_10155576995750092_6614511406053429241_n^^ The boys enjoying the ferry back

11140749_10155576994995092_6226463662456738064_n^^ The ladies enjoying the ferry back

Day turned into dusk and Erin took us to a cute little wine bar, which literally looked like someone’s house and we sat outside, drinking cocktails, watching the sun go down. What a perfect last night in the city.

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We got a taxi back to Times Square around 11pm and I just stood taking in all the atmosphere and buzz for the last time.

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Monday morning we packed, had breakfast at the hotel (I had pancakes for a change ha) and then we headed out for one last look of Times Square.

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^^ Matt and I on the Red Steps

We popped into a few shops like The Disney Store, Hershey’s World, Levi and Forever 21 and also grabbed a few last minute gifts for friends and family back home. We decided to have lunch at Planet Hollywood, before getting a taxi to JFK, for our flight home.

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^^ Final buffalo wings of the trip

Sat at the airport I was so sad to be coming home. We had had such a great trip, done so many things and met so many lovely people that I just wanted it to continue. In all honesty it felt like we had been away months not 11 days! It was also nice to experience New York in Summer, as many people including us only really visit in Winter.

But as they say all good things must come to an end, so thank you New York, until next time.

And here’s to the next trip……. Dubai in October hehe.

Love, Chloe xx

P.S. If any of you have any good recommendations for Dubai please let me know, I’m so excited, I’m researching already! πŸ˜‰

Chicago Part 1- It’s all about the Deep Dish!

After a pleasant and slightly boozy 9 hour flight (well we did have to make the most of the bar area! πŸ˜‰ ) we had finally arrived in Chicago! But wait what was that we could see?… clouds, wind, grey skies! We thought we were on holiday, where was the sunshine?

We hopped in a cab and travelled to our apartment, taking in all the sights along the way. The skies were eerily foggy and you could barely see the top of most buildings. But it made Chicago that bit more intriguing. (Sorry no photos were taken, we were still in a bit of a plane daze!)

We were staying in a new build apartment block, called One Eleven. See below – This picture was taken on a day when we had sunshine! The building was only completed in Summer 2014.

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Most residents live here permanently but a few apartments are rented out to visitors like us and I would highly recommend staying here! The doormen are so friendly and soon remember your names so you instantly feel like you live there! It is right in the centre of Chicago, so within walking distance to the main tourist attractions and you also have full use of all the onsite amenities, such as swimming pool, gym, games room and numerous lounges with places to chill and take in the views, which include the river, Lake Michigan and Trump Tower. (See pics below)

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After a quick tour, we found our room on the 24th floor, unpacked, jumped in the shower, changed and then made our way up to see Jason and Christina and I was soo excited. After 9 months apart I could not wait for a big, long hug and then gossiping over a large glass of wine and that is exactly what happened! The boys were easily entertained with beers and sports on the TV.

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^^ I had missed this one! ❀ (please excuse the pale face – a mixture of jet lag and wine was kicking in!)

After quite a few hours, chilling, drinking and catching up, we decided to pop out for an early dinner. Christina decided that we should experience a true Chicago Deep Dish and so we headed off to Gino’s East, to see what all the fuss… about this famous pizza… was about!

I’m not actually a fan of deep dish pizza’s (Sorry people of Chicago) but to me pizza’s should be thin and crispy, but hey while I’m here, I’m certainly going to give it a go! I also don’t drink beer. Much to the Whole of America’s disgust I’m sure, as you guy’s seem to love the stuff! So again I think the waiter thought I was a little odd when I asked for bubbles haha. Now back to that pizza…

The waiter said that 1 medium deep dish would be enough for the 4 of us. But Jason also insisted that we try the Buffalo wings to start and I also noticed pulled pork sliders on the menu too (anything pulled pork I must have! πŸ˜‰ ) so we had quite the feast to be getting on with.

The Buffalo wings arrived first, sticky and bright orange I had to dive in immediately, the sauce had a slight kick but not crazy hot and I fell in love with the flavour straight away. Needless to say that for the rest of the week if buffalo wings were on the menu, Matt knew I was going to have them! If anyone knows of a good place in London or Surrey that does Buffalo wings, please let me know as I’m suffering from withdrawal symptoms!

Next up were the pulled pork sliders, one each and gone within 2 bites, but these were tasty and full of flavour, melt in your mouth pork and sticky, smoky BBQ sauce, always a winner.

I was already feeling full! But here comes the main event…The Deep Dish and WOW was it deep!!

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I don’t know if these photos really do it justice or if you can tell just how big/thick it really is. But believe me it’s big! One slice each was more than enough for us 2 ladies and although Matt went in for a second slice he struggled to finish it! It was nothing like any pizza I had tasted before and it felt more like a pizza pie.

Rather than dough, I do believe the base is made of shortcrust pastry. The crusts were so thick you couldn’t cut them and Christina recommended breaking bits off and dipping it into the ample tomato sauce you get! Another difference you may notice is they put the cheese on the base before the tomato sauce and not the other way around. As you can see this gives the pizza a very gooey, stringy texture that can only be eaten by knife and fork.

If I’m going to be honest, I wouldn’t rush back for another one, personally for me it was a bit rich and big and I think I will stick to my thin crust in future. However having said that I’m glad I got to sample a Chicago tradition and these 3 certainly enjoyed it!!

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We were all so stuffed that we couldn’t fit in desert but after a breather we decided to walk onto a bar for another round of drinks, but unfortunately jet lag had caught up with Matt and I and we were nearly falling asleep on our bar stools, so after a very quick last drink, we all decided to walk back to the apartments and Matt and I were sound asleep by 9pm!

What a great way to start our trip – Pals, Pizza and Pints! πŸ˜‰

Love, Chloe xx