1. Beer, Sausages & Bowling
When I moved to New York City from Portland, Oregon, last fall, I seemed to be going in the reverse direction of every other young musician. But laid-back Portland didn’t have the energy I needed—so I quit my band, updated my résumé (I once edited the food section at Portland Monthly) and headed east. Now that my rent has tripled, I spend my weekends hunting for stellar but affordable meals in downtown Manhattan and Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and searching for ways to enjoy my adopted city without going broke—whether window shopping or checking out the retro bowling trend.
8 p.m.: Drinks at Dell’Anima. Joe Campanale seems too young to have been a sommelier at Babbo—he’s 24—but his smart Italian wine list and herbal-infused cocktails at this always-packed new restaurant prove otherwise. 9:30 p.m.: Dinner at Bar Blanc. I love the pristine, market-driven food, like the crispy sweetbread and roasted-rabbit salad, even though I’m not a fan of the huge metal lamp shades and curved banquettes—like a 1970s imagining of 2010.
10 a.m.: Coffee at Ninth Street Espresso in the Chelsea Market, which brews beans from North Carolina roaster Counter Culture to dark perfection. At the market’s Ronnybrook Milk Bar, I eat raisin-walnut toast with farmer’s cheese, honey and pomegranate seeds. 11 a.m.: After renting a two-wheeler at Chelsea Bicycles (130 W. 26th St.; 646-230-7715), it’s an easy ride along the Hudson River to take in views of the Statue of Liberty ($12 for two hours). 2 p.m.: Lunch at Barbuto, Jonathan Waxman’s locally driven Italian spot in the West Village. The grilled skirt steak is spiced up with a chile salsa that has an addictively smoky kick ($35). 4 p.m.: I hop on the L subway line to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a free tour of the Brooklyn Brewery and its vats of microbrews (79 N. 11th St.; 718-486-7422). Afterward, I browse vintage clothing stores Beacon’s Closet, with its seemingly endless racks of button-downs (88 N. 11th St.; 718-486-0816), Houndstooth, for blazers (485 Driggs Ave.; 718-384-8705), and the new A.P.C. Surplus store (33 Grand St.; 347-381-3193), where last season’s clothes are about half-price. 7 p.m.: Dinner at Marlow & Sons. I pass through its general store into the busy dining room and feel like I’ve been let into some backroom hipsterdom. I order the earthy sliced beef heart on heavily salted toast to start, then lemony brick chicken ($45). 9 p.m.: Bowling at The Gutter (200 N. 14th St.; 718-387-3585). The place is new but high on nostalgia, with old-school scoring machines. I’m convinced from my low score that the lanes are slanted, but an employee insists a laser-sight was used to level them. Another culprit: my Michter’s rye ($17).