(First one of these! - Excitement on another level)
We're happy to introduce our new category: Break In The City!
We've expanded yet again our areas of coverage, and decided to share more about lifestyle, travel, and food. Although we are now both based in Beirut, our travel schedules are never dull; and with so many of you asking about different locations we post and restaurants we frequent (mainly on our snapchat, if you haven't followed, here's our username: imperial twist or follow my personal snap on: lamaelkhalil), we thought we'd open up about our travel diaries.
Every now and then, we'll be discussing a city that we've visited around the globe and share our favourite restaurants, sights to see, and must visit exhibitions (as well as many other random things we think are interesting).
Break In The City: New York Edition
Last summer, we had the chance to visit New York on several different occasions. With many family members in the city, we were sure to be in safe hands. My sister, Racha, who's been living full time in the city that never sleep, knows what's good, what's to be avoided, and of course -a must for us in every city- locations where we should twist!
Probably my favourite hotel in the world, this super trendy hotel is located in Soho and it's walking distance from some of the best trendy shops and restaurants in the area. The rooms are so comfy and well maintained, you'll love your stay there. The view from the room is also amazing, showing you the New York skyline in a way that is Instagram post worthy. It's also a celebrity hotspot, particularly a Kardashian-Jenner favourite when visiting the city.
This hotel is a great one if you want to stay in midtown without paying the price of staying on 5th avenue. Honestly, compared to the Four Seasons between 5th and Madison, this is a much better hotel! Not only is it newly renovated, it's much more well maintained with top quality bedding and great service. Recommended!
When it comes to food, the city is so multicultural, you're sure to find anything you're looking for or craving. And with so many restaurants available (you can literarily try a different restaurant every night for 52 years without visiting the same one twice), wether you're on a budget or want to splurge you'll always find spots that are great.
A personal favourite of mine, this restaurant has so much variety. It's a casual yet chic diner but with the freshest product you'll ever taste. They even serve a special brunch on Sundays. Make sure to call in a reservation before going at peak hours, it tends to fill up fast.
This place is known for being a celebrity hot spot, it's actually one of Kim Kardashian's favourites in the city. Located in the trendy Soho area, this Jean-Georges rest is a two story spot with an underground section that gives it an even more lush feel. The menu is relatively small, but the food is scrumptious. My personal favourite dish is their steamed shrimp salad (I know it doesn't sound like much, but this simple dish is just beyond!)
Remember when Carrie Bradshaw had her rehearsal dinner in the Sex and the City movie? Well, that scene took place at Buddakan. And if it's worth hosting her rehearsal dinner there, it must be good, no? Not only is the restaurant super chic, sophisticated, and hip, the food is just amazing. The Asian resto offers a wide variety of dishes that are yummy with a twist. A little more on the pricey side, you'll find dishes like foie gras dumpling, lobster fried rice, and ribs. Basically taking the traditional and making it New York worthy. If you have a trendy bunch you're going out with, this spot will dazzle them away.
This restaurant is one of the best in the world! It's not one with the nicest interior, it's actually very very simple, but the food is excellent. Rated a 27/30 on Zagat, you can imagine how fresh the fish is there. Also a little pricey, but if you're there and want to make the best out of it, go for the chef's Omasake menu (tasting menu with the chef serving you the best that the resto has to offer).
One of the best Italian restaurants in town, this place will surely hit the right spot if you're craving the cuisine. This place is more of a "luxurious experience" because of the price tag associated, but if you want to splurge then you know where to go!
Momofuku's milk bar is one of those places that are so talked about yet so hidden and not in your face. Everyone that lives in NY has tried this place out, it serves the BEST simple ice cream you'll ever taste: cereal milk with crunchy cereal. Seriously, it's one of the best things I've ever tasted (and it looks just as good as it tastes). You'll actually feel like you're eating a refreshing bowl of cereal, only with a twist. Also their tiny b'day cake truffles are to die for (but you'll get a sugar rush instantly).
Big Gay Ice Cream
If any of your are following any page that posts from or about New York, then you've surely seen pictures of the ice cream this place serves. I walked blocks and blocks in New York to try it out, and even though it was super cold the first time I had it, I just really couldn't resist. The Salty Pimp is freaking amazing, worth a try!
Probably one of the best bakeries in the city. This place has queues that will have you waiting for hours! They serve the freshest homemade cookies, and for anyone that has a sweet tooth this will do you good. If you want the sweets but don't want to wait, order then thru postmates (one of our favourite websites when in the states, will make your life much easier).
Every Saturday, Williamsburg Brooklyn showcases 100+ local and regional food vendors making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Brooklyn. The market opens come rain or shine, and it's the best if you want to sample those popular dishes you've heard about like the ramen burger or the cookie ice cream sandwich. It's open from April to November!
One of the best things you'll get to be treated to when you're in the states is the ease of ordering online. A personal favourite of the Twisters is Nastygal.com where you'll find key pieces at an affordable price. Wherever you're staying you'll get the convenience of ordering all you want online.
Although there's a bunch of really nice designer boutiques in Manhattan, it can sometimes get overwhelming with the influx of items coming your way. The easier way to shop is to go to a multi-brand store that covers all you need, and this one is one of the best in the country. Head to the store (which has a couple of different locations in the city) and shop the new arrivals.
New York is known for having some of the greatest and most luxurious department stores in the world. Thanks to the big Bs (Barneys, Bergdorf, and Bloomingdales), you're sure to discover a world of luxury and elegance that is beyond anything you want.
For those who have an eye for art and want to visit a really nice gallery that showcases some of the nicest exhibitions, look no further than the Gagosian gallery. My sister, whose an Arts major, interned at the gallery and takes me every time I'm in town to see the exhibitions they're showing to the public. Every single time I visit, I fall more and more in love with art. Truthfully, I don't know much about art, but the gallery always has beautiful things to see. Worth the visit!
This museum is one of the most talked about museums in the world, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world; including but not limited to pieces from: Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol... So for those interested in modern art, this will be a great place to see!
Taymour Grahne Gallery
Lebanese born Grahne opened his gallery in September 2014, and is located in a 4,000 square foot space in the heart of TriBeCa in the city. It is the perfect space to cure and buy contemporary emerging and established artists. We're proud Lebanese!
Break OUT of the city
For Fourth of July celebrations last summer (which is huge in the states) we decided to take a mini trip out of the city. It is so convenient in the US to travel, you can rent a car and just drive up to your destination (for this specific destination you can even go by heli). We were a group of 9 and decided to rent a big SUV which was honestly perfect for us. The trip to our destination was so much fun, and the Hamptons were even funner. We stayed at a chalet beachside curtesy of Gurney's Montauk, highly recommended!
Hope this little guide is helpful for you guys, and we really hope you'll enjoy the city just as much as we did. Have fun and have a great break in the city!