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Monday, December 6, 2010

Turkey Weekend in New York

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ah, back in the city I love excited to shovel as much Thanksgiving food and cheer into me as possible. Having stayed in Midtown and in Chelsea on my past visits, I decided to hit up the Hilton Garden Inn Tribeca on the boarder of Soho for this trip. The hotel was reasonably priced for New York during the holiday and provided unparallel access to all of New York because the blue subway exit is at the entrance to the hotel. Hop on and hop off at all of the amazing New York attractions. The room was sparse but clean and the bed was SO comfortable. I'm surprised I ever got out of it the entire vacation.

Upon arrival at the hotel at 7am, we were lucky enough to get a room early and passed out for a good three hour nap.

We woke up starving and went on a hunt for a place that served breakfast. We knew this would be difficult because most restaurants serve a Thanksgiving menu all day long. We finally just made a decision and walked into Aurora Cafe on Broome St and W Broadway.

We then wandered around Soho but it began to pour rain so we spent the rest of the afternoon curled up watching Californication (great show).

Around 5pm, we headed to Thanksgiving dinner at Savore. The menu had sounded like all the things we love: butternut squash soup, pumpkin pie, and short ribs. The bread was delicious as was the wine, but the food left a lot to be expected. All my favorite dishes but at 60% of their potential. Even the pumpkin pie was bland which I thought would be impossible. The bill was also a little pricey for the experience.

Lucky for us the rain had stopped as we walked to the blue line subway headed for the JETS game. The Thanksgiving Day game was JETS v. Bengals pitting two amazing USC Trojan quarterbacks, Sanchez and Palmer against each other. It was also my first NFL football game which made it even more exciting!

Just to be safe, we both tucked our rain pants into our pockets. The blue line subway drops you off at Port Authority where you hop on a bus that takes you to New Meadowland Stadium in New Jersey. It was very well run and we got to the game about 15 minutes before kick-off. Just enough time to buy JETS beanies!

Now, properly attired we settled in for the first half which proved to be low scoring and pretty boring. I was frozen to my core and hobbled my way to the team store to thaw during halftime. Luckily, they had the last release of Madden on XBox to help warm our freezing fingers. We were having so much fun that we lost track of time and only realized the game had started when the stadium began to rumble from the cheering. We looked up to see the end of an awesome touchdown run. Go JETS!

Brad Smith essentially won the game for the JETS in the second half by running 53 yards for a touchdown and then sealing the victory with 89-yard kickoff return for another touchdown. The final score was JETS 26; Bengals 10. It was a GREAT game that wore us out so much that we went to sleep as soon as we got back!

Friday, November 26, 2010

This morning, we woke up around 11am to meet my friend who is doing her graduate degree at Dartmouth. We stopped at Tribeca Bagels for breakfast (SO GOOD) before she and I embarked on a Black Friday shopping spree in Soho. Today, the weather was a little stormy and cold, but beautiful in its own way. It felt very New York.

The shopping trip wasn't very successful. I guess it is just harder to enjoy shopping when you have to remove three layers of clothing to try something one. Maybe that's why New Yorkers love shoes so much - they are a lot easier to try on!

All that shopping made us hungry, so before my friend had to say goodbye we took the subway to Union Square where she introduced me to her favorite place to eat, Maoz. Maoz is a falafel restaurant that is all vegetarian. I'd never had falafel before but it was delicious! You can order pita with falafel, hummus, eggplant and a couple other things. Then there is a buffet of fresh vegetables to pack into the pita. Finish it with a little sauce and it's tasty!

After lunch, before leaving Union Square, I forced myself to pay $20 for the second book in the series, The Hunger Games. For those of you who have not read it you are in for a life-changing experience. I can hands down say it is one of the best series I have ever read.

Book tucked seriously under my arm, we said goodbye to my friend and spent the rest of the early evening wandering 5th Ave to see the famous store decorations. Some, like Saks, were the same shtick as last year, but there were some new ones as well. As it began to get dark, we scurried back to the hotel to change and make it to dinner on time.

For dinner, we went to Resto at 111 East 29th Street (cross street Park Ave). It had been recommended by a coworker who so far is like 5 for 5 on his New York food recommendations. Resto is known for their extensive list of over 165 beers and their fries.

