Have you ever seen that episode of ‘The Office’ when Michael Scott (Steve Carrell) initiated a 5K marathon for the prevalent disease of rabies, and decides to prepare for the run by ‘carb loading’ with a gigantic plate of Fettuccini Alfredo, and no water (because according to Michael, bats hate water). Well of course, he was in severe pain, could barely run and had no idea why…. Well that is sort of how our day went when we decided to meet for breakfast and take a bike ride around lower Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge.
It was an absolutely gorgeous summer day and had just reached 92 degrees on the car thermometer, with a blazing summer sun. Today’s plan… 2+2 would meet down in South Street Seaport for a breakfast bite. Then grab our bikes for a ride through Lower Manhattan, over the Brooklyn Bridge and across to Battery Park. Maybe drinks along the way… maybe lunch if there was time.
We all had separate evening plans to attend to in the opposite direction of Manhattan, so in order to get it all done, we planned for an early start! To provide some background on 2+2, A+L are almost always late, and L will tell you it’s ALWAYS A’s fault. And K+M are almost always on time. Well not today… how the tides have turned… there must have been a full moon!
A+L arrived downtown first and selected an adorable breakfast spot to relax on Front Street. Made Fresh Daily is a hipster friendly, all white, modern, IKEA-esque bakery/coffee shop. Think enticing baked goods, organic smoothies and freshly prepared breakfasts. K+M had a long list of tasks to finish that morning, traveling all over the place to pick up their bicycles. In the meantime, A+L sat, STARING at butter filled delectable treats… “So this is what it’s like to wait”. Groups of hipsters came and went and we just watched all the food come out… it looked sooooo good! Now we had no idea of what to order.
After an hour and a half, K+M arrived, heads down, defeated… they were late… they are NOT late people… and K popped her bike tire on the ride from the car to the bakery. Well, the day could only get better! Let’s eat! All of our eyes were bigger than our stomachs… we ordered practically everything on the menu… donuts, biscuits, eggs, fruit… and topped it off with giant sized café au lait’s. 20 minutes later, we were pettling away on our bikes… light as a feather.
We stopped off at ‘Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals’ in the Seaport to pick up a replacement bike for K. The ‘beach cruisers’ were sold out, so K went with the generic mountain bike style, complete with a dorky fanny pack and map. We were New Yorkers… we didn’t need a map! Well we must say that it came in handy… finding the bike entrance to the bridge wasn’t easy. All the way downtown is a great section of the city to ride your bike in. On the weekend, the streets are actually pretty baron, plus there are great parks to stop at along the way.
Crossing the bridge wasn’t as easy as it looked! In the baking sun, we found that the Café Au Lait’s we drank weren’t the kind of hydration we needed. Those donuts weren’t helping either! A’s eyes started to see stars… ugh… might be going down! After a tiring ride to the center section of the bridge, we were exhausted and sweaty, but it was worth it. Epic views! Beautiful back drops in every direction. The way down was WAY easier. You could pick up some serious speed coasting down the narrow bike path into Brooklyn. Right at the end of the bridge, we stopped at the Concord Avenue Markey for some water… so necessary.
We contemplated hitting up Brooklyn Bridge Park… it’s supposed to be beautiful… but instead headed back over the bridge. We took the bike path along the water, passed the Staten Island Ferry terminal and zig zagged through the streets, popping up in Battery Park. It was an absolutely gorgeous ride. Stopping in at a cute, informal, outdoor beer garden in the park, we grabbed a quick pitcher and talked about future adventures. Unfortunately, that’s where K+M’s fun ended, and they headed home for a birthday party.
A+L had more time left, and rode over to an Italian restaurant on a wide cobblestone street, Acqua. We weren’t hungry at all! Not sure why we were even there. Nonetheless, we ordered ‘light’, so we thought, and washed it down with some Prosecco sangria. The staff was so friendly and we were full, so we sat for a long time, chatting about Rome, one of our favorite cities, with our Roman waitress. This is where our Eat-a-sode ends… exploding with food, we packed up the bikes and headed to the birthday party we had to attend.
Made Fresh Daily
226 Front Street NYC
Eggs, Pastries, Coffee, Manhattan
A quick pastry and coffee or a sit-down breakfast, Made Fresh Daily does them both very well. Just two blocks away from the very touristy Seaport, this place has a steady stream of neighborhood locals and passers by. Located in a building that appears to have been a factory or part of the former fish market, the rectangular interior is both bright and airy. There are a few tables near the counter and by the entrance, giving plenty of room to sit or stand in line while not getting in any-ones way. We suggest grabbing a table near the entrance for some good people watching while you sip your coffee and read a newspaper.
