Saturday, May 28, 2016

New York City #4

My final day in New York City dawned bright but blustery! I took the subway down to Chelsea Market where I planned to meet my cousin, Anna, for lunch!

There was just enough time for a quick browse around Anthropology!

Then Anna arrived and we headed into the bowels of the Market!

Fortunately, since Anna works nearby, she is familiar with the delicious things we needed to try during our visit! Right away we stopped at Li-Lac Chocolates.

We decided the perfect way to begin was to try a dark chocolate covered cherry cordial. Mmmmmm.... yum! It just needed a drop of almond flavoring to make it even better!

Then Anna pulled me back around the corner to taste Seed + Mill cakes made from tahini! What??!! I'd never heard of such a thing. Best of all, most of them were gluten free and dairy free! Wow.

Check out these cakes! They were amazing too! I wanted to buy a whole selection. And, if we had already eaten lunch I would surely have bought their goat milk ice-cream which was A-MA-ZING! (Guess what?! You can order their cakes online!)

 We wove around more stalls and then there was a spice shop with piles of enticing colors and flavors just reaching out with their tentacles saying "buy me and make your food more delicious"! I resisted.

But, we lost our resistance in the Italian Food Market.

We ditched the "crepes for lunch" plan and started loading our arms with goodies.

Hey! there is fresh mozzarella, just like in the novel I took to New York to read!!!! (see below)

And just look at all those meats! It turned out the ones in this case were all spicy so we had to go find the non-spicy section.

 Once we had sausage, goat cheese, a fig and almond loaf, and the every-necessary olives, Anna suggested we go find some fruit to round out our lunch. Across the hall was the produce market. If only you could comprehend the size of those white asparagus! And look, they're selling ramps -- we always read about them in magazines this time of year.

They even have baby pineapples!!!

We each settled on the kind of pear we preferred and then found table space to set out our spread, laughing because our lunch looked exactly like what we grew up loving to eat!

Oh the olives were so good we nearly ate them all! And that goat cheese -- melt in your mouth deliciousness! It was a little hard to get that sausage sliced with a plastic knife but we didn't let that stop us! The pears were perfect and the fig/almond loaf -- wow, I should have brought five of those home with me!

Here we are together celebrating the fact that in the past 13 months we'd seen each other FOUR times!!!

We couldn't visit all day as Anna needed to get to work. I hopped on the subway and then crossed Central Park via bus to meet up with Christy and Nathan!

One of the inconvenient things about New York is that most of the big museums are closed on Monday! Christy is good at sleuthing, and she found out that we could visit the Neue Gallerie which is open on Mondays (and they would allow her to bring Nathan! -- not all museums will).

Right now the Neue Gallery has an exhibit of art by the expressionist artist Edvard Munch. Never heard of him? 

 Every used the screaming emoji face? Well, that is based on Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream. Oh yes, my teenagers thought it was the coolest thing that I got to see the real painting (this is just a copy in the museum basement because you can't photograph the original).

I think this visit helped me to realize that there is no substitute for seeing the real piece of art in person -- the copies can't mimic the texture of the paper and the way the pastel dust hovers over the background. Yes, I admit this is not my favorite genre of art, but it's good to be able to appreciate many forms of art and to make the most of every opportunity to learn! And, since it is connected to my everyday life (in the form of the emoji which my kids use frequently) I felt very glad to have seen this.

There was another reason we went to the Neue Gallery -- we wanted to visit the Cafe Sabarsky -- modeled after a Viennese cafe! The choice seemed perfect for us! 

We stood in line for a LONG time to get seats but it was worth it! I loved the interior and I thought about my grandmother the whole time! She instilled in us a love for Austria via the Sound of Music and her favorite song Edelweiss. She would have enjoyed having coffee and cake here!

We had our little traveling companion to keep us entertained! Incidentally, this child was born to be a NYC traveling companion! He was so good for us!

 We had a window seat with a banquette!

Here are all the beautiful sweet choices:

I forgot a close up of the sausages we tried -- they were delicious. But of course the main attraction was the cake and coffee. Chocolate Hazelnut cake for me and a Chocolate Rum cake for Christy.  Of course we felt like we were in Europe. An imagination is the best traveling tool of all!

After coffee we went back up to the apartment and I said goodbye to Nathan and gathered my things and then headed out the door to catch the subway and bus to the airport.

Because waiting for me on the other end of my flight were all my little munchkins who needed their mommy back again!

