Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New York City

360 views around 530, originally uploaded by Kim De.

In case you are interested in my NYC trip:

After arriving 2 hours late due to airplane then shuttle issues, we cleaned up and took a 20 minute walk in the rain to Mesa Grill, arriving just in time for our 8pm reservation. I started with the prickly pear margarita. It was quite good – not too sour, not too sweet. We munched on the bread basket of corn muffins and herbed rolls until the appetizer of Crispy Squid with Red Chile Pesto, Avocado Crema, Radishes + Pickled Chiles arrived. That is it – I am learning how to make pickled chiles! I have always loved the kind from a jar, but these were so amazing that Im not sure I can eat the grocery store kind anymore!

Next we shared an entrée of New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Bourbon-Ancho Chile Sauce + Sweet Potato Tamale with Crushed Pecan Butter and a side of Roasted Corn with Smoked Chiles, Cotija Cheese + Lime. The tenderloin was cooked to perfection and the sauce added a smoky dimension. I was disappointed in the tamale, as there was no taste of sweet potato to be found, but the side dish of corn with a creamy cheese and more smoky chiles more than made up for it. Dessert would not have fit into our stomachs, so we left for the walk back, stopping at a local market for a few supplies.

We began our first full day in Manhattan with a trip to Old Navy for gloves and scarves! Once dressed warmly, we appreciated the cold weather as it gave us a chance to walk quickly without getting too hot. Our walk to Midtown Manhattan took us past several landmarks including a green market for spiced cider, the Flatiron Building, NYC Library and its backyard Bryant Park, and Radio City Music Hall.

We ended up on Broadway at Stage Deli where we had plans to meet a dear old friend and her cute baby. Bo and I split a Ruben while we visited with Heather and played with Quinn. Our visit ended when the management needed our table for waiting customers. We took a quick walk to photograph the David Letterman studios, then parted company much too quickly.

Our plan to take a cruise on the Hudson was changed due to the 30 degree weather and spits of rain and snow. Instead we took a subway to Central Park West to walk along the reservoir to the Upper East Side and the Guggenheim Museum. Inside we saw a beautiful building with halls of art that spiral up, with a beautiful glass dome at the top. A couple of hours found us pretty tired, and a subway ride home led to a nap.

We found an amazing Indian restaurant in our neighborhood for dinner. 6th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues in The East Village is known as Indian Restaurant Row. A look at a few menus led us to Banjara. I ordered a glass of Chardonnay, sat back and let Bo do all the ordering. We started with Lamb Tawa Kabab, then worked on the Pasanda Lamb and Makhan Wala Dal. As you can see, Bo was in the mood for lamb! The food was wonderful. I am used to North Indian restaurants that use a lot of oil in their dishes and it was such a refreshing change to taste food and spice, not oil!

Dinner was topped off by a long walk to Times Square for the night lights. It is a requirement for all tourists to see this sight once, and see it we did. Flashing lights, heavy crowds and chain restaurants lined the streets. We walked, took some pictures, then ran as fast as we could back to the East Village for much needed sleep!

Saturday morning arrived with another fun day ahead. We walked thru Washington Square Park so I could see the famous arch heading the north side of the park. Having seen it numerous times in movies and television did not prepare us for how large it is! I took pictures the best I could in between more raindrops, then we began to wind our way through the streets of the village to Chelsea Market.

I was excited again, as I planned to meet more friends for another lunch. Greta and her husband drove down from upstate and Kathryn and Candace took the train from Connecticut for a girls lunch. Lunch was great and we talked until we almost ran out of time to see the market. I was surprised at how small it was, just one long hallway lined with shops. However, it was a nice place and I was glad to have seen it. I was also grateful for friends who took long trips on two different days to spend a few hours together!

After parting ways I met back up with Bo for a long slow stroll to the Tenement Museum. We stopped in Chelsea for coffee then again in Greenwich Village for a beer at a cute pub called the Four Faced Liar. We made it to the Lower East Side just in time for our 5pm tickets. We walked through a tenement building, looking at artifacts from and hearing stories about the actual families that lived there in the early 1900s. It was one of the best things we did on our trip and I highly recommend it to anyone who goes.