Expect to taste your food here. Made Fresh Daily only uses all organic dairy, farmhouse eggs and no refined sugars or flowers. As we sipped on cafe au lait, we sampled the strawberry muffin as well as the coconut cream and strawberry (seasonal) donuts to wet our appetites. To say that they were good would be an understatement. According to the staff, we arrived at the right time because the doughnuts sell out fast which.
The breakfast selections were equally as good if not better. The limited menu and daily specials cover all the bases of “Classic American” breakfast. We loved the scrambled eggs on a homemade buttermilk (and cheddar) biscuit with Niman Ranch Ham. The roasted cherry tomatoes on the BLT egg sandwich were also a nice touch. Its hard to order granola or fruit salad (both of which looked very nice) when such artisan egg sandwiches are on the menu.
The wait staff was accommodating and informed. Even with the volume of people in and out of the cafe, we never felt rushed. We could have sat there all day sipping coffee and eating pastry.
What we ate...
- Cafe au Lait (A+K+M)
- Regular Coffee (L)
- Coconut Creme Donut (A+L)
- Strawberry Muffin (K)
- Strawberry Donut (M)
- Frittata of the Day with Toasted Focaccia and Chive Butter (A)
- Scrambled Eggs on Buttermilk Biscuit with Niman Ranch Ham and Cheddar (L)
- BLT Egg Sandwich on Croissant (K+M)
A: I love this place! It is so happy and organic! The friendly staff really took pride in their shop… hustling between the counter, behind the grill and waiting tables. I could have sat there all day drinking coffee, reading a magazine and watched hipsters come and go…
K: This is my kind of place! I can never get enough of a local/organic cafe. The BLT Egg Sandwich was awesome-- I wish Manny and I had each gotten our own! I couldn't get enough! The strawberry muffin was delish. And the Cafe au Lait (with soy!) was great..down to the last sip!
L: Not exactly what you want to what before a 7 mile bikeride but it was well worth it. Pricier than your typical pastry and egg sandwich place but well worth it given the organic and natural ingredients. I will dream of the coconut doughnut for a while.
M: Wow. I could have sat there all day eating everything on the menu.. everything was so fresh and really good. I'm still thinking about that donut today. I want one now. Have to go back.
- The Scene- Fresh, Organic, Wholesome
- Food/Drinks- 4: Stellar! Wouldn't change a thing.
- Tip Worthy- 4: Double the Tax and then some
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Centrally located!
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green light!
- Price per person- $15 for coffee, pastry and an egg sandwich
Bike Riding 2+2
Bike Trails in NYC
Central Park, Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Hudson River Greenway are the many bike routes that you can find in the Big Apple. It all depends on how much time you have, and how hard you want to push yourself. The bridges are the shortest routes, but certainly not as easy as it looks. We choose to take the Brooklyn Bridge route and thought it was going to be a piece of cake. But we quickly found out the ride up to the first stop was a tough one. Be sure to have some water on you and pace yourself up and across. Stop and enjoy the sights in the middle of the bridge before crossing over to the other side.
Once in Brooklyn, if you need to restock on some water make a left and go about one block on your left you will find Concord Avenue Market. Refuel, get some air, then make your way back over the bridge to Manhattan. All the routes have beautiful sights to see and offer great places to stop and shop, eat, and just hang out people-watching. If you don't have a bike or you don't know where these trails start, no worries, Blazing Saddles Bike Rental has everything you need to get you on a bike and enjoying the city on two wheels.
Blazing Saddles Bike Rental
South Street Seaport, Pier 17
Whoever came up with the idea to have bike rentals at the Seaport is a genius (and probably popped a tire once, too, shortly before planning to bike over the Brooklyn Bridge)! After Kristen popped her bike tire on the way over to Made Fresh Daily to meet Ang and Lee, she was in great despair. Manny insisted she not worry, since there was certainly bike rentals at the Seaport. Lo and behold, Blazing Saddles was right in the center of the pier. The service was friendly and fast. They provide you with maps of all the trails and any other information you need. We were on our way in minutes with a Performance Mountain Bike and 2+2 was off to bike the Brooklyn Bridge as planned!
A: Biking the Brooklyn Bridge is something I have always wanted to do this and was so pumped that I finally got the chance! The whole crowd is so excited to be there taking in the beautiful views. Next time I will start my day with lots of water, instead of a gigantic cup of coffee so I don’t feel like I’m gonna pass out.
Thank goodness for Blazing Saddles! They saved the day! This is why I love NYC-- anything you need is just seconds away! They provided a great quality bike with all the necessities: pouch, map, and bell (!).
L: The ride across the bride was like a video game. The views of Manhattan and Brooklyn were amazing but the real fun was dodging the people on foot. I didn't realize how many bike lanes and paths there are across the city. I can sense another 2 plus 2 bike ride in the future.
