I returned to New York City again this summer, this time with my 17 year old niece Kaitlyn. It’s a trip I promised to take her on when she was 13, and we were finally able to schedule it.

This trip was very different than my usual, with more sightseeing and shopping and less time sitting leisurely in lovely places watching the city pass in front of me.

I built an itinerary of places I thought my niece would enjoy and researched to find restaurants that were suitable for younger people. My niece is 17, so “child-friendly” wasn’t really what I was looking for, and selfishly, I couldn’t fathom going to NYC and not tackling the places on my ever growing list. So I scoured menus to find places with dishes I thought we’d both enjoy.

My niece isn’t the most experienced eater, but she her tastes are reasonable. I knew if she kept her mind open, and didn’t become intimidated by the foreign-sounding ingredients on menus, we’d be able to indulge in delicious plates of food. My goal was to expose Kaitlyn to the highs and lows of dining in New York and have her gain confidence in all dining environments.

With an evening arrival in New York, I thought the best introduction to the city would be with a Shake Shack burger in Madison Square Park and a visit to Time Square to see the lights. 

The next morning, we woke up early and took the subway to Columbus Circle to grab some breakfast treats to enjoy in Central Park. We stopped at Bouchon Bakery to pick up some buttery pastries and a mortadella&cheese mini breakfast sandwich from Bang Bar.

We took advantage of the unseasonably pleasant weather to wander through the park.

Lunch was “real” Mexican food at Atla, Enrique Olvera & Danielle Sotto-Innes’ contemporary and casual eatery. We enjoyed sharing the huge serving of guacamole with fresh herbs slathered on the intensely corn-flavoured fried tortilla. My arctic char tostada with capers, onion and fresh farmers cheese was a delightful riff on lox and bagels, while Kaitlyn was pleased with her simple quesadilla with quesillo.

Our evening started with a walk over the Brooklyn Bridge is always a must and sunset (or just after) has been one of my favorite time to do it. Although it’s a crowded attraction, you just can’t beat the New York skyline views.

Around the time I began researching this trip, I started hearing a buzz develop around Crown Shy, a new restaurant in the FiDi, which appeared to be on the relaxed end of the fine dining spectrum.

The menu looked interesting, with options that I thought Kaitlyn would enjoy, so I jumped on the reservation as soon as it became available online. 

Crown Shy was impressive in every way, with a grand beautiful space, delivered with a vibe that was completely unpretentious.

The pull-apart bread with surprises of olive tapenade inside was declared by Kaitlyn as “of the best things we ate the whole trip”.

I ordered the bright and refreshing Radicle cocktail made with tequila, raspberry, rhubarb, habanero, cherry tomato and lime. Our meal started out delightfully as we dragged torn-apart pieces of the crisp puffy poori bread through the silky smooth white bean hummus topped with a bright ‘njuda oil. The romaine salad with green goddess dressing and breadcrumbs that we ordered because I wanted us to get our greens, was the kind of dish that made me want to eat more salad.

Kaitlyn loves pasta, so we ordered two, the caramelle pasta filled with a lemony marscapone cheese and topped with chanterelles and corn. The simply flavoured spaghetti with sungold tomatoes and lemon basil tasted like the epitome of summer on a plate.

Cheesecake with pistachio and cherry sorbet

We woke up early Saturday morning to see another New York City landmark, the Statue of Liberty. Not wanting to take a whole morning to do it, we hopped on the free Staten Island Ferry to get a close up look.

The NoMad restaurant has been on my list for my last 4 trips to NYC but I’ve never made it there. On this trip, the NoMad Hotel was too close to where we were staying not to include it. My focus has primarily been for the bar, which wouldn’t be explored this trip, but I was convinced we’d have an impressive pre-theatre experience at brunch as well.

I couldn’t not enjoy a cocktail served from the #4 bar on the World’s Top 50 Bars list, so I ordered the light, summery and citrusy Cobble & Bow with peach-infused gin to go with my avocado toast with soft-boiled eggs.

Dinner that evening was at Dante, another restaurant on my list primarily for the cocktails (it currently sits at #9 on that same World’s 50 Best Bars list), but their food menu seemed to include enough that I thought Kaitlyn would enjoy.

Baby gem salad with avocado, grapefruit, radish and Italian dressing followed by a pappardelle with wild boar ragu.

Sunday’s are made for brunching in Brooklyn, or at least that seems to be my New York thing. 

Maison Premiere is one of my favorite restaurants in New York. I was worried the menu would be challenging for Kaitlyn, which it turned out to be, but by this point in the trip, I was confident that we’d be able to put together a meal that she’d be able to eat and if she were still hungry afterwards, we could pick something else up to munch on.

We browsed the menu and were able to put together a satisfying meal of pastries and eggs, with some happy hour oysters and a bright tropical cocktail as an appetizer for me.

No trip to New York is complete without a visit to a museum, so I scoured the biggies but couldn’t decide on which to visit. As I was doing my research I found Beyond the Streets, an exhibition in Brooklyn on graffiti and street art, which looked amazing. Not knowing if Kaitlyn would enjoy it (which she did), I decided this was the exhibition I wanted to see.

Magical Thinking @dabsmyla
Four Letter Word @mayahayuk
Goofing around with @barminkiart

Our Sunday evening plans revolved around visiting the Vessel at Hudson Yards, but Mother Nature did not cooperate with us and delivered a thunder shower just as we were leaving. Thankfully I had a handful of options to present to Kaitlyn for alternative plans for our evening.

Tapas at El Quinto Pino

Our last morning in New York City started with an exploration of the rooftop of our hotel followed by another NYC breakfast “must do”.

Blackseed bagels signature with beet cured lox, horseradish cream cheese, radish and herbs.

With a few hours to kill before our flight home, we went for a walk on the High Line and wandered through the Chelsea Market where we had our last delicious bite before the plane ride home.

Wild mushroom & levan (cauliflower) stuffed in the fluffiest pita you’ll ever taste from Miznon.

The 4 days & nights spent with Kaitlyn in New York City were filled with fun times, great meals and tons of giggles. I can still remember the adventures I had with my aunties when I was younger and hope that Kaitlyn will remember this with as much fondness. While our agenda was filled with places I’ve visited in the past, everything seemed new through Kaitlyn’s eyes.

When I spoke to my sister about Kaitlyn’s immediate thoughts on the trip upon our return, she exclaimed “Auntie Susy eats really well!”. Mission accomplished.

So much happiness exploring NYC with Kaitlyn. I hope when she’s older she learn to love
the photos I took of her on the trip as much as I do!

The Places I visited on this extended long weekend in NYC:

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