A couple weeks ago, myself and 2 friends (Jo & Chris) decided to take a trip down to New York City for the weekend to explore the sights, nightlife & (most importantly) the food. The trip came about after we noticed that Porter Airlines was having a seat sale and realized it would only cost around $275 round-trip to make the journey. We had long been thinking about doing some kind of road trip but decided on New York because we all love good food and a nice nightlife, and there is no city that does it better than New York City! After weeks of planning we were ready to head on down to the city that never sleeps!


10:00 am – After a 10-15 minute walk from my condo, I met up with Chris and Jo at Billy Bishop Airport (the home of Porter Airlines). They wanted to check out the lounge so we got there a bit earlier to take advantage of the free cappuccinos and snacks. I filled by bag up with 3 waters, some snacks for the hotel room and had a cappuccino and some almonds before we boarded (all FREE – one of the things I love most about this airport).

Just before we boarded the plane I snapped this pic

13:15 – We land safely in Newark Airport after a very short flight (we managed to get 2 free SteamWhistle beers in though). We arranged for a car service to take us from the Airport as we found it was slightly cheaper than a taxi and in true cheap dude fashion, I found a discount coupon online. We had considered the train which is a very fast option into Manhattan but it would have been equally as expensive so we opted for the convenience of the car. The ride to our hotel took around 45 minutes. Unfortunately when we arrived at our hotel we discovered that our room was not ready so I ran up to the closest convenience store to get some beers to make the wait more tolerable. Chris used his “negotiation skills” with the front desk staff to attempt to get us some kind of upgrade for the inconvenience. After a 30 minute stand-off between him and the hotel manager we were offered an upgrade to a suite!

15:45 After getting settled in we grabbed our cameras and headed out to find something to eat. On the way there I found a T-Mobile store so that I could get cheap mobile access to avoid paying Rogers another cent! Our first food stop was Halal Guys (on the corner of 53rd and 6th). I had heard so many good things about their chicken on rice and didn’t manage to find it on my last trip to New York. For $6 you get a massive platter of yellow rice, chicken (and beef or gyro if you want) as well as a small salad. The wait was about 20 minutes long but it was well worth it and one of my favourite meals on the trip! I can’t even begin to describe how delicious it was, so if you are ever in NYC definitely make a stop here!

Halal Guys NYC

Chicken on Rice w/ White Sauce, Hot Sauce & BBQ Sauce

After filling our belly’s to capacity we decided to walk some of the food off and started doing some sightseeing. We went past Radio City Music Hall, The NBC Studios and Rockefeller Center and ended up taking a break at Bouchon Bakery where we tried some of their famous Macarons.

Rockefeller Center

Macarons at Bouchon Bakery

We continued our walk a bit m0re after and ended up at a spot known by Chris called Jimmy’s Corner. It is a cool little dive bar located just a block from Times Square that has some very great prices (pint of Bud Light is just $3)! The bar is owned by former boxing trainer and gym owner, Jimmy Glenn. Jimmy was there both times when we were and is always up to chat about anything including all the pictures of him on the wall with boxing legends such as Muhammad Ali. We hung out here for a bit and watched the Yankees and Mets games on opposite TV’s then headed back to the hotel to freshen up.

Inside Jimmy’s Corner

After a quick stop off back at the hotel, we headed back down to Times Square to see the area at night. We did the tourist thing for a bit and snapped a bunch of pictures but decided it was time to get some more food even though none of us were all that hungry. We made a stop off at Virgil’s BBQ just before their kitchen closed as we had heard they had some great barbeque. The bartender said to try the wings and some of the BBQ ribs and brisket, so we took his advice. The wings arrived first and were AWESOME! A perfect balance of smokeyness, citrus, spice and bbq sauce! The ribs and other items were good but nothing to write home about. I found the ribs themself to be a little dry, but the cornbread and coleslaw that came with them was tasty.

Times Square

Can you spot us on the screen?

Wings at Virgil’s BBQ

During dinner we bumped into a few friends of Chris and Jo and decided to end the night off with some more drinks at Jimmy’s Corner.