We were hungry after the tour, so a few streets over we found a restaurant in Chinatown that served dim sum on a Saturday night. The eatery is called Dim Sum Go Go and got great reviews from websites and Bo. I myself am not a huge fan of Chinese cuisine, but Bo loves it, so I take his word this was the good stuff :)

Our evening ended with a walk back up north to the East Village, stopping for a glass of wine here, a beer and cheese cake there.... just enjoying New York life until too exhausted to keep our eyes open!

Sunday we got a late start, not leaving the apartment until 11. After consolidating our bags to one backpack and arriving at our subway stop on the Upper East Side, I realized I left my tickets to The Met and Empire State at the apartment. We got our practice riding the subway as we went back to the apartment, then took another trip north! We arrived at The Metropolitan Museum of Art at 2pm and had to carefully pick the sights to see, as we had less than 3 hours until closing.

We chose Greek Sculptures, The American Wing, Vermeer's Masterpiece The Milkmaid, European Paintings and Armour and Weapons. We almost had to run through these exhibits to see a glimpse of them all, but it was an awe inspiring experience. It is a place we will definitely go on future trips!

Our next stop took us to Grand Central Station for a late lunch and a few photo ops. Finally we ended up at The Empire State Building for the views. It turned out to be a great time of day to be there as we saw NYC in the daylight, then hung around for the sun setting and for the final sun set.

It was amazing to see and made for some great pictures! The temperature dropped to a brisk 30 degrees with hard wind during our visit. It was amazing to see snow dancing around being pretty sure it wasnt making it all the way to the ground.

The subway took us back to home base and dinner at Spina, a great place known for its wine and Italian food. I am sorry to say I didnt take note of the amazing red I had. Dinner was Sauteed Baby Calamari followed by Black Ravioli stuffed with Lobster topped by a wonderful Black-Poppy Cream Sauce. We finished off the day with the chef's take on Tiramisu, which had amazing coffee flavor, but we both found too sweet.

Monday I woke up with mixed feelings – after all it was our last full day in NYC! The weather finally cooperated for a cruise on the Hudson. The sun was shining and we headed by subway and on foot to the piers.

The cruise took us along the Jersey coast, past the Statue of Liberty, up the east side of Manhattan, seeing the Brooklyn Bridge, then back around to the west side, going past Battery City and Ground Zero before ending up at the pier again.

We took advantage of the sunshine to walk to B&H photo where we salivated over cameras, then we headed toward "home" to see the sights in the West Village and Greenwich.

Lunch at Johns Pizza has been on my radar for quite some time. Bo politely agreed to go, but then ended up loving the thin crisp crust, fresh veggies and cheese that wasnt taking over. We then found our way around the winding streets, seeing the luxury Brownstones of the West Village and the funky shops of Greenwich. Another stop at Washington Square Park led to more photo ops, this time with the sun shining.

After another rest time back at the apartment, we headed to a dream called The Strand Bookstore. Miles and Miles of books is what it claims, and it does not disappoint! As it was near dinnertime and we were hungry, it was overwhelming and we didnt spend as much time there as I would have liked. It is on the top of the list for a lazy afternoon on our next visit!

Our last dinner was at Esperanto. Brazilian and South American food is their specialty and live music was playing as we arrived. We ordered a bottle of Ugarte 2006 Cosecha from Rioja Spain that had a rich flavor and we will be looking for at home! Dinner was the tapas plate of Chorizo, Torta Espanola, Ceviche, Olives,Shrimps and Spicy Sautéed Calamari. We both thought the calamari and torta were fabulous! Next we shared the entree of Carne Asada, grilled marinated skirt steak served with rice, black beans, guacamole and a Chimayo salsa. We were left underwhelmed with the main dish feeling the steak lacked flavor. Our agreement was the calamari was the best part of our meal and that it needed to be on our own plan soon!

We ended up our night at our favorite bar, 7A for another glass of wine and a slice of cheesecake.

Our last morning left us with a few hours before the trip to the airport. We chose to walk around Grammercy Park for pictures of the amazing buildings before a quick lunch at 7A then a final packing of our possessions.

Leaving NYC was very difficult, partly because we loved it there, partly because we only put a dent in what there is to see and do. I suppose another trip is on the horizon!


  1. Sounds like a great trip! You definitely packed in more activities in a few days then I think I did in 9 years!!!! I hope you'll come back soon, and add Brooklyn to your list of things to do.

  2. The beauty of being a tourist - you go out of your way to see everything! We will def be back again in the future!!