Over the Rivers (on Five Different Bridges) Through The Five Boros We Go!

On May 6th we were lucky enough to take part in Bike New York's Five Boro Bike Tour. It. Was. Awesome. At times, awesomely congested (there are 30,000 + riders) but nonetheless, one of the coolest rides I think we'll ever do! A ride that includes 40 miles through each of the five boroughs, five bridges with amazing views of the surroundings, all while riding through closed-off streets of NYC is pretty much beyond okay in my book. Oh, and I did I mention, it was a really good excuse to spend a long weekend in NYC?! Cause that's exactly what we did!

Friday Night
We trained it on up to NYC on Friday. We got a little bit of a late start, but hey, who cares? It's New York City and everything (bars) stay open late (until 4am! Sweet!) 

We weren't staying very far from Eataly and Birreria, and since we hadn't had a chance to eat dinner yet, we decided to stroll on over there to kick things off. I've been there before, where Eric has not, so I was super excited to show him all the nooks and crannies of this "market." There is so much to take in, it can be a bit overwhelming, but in a really good way!

We love our craft beer. We are also self-proclaimed foodies, and for someone (Lindsey) who l.o.v.e.s. Italian food (though that pesky little gluten free thing doesn't allow me to really enjoy it as much anymore) this place is like a damn mecca. Forget a deli counter, they have a fresh pasta counter. That is pretty much all I need in life. Especially since it's strategically placed right next the bread bakery. We wanted to grab a bite to eat and a drink at Birreria, which as you may know has quite the Delaware connection. Birreria is Eataly's rooftop restaurant and brewery that is a collaboration between Dogfish HeadBaladin and Del Borgo.  They brew unfiltered, unpasteurized and naturally carbonated Cask Ales literally 30 feet from where you can sit and drink them! Birreria is open year round, and features a retractable roof so you can sit up there rain/snow or shine. It's an awesome spot with some really great views!

But here's where our little hope of starting our stint in NYC at Birreria - duh, it was Friday night, so they were a little busy and there was a wait. Although we were bummed we couldn't get right in, we did like the way they let you know when a table/spot is available. They take you name and cell phone number and text you when something opens up. Unfortunately, we were too hungry (and let's face it, thirsty) to wait, so we moved on to plan B. They did in fact text us about 25 minutes or so later to let us know a spot at the bar had opened up. Not a bad little system. It's also amazing how quickly 25 minutes passed in a place like Eataly!

Anyway, we wandered around (and around, and around) Eataly until we settled on a cheese, nuts and fruit plate and a gorgeous little miniature (gluten free!) dessert to snack on. Oh, and a bottle of the imported Birra Del Borgo Re Ale Extra.

Seriously though, if you are in NYC, make a stop there. You won't be disappointed. It's awesome. 

Wanting to get our night rocking and rolling, we opted to hop across the street to Madison Square Park and enjoy our snack and our beer...out of an empty water bottle. Classy, I know.

Instead of starting out weekend off at Birreria that night, we decided to hike on down to the West Village so we could stop at one of Eric's favorite bars in NYC, the Blind Tiger. This place is small and quirky, but has a killer draught list. We were lucky enough to find seats at the bar, so we can't complain on a busy Friday night! 

You have to love a place that has Dogfish Head and Victory on tap on a regular basis, (The Dogfish Head sign was hanging above the bar at Blind Tiger.) especially when you're not in the our area. It's pretty cool to see. Eric started off with Lagunitas Undercover Shut Down, and then moved on to Clown Shoes Brewery Hoppy Feet. I was opposite. I started with the Hoppy Feet and ended with Undercover Shut Down. Both were great choices either way we had them! You really can't beat their draught list. If you're in NYC, be sure to make this one of your stops. It really has a small, neighborhood feel to it, yet, it's smack dab right on Bleeker Street. On top of that, you have to love bars being open til 4am...us heading home at 2:30 almost seemed a waste! 

Saturday was a bit of a rest day for us since we were going to be riding 40 miles the next day. We had to take it easy both in what we did, and sadly, what we drank. Not too much to report in regards to beer from this day - but we do have a couple suggestions by the way of food that were too good not to share.

We met one of my oldest, dearest friend and her husband for brunch in the West Village at a great place called Market Table. It had such a cool atmosphere. The Bacon, Spinach & Fontina Scramble, the Poached Organic Eggs Benedict, the Mushroom, Asparagus & Fontina Quiche and the Burger were all awesome and our ridiculously clean plates showed that. They had a small craft beer menu, which would have been great if we were drinking. And that was not an easy fete on our part! 

