Zany ice cream treats, multi-course pasta meals, and brand-new bookstores.
“If you’re celebrating Christmas, red alert: this is your last shopping weekend before the main event. And if you haven’t yet found the perfect gifts to stash under the tree, the next few days are an excellent time to make inroads on your list (and with COVID cases in NYC currently increasing again, please have your mask handy and get your booster if you haven’t already). We’ve got intel on two bookstores, both stocking hard-to-find titles, plus a massive market with independent vendors. And if all of that shopping leaves you starving, you can check out a new pasta spot, or knock back a milkshake or two curated by one of NYC’s most famous pastry chefs.
For those details and more, read on for nine actually fun things to eat, drink, and do this weekend in NYC.”
Pastaphiles are probably familiar with Pastificio Di Martino, one of Italy’s most beloved purveyors of dried pastas. And now, you don’t even have to cook that bucatini yourself: the brand has just opened a gorgeous new shop, restaurant, and pasta bar in Chelsea Market. Dubbed La La Devozione, it encompasses multiple concepts, including the more casual A Tavola (look out for outdoor dining in the spring), but for now, we suggest you go big at The Oval. The 30-seat bar with four dedicated chefs serves a decadent pasta tasting menu, with dishes like a vermicelli topped with white truffle.
Cost: $165 per person
If you’re still looking for the perfect present for your brew-obsessed pal, we’ve found it. Treat them to a night at The Lab, Bronx Brewery’s new immersive dining experience located in the middle of the brewing facility. While you snack on Empanology’s full menu of sandwiches and empanadas, you can ask the staff all of your burning questions about hops, IPAs, and homebrewing. And the space, which can seat up to 28 people, can also be rented out for private parties or sports watching events.
Cost: Empanadas from $11 for 4 pieces
Friday, December 17th at 5:30 pm until sold out
Ice cream lovers throughout the city have been anxiously awaiting the reopening of Caffe Panna. And while we have a bit longer until the shop begins churning out batches of our beloved Red Flag gelato again, this Friday you can get a small taste of what owner Hallie Meyer and her team have been working on in the interim. Trattoria Panna is the ice cream shop’s pop-up pasta concept; and it’s as phenomenal as the gelato. Starting at 5:30 PM at Daily Provision’s West Village location, you can grab the menu of BEC carbonara, stracciatella toast, a cookies ‘n panna cruller, and a mini-pint of cookies ‘n panna gelato. Go early: we have a feeling this will draw a crowd.
Cost: $42 per person
Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19
Quick: name two NYC sweet shops that always have a line out the door. Did you guess Dominique Ansel Bakery and Kith Treats? This weekend, in an epic collaboration, the two powerhouses are combining their talents for the limited time event of Trix Kithmas. Both locations of Kith Treats will feature a bonkers menu curated by chef Dominique Ansel: think a Trix-infused milkshake that melts into hot chocolate, a six-layer panettone trifle, plus a half-dozen holiday-themed milkshakes. And before you ask, yes, there will be special Kith merch for sale, too.
Cost: Treats from $8.75
How does that saying go? Anytime a new independent bookstore opens, an angel gets its wings? That’s certainly how we feel, at least, about Yu and Me Books, which just opened on Mulberry Street last week. We also love the shop’s focus: Owner Lucy Yu is committed to stocking titles from authors who have been historically underrepresented in publishing, with a special focus on titles related to immigrant stories. Yu will also be adding beer, wine, and pastries from Fay Da Bakery in the new year.
Cost: Book prices vary
It’s an especially great time of year for gifting books and BEM Books & More, run by sisters Danielle and Gabrielle Davenport, is an excellent online source for food literature of the African diaspora. While the business’s plans for a brick and mortar shop are on hold due to the pandemic, the Davenports are bringing their carefully curated selection to a multi-week pop-up at Bed-Vyne Brew in Bed-Stuy. Peruse everything from cookbooks, to poetry to food fiction, plus products from Black purveyors and makers including Zach & Zoë, Gloria’s Shito, and Trade Street Jam Co.
Cost: Prices vary
Saturday, December 18 and Sunday, December 19
If you’ve been dragging your feet on buying holiday gifts, perhaps drinking while shopping would help? If so, head to the Brooklyn Expo Center this weekend, where American Field will be hosting their bustling Brooklyn Holiday Market. Over 90 independent vendors will be selling everything from clothing to leather goods to home decor, plus you can sip craft hard kombucha from JuneShine or draft beers from Sixpoint Brewery.
Cost: Tickets from $5
Sunday, December 19
Lower East Side
In the Philippines, Noche Buena is the midnight meal families eat together as Christmas Eve turns into Christmas. And luckily, this weekend you can enjoy it a few days ahead of schedule, thanks to a group of Filipino Americans all in the food and beverage biz. Their version of Noche Buena is the newest addition to the local holiday-themed pop-up bar scene in the city. Hosted in the back room of Pretty Ricky’s, it starts on Sunday and runs until December 26. Expect seasonal cocktails, plus inventive takes on traditional Filipino dishes like smoked fish croquettes, pancit, and kinilaw.
Cost: Food from $8
England may be known for its afternoon tea, but only in NYC can you find a place with a proper cuppa and magic wands. Whether you’re an alum of Hogwarts or not, anyone is welcome at The Cauldron NYC for their Wizard Afternoon Tea, which launches this weekend. The experience includes two interactive teas to brew; scones, sand“witches” and dessert; plus, of course, your magic wand.
Cost: Tea experience from $54.99
Thrillist, a site with tons of food, drink, travel & entertainment info, introduces folks to the coolest things to do in NYC (and other places when you are traveling). I like to check them out regularly. You should, too.
So many great things to see and do, places to eat and drink in NYC.
How to find them? Here are 6 more of my fave NYC suggestions: