Jazz Brunch at the Blue Note

City life can get pretty hectic, although my family is never physically too far away from each other, we can get so busy that we don’t have many opportunities to spend time doing something fun together. We bought these great voucher’s for a jazzy brunch at the iconic Blue Note jazz club down in the West Village from LivingSocial, so one Sunday the whole family and I headed downtown for a morning of debauchery.

Blue Note, Blue Note Jazz Club, NYC

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Blue Note, Blue Note was opened in 1981 by owner and founder Danny Bensusan and is considered one of the world’s most famous jazz venues. I remember when I was a little girl that my dad would listen to Blue Note tracks, John Coltrane, Johnny Hartman, etc. and I have him to thank for my love of jazz music. Anyways, back to brunch, a line formed pretty fast, so if you do go for the Sunday brunch don’t be fooled by early open hours – plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early or you won’t get very good seats, this is especially important if you’re going with a group.


The Blue Note usually has nightly performances, with Sunday brunch performances. The Sunday we went NYU Jazz Studies artists/faculty group Combo Nuvo was playing. Our brunch tickets included a main dish as well as a drink (refills not included). I am going to be outright with you here, and really there’s no toeing around it – please do not expect a five star food experience. If you go to the Blue Note for food you will be disappointed. Blue Note boasts a full working kitchen but the items that my family ordered off their brunch menu were all lack-luster to say the least. Luckily Blue Note isn’t famous for their fries, haha!

Combo Nuvo, Blue Note NYC

Blue Note really feels like what I’ve always imagined a NYC jazz club would feel like. From the old tables and dark lighting, it just feels like New York City. The performance by Combo Nuvo was amazing – I’d love to hear them again. There really is nothing like a proper live jazz performance, especially in NYC. It was my brother and sister’s first live jazz experience, so it was pretty special being there with them for that – and it was all of our first time at Blue Note, so that was pretty cool too. All in all we left feeling pretty jazzed about our brunch at Blue Note!

Gingerbread Adventures & The Holiday Train Show at NYBG!

I’ve written about it before, but what I love about being a Mastercard® holder is that I get access to amazing experiences that really make me feel like a VIP. For example, this past Saturday we took advantage of the MasterCard® Budding Masters Gingerbread Adventures at NYBG (New York Botanical Garden) offer on their site. The $50 pricetag included the workshop for one adult and one child (5 years+), an all-garden pass, and access to the Holiday Train Show.

Priceless NY NYBG

Jules was really excited to go – at the beginning of the workshop she got to put together her own gingerbread house. She only put the frame together because it needed a chance to harden before they decorated them. While the ginger homes were drying they gave all the kids a bag of spices that are traditionally included in gingerbread. Then the kids had to identify them using their five senses, and sort them out based on which part of a plant they come from (i.e. seeds, roots, leaves, etc.). Then she was able to ground up her own mix of spices using mortar and pestle. Jule’s mixture included cloves, buckwheat, cinnamon, and ginger – it smelled amazing!

Grinding Spices

After that it was time to decorate the gingerbread houses! Jules put a variety of sweet treats on her’s. I may be a little biased, but her gingerbread house was rockin’ it! This was her creation:

Glueing the Gingerbread HouseGingerbread Home

Next stop was a visit to the Holiday Train Show! The Holiday Train show took place in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory where model trains travel through a replica of NYC – including amazing replicas of NY landmarks that are all made out of plant parts! The line to the train show can look pretty ridiculous, but it actually moves along pretty speedily.

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I loved this Mastercard® Priceless NY experience – it’s such a wonderful thing to do for the holidays with those that you love! In case you were wondering, this isn’t a sponsored post – as nice as it would have been if Mastercard® footed the bill on this one, haha! – this was a special treat for Jules.

If you’re interested in experiences like ours, I definitely recommend that you browse through the Mastercard® Priceless NY site – they always have a ton of cool experiences!