Thursday, March 03, 2011

Being (almost) normal in NYC

We always try to do something special for our anniversary, and this year it felt particularly important to celebrate. So we headed to New York City for eating, shopping, eating, museum-ing, eating, and walking. And eating.

The big caveat was that I was supposed to avoid crowds, sniffly kids, and any risk of exposure to colds, germs, and general infection. I've been fantastically lucky so far in terms of staying healthy throughout treatment, but a nasty flu would be tough on my immune system. So we were more observant about our surroundings that usual, but otherwise took no strict precautions.

We always visit MoMA. This time, there was a good exhibit on the design of the modern kitchen and the movement to more efficient use of space. Among the articles on display was something I recognized from my childhood:



I have a strong memory of drinking ice-cold milk out of these Tupperware beakers.

There was also an installation by George Maciunas, displaying the packaging from all his food consumption during one year in the '70s. His diet seemed to consist of imitation rum, powdered egg nog, and some 200 cans of lemonade.



Yep, that's healthy.

(Having said that, I was quite taken with this poster and was happy to find the related postcard in the gift store:)



Healthy and Good with Butter!

And then, of course, it was time to eat in the MoMA Cafe. The Boy had a salad with arugula, paper-thin bresaola and Humboldt Fog cheese (which, due to my no-blue-cheese restriction, I could only stare at, wistfully).



Mindful of my nutritionist's advice to pile on the protein, I went for a trio of bruschetta: tuna with olives; lemon hummus with prosciutto; white-bean puree with roasted root veggies.



Dinner that evening was at Union Square Cafe, which was fabulous. Sadly, it was too dark for good photos, so you'll just have to take my word for it that The Boy's pork chop was nine inches thick, and that