For dinner, we checked out a restaurant on my parents' recommendation. They head up to NYC often, and recently ate at Lure Fish Bar in SoHo. They said their dinner at Lure was one of the best meals they've ever had, so of course we had to try it! Let me tell you, I think we have to agree with my parents on this one! We were trying to keep dinner on the lighter side since it was the night before our ride, so we ordered a handful of different appetizers to share and try. And we ordered our one cocktail we were allowing ourselves, a blood orange margarita (thank goodness it was Cinco de Mayo!) The cocktail was awesome. Keep in mind, they have a pretty decent, although somewhat small craft beer draught list. We stuck to the margaritas since we both knew if we had beer, there wouldn't be just one beer had, there would have been several! We were trying really hard to avoid that! Now, back to dinner... We had the Spicy Big Eye Tuna sushi roll, the Lure House roll (shrimp tempura topped with spicy tuna), the Roasted Beet Salad with goat cheese, hazelnuts and arugula, the Shrimp and Watermelon Ceviche, and to top it off, since we were going to be burning some serious calories in the morning, the the Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie with peanut brittle ice cream & chocolate covered pretzels. Seriously. Amazing. We left there ready to take on the next morning. Which also meant we were back in our hotel by about 9pm on a Saturday night in New York City...the city may never sleep, but we had to. That 5:15am wake up call was coming early...

On a side note - if you ever check out Lure or are just in SoHo, and don't have to be in bed early on a Saturday night in NYC like we did, be sure to hop across the street to The Mercer Kitchen at the Mercer Hotel. It's a great place to grab an after-dinner drink or dessert. It's a very cool, NYC vibe.

This is what it's like to ride with 30,000 (plus) bikers!
Fast forward to Sunday and through 40 miles of awesomeness in each of New York City's five boroughs, plus another 4 miles to the Staten Island Ferry to get us back to Manhattan, and you have an awesome excuse to stop at Whole Foods (conveniently located a block from our hotel) to try to regain some of the ridiculous amount of calories we lost - which of course included a couple good beers! We had a small feast in our room, including  a Founders Centennial IPA and a Porkslap Farmhouse Pale Ale. There are several Whole Foods all around the city (something like 7 of them!) and they have some pretty awesome craft beer choices. We love that we could walk right into Whole Foods and grab two singles (or six packs or cases if our little hearts desired!) They always seem to have a good selection of local brews, which we really like to see. Although if I lived in NYC, and close to a Whole Foods, I would probably be tempted to brown bag it more often than not!  

We probably could have slept the remainder of Sunday away, except we were in New York, and my parents got us the hook up for a very cool event at Marcus Samuelson's Red Rooster in Harlem that night. Marcus made it to the season finale of Chopped All-Stars on the Food Network and was pitted against some of my favorite chefs - Michael Symon, Penny Davidi and Jeffery Saad. In the super club of Red Rooster, Ginny's, the folks from Mastercard were holding a watch party in honor of the season finale (sort of giving away who won the competition in my opinion!) Marcus did indeed win the title, as well as $50,000 for C-CAP, his charity of choice. 

A little bit of our Red Rooster fun!
There were Food Network personalities everywhere. And me and Eric! It was surreal - and so very, very awesome. We enjoyed three amazing courses prepared by Marcus' super impressive kitchen, and bonus, there was an open bar.

Red Rooster is quite the awesome place, and we were psyched to see the beer menu. Let me correct that, the CRAFT beer menu. On draught. Nice. The bottle list has a few of the typical more generic crowd pleasing beers, but I overlooked that with what they were pouring on tap! Downstairs at Ginny's they only have three taps, but we were totally okay with that. Mind you, we're pretty sure we were the only two people in the room drinking beer, but hey, that's our thing. We had Brooklyn Lager, Ommegang Abbey Ale and Keegan's Mother's Milk to pick from. We both stuck with Ommegang that night.

The whole event was just such a neat night. I cannot begin to tell you what it was like for me to be in the presence of such neat Food Network peeps, have an amazing meal, drink great beer, all after I had ridden 40 miles throughout such a cool city as New York City! Life doesn't get much better than this! Happy Sunday ya'll. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for this awesome gift! We were calling it a night!

Knowing we wouldn't be much good at work the day after the ride, we stayed in NYC until Monday. We really wanted to head into Brooklyn for the day, but unfortunately, most of the places we were hoping to go to (Brooklyn Breweryd.b.a., Radegast Hall, Brooklyn Bowl...) were either closed since it was Monday or weren't opening until 4pm or later. Boo. But it's Brooklyn, so of course there were still  still found some awesome places to hang out.

After wandering around the streets of Williamsburg, we decided to get lunch and stumbled upon a really great place, Two Door Tavern. We grabbed a seat at the bar where we were taken care of by the greatest bartender (who had just been to Philly the previous weekend and loved the craft beer scene there!) The atmosphere at this place was exactly what we were looking for. There are lots of reclaimed bits and pieces throughout, giving the tavern a really warm feel to it. The beer list had some great options, and food was so good.

