Heroine in Heels

Monday, 6 July 2015

Beauty and Essex

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Having found my feet in New York, I knew it was time to get foodie. New York is one of the best places for food, except for London of course, although I might be a little bias there.

Over and over again I was told I was going to just be in absolute heaven because of my love for food. My trainer was beside himself with worry before I went as he knew I'd go overboard and eat everything glutenous and calorific- and yes he was right! But hey, it's New York, and life's too short.

Before I went I asked Twitter- come say hi- what would be a great restaurant for a really nice date night meal. Well I was inundated, but one that was mentioned again and again was Beauty and Essex.

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We made our way to the Lower East Side, to what appeared to be a pawn shop. Filled with trinkets, jewelry and antiques, it was very un-restaurant like.

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But at the back of the pawn shop is a unassuming door.

We pushed through to enter a very glamorous, upscale restaurant, with an early sixties vibe.

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Beauty and Essex has a feast of a menu. The restaurant is a very social, glamourous one and it's menu reflects that. Small sharing plates of food that's influences are from all over the world.

There is a raw section for the uber trendy health conscious, items like Butter Poached Maine Lobster on toast, Thai Style Deep-Fried Shrimp, North Carolina style dry rub ribs and Spaghettini- a very diverse menu indeed.

But first cocktails. They make them good and strong. A perfect date night starter.

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Finally choosing our plates, we were ready to get stuck in. Passing items to each other, dipping folks across the table, enthusiastically saying "Taste this babe!". It's the best way really.

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We had ‘Chile Relleno’ Empanadas with poblano, manchego and jalapeño-lime crema.

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Hot, cheesy, citrus tang based goodness. They were so so good. I wish I'd ordered another plate.

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I also wished I'd order these again. Grilled Cheese, Smoked Bacon & Tomato Soup Dumplings. We both agreed these were just divine, so moreish, and the best dish we had that night.

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I'm obsessed Mac and Cheese, so Lobster 'Mac & Cheese' with sicilian style bread crumbs was a must.

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Oh yeahhhh

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Bahn Mi Soft Tacos with pork confit, foie gras pate, taylor ham, midori sriracha and a rather delightful kewpie mayo.

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We ordered BBQ fries, although I have to say I didn't really rate these.

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But the onion rings more than made up for it, although it was a fight for the big ones at the bottom. Rather tactical nibbling.

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Our final dish was Guianciale Pork Pizzetta with oven dried tomatoes and grana padano. A great crispy flat bread base with so much flavour.

There is a lot of hype around Beauty and Essex, as it draws a rather glamorous crowd, so it's always a worry it will be all style no substance yet I was pleasantly surprised the food is delicious and definitely has substance.

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After dinner, we decided to head upstairs for a couple of drinks in the bar before we headed out.

The humongous chandelier was a thing of beauty. Not sure I could fit it in my flat though.

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Upstairs is even more glamorous, but much more chilled with sofas in the bar lounge.

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A photo posted by Laura (@laurajhyatt) on
Now, there is one final, very fabulous element to Beauty and Essex. But sorry guys, this ones just for the girls.

Ladies, if you take a trip to the bathroom, there is a surprising waiting for you.

A champagne bar- and it's free!

Best idea ever? London are you listening?

Beauty and Essex was a real winner for me. I'd go again if I go back to New York which I'm sure I will. I feel like New York and me are meant to be.

146 Essex St, 
New York, 
United States

Friday, 3 July 2015

Chambers Hotel, New York

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Trying to decide on a hotel in New York is a bit of a mine field. There is literally thousands upon thousands, and not knowing a single thing about areas or locations, it made for a bit of a stressful process.

I spent days and days, pouring over trip adviser, blogs, and website after website. Finally though I chose our first hotel and it was called Chambers.

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Located on 56th Street it was a stones though away from Central Park and Time Square, making it perfect for the eager beaver tourist that I was.

But really it was the style of the hotel that drew me in. See, me and Dan like things a little quirky, unique and alternative. We hate mainstream but also pretentious twoddle.

Chambers is a small boutique hotel, uniquely designed in a light Asian decor, with minimalist industrial quirks like exposed walls, glass elevators to show off the cabling, and quirky lighting.

But what really made Chambers stand out was the art work. 500 pieces of original art work covered the hotel walls, making wandering the halls essential. Also great for the people watcher in me- hey, New York has some characters!

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The main relaxing areas outside of the bedrooms, were the lobby which had little alcoves where they welcome you to just curl up on a seat and chill out.

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Upstairs there were more relaxing areas, complete with books to go take away and read, and also a DVD library for the DVD players in the rooms.

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Now I had been pre-warned that hotels in New York are a lot smaller than over here in the UK.

Fearing the worst and trust me I think I've already had the smallest room ever in Amsterdam, I entered our Deluxe Kind Room.

Well I needn't have worried at all.

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Credit: Bookings.com - My camera is a 35mm meaning wide angle is not so good.

The room was surprisingly light and airy thanks to the big wide open windows, and there was  more than plenty of floor space.

The room was decorated in that quirky, artist industrial feel I mentioned earlier. Exposed walls, metal lights with cables yet with such colour!

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I did love how in America their King is so much bigger than ours and with this one being so comfy, I just wanted to roll around all day in it.

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If you want you can also hire iPads and laptops for free from reception.

The room was just perfect, it almost had that home style feel to it, which I loved. Minimal and with just a hint of quirky character injected.

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I stayed in two hotels in New York, and hands down does Chambers win the hospitality category. Nothing was too much trouble, including them trying desperately to help me to get my straighteners to work! UK voltage and American voltage do not mix.

Everyday bottles of water, chocolates and newspapers were hand delivered to the room and any bookings or information we needed was no trouble. This may sound basic, but I've had hotels which are not so helpful. It can't always be taken for granted.

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Chambers also has a pretty sweet bar too called Momofuku Má Pêche.

Dark, trendy, it's certainly a great place for drinks before a night out or even just 'I can't sleep' kind of drinks alone.

Look closely though at how the bar is positioned though? Do you notice... a ledge?

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That's because the bar is hovering over a drop to down below. It's pretty awesome and oh so trendy. 

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What else is awesome? The drinks. 

I hate to use this phrase, but they are 'proper' drinks. Not fruit juice fluff, these a strong, moody drinks for the serious bar goer.

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I spent 4 nights at Chambers and loved it. Everyone is super friendly, really helpful, and the place to aches that cool kid vibe.

If you want something a little different in New York, a little quirky but still at a high quality standard then I'd highly recommend it. Would I tell me family to go stay? Absolutely. Would I stay again? Oh yes!

15 West 56th Street
New York City
New York 10019

*My stay was very kindly given to me at a media rate.
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