M: The Bridge was fun.. wish we had more time to do some of the other trails.. next time we have to get up earlier and try not to be so unprepared and late so that we could spend more time at each sight.
- Coordinates- Pier 17 (center of South St. Seaport)
- Price per person- $53/day for a Performance Mountain Bike rental (other bikes vary in price)
Battery Park Beer Garden
Battery Park NYC
Beer, Snacks, Manhattan
Hidden between the entrance to the Staten Island Ferry and Battery Park you will find this small Beer Garden. This beer Garden is just as simple as its name, no frills, no big lines, just a handful of tables and chairs, and some cold beers. It's a great place to just stop in if you are spending the day at the park or just passing by on the bike route. They offer some food and a couple choices for beer. It's CASH ONLY, so be prepared.
What we drank...
A cute little mid bike ride pit stop. We locked our bikes to the fence and rehydrated… with beer.
K: You never know what you will find in the corners of this City. Tucked away in Battery Park is this low-key, relaxing little beer garden. It was a perfect little pit stop on our journey.
L: Hidden beer garden... yes please.
M: I felt like I was in my friends back yard having a beer.. could have stayed for another round but we had to get to a party..
- The Scene- Relaxed, Outdoor
- Food/Drinks- 3: Pleasantly surprised
- Tip Worthy- N/A
- Coordinates- 3: City- 10 minute ride to fun
- Restaurant Return Rate- Yellow- If we were riding through...
- Price per person- $18/pitcher (serves 4)
Acqua Restaurant and Wine Bar
257 Water Street (at Peck Slip) NYC
Italian, Wines, Manhattan
Located on an adorable, wide, cobblestone street just a block from the Seaport is Michelin recommended Acqua Restaurant and Wine Bar. With outdoor seating, authentic Italian fare and a large selection of tasty wines, there isn’t a reason not to stop in. The interior of Acqua is rustic, complete with floor to ceiling wine wall and dark, mismatched furniture. The friendly staff is warm and welcoming, slicing fresh baked bread, breadsticks and flats, in the dining room. Awesome bread… we ate at least a whole bowl with the infused olive oil and flavored butters!
Although there were tons of wines to choose from, we started with glasses of their special, Prosecco Sangria… perfect for a hot summer day. It was light, bubbly and refreshing. For apps, the “cheese plate” and “meat plate” were among the tastiest and freshest we’ve had and included all our favorite extras… nuts, fruit, jams… everything to make cheese more delicious. They were massive for two people, and we kind of wished we hadn’t already ordered pizza… we were exploding but couldn’t let any of it go to waste. The menu also includes your pick of traditional Italian starters like fried calamari, as well as some different items like the Tuscan White Bean salad.
Pizzas fill the menu… there are lots of choices. It seemed to be Acqua’s claim to fame as every table had at least one, even though this place is way more than a Pizza place. The Pizza Bianco al Prosciutto was crispy and delish and definitely recommended. Not in the mood for pizza, there are plenty of fresh pasta dishes including ravioli and gnocchi. For dessert, finish off with some sorbet or gelato covered in various liqueurs, with a chilled glass of limoncello and a double espresso. The staff is so friendly, we sat for a long time… sipping limoncello and chatting about one of our favorite cities, Rome, with our Roman waitress.
What we ate...
- Prosecco Sangria (A+L)
- LImoncello (A)
- Tagliere di Formaggi Italiani Assortiti (Imported Italian Cheeses) (A+L)
- Tagliere di Salumeria Italiana Assortita (Cured Italian Meats) (A+L)
- Pizza Bianca al Prosciutto Crudo di Parma e Rucola (A+L)
A: Such a nice relaxed destination with an Italian café vibe. A great place to split a bottle of wine, snack and chat with friends.
L: Between the neighborhood, restaurant decor, food, wine and our Roman waitress, I almost felt like I was in Italy. The touristy Searport area certainly has another side to it and I think we found it.
K+M: We had been to Acqua a while back, and were very sad we had to rush off after biking and couldn't enjoy another meal with A+L at this great little rustic Italian joint on Water Street. We found the staff to be really personable and the food to be very tasty! What a great little Italian place near the Seaport!
- The Scene- Rustic, Charming, Quaint
- Food/Drinks- 3.5: Pleasantly Stellar
- Tip Worthy- 4: Double the Tax and then some
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood- Centrally located
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green light
- Price per person- $60 for several drinks, shared cheese/meat plates and pizza
Labels: Acqua Restaurant, Battery Park, Beer Garden, Bicycle, Breakfast, Made Fresh Daily, NYC, Seaport