For dinner, we ordered the tuscan kale salad, house-made pappardelle with pork ragu, and fries with all the dipping sauces (they are either $1 per sauce or you can try all ten for $7). We spent about an hour in a ruthless discussion to decide the preferred order:

– cajun remoulade
– yogurt, cumin, roasted garlic
– cocktail
– lemon & smoked paprika
– sweet chili
– gribiche
– sriracha
– lime pickle
– mayo & onion
– mayo

For dessert we ordered the gingerbread cake with caramel apple compote, vanilla gelato, whipped cream and the beignets that come with berry compote, caramel , and chocolate sauces. The gingerbread cake was DELICIOUS. The beignets were the only part of the meal that let me down. Having been to New Orleans, I was expecting pillows of dough covered in powdered sugar. Instead they were round, almost crunchy balls covered in sugar. Not what I wanted or was expecting but they weren't awful.

Overall, the meal was amazing, our waiter was hilarious, and the ambiance was romantic. I would definitely good back. One thing I will mention...on our way out of the restaurant we learned about something else you can order on the menu...a pig. As in, the WHOLE pig. Here is a picture of shall we say, part of the pig?

From Resto, we sped down to Irving Plaza for a Sam Adams concert. We got in VIP because our friend's brother co-manages Sam Adams. For a little background, Sam Adams is a 20-year-old white rapper from Boston who is AWESOME. I don't know enough about describing music to explain why he is so awesome except to say that he mixes rap, pop, and techno beats to create great songs. Check him out on MySpace!

We were in great spirits after the concert and ready to get down to drinking. Our friend took us to the super elite, super exclusive cocktail bar, Death n Co., on 1st Ave and E 6th St. If you didn't know what to look for you would probably pass the large wrought-iron door that blends into the wall around it. It literally looks like the doorway to Hell. Lucky for us, our friend is the bomb (he works there) and got us in no problem. Usually it is a problem for the "average" people who try to get in. The bar only holds about 45 people seated and they don't allow standing which makes it a very pleasant experience.

Our seats were at the bar so we got to know the bartender, Joaquin Simo. Turns out he's kind of famous in his circle and really good at his job. You can literally describe flavors you like and he will determine the right drink for you. My two favorites of the night were the Hyde Park Swizzle and the Dick and Jane.

Dick & Jane
Tanqueray Ten Gin, Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice, St Germain Elderflower, Housemade Hibiscus Syrup, Peychaud’s Bitters, Topped with Champagne


We ended the night at South Brooklyn Pizza which was just what I needed after all those cocktails!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

We barely made it to 1pm brunch at Hundred Acres thanks to earsplitting hangovers from last night. Hundred Acres is a great little restaurant at 38 MacDougal Street (cross street Prince St). I managed to keep my urge for a mimosa under control and instead got the healthiest item on the menu, the Acres Scramble. It's scrambled eggs (obviously) wtih chanterelle mushrooms, english peas, sauteed onions, corn bread, and watercress. I passed on the mushrooms. It had a lot of flavor and was pretty good but won't go down in history as an all-time favorite. Their French toast was pretty delicious though.

After brunch, we jumped on the subway to visit Rockefeller Plaza. The ice skating rink was packed so we instead decided to head to "Top of the Rock." This is a very touristy experience but TOTALLY worth it. It really is the best view of New York (if you don't count the skyline from New Jersey). On the tour, you visit the 68th, 69th and 70th stories of the Rockefeller which has a 360 from the Empire State Building to Central Park. You can see Time Square, the Statue of Liberty, and about 50 other major landmarks. Just a hint: When you take the elevator up to the top try and stand in the middle of the elevator because you can look up through the glass top at all the lights they've installed in the elevator shaft. We stayed up there for hours just staring out at the view.

After a romantic afternoon on top of the Rock, I said goodbye to my boyfriend who was heading home a day early. I had just enough time to shower and change at the hotel before meeting some other friends at Morandi for dinner (Waverly Place and 7th Ave). I had to take the subway by myself (because I'm cheap and therefore avoid taxis). Stupid me, I didn't think about the fact that'd I'd have to walk, in the dark, by myself a few blocks AFTER the subway. It took about five minutes on the sub for some guy to harass me so I had to pretend like I was buying gum at the newspaper stand until he went away. Scary!

Morandi was very homey and the food was very good! I had the Burrata e pachini (burrata cheese with roasted cherry tomatoes “on the vine”) and the Strozzapreti con ragu d’anatra (quill pasta with red wine duck ragu). We ended dinner with two rounds of cocktails and didn't get out of there until 11:30pm or so.

We spent the rest of the night drinking at a friend's house while eating Tollhouse cookies that he made using tin foil as the pan. I headed back somewhat early (in New York 1am is early) so that I would wake up for my flight tomorrow. Yet another good trip to put under my belt!

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