Sunday, July 7, 2013

New York, New York

We finally did it, we went on our long delayed New York trip. We have been planning to go for over 2 years, but it was worth the wait - we had so much fun! We traveled with our good friends, Nick and Mariah, which made it a lot of fun and Jennifer didn't have to stare at me the whole time.

First, we walked from our house to the bus stop and took the new trax line to the airport - quite convenient actually. The flight wasn't bad, we watched "When Harry Met Sally" on the plane. It is Jennifer's favorite movie and it takes place in New York. When we arrived we took a long subway ride from JFK all the way to 50 st and walked a few blocks to our hotel. In the first few minutes on the subway we were greeted by some pole dancing teenage break dancers - it was strange but entertaining.

After getting settled in the hotel we took the subway (a brilliant system as it turns out) down to some food festival for a snack. Jennifer and I shared a 'crack pie' - it did not contain any illicet materials, but it was fantastically addicting! We had dinner that night at Eataly. This place was really cool. It had several different eateries and shops in a unique indoor market setting. We wandered for a while and decided on 'La Pizza & La Pasta.' It took a while to get a seat, but very worth it. At the end of the trip this still stood as one of the the best places we ate. We all got incredible dishes, but we agreed that mine won the prize - Pasta al Forne al Pesto. This was Lasagna with pesto, bechamel sauce, and green good! Before we left I had to stop by the gelato shop for some cold creamy gold...pistachio gelato, amazing!

The next day we spent some time at the New York Public Library which was very impressive and saved a 10 minute time slot to play ping pong at Bryant park out back.

Later on we stopped off at small store called Bisous Ciao for these amazing little macaroons - I could have eaten 100 of those...if they weren't $3 a pop.

We had dinner at Luzzo's Pizza - best pizza ever! We had four different kinds, Jennifer's favorite was the Michele (w/mushrooms), but I really liked the Piccante (w/hot cherry peppers). Similar style to Settebello in SLC, but better.

That night we went to Wicked - I thought it was awesome so I'm glad we went. Jennifer had already seen it so it wasn't as amazing for her.

The next day we had brunch at Cafe Lalo. The food was ok, but the place, at least, looked cool. The well endowed waitress was really working for her tips that day with her plunging neck line...really wanted to make sure we heard everything she said so she'd bend down when she spoke so we could see, er, hear better - sorry, no pics. You might remember this place from 'You've Got Mail' - so of course we had to go there.

We spent some time at the Riverside Park and then made our way to a bakery for some famous cookies. Levain Bakery has THE BEST COOKIES IN THE WORLD! Get the chocolate chip walnut (my favorite) or the dark chocolate chocolate chip (Jennifer's favorite). They were so good that we ended up going back another day for some treats to take home (they didn't make it too far through the plane ride). We then made our way to the MoMA. The main reason was for the Rain Room exhibit. But the lines were too long so we weren't able to see the exhibit which was a bummer. But we saw some amazing art - here was one of my favorites...a Jackson Pollock:

My bosses boss had recommended that we eat at JoJo's so we had reservations there that night. It was very good. My fresh pea soup was outstanding and the duck was the best! Jennifer had a really good lobster meal. We were rushed for time so we regrettably didn't stay for dessert. We had to get across town for the Upright Citizens Brigade - a comedy club that often feeds into SNL. That was hilarious - and only $10!

Saturday was our Cenral Park day. We first went to the Farmers a market though, to get our picnic food. We found some rye bread, lavender goat cheese, pretzels, and strawberries. But my favorite was the raspberry cider - liquid gold! We found a bike rental place and got a couple of bikes for the day and took off to find a spot to picnic.

