Friday, March 02, 2012

I Love New York.

Months ago, a girlfriend, M, and I decided we were going to plan a weekend girls only trip to New York.  It had been 2 years since my last trip and I was itching to go back.  My last trip, which was our “babymoon” before The Luce was born was an amazing trip, filled with delicious food and great sightseeing.  I hoped this trip would be the same, and it definitely was.

We knew 2 things:  we wanted to see a show and we wanted to eat a at celebrity chef’s restaurant.  I was given free reign to plan the trip, which is a dangerous thing, and was able to come up with what we both thought was a great plan.  

Megabus:  this company gets a bad rap for service, but truthfully, when you are paying $20 or less each way, you probably shouldn’t complain too much.  The trip up was great – uneventful, good time, comfortable other than the guy snoring next to us like a dump truck.  The drop off spot was only a couple blocks from our hotel, so it was convenient for us, but the subway is close by to take you elsewhere.  The ride home was a kerfuffle, as the pick-up spot is just a random block with regular street traffic, and the Megabus employees told everyone for each destination to stand in one line, regardless of reservation time.  It would have been easy to miss your bus if you were not pushy, as we were.  But, the ride itself was totally fine.  Ironically, Megabus has now changed the pick-up spot and I hope it will decrease the chaos.

Staybridge Suites Times Square:  GREAT location.  We were at 40th & 8th, which was right by a subway stop and just down from Times Square, which was just where we wanted to be.  The room was inexpensive and we had a full kitchen, which we did not need, but would have been great if traveling with The Luce.  We got a full, hot breakfast included as well.  Happy campers!  I would not hesitate to book here again.

Pizza Suprema:  I heard on the radio about a blog called Slice Harvester, where this guy ate at every pizza place in NYC and rated them.  This was his number one place, and is just around the corner from where Megabus drops off, so we went.  Large slices, clean restaurant, fairly quick service.  The crust was a tad crisper than I like and the sauce was too sweet for me, but it was a decent slice.  M liked it more than I did, but neither of us thought it was worthy of anyone’s #1 spot.

Baked by Melissa:  We saw this cupcake place while walking around.  The tiny cupcakes displayed in the window sucked us in and we ordered 3.  At $1 each for barely one bite, they needed to be phenomenal cupcakes.  They were not.  The cake was dry and overcooked.  The icing was either cloyingly sweet or just gross.  M thought the mint cupcake tasted like toothpaste, which is always my fear with mint desserts.  All in all, this was a very poor value and just a gimmick.  Skip this place.

Donut Plant:  I’d seen this place on a couple different Food Network shows and was anxious to try it.  I ordered a PB&J yeast donut, recommended by the Neelys.  M had a blackout cake donut, which was chocolate cake with chocolate glaze and chocolate filling.  I totally got the wrong flavor.  Mine was kind of dried out and way too big, but the one bite I had of M’s chocolate one was delicious.  I would go back here but would get a different flavor.  

The Highline:  this is an elevated park that runs downtown into the West Village.  Very cool and worth checking out, especially the neon yellow elevators every couple of blocks.

Chelsea Market:  This was on my must-see list for this trip and it did not disappoint.  There are so many different little specialty shops and restaurants, so much to see and taste.  We enjoyed looking in the windows and sampling the olive oil and vinegars and salts.  I will be taking BJ back here next time we go.  We could be there for hours.

Barbuto:  this was our celebrity chef experience.  Jonathan Waxman was a favorite of mine on Top Chef Masters and is known for his roast chicken, which I have read is one of the hardest dishes to perfect.  Yelp told me to get the chicken and the gnocci, which we did.  We also had the cheese plate and the crispy potatoes.  Everything was amazingly delicious.  Plus, the service was great and we ate right next to the open kitchen, which was awesome, we could see everything being prepared.  Mr. Waxman was also very present in the restaurant, checking on things in the kitchen and milling about the tables.  Highly recommended!

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever:  We had booked tickets for this Broadway show ahead of time, knowing that it might be a little odd.  But, since Harry Connick, Jr. was in it, how bad could it be?  Wellllll, it was pretty bad.  M, a theatre buff, thought it was solid from a performance point of view, but the script was horrible and I agreed.  Harry was good, but didn’t have much material to work with.  There was one performer, the female leader played by Jessie Mueller, who was just fantastic.  Ms. Mueller is definitely one to watch.

Wicked:  The next day we spent a considerable amount of time trying to get rush tickets, which are purchased at theatre box offices a couple hours before the show at a huge discount.  We tried a few before giving up, but lucked into some cancellation tickets to Wicked and jumped on them.  The show, as always, was fabulous, and made even more interesting by our theatre-newbie seatmates who gasped and oohed and aahed through the whole thing.  

John's Pizzeria:  Just prior to the show, we had just enough time to run to John’s and gobbled up a cheese pie.  This is real pizza, in my opinion.  Delicious ingredients, perfect crust, just all around yummy.  

Junior’s:  After the show, we were feeling like maybe dinner wasn’t a good idea, since we’d eaten a late lunch, so we did what all good girls do and went straight for dessert.  We headed to Junior's for their famous cheesecake.  I opted for plain swirled with raspberry and M got a combination chocolate fudge cake/plain cheesecake.  Mine was great, but hers was out of this world!  We sent a picture to BJ during the meal and he was quite jealous.  

Veselka:  The next morning we walked around the NYU area and had a bite at Veselka, which is a Ukranian diner of sorts.  A dear friend took me here a couple years ago and I’d been dying to go back.  I indulged in some cheese and potato pierogi and M had blintzes.  The perfect way to top off our great weekend!

New York is one of my favorite cities and I always see or taste something new with each trip.  As BJ and I are going back this weekend, I’ll have a whole new adventure to share very soon!!

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