New York City was my first move outside of Louisiana, so it will forever hold a special place in my heart. I still don't think there's another city that even comes close to comparing to the Mecca that is the Big Apple. It's energy, charisma, sophistication, detail and people are infectious and I dread the distance my new home will be from this unparalleled city!
• Little Owl. A tiny gem of a restaurant [housed in the building that was used on Friends to show the apartment where Rachel and Monica lived] on one of the quaintest and most charming streets in the West Village.
• Ippudo. If you’re there at the right time, you can go downstairs and watch Japanese men make fresh Ramen, right there on the premises!
• Epistrophy. A favorite Nolita spot where the food is simple, but always tasty and nicely priced. The music sets that laid back, cozy, but fun mood I want when hanging out with friends.
• Piadina. I imagine this is what it must be like to delight in a home-cooked, authentic Italian dinner made by the Italian grandmother I never had.
• Bubby’s. When you sit down for brunch and they immediately bring a basket of biscuits, you know you’re in for a properly carb-heavy, nap-inducing, calorie-packed and decadent meal. Breakfast and brunch are when Bubby’s is at its best, but it’s also famous for its pie. Double doozie.
• Burger Joint. Mouth-watering burgers served in a hilarious setting. Enter into the all-marble, upscale Le Parker Meridien hotel, walk to the back corner, pass through a velvet curtain, and enter into a blue-collar dive of a burger joint. Score!
• Billy’s Bakery. Forget Magnolia, Billy’s is where's it's at. The best cupcakes in NYC!
• Cafe Noir. It's a toss up between their Summer Noir or Sangria; both are good enough to be illegal.
• Barrio Chino. While the Mexican food is no joke, it's their drinks that stop me in my tracks. The best margaritas I’ve found in Manhattan—and this coming from a girl who lives in Texas!
• Macao Trading, Co. If you like coconut, the Drunken Dragon’s Milk is a dream and goes down like a light, frothy milk shake.
• Smith & Mills. Dark, tiny and romantic, in that hipster way. Equally ideal for a sophisticated night with the girls or an intimate date.
• Little Branch. Walk down stairs to a sub terrain, low-lit bar and feel like you’ve walked into the days of prohibition. Bartenders don suspenders and pinstripes and make some of the most cleverly crafted cocktails in Manhattan. Don’t know what you want? Name a few of your favorite liquors or tastes, and let the dapper bartenders surprise you with something delicious and—better yet—unexpected!
• 124 Rabbit Club. Through an unmarked door, enter into a cavernous, speakeasy bar that is a dream for any beer enthusiast, with more than 65 imports on the menu.
• Mudhoney. A visit to New York City would not be complete without a haircut by the scissor master himself, Corvette.
• Bronx Botanical Garden. If things are blooming, this garden is downright spectacular and more than worth the subway trek.
• The Hayden Planetarium. Each feature played at the Planetarium [always something about the cosmos, the earth, space, etc. and narrated by a familiar celebrity] are so fascinating, moving, beautiful and humbling that you're sure to shed a tear or two.
• Museum of Arts and Design. The recently opened MAD is an incredible homage to all things design, in one of the more interesting buildings in Manhattan.
• Steven Alan. Preppy + a slight edge = heaven.
• Tracy Feith. I crave his prints and party dresses like most girls crave chocolate.
• Poppy. This shop is the epitome of a well-edited boutique. Owner Leslie McKeown hit the nail on the head!
• Castor & Pollux. I love mini department store-like shops that ooze luxury without being stodgy. And they do it in that swank 1950s sort of way.
• Kiosk. Store meets rotating art exhibit. The owners travel the world to buy for this quirky, fun store.
• John Derian. A New York institution as far as I'm concerned. And it's rare that my husband gets as giddy over a shop as I do!
• BDDW. The most gorgeous wood furniture and home accessories I’ve ever seen. Not one thing in there I can even begin to remotely afford, but a million things I can dream about.
• Michele Varian. A really special home accessories and jewelry store.