Have a Mint Julep at the Iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City
We had spent the day in conference rooms. Speaking to sponsors and meeting other bloggers that we only knew online. We wanted to get back to the hotel room and pack our goodies and see if maybe we could catch a second wind. We had been so busy in the last three days that we had barely taken the time to take in the City that Never Sleeps. New, York, New York a hell of a town. There are always so many things to do here that it can be overwhelming.
I wanted to have a drink and relax and we decided it was time to let lose and enjoy a cold drink and a midnight snack. We wanted to go somewhere close to our hotel (The Hilton Midtown). We wanted to walk because the evening was warm without the stifling heat that we suffered earlier in the day. As we had walked home from Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center and Time Square we knew what there was to see if we headed east on 6th Avenue (or Avenue of the Americas). We hadn’t gone left yet. “Why not walk a few blocks and see where we find ourselves.” I said. We were cool enough and had comfortable shoes to go for a leisurely stroll.
As we walked we came across the usual suspects: tourists, native New Yorkers with suits, with high heels and a phone, invariably, attached to their ears. No looking up or acknowledgement just a brisk walk around you if you stood still to long. I have both sympathy and disdain. There are an awful lot of people just standing in the middle of the street taking a picture.
That being said, we were feeling bold (or at least I was) and I kept walking hoping to find the perfect bar and late night eatery. As we continued, we eventually came upon Central Park. The horse drawn carriages were lined up ready to take families or young lovers for a ride around the park. There were some of both indulging in this. We opted to keep walking and see what the next corner had in store for us.
Not knowing New York well, we were wondering if the building we were passing was The Dakota where John Lennon had lived. Alas, we were not even close but we were awed by the doorman that was standing guard in front of the residence. As we passed we peaked inside and saw huge chandeliers and marble entryways. Little did we know that as we turned the corner we could come face to face with one of the most iconic hotels in New York – The Plaza (Its actually the Fairmont Plaza but I don’t think anybody uses that name). I was excited to finally get my baring and knew exactly where we were.
As we walked towards Fifth Avenue I asked the doorman if we could just have a quick look at the lobby. He was very gracious and welcoming and invited us to take a look. As we entered, there they were, the huge flower urns that adorn the foyer. My sister had taken pictures of them before and without a doubt I underestimated how big they truly are.
I realize in this picture that they don’t look that big but trust me, they are huge. And they are MARVELOUS. Above is the picture of the foyer with the chandelier lighting the way to The Palm Court. As we proceeded through the doors we came across the old style court yard restaurant. I am sure the Palm Court has been the host of many a marriage proposals, celebratory drinks and multimillion dollar deals. Built in 1907 by the Vanderbilt family, the Plaza Hotel is the grand Dame of hotels.
With a quick glance at the menu and a resolve to live a truly New York moment, we decided to have a drink and some food. As we perused the choices we were tempted by the drinks: The NYC Cosmopolitan, Hemingway Daiquiri, Gatsby Mint Julep or the Orson Wells Negroni. Or should we choose from an array of Classic Martinis? Or perhaps we could pool our money and sample the $3,000 Century Sidecar (served in a Baccarat crystal coup (included in purchase)). We opted to not get the Sidecar as we knew the crystal coup may not make the trip home without breaking.
We, instead, decided to get a mint julep, a glass of wine and a coke. My mint julep was truly spectacular. I mean, really spectacular.
We wanted to get something to eat but to be honest with you, there wasn’t much on the menu that was in our price range. We were eyeing a shareable three tier appetizer for $68 but the waitress said most items were petite bouchée (or tiny morsels). I hated the idea of still being hungry when I left the Palm Court. This is what was included in the platter. Quite a selection, don’t you think?
T H E F I T Z G E R A L D
Oysters & Mignonette
Crisp Crudité, Tarragon Dressing
Yukon Chips, Caviar Dip
Citrus Marinated Olives
Thyme Roasted Prime Rib Sandwich, Horseradish Aioli,
Arugula, Onion Roll
Peekytoe Crab Salad, Green Apple, Cucumber, Black Truffle Oil,
Grain Mustard Aioli, Pretzel Crostini
Foie Gras Torchon, Sweet & Sour Shallots,
Cracked Hazelnuts, Fig Jam, Toasted Brioche
Hudson Valley Smoked Salmon, Smoked Salmon Mousse,
Pickled Mustard Seeds, Pressed Cucumber
Lobster Roll, Diakon Sprouts,
Buttered Brioche Roll
Confit New Potato, Chive Crème Fraîche, American Sturgeon Caviar
Fortunately, we spotted The French Onion soup and ordered that instead. What a coup! It was savoury with braised beef short ribs, sherry, gruyère cheese. Lots and lots of gruyère cheese. I know this picture does not do this soup justice but it was delicious, served in the traditional while lion’s head bowls.
When we finished eating we decided to make a quick stop and go to the ladies room. It so happens that we had to go towards the main lobby to access the restroom. It was upstairs just past The Rose Room. This dimly lit bar was closed for the evening but that did not stop a couple from sitting in one of the comfortable sofas carrying on an intimate conversation. To be sure, they did not need to bother with us three Canadian bloggers but we could not resist taking some pictures of all the velvet and dark wood, brass fixtures and art deco chandeliers. I can imagine returning with my husband at another time (on a Wednesday night maybe) so we can take in some Jazz and a signature cocktail. I think that would be grand because they don’t make cozy bars like this any longer.
If you are ever in New York City, you must give yourself the chance to live like the rich and famous. Walk through those iconic doors, enter the foyer and keep walking to the Palm Court. Have a cold Mint Julep in the summer and take it all in. Imagine what this place would have looked like in the roaring ‘20s, the sexy ‘60, the heady ‘80s or even eight years ago when the hotel celebrated its 100th Birthday. Remember, this hotel has survived two World Wars, Prohibition and The Great Depression. It has been the host to dignitaries, politicians, celebrities and jazz musicians. Go ahead, live a little… I am sure you will feel just as welcomed as we did that warm Friday night in July. Take a load off and stay a while.