A Tale of Two Stadiums: Catch A Baseball (or Soccer) Game in NYC

New York City has its fair share of professional sports teams and there’s something for everyone here as a tourist to this great city who wants to catch an iconic team play.  There are so many sports arenas in the NYC area: Madison Square Garden (just “the Garden”, to locals), Barclay’s Center, Giants Stadium (now MetLife Stadium), Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Red Bull Arena, Prudential Center… and a few more all call the NY Metropolitan area “home”.

Enjoying a New York Yankees or New York Mets baseball game is a great way to spend a spring, summer or fall afternoon in New York City.  For the soccer (football) enthusiast, maybe you want to catch a Red Bulls or NYCFC game instead.

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This post covers the two more iconic stadiums we have here in the City That Never Sleeps: Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.  These stadiums are home to the Yankees, Mets, and the newly inaugurated New York City Football Club.

However, going to a game can be a really expensive endeavor, and neither stadium is centrally located in Manhattan, so it’s a bit of a trek to go to each.  I’d guess that, unless you’re a die-hard sports fan, only one event like this will be part of your NYC trip.

Going to a baseball or soccer game in New York City is a true hometown experience and I would recommend even folks who do not like sports to go check out a game. The atmosphere, camaraderie, merriment and energy are contagious – you can’t help but have a good time.

Here’s a brief rundown of each stadium, how to get to each, what to expect once you’re there, and what it’s all about. Continue reading

A Visit to the Heineken Experience (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

Heineken Experience

The “Heineken Brouwery”, aka the home of the Heineken Experience

One of my favorite stops during a trip to Amsterdam, the Heineken Experience does the whole interactive museum thing right – brilliant design and a fun “ride” make this destination a must-see for beer lovers and friends alike.

Heineken Experience

Replicas of scenes of the past are quaint and imaginative.

You can do a self-guided tour through this experience and stop at interesting stuff along the way, where staff are on hand to explain things. The tour takes about an hour and a half to two hours, depending on how much you want to learn.

The place itself is a lot like another favorite destination of mine – the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland. It combines education with a bit of fun and, of course, alcohol at the end.

Don’t miss the bottle “ride” Continue reading

The Ultimate Mendoza, Argentina Travel Map

I had too much fun creating my Ultimate Dublin Travel Map, and so now I present to you, the Interwebs, my dear readers, my Ultimate Mendoza, Argentina Travel Map. This is only my map of the City of Mendoza, and doesn’t cover my favorite spots in the surrounding countryside (hello, bodegas (wineries) and vineyards!) – that stuff will be coming sooner than later.

How to use this map:

View the map bigger by clicking the bracket window-looking icon in the upper-right corner, next to your photo/avatar. Save the link to your phone if you’re traveling – I think it might be handy (but that’s just me!). Use the layers to toggle between stuff that you’re looking for – I’ve grouped them in Sightseeing, Restaurants and Bars, Hotels, Shopping and Entertainment and Services & Tourism info, or Continue reading

Salumeria Verdi aka Pino’s Sandwiches (Florence, Italy)

I was really wary of Salumeria Verdi, aka Pino’s Sandwiches in Florence, Italy, based on all of the great reviews on TripAdvisor. “Oh, it’s going to be a bunch of American students and full of tourists,” I thought. “There’s going to be a line out the door and we’ll need to wait forever.”

Well, maybe that’s not all WRONG (the place quickly filled up with American students living abroad and their visiting families), but with one of these sandwiches in front of you and a cold glass of beer in your hand, those thoughts float into the salami-scented vapor and you are in food heaven. It’s no wonder this place has been around since 1900. Yes, 115 years. Pino’s been in charge for more than 20 of those.

Side rant: In Italian, the word for a singular sandwich is “panino”. Plural, it is “panini”. Don’t use the term “paninis.” Ever.

Pino himself greeted us as we came in and we hit it at JUST the right time, so there was no line out the door and there were plenty of tables to sit at. It must have been early in the scheme of lunch things because I was practically salivating all day, thinking about going here. Continue reading

Casa Enrique (LIC, NY)

Among the recent recipients of the coveted Michelin star in New York, Casa Enrique is a deliciously unpretentious spot to get your interior Mexican fix in Long Island City without breaking the budget.  The average dinner for two here, with 2 or 3 drinks each, an appetizer, entrees and sides is under $100. That’s a steal by New York standards, and especially by Michelin star-winner standards.

Like a hipster, I’ll just go ahead and say it. We’ve been coming here long before it was a Michelin star winner. It’s just nice to know that other folks agree with me – it is seriously good. Also amazing is their sister restaurant, Café Henri, a French bistro just across the street from the 7 train stop on Vernon-Jackson.

A friendly host or hostess greets you as you walk in and, after you indicate whether you’d like a table inside or outside, you’re whisked to your table. The minimalist décor – white on white, concrete floors, votives and a small vase of understated flowers on each table, is refreshing.

The drinks at Casa Enrique are delicious. Try the Michelada or the Aguachile Margarita if you like spice. If not, there are a ton of fruit-flavored margs and mojitos to choose from.

Michelada with Pacifico Beer at Casa Enrique

Michelada with Pacifico Beer

 

Casa Enrique - Pork puffs

Delicious pork puffs greet you upon arrival. Cannot remember their name!

The service is excellent.

Service here has always been good, but I think maybe the receipt of the star has encouraged the staff to up their game. There just seem to be more servers in general now. That being said, the service is fantastic and friendly, not in-your-face and you’re not stuck craning your neck, looking for someone – anyone – to ask for what you need.

PRO-TIP #1: Eat at the Bar if there’s a long wait to be seated.

The actual restaurant space is pretty small, so if it’s crowded Continue reading

Rockaway Brewing Company (LIC, NY)

Weekend afternoons in Long Island City would not be complete without a visit to the Rockaway Brewing Company brewery and Growler Room. Located conveniently across the street from the LIC Flea & Food, this craft brewery delivers fresh beer of all different kinds – to stay and enjoy or to take away in growlers – all with a smile. AND free bags of Cape Cod potato chips. What’s not to love?  Flint, who was on hand filling glasses and answering questions, quipped “I have 1,200 more bags, so just let me know if you want some more!”

Local brewing is experiencing a boom in Queens: Big ALICe Brewing, Fifth Hammer Brewing, LIC Beer Project are just a few of the other breweries new to the scene. But, Rockaway Brewing Company was the first.  And there’s something about the first that’s special in itself.  Not only are they the first, but they have been delivering fresh beer for a few years now and have been growing exponentially.

On tap are 10 different rotating brews, ranging from their flagship English Style ale  (the Original ESB) to saisons, cream ales, stouts, cask ales, nitro stout and pale ales.

The Growler Room at Rockaway Brewing Company

Bar and Menu, and Flint!

We couldn’t decide, so we started out (by kidding ourselves that we were only going to have a taste) with Continue reading