Then we just spent the day exploring and riding around. One of our favorite spots was the Conservatory. This had immaculate gardens showcasing three different styles, English, Italian, and French. All were amazing. As we walked into the first one it was as if we walked into heaven. The light was coming through the trees, beautiful flowers, and the harp even started playing. It turned out a small wedding was taking place there, but great first impression regardless.
Jennifer's favorite part on the bikes was a down hill section where the breeze could cool us down a bit.
The Central Park day was one of our favorites. We saw waterfalls, gardens, and turtles, explored bridges and castles, took a nap in the shade by a lake, and otherwise had a relaxing and fun day. This also built up an appetite for our next event. For dinner we had tickets to the Taste of the Upper West Side - as it turns out, a block party charity event run by the Shake Shack guy. This was a food and wine tasting from 40 different chefs in the area - everything was so good, but among my favorites was the salmon tartare and the ricotta cheesecake. DJ Fresh was there with some silver lady hanging upside down pouring shots. This, as Stefon would put it, was New York's hottest new club!
The next day we had bagels at this really good bagel place (Absolute Bagels) and at them at the Riverside Park. We spent some time at the American Museum of Natural History. Tons of stuff to see here, we could have spent all day. And of course I had to get a shot of the butterflies.
We also saw some old manuscript of some of the earliest Filipino writings. I used to know how to write like this, might have to learn again to read this:
We had an early dinner at one of the best Mexican restaurants ever, Rosa Mexicano. Their mole sauce actually beats the Red Iguana's, and that's hard for me to say. I had some tacos that were soooo good - I just want to eat there again! We then had a baseball game to catch so we jumped on the subway and followed all the Yankees hats to the stadium. They were playing the Red Sox so it was fun to hear all the banter between the fans. The Red Sox won in a game that was thrice delayed by rain and eventually called due to thunderstorms, but it was fun to be there and see some good hits and home runs. Our nose bleed seats ended up being the million dollar seats as the rain cleared everyone else out several times.
The next morning we had planned to go to the Intrepid Museum, but we thought we'd try again for the Rain Room. Nick and Mariah still went so we could compare notes afterwards. The lines were again ridiculous, but Jennifer figured out a way to get a membership and thereby cutting in line by like 3 hours and it was only a few bucks more. This place was so cool. An exhibit were it would rain from a platform above, but with sensors to stop the rain right were you are. So you could walk around in the rain, but not get wet. This ended up being Jennifer's favorite.

For lunch we went beneath the Plaza Hotel for Luke's Lobster and took it across the street for a picnic in Central Park - goodness, the best little sliders ever! How was it that good?! Later on it started to rain a bit and we went on a walk along the High Line. This was an abandoned above ground rail way that was transformed into 1.5 miles of incredible trails, gardens, community centers, and public art exhibits. It was very well done. For dinner we went to Babbo's, an up-scale restaurant by Mario Batali that had the most impressive waiting staff I have ever experienced. We did their traditional tasting menu - a 7 course meal that had 5 of the best things you have ever put in your mouth...2 of the 7 were just ok.

Some of the mornings I would wake up early and go running in Central Park - it was like a full on triathlon (or at least biathlon) was taking place each morning. Hundreds of runners to race with and tons of bikers cruising by. It was full of life at 6 AM. My favorite place to run was a path specifically for running (no strollers or pets or bikes allowed) around the larger lake (Jackie O reservoir) - fantastic views:

After my run on Tuesday morning, we went on a food tour through Greenwich Village. I'm so glad we did this. We had a lot of great food and got to see learn about many historical insights about how this part of NYC evolved over the years. My favorite food on the tour was at Restorante Rafele (shown below with Rafael himself making us this amazing eggplant dish behind us).

After the food tour we spent a short 2 hours at the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art). We saw some great paintings and a random assortment of other displays, but really needed more time to be able to appreciate this fully. We had to get back to Central Park to wait in line for tickets to their Shakespeare in the Park - a free public theater featuring exceptional talent. This year it had Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell from Modern Family) and Hamish Linklater (from 42). They played leading roles in Comedy of Errors - it was very funny and we were glad to have stumbled upon this since we didn't actually plan this part out - this was Jennifer being spontaneous!

For a midnight-ish snack we stopped off at these famous food carts (The Halal Guys). There were several carts in a block radius, but only one had a line 20 deep. We asked around and apparently that's the only one that you go to. They weren't kidding - for $6 we got some of the best food we had eaten and I wasn't even that hungry at the time, but we slurped up that dish on no time! And I appreciate some spice in my food, but they are not kidding with their sign above the red sauce that states, "Caution - Very Hot!"
Our last day in NYC consisted of us checking out and eating one last fantastic meal at Spice Market. This was a very spacious Asian (Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, etc.) themed restaurant that went over the top with ambiance and it did not disappoint! Jennifer got this chicken and coconut milk soup that is among the best soups ever. It was sad to be leaving as we jumped on the subway for our hour ride back to JFK. I held on to our Metro cards as a souvenir. And honestly, the weirdest people we met during our whole visit was on the public transportation systems in Salt Lake on our way back home from the airport...weirdos.

This trip was worth every penny we saved up for the last two years - we both would love to go back at some point.


1 comment:

Stacy and Mike said...

Love this post! So fun to read about your trip and the pictures are awesome! Nice to have your personal photographer alongside at every moment. Great memory!