Monday, March 15, 2010
March 5-9: New York!
A long time ago (20 years) in a galaxy far far away (Phoenix), I was the best of friends with a sassy redhead named Sara. That's Sara (far right), Michelle (middle), and me (I know - bigger hair) at Prom in 1989. Our Junior year. This is Sara today. Scary how little she has changed, no? I mean, the bangs are slightly less....bangy....but other than that. For my birthday this year, Dave sent me to the Big Apple to visit Sara. I hadn't spend a significant amount of time with her since about 1990, although we have kept in touch over the years and have had an odd dinner here and there if we both happened to be in the same place at the same time. I arrived on Friday night and we went out to eat at a restaurant called Zafra, a Cuban Latino restaurant in Hoboken. We had Cebiche Tamal de Pollo con Mole Rojo for appetizers. I had the Pollo con Mole Oaxaqueño for dinner. Sara had the Camarones Coloraditos and I wish I had gotten that because I tried hers and it was exceptionally good. However, my overall assessment of Cuban food - awesome. We didn't eat until 9pm and got home at midnight so I was pretty wiped out by then.
The next morning we ate breakfast and then headed to Battery Park to catch a ferry to Ellis Island. Josh is studying national landmarks and per his instructions, I took pictures of the Statue of Liberty. Having been to New York, I had seen it before, but, never this close. I also hadn't been to Ellis Island, which turned out to be quite fascinating. I would highly recommend it - an education in how people arrived in our great country. After Ellis Island we went to a Coffee Shop to get a snack before heading to see "An Education". We wanted to preview an Oscar nominated movie since our plan was to watch them the next night. At the Coffee Shop I had calamari that was excellent. Then we headed to the movie. Afterward, we met Sara's husband, Brett, at Po. Po is in the West Village and a tiny tiny place. I say that, but most restaurants in New York seem to be very tiny. Must be why they are so expensive. I had the organic pear salad and the striped sea bass (the special) for dinner. For dessert I had the Po Sundae ("Pó Sundae" fresh mint gelato, cinnamon spiced pine nuts & chocolate sauce), which may have been the best dessert I have ever had in my life. Again, it was midnight and I was exhausted by the time we got home. However, at 3am I woke up with horrible stomach cramps and ended up spending the next hour experiencing dinner a second time. Not pretty.
We had a leisurely morning because I still wasn't feeling 100% and then headed out to Sosa Borella for lunch. I had the Pollaio - Grilled sliced chicken breast, mesclun, avocado, tomato, corn topped with gorgonzola cheese. It was a salad - very mild. Very yummy. Then we headed to the Gerschwin Theatre to see "Wicked". I have to say - loved it. Loved it more than any musical I have seen in a long time. We then headed home where Sara made three bean chili and broiled pineapple with sugared macademia nuts and a rum balsamic reduction sauce. I know - gourmet galore! We settled in to watch the Academy Awards and (what?!) their cable company and ABC were at war so it wasn't on! Read: THE OSCARS WERE NOT ON IN NYC. Yeah, you could hear the howling and weeping and wailing in the streets. Just after the timeframe that would have been the opening monologue, they suddenly came to an agreement and the show came on. Phew - dodged that bullet. We watched the rest of the Oscars and then went to bed happy.
Monday morning I headed out to wander along Washington Street in Hoboken and check out the little shops. Sara had some work to do and I was meeting my friend Dede for lunch. Dede and I spent our summers together growing up, because I spent every summer in Provo. We went to Girls' Camp, climbed trees, saw movies, went swimming, and talked about boys. I had asked a woman from Hoboken on the plane for a lunch recommendation and she said "Bin14". But first, I wandered in and out of little shops, bought a piece of chocolate, and did price comparisons on food in a little market. When I walked into Bin14 I had to laugh. Who would have thought that 20 years later I would be meeting Dede at a Wine Bar in Hoboken? Not me! I had the Roasted pear, goat cheese, bibb lettuce, Elderflower Salar and a Margherita with fresh mozzarella Pizza. Divine. Probably the best Margherita pizza I have had. Dede and I did the speed catch up on our lives and then Sara met me there to head to the Museum of Modern Art. The MoMA was having an exhibit on Tim Burton (weird guy) and Monet that we thought would be interesting. It was interesting, but it was packed. I did get to see the original costume from Edward Scissorhands. I thought the Cambell's Soup series by Andy Warhol was particularly entertaining. I'm not a huge fan of modern art, but liked some of the stuff I saw.
After the MoMA we went to Top of the Rock to see some views of the city. I had been to the top of the Empire State Building, but that was it. Never made it to the top of the WTC, unfortunately. It was a beautiful sunset. By that time we were hungry, but we took a detour so that I could see the skating rink, which is actually quite small. We jumped on the Subway and went back down to the Village to eat at The Fatty Crab. I had never had Malaysian food and was on a mission to try new things (being surrounded by chains in Utah). For appetizers we had the Green Mango with chili-sugar-salt and the Steamed Veggie Buns. I got the Malay Fish Fry - tumeric tempura, crab curry, green chili, tamaki. It was extremely spicy, but I would get it again. On the way home we got cupcakes that were kind of on the sweet side (read: too sweet) and then went to bed.
My last day we decided to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) and our route included a walk through Central Park. It was a beautiful pre-Spring day and even a bit warm! The Met is HUGE. Ridiculously huge. It would take a person a month going every day to get through it all. We focused on the impressionists, keeping with the previous day's theme.
Then we headed to Serendipity for lunch. The menu is ridiculous. There are so many options and it is all done in a headache inducing font. Very hard to read. I like their online menu better! I got the Monet Salad, which I have since duplicated at home, and the blackout cake (Dave's is better). You really go for the ambiance, and the fact that it was the site where John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale eat in the movie Serendipity. After lunch we headed home, and then it was time for me to get on a plane and get back to Utah. It was a great weekend and fun to see old friends! I have to say, New York has gotten a little stranger in my absence, but, I am willing to concede that I live in a quiet bubble of a small-ish town now so it could be my perspective. It didn't seem so overwhelming when I lived on the East Coast. I still could never live there, but it is a fun place to visit - especially if you are a foodie!