I stuck with Ithaca Beer Co. Apricot Wheat throughout lunch, Eric had Brooklyn Brewery Lager. The food here, as I mentioned, was really good. They have Happy Hour throughout the week during the day, so we decided to take advantage of that and order the Devils on Horseback (Bacon Wrapped Herbed Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates), Goat Cheese, Grilled Chicken and Spinach Quesadillas, and Homemade Pigs in a Blanket. They were smaller portions and perfect for us to share for lunch. Sometimes the best places you wind up on the ones you just happen to just stumble upon. Two Door Tavern is definitely one of those finds! 

We didn't want to leave Brooklyn without stopped in Mugs Ale House, another one of Eric's go-to spots in New York City. This place is great. Mugs has that neighborhood corner bar feeling to it (probably because that's exactly what it is!) It's a no frills kind of joint, and that's why I think we both like it there so much - and their tap list is fantastic. On our way over there, we checked out the tap list online, and it said they had Lagunitas WTF on cask. I was stoked. Unfortunately, the list was a little out of date and they only had Lagunitas IPA on cask. Oh darn, whatever were we going to do? Drink that instead! Since it was a Monday afternoon it wasn't too crowned, which made for a great relaxing way to end our time in Brooklyn. 

We may have been too relaxed by the time we left Mugs, as we needed to stop into Konditori, a Swedish coffee shop, before we hopped back on the subway! This was the perfect spot to grab a little caffeinated beverage that we so needed. The Swedish coffee was awesome, as were the cookies (especially since they had a couple gluten free options!) 

But our time in NYC wasn't quite over. I really didn't want to leave without a stop into Birreria, so as soon as we made it back to Chelsea, that's where we headed!

Birreria goodness!
As we waited for the elevator to take us up to this rooftop bar, we spotted a sign that said, "Dante Alighieri put the gluttonous in the third circle of hell.  At EATALY NEW YORK we put the gluttonous on the 15th floor rooftop, in heaven." After reading this, I knew we were in for a treat. Since our trip was winding down, we just wanted to enjoy one beer each. Again, that was just hard...so we had two! I went with the the cask-conditioned Nigella, an English-style Session IPA that is brewed with Maris Otter Hops, and bittered with both Fuggles and East Kent Goldings Hops. This beer was amazing. Eric went with the Del Borgo 25Dodici, a strong ale brewed with orange peel. Such a refreshing beer. Thanks to Birreria's Twitter update, we knew that they had also just taped Dogfish Head My Antonia. We figured since we started the trip off with Del Borgo's My Antonia, ending it with Dogfish Head's My Antonia was perfect. 

On a side note, if you don't know the back story on My Antonia and want to see a really great video of Sam and his "93 years young" grandmother, Jesse, sneak a sip of My Antonia in discreet white cups (so that the "geriatric po-po" aren't the wiser!) click on the video below. It'll be the most entertaining 3 minutes and 46 seconds of your day!

Anyway, back to our trip...
Sitting under the retractable roof on a gorgeous New York City afternoon was hard to leave. We could have easily sat there for a couple of hours. Probably not the best thing since we did indeed have to get back to reality sooner rather than later! Next time we want to head back up to Bierria to check the rooftop out at night. I can only imagine how pretty it is up there then!

It was just about dinner time when we left Birreria, and we decided to head across the street to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park to grab a quick bite before heading back to the train station. What a way to end our trip - with a good ol' meal of with a cheeseburger, fries and a peanut butter milkshake. (We split the fries and shake - definitely big enough for two!) Even as it started to rain the tiniest bit at we ate our dinner, it was still a great place to be. 
Shake Shack Awesomeness!

The cool thing about Shake Shake is that in addition to the super yummy milkshakes (and bottled water and sodas) you can also get beer, including one that is brewed for Shake Shack, the ShakeMeister Ale, by Brooklyn Brewery. Can't beat that. And bonus - the Philly Shake Shack is opening soon in Philly at 20th and Sansom! We're hoping they'll have ShakeMeister Ale on tap there as well!

So here's a list of our favorite spots around New York City that we visited. We can't wait to get back up there and add a few more to this list!

Eataly and the rooftop Birreria
200 5th Avenue
New York, NY 
Eataly - 212.229.2560
Bierria - 212.937.8910

Blind Tiger
281 Bleeker Street
West Village

Market Table
54 Carmine Street
West Village

Lure Fish Bar
142 Mercer Street

The Mercer Kitchen
99 Prince Street

Red Rooster and Ginny's Supper Club
310 Malcolm X Boulevard

Two Door Tavern
116 North 5th Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Mugs Ale House
125 Bedford Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

186 5th Avenue
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Shake Shack
Madison Square Park
Southeast Corner of the park, near Madison Avenue and East 23rd Street