Before I close the final chapter of this New York City trip I must mention the wonderful novel I read on my trip:

Delicious!: A Novel  by Ruth Reichl is set in New York City in the food scene! It tells the story of a young foodie who comes to New York to work for the magazine Delicious!, discovers a secret correspondence of James Beard's, and must rush to solve the mystery before the sudden closing of Delicious! is final. I loved it! It was the perfect foodie/NYC reading.

  My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl is the non-fiction book that, in my opinion, goes with the novel Delicious! In this book Ruth documents the sudden closing of the real magazine Gourmet (of which she was editor) and the depression and soul-searching that sent her into and how she survived the year after and began writing a novel (Delicious!).

That's all for now! Have a wonderful weekend!

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

New York City #3

Back to New York City and my Saturday and Sunday adventures!

We headed out toward the Fort Tryon Park mid morning. On the way we passed this magnet for thrift store shoppers:

There was no time to stop and look at the piles of clothing (quite reasonably priced for NYC). Nor was there any time to stop and buy anything from the mounds of ripe fruit and vegetables stacked in boxes and set out on tables. Just think of all the delicious things I could make with that produce! It too was very cheaply priced -- most likely because it needed to be used immediately.

We stopped to visit with Christy & Peter's young friends from the Operation Exodus group they volunteered with before Nathan was born.

Our brunch reservation was at the recently renovated New Leaf which sits inside the Fort Tryon Park. Just look at this amazing pink azalea with its miniature flowers!

 We sat in a large tent-like conservatory and ordered our food and enjoyed our juice and coffee.

 I ordered the breakfast burger with a fried egg! Peter had the crab cake and Christy enjoyed the French toast with caramel bananas.

After brunch we took our time strolling through the Heather Gardens admiring all the azaleas and other blooming flowers. The heather was in a dormant state as it tends to bloom in the middle of New York's winter!

Here is Christy's family!!! 

I was so excited to find some lilacs!!

We also were mesmerized by a family of baby groundhogs that were scampering about with little fear of any of the passersby! There were five babies and we never saw the parents. They were so cute that one wondered if they might make a nice little pet. (But I'm guessing not.)

 See how cuddly they looked?!

Another view of some of the azaleas. This variety with the white and the yellow were particularly interesting to me as they almost looked like daffodils (or perhaps fried eggs!).

The weather was beautiful and people were out en force.

I love this picture of the lilacs with the George Washington Bridge in the background.

This shade garden under a large tree was also a favorite scene of mine from the garden. I just can't believe how blessed I was with the "random" timing of my visit to allow me to see so many things blooming! Just a week to ten days later and much of all this is now gone.

We enjoyed a nice long rest/nap in the afternoon in preparation for the evening's adventure!!! Christy and I headed south on the Subway and popped up just south of Time Square (which Andrew so desperately wanted a picture of!).

We were headed to Rue 57 for dinner -- a delightful French restaurant very close to Carnegie Hall.

It is fun visiting a friend who enjoys taking pictures as much as I do!  When I'm home I never get into any pictures because I'm the only one snapping! This trip we swapped pictures so we could have the full documentation!

Dinner was delicious -- we split a hamburger and a Salad Nicoise. 

 We also enjoyed their Truffle Frites -- French fries drizzled with truffle oil and some chopped truffle. It was my very first (long awaited) experience having anything to do with truffles! I expected a much more pungent taste but was delighted with the lovely flavor of the fries.

The salad was beautiful -- this was my half!

The restaurant opened onto the street and did have that Parisian atmosphere!!!

 After dinner we headed over to Carnegie Hall and winded ourselves climbing up to the very top of the building! I was definitely feeling my age!

We were there to hear Yuja Wang perform a solo piano recital. Of course it was even better having Christy (a piano performance major) there to give me commentary on the performance. Yuja was amazing and very skillful. It was fun to watch someone play for so long from memory with such perfection.

After our night out on the town it was back home to bed in preparation for Sunday.

In the morning we headed to Christ Church NYC where Christy and Peter worship. It was good to join their congregation in worship and it is always a special treat to celebrate the Lord's Supper when I am in a foreign place.

After the worship service we headed downstairs for the coffee hour before planning to head to Central Park for the annual church picnic. Sadly, the weather proved to be too much (high winds, mid 50's temp and drizzling rain) and the picnic was relocated to the church hall! So we spent a few hours eating our lunches and visiting together.

I loved sitting around the tables with a bunch of other mothers listening to the everyday issues they struggle with in NYC -- how to fit three children into a two-bedroom apartment, using the dining room table for eating, homework, etc. because that's the only workspace, transporting kids around on the subway. My life in suburbia felt so far away.

We "ubered" our way home in the late afternoon and spent the evening discussing books, theology, and life!

Next time I'll have the last of my New York City posts for this trip!