One of the things that we all agreed on before the trip was that we would visit Smorgasburg (an outdoor market in Brooklyn that runs on Saturdays during the summer). We really did not know what to expect other than that there were several food vendors at this outdoor market that was part of the Brooklyn Flea Market. Expecting a mix of food and shopping we arrived and discovered that it was actually an outdoor market where many of New York’s most creative food vendors congregate to show off what they make. If you have been to the Toronto Underground Market then it is kind of like that, except with 10 times the number of vendors, no entry fee and very few lineups! Here are some shots from Smorgasburg:

Jo, Myself, Chris

View of Manhattan from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Pork Belly

Donuts from Dough NYC

Delicious Juice Stand

Chicken & Waffles

Cemita from Cemita’s at Smorgasburg

1 of the 4 rows of vendors at Smorgasburg

Spicy Tuna Japanese Taco from Takumi Taco

Porchetta from Porchetta NYC

Grady’s Cold Brew Iced Coffee

After filling up at Smorgasburg we decided to try and find the Brooklyn Brewery to have a few beers since we were very close by. We first had some beers then did a short tour where they told us a bit about the history of the brewery. For example, we learned that their logo was designed by Milton Glaser, the man best known for his I ♥ NY logo seen on many souvenirs. After trying to offer him $10,000 to do the logo on many occasions they eventually struck a deal with Glaser where he would get partial ownership of the brewery and free beer for life.  At 83 years old, Glaser still drops by to collect his free beers.

Brooklyn Brewery

After the brewery we did some more exploring of Brooklyn including a stop in to the famous Brooklyn Bowl and eventually to a cool bar called Whiskey Brooklyn where we stayed for a few drinks. The bar was quite busy considering it was just a Saturday afternoon and we ended up spending quite a while on their Shuffleboard Table. Jo and I challenged a few Americans to a game of Canada vs. The USA and ended up beating them on all but 2 of 7 games!

Shuffle Board tables at Whiskey Brooklyn (Jo tweeting away in the background… they had WIFI)

Our next stop was the Chelsea Bazaar, an event that we had found online before we left for New York. We made our way there by train only to discover it wasn’t a food filled event that we thought it might be and didn’t stay very long. We decided to do some wandering after and ended up in Union Square where we watched a street performer jump over 8 people!

NYC Street Performer jumping over 8 people

We did some more sightseeing then made our way to Eataly to have some dinner. Unfortunately we didn’t realize it was a grocery store where you can eat and being Saturday night it was rammed with long waits for a table. I would definitely head back here at a slower time though as everything looked and smelled delicious!

Eataly NYC

Luckily, right across the street was Shake Shack so we jumped in the line of about 75 people and waited for one of my favourite burgers that I had tried once on a trip to Miami. I ordered the shack burger, a black & white shake and split an order of cheese fries with Chris. As expected, the burger was AWESOME!

Shake Shack

Shack Burger & Shake from Shake Shack

After dinner, we made a short trip back to the hotel and picked up some FOUR LOKO on the way. We ended up heading back to Brooklyn and did some bar hopping with stops at Surf Bar (a bar where the floor is all sand), The Charleston (where I tried a drink called a Mexican car crash) and then ended up back where we were earlier in the day, Whiskey Brooklyn. The rest of the night included a lot more drinking, gambling at shuffle board and hanging out with the locals.

Mexican Car Crash at The Charleston (a Margarita w/ a Corona in it)


The next morning I decided to sleep in while the others took the cable car over to Roosevelt Island to do some exploring. When they returned I met up with them and we headed down to Soho to try some authentic New York City pizza. Chris found a place called Arturo’s that had some good reviews and a real New York City feel to it. I wasn’t much of a fan of the pizza as I prefer an Italian style with nice light fluffy crust, but the others seemed to enjoy it.

