Love New York
Whew. John and I are back from a whirlwind trip to NYC, boy did we have a great time. There’s always way too much to do, of course, to the degree that I go a bit blank trying to decide. Do I want to shop? Go to a museum? Walk in the park? Am I hungry for pizza? Bagel? Chinese? Lobster salad? Luckily the traveling part is pretty easy from Minneapolis. It’s only a 2 1/2-hour flight, the Northwest terminal at LaGuardia is small and manageable, and once on the ground, it’s a 15-minute cab ride to John’s parents’ apartment. Given that, we were unpacked and ready to hit the streets by 3:00 pm on Thursday. So we went…nowhere! What can I say? We were tired, and it’s comfy-lovely at my in-laws’, and we knew were out the door at 5:30 pm anyhow…
…for a pre-theater dinner at Esca, followed by an off-Broadway play called Becky Shaw (which was great, enjoyed it thoroughly). Our dinner was so lovely – Esca (which means ‘bait’) is an elegant Itaiian trattoria specializing in the freshest of fish. We kicked things off with prosecco and a split of linguine with briny clams – salty, chewy, spicy, fabulous. We followed with a whole-roasted branzino for two. The fish was baked and presented in a salt crust, then whisked off to a sideboard where the server cracked open the crust, gently removed the bones and skin, and plated the pure-white, silky fillets in a little pool of the best olive oil I’ve ever had. Bright green and bursting with fruity-spicy flavor, it was the perfect, simple foil for the fresh, sweet fish. We ordered spicy cauliflower and tiny little roasted new potatoes as sides, both fantastic. Needless to say, quite a meal. So not-Minnesota. And as such, just what the doctor ordered. After the play, we took a long (surprisingly cold!) stroll home, through Times Square, along 5th Avenue, and straight into bed. Great start.
Friday we got up slowly, read about the Pierre Bonnard: The Late Interiors exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the NY Times, and walked out the door to check it out. Love New York. Exhibit was fabulous, and tiring in that special way that only museums are (what IS that?), so we blew out the door (literally; it was quite cold and windy) and grabbed a quick lunch at E.A.T. The lunch was tasty, but the people-watching was better – a fine display of plastic surgery, over-the-top furs, and the biggest damn diamonds you have ever seen. Love New York. Fortified by hot soup, we braved the chill for a walk in Central Park, because that’s what we love to do (who doesn’t?) and we couldn’t not walk in the park just because of the cold. It was lovely, very quiet, blanketed in snow. Bits of greenery peeked through and warmed my color-starved heart. Love New York.
We eventually made our way back home to rest a bit before our dinner group gathered – my brother and sister David and Etta; my friend Michelle; David and Etta’s cousin Marett and her boyfriend Ian; and John’s brother Tom, wife Valerie, and son Cameron – and headed over to Il Riccio (79th & Lexington) for a raucous meal. Man did we laugh. And eat good food. And drink good wine. The evening flew by, without nearly enough time to really catch up with everyone, but it was great anyhow. Tom, Marett, and Ian walked away, while David, Etta, and Michelle piled into cabs. And then poof, everyone was gone, and John and I walked home and slept like rocks.
Saturday we lazed around a bit more (nice!), then motivated to grab a fantastic slice of pizza (Zorba’s, 93rd & Lexington) before we borrowed John’s parents’ car and drove out to Pound Ridge, in Westchester County, to spend the day and night with our friends Bartley and Maud and their daughters Catherine and Natalie. We arrived around 3ish to find Natalie with an apron on and the house smelling fantastic (chili bubbling away on the stove). We chatted around the fire until the Kimmel family arrived, then chatted around the fire some more (for proof, see Maud’s blog, pretty funny) while Bartley and Maud put the finishing touches on a beautiful meal. Chili, barbecued ribs, corn bread, roasted sweet potatoes, green salad, and a decadent chocolate cake that Barbara baked, topped with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Incredible.
Needless to say, we again slept like rocks, this time in Maud’s airy, cozy studio. We woke to such beautiful light – Westchester County is stunning. The trees and rocks and hills, the twisty-turny roads, all just one hour out of the city. Pretty perfect. We had just enough time for a cup of coffee, and a thick slice of Natalie’s banana bread (yum), and then we had to say good-bye to the Bryts (thank you, thank you!), drive back into the city, grab a (quick, still-warm) lunch bagel at H&H, return the car, grab the rest of our luggage, and cab it to the airport. After all that, we actually made it home in time to pick up Chinese take-out (Tea House) and watch the Super Bowl with Nathan. (Or, in my case, post trip pics on Facebook while pretending to watch the game, ha.)
And so here I am, already reminiscing. We are so lucky to be able to sneak away like that, not to mention to have a lovely place to stay and so many cool family members and friends to visit. Fantastic weekend.
Love New York.
central park bench
michelle, ian, etta
john (eating), natalie & maud (prepping) cheese tray
barbara and levi, ready to sit down (maud’s paintings in background)
maud’s tidy, airy, pretty studio
our cozy bed
the levy’s apartment building
hey i didn't know about Hatch, NM
mmmmm green chili
I've heard that theory before, at first I thought no way, but now, I've concluded that must be it. Especially in SF, as you said, where the food is so incredible. You've definitely covered your food bases - NYC, SF, and didn't you live in Santa Fe? NICE!
i'm certain that the inability to replicate the hallmark crispiness of great nyc bagels and pizza is the water. there certainly is no lack of foodie transplanted new yorkers here in San Francisco so it certainly isn't lack of effort. so i just try to enjoy the crab and sourdough. when in rome....
I laughed about the name Zorba's too, and was unable to discern if the guys behind the counter had Italian or Greek accents. I hear they have a tasty Greek salad, so who knows? The pizza is the real deal, however - we only know about it because Tom Levy lives near there. Thin, chewy yet crisp on the bottom, very fresh, garlicky sauce, not too much cheese, pleasantly (not overly) salty. It would be dangerous for me to live right there :) Nino's plus asteroids sounds like 80s after-school heaven, way cool. My son's dream life.
Agree completely with the nova - we do similar, with chive cream cheese on everything bagel (onion overkill, love it). Sable's on 2nd btw 77th/78th has the killerest nova, and amazing lobster salad too, but not the best bagels so we try to hit the H&H you mentioned too. We only had time for H&H this run but no complaints - GREAT. We scarfed them pre-plane for same smelly reason although I don't know if it helped. So good and can't be replicated outside of NYC.
looks great. The one thing i have to eat every time I go to NYC is a fresh bagel with nova, onion and cream cheese. I'll usually stop at h&h (not that one) on 80th and 2nd to get one on the way out of town to the airport. a little inconsiderate to those around me on the plane, but oh so good.
Zorba wasn't there during my two slice a day habit when I lived, literally, around the corner, but i have to say, I'm a little skeptical of a pizza place named Zorba. The pizza joint closest to our awning at that point was Nino's. Now there's a name you can trust ;) (and he had asteroids, and some great pin ball machines too.) But he shut down 20 years ago :o