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My New York Experience: Food, Cocktails & The Makeup Show

Traveling to NY is one of our favorite things to do. It's such an amazing city full of massive energy, culture, attitude, architecture, shopping, food, and drink! When you get to NY, you can't help but absorb that energy and want to do do do! There are so many fab unique nooks and crannies with way too much to do.

My NY Experience

For many reasons over the years, we found ourselves in NY 2 to 4 times a year. Well, of course, because of Covid, it had been 21 months since we had been to the Big Apple. The Makeup Show gave us a reason to go this year. Every year for 10 years, usually in May, we have been doing The Makeup Show NY. I have a deep-rooted love and connection with the show. We have been gypsies navigating the country together with the Makeup Show team from city to city all these 10 years. The show has been one of my biggest supporters within the pro makeup world. I love the message and the community The Makeup Show provides to makeup & artistry, offering so much inspiration, motivation, and education. I'm honored and love being a part of this incredible event.

One thing that stands out about NY is its cuisine, and if you know Nick and me, we love food experiences. Especially in other cities! Because it had been so long, we wanted to do it all!

Nick and I booked the Dream Hotel Downtown, which was perfectly within walking distance of the location to the show.

Here are the highly recommended major highlights:

On Thursday, we booked Peter Luger Steak House in Brooklyn. Hands down one of our favorite steak houses in the world. It's been there for over 100 years and has its own cattle ranch. We got the Rib Eye medium-rare. They have a streak for 2, but it's too much food, and the rib eye is better. With martinis, broccoli, and a baked potato, you're on cloud 9! Make sure to finish off with strudel and cognac. Guys, this is the best steak! The place has a homey feeling and a simple atmosphere. The staff has been there forever, and they have it down.

Peter Lugers Steak House

After loading into our booth at the show on Friday, we went uptown to The Russian Tea Room for caviar service and Chopin Martinis. The caviar service is one of the best in the world. My favorite part is the 100+-year-old sterling silver Faberge sturgeon caviar holders. The restaurant is iconic and richly done with Russian tradition. We love it for a late afternoon treat.

The Russian Tea Room in NYC

The Makeup Show NYC was held on Saturday and Sunday. The show was perfect for coming out of the pandemic. The show was smaller than usual to be safe, well-spaced out, and everyone had to be vaccinated. It was great to see all the artists and brand owners I admire so much and make new friends! I was so happy to see everyone and reconnect in person.

We sold out of almost everything, and I can't thank everyone enough! Our setting spray was one of the biggest hits and most talked about. People were stocking up on their favorite shades of the Gleam Face & Body Radiance, and, as always, we sold out of the Gleam On the Go Kits - the pro artists' favorite. It was especially great to see our Radiant Dust, brush sets, and brush soap get attention & sell out too!

Our next tradeshow stop is at IMATS LA in January. I can't wait to see my west coast family!

Saturday night's dinner was at our most favorite Italian restaurant, La Masseria. The story here is that while I was working at Nickelodeon, Ariana Grande, along with her brother, Frankie, and mom, Joan, could not stop raving about this restaurant. They kept telling us it was a must-do! Of course, we went, and this is hands down a must! In the theatre district, this is one of our treats. The guys at the front and many of the staff are from Italy; you hear Italian being spoken. The pasta is house-made, they have Nick's favorite rabbit dish, and the Burrata cheese is flown in from Puglia! God, do we love this place!! We got the burrata and the grilled baby octopus & cuttlefish for appetizers. Followed by the rabbit & ravioli, both "ala Caprese" and martinis with an Armagnac to end the meal. Mama mia! That was amazing!

La Masseria

After wrapping the show on Sunday, we took Zerelle, one of our long-time Gleam team members who has worked the show with us 6 years in a row, to dinner as per tradition. We went to La Esquina, she hadn't been there yet. Nick & I love bringing people here for the first time because you feel like you're in on a NY secret with a Goodfellas type of entrance. It's located in Downtown Soho, and when you enter, you see what looks like a small taco stand with a small long and narrow eating area. A big silver freezer-like door and bouncer lets you down the stairs through the back halls & kitchen to a brick underground pirates of the Caribbean-like tavern with dripping candelabras with white candles decorating the ceiling. They have a fantastic tequila and mezcal selection, and the DJ had the vibe pumping. It was the 50th NY marathon that day, and it seemed like an evening of celebration. We shared queso fundito, ahi tuna mini tostadas and pollo asado adobo. Yum! I went for a gorgeous cucumber margarita, and we all did a few tequila shots of, seriously, the smoothest tequila, Fortaleza Blanco, celebrating our trade show success.

La Esquina

Monday was a full day off in the city. We slept in and got ourselves on the subway to Central Park. I must say it was an incredible blessing to enjoy the most gorgeous fall day in the park. The temperature was high in the 60's and so warm in the sun. The rowers were out in the lake, and we found new paths and bridges we had never done. The foliage was insanely gorgeous. I couldn't help but smile and feel like I was in a movie.

Starting off at the John Lennon Memorial, complete with a musician playing and singing "Don't Let Me Down", we strolled our way to another favorite classic, The Boat House. It's super iconic, and what we love the most is the view! The only place in the city you don't feel like you're in the thick of the city. Here I had a Greyhound in honor of my friend Amber's dad. We were in NY and at The Boathouse the day we learned of his passing. He loved Greyhounds. Octopus salad and a few sliders had us on our way down the center of Central Park heading towards the city.

We love the classic main aisle down the park's center lined with trees, benches, art, and music. We bought an incredible piece of art and stumbled upon this gorgeous lady dressed in a ski coat and hood, the most fantastic jazz singer taking over the park. Nick and I had a loving moment with the sun setting through the park, the cool air starting to set in with this gorgeous live music.

Eventually, we rested at the Plaza, stopping in at the lobby at the Champagne Bar. This hotel is iconic, and I love it! It's a great pause before hitting 5th Ave, which was on the list to pick up my favorite Gardenia Bond #9 perfume only available at the Saks 5th Ave.

Nick and Melanie in Central Park NYC

After a quick refresh at the hotel, we peeled ourselves off the bed to get to Cicconi's in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Nick had never been, so I was excited to show him. Besides the homemade truffle Cacio & Pepe pasta and the bone-in chop veal Milanese, sitting outside in the gorgeous fall weather was the best part of the night. The crisp skyline, bright lights, subway on the bridge, and lit-up carousel are almost all you could ask for. Like out of the NY storybook, a beautiful night.

Cicconi's Dumbo New York

We always try to fly out late afternoons or evenings to do our must-have last stop - KATZ Deli down in the lower east side. Nick first brought me here years ago, and now it's a tradition. The place has been around for 125 years and is known for its world-famous homemade pastrami that is cured for weeks, spiced, smoked for three days, and boiled right at the end. The guys know how to do it with a touch, and the "carvers" are iconic for carving the perfect bits. Nick always gets us the Ruben to share, 2 Brooklyn lagers with fresh pickles, and we order a few sandwiches to go.

Katz Deli

Absolute last but not least, I always stop at Russ & Daughters, another famous 100+-year-old deli specializing in homemade bagels, pumpernickel, caviar, roe, pickled herring, and freshly sliced mouth-watering lox. We were cutting it on time, but I went for it anyway.

Russ & Daughters

We brought food back home from two iconic NY restaurants to share with the family giving us a chance to share and quietly savor some of our favorite NY moments.

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