Arturo’s Pizza

After filling up, yet again, we decided to check out Canal Street to see if there were any good finds. Unfortunately the quality of products on Canal Street seem to have dropped significantly for myself and most things can be found online nowadays for less so it was a short visit. We then made our way over to Ground Zero to catch a glimpse of the new Twin Towers project and memorial site. Unfortunately we didn’t realize that you need to book this well in advance so we decided to go to a rooftop patio at the W Hotel to get our own view of the site. The hotel looked amazing and if my budget was higher I would definitely consider staying there on a future trip. We had a beer at their bar then left after taking a relaxing break.

Jo & Chris on the W patio with Ground Zero in the background

It was then time to eat again, so we made our way to Korean Town to try a restaurant called Kyochon which my girlfriend told me is well known for their Korean wings. The restaurant was really cool, very modern and had one of the nicest washrooms I have seen in a restaurant (everything was red). The food did not disappoint either and all of us loved our wings!

Kyochon NYC

Kyochon Urinal (notice the girls that stare at you)

Kyochon Wing Sampler w/ Salad & Brown Rice

After a short stop at the hotel, our next stop was a visit New York’s oldest bar, McSorley’s Saloon. The saloon has been in operation since 1854 and has served many very famous people such as Abraham Lincoln and John Lennon. They have 2 drink choices, a light or dark beer, both of which are 2 half pints for $5. The bar has wood chips on the floor to sop up spills and has a really interesting vibe to it.

We were greeted by this guy as we walked up to McSorley’s

Inside McSorley’s

After a few beers we decided it was time for a change of scenery, so we made our way to one of New York City’s most popular Speakeasy bars, PDT (short for Please Don’t Tell). PDT is located inside a hot dog restaurant called Crif Dogs. To get in, you are supposed to make reservations the day of your visit after 3pm, then enter the phone booth inside Crif Dogs. Once in the phone booth , pick up the phone and the hostess on the other side of the door will tell you if they have room. If not, grab a hot dog (they are REALLY good!) and relax as this bar was worth the wait. The bar itself is nothing fancy and there are some house rules but the cocktails are what really steal the show. Both of the cocktails I tried were well crafted, delicious and most importantly very boozy for their $15 price tag. They also have several hot dogs not on the regular menu, and since I knew we weren’t going to make it to Momofuku, we tried the David Chang dog which comes with Momofuku Kimchi.

Chihuahua Dog from Crif Dogs – Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog w/ Avacado & Sour Cream

Phone Booth to get into PDT

Shark Cocktail at PDT Bar

PDT shut down quite early that night (1:30 am) so we made our way accross the street to Bua Bua bar (recommended to us by the bar tender at McSorley’s). We had one more drink here (I had a very well made Negroni for under $10), then called it a night.


For our last day in New York, our goal was to try to knock off as many things left on our list as possible. We started with a trip to Central Park where we walked around and visited Strawberry Fields, then made a stop to the NBA Store on 5th Avenue to pick up some Brooklyn Nets swag. We tried some actual street meat (meat on a stick) from one of the carts then headed over to Central Station to take some pictures. We tried to get into the Empire State building, but with a 2 hour wait we simply did not have enough time.

Central Park

Strawberry Fields

Chicken & Beef on a Stick

Empire State Building

At this point we split up because I really wanted to check out High Line Park, and the others didn’t seem as interested. The High Line is a park that was built on an historic freight rail line that was elevated above the streets in Manhattan. I had seen many pictures of the park, but wanted to check it out for myself. Here are some of the shots I took:

High Line Park

High Line Park

High Line Park

High Line Park

Statue of Liberty in the distance

High Line Park

High Line Park

High Line Park

Once I was done exploring the park, I jumped on the subway to meet up with the others and get ready to leave New York. We decided to take the train to the airport from Penn Station because it was only $12 each and we would avoid rush hour traffic to ensure we made it to our flight on time. I definitely recommend the train if you are looking for a cheap way to get from Newark to Manhattan.

Picture I took while walking back to the hotel

A few hours later we were finally back home after an incredible trip!

Toronto from the plane before we landed at Billy Bishop

Thanks for reading, and I hope you can use some information from this post for planning your next trip to New York City!