So, a few months ago my father-in-law, Rob, mentioned in conversation that he would like to take us and Frank’s brother, Sam, to NYC. I’m not sure how serious he was at the time, but don’t you know I held him to it! I helped plan and book the trip, and between the two of us, we made it happen.
Frank, Elsie and I met Rob and Sam at the airport in Charlotte on Sunday. The Bean did pretty well on her first flight. She napped a bit and squeaked a lot…to be expected for a 9 month old.
We were in the city by 3pm. We stayed at the Affinia Manhattan, and our suite was fab. Check out the views.
That evening Grandad stayed in with EB, and Sam, Frank and I met up with Cousin Drew at Birreria. It’s the restaurant on the rooftop of Eataly, and Sam picked it for the great beer selection. There was a retractable ceiling in place when we were there, but I can only imagine how sweet it would be in warmer months, al fresco.
Drew and Sam:
The food was divine! Here’s Sam displaying how uber thin the proscuitto was.
So, we had heard that one of the owner’s would be playing live music with his band, and sure enough Joe Bastianich was the lead. I recognized him from various reality TV chef shows.
Then we saw a flash of blond hair we couldn’t miss. It was Anne Burrell! Most recently she’s been on Top Chef Masters. This was the best shot I got of her. I was trying to be discreet. Ha.
When last call had been…well, called, a large group that had been seated together began to stand up and disperse. I caught a glimpse of another familiar face…Lidia Bastianich (Joe’s mom, part owner of the restaurant, and also a celebrity chef). Sam decided to ask her for a proper photo, but at the time none of us could remember her name. We struggled to decide on an opening line for him, but came up with a dish we figured she must have published a recipe on at some point. So she walked by, Sam asked her for a photo, and while I snapped he mumbled something about loving her bolognese recipe. Just this moment I looked on her site to see if we were right, and sure enough there is one.
On Monday Rob, Elsie and I hit up Macy’s for the Santaland experience. I’m so impressed by how well they have it all worked out! We did wait in line for about 20 minutes, but almost the whole time we were slowly moving through this winter wonderland, full of fun stuff to look at.
Elsie was quite tired by the time we reached Santa, but she hung in there and just kind of stared blankly.
After a nap at the hotel, we journeyed out again this time to FAO Schwartz. B.U.S.Y!
Then over to the Plaza.
I had this recollection of hearing about good hot chocolate here, and when I asked, we were directed down to a little chocolate shop in the shopping area of the hotel. This is what we found:
And this is how it tasted:
You guys. This hot chocolate was like nothing I’ve ever tasted. I think they just melted some really good milk chocolate and added a splash of cream. It was so decadent! Rob and I both have an affinity for really rich foods, and we were smitten!
Next up: Carriage ride in Central Park.
Then a quick stop at the Rockefeller Tree.
And a peak at the ice skaters.
The crowd was thick, and you had to wait just to look down on the ice rink!
EB had her first subway ride back to the hotel.
Look at those tired eyes! She was ready to crash. It was about 6:45 at this point.
There was a great band playing in the subway. It’s so cool when you can hear them throughout the underground, and it gets louder and louder as you approach. There were several horns, a guitar, bass, and drums here. What a treat to hear good live music, unexpectedly.
Cousin Gussie came over to babysit that night (thanks Gussie!), and we went for dinner in the Village at Perilla.
This was a tiny restaurant Sam picked, and I’m so glad he did! I only wish I had taken photos of the menu items we ordered, as I can’t remember the details. I’ll tell you we started with duck fat popcorn, to give you an idea of how wonderful this food was.
We came “home” to the hotel and crashed.
This is what happens when your baby wakes at 6am, and everyone else is sleeping for another hour or two.
Many readings of Pat the Bunny. Anyway, Tuesday wasn’t nearly as busy as Monday had been. We shopped around a bit. I stumbled on more musicians. This time it was two Salvation Army collection folks, dancing and singing to the beat of their bells. Too cute!
I also fulfilled a little dream of mine that afternoon:
I love me some Project Runway, y’all, and I’ve always wanted to go to Mood. I’ll shop a fabric store anywhere, and this one did not disappoint. I can’t imagine not finding whatever your little heart desires in the world of fabric here. They have everything!
That night we got all dressed up. Some friends came over to visit, then babysit (woot woot Jess and Kenny!). We walked up to Broadway to see a show. Below Frank and Rob are proudly modeling pants that Sam helped design. Pretty hot, yes?
Then we walked up to Quality Meats for a late night dinner. This restaurant was recommended to us by Drew, and it carried our delicious-food-in-NYC high. Outstanding steaks! Creamed corn creme brulee. I mean, how can you go wrong? And our waiter made the steak sauce right at our table with a mortar and pestle.
House made “donuts and coffee ice cream” for dessert. Wow. What a meal.
What a fantabulous trip it was! I have always hoped to experience the magic of the city at Chritmastime, and feel so blessed to have done so. Having EB there made it even more magical. Have you guys been? Did anyone do pre-holiday traveling? The airports weren’t too bad, and our flights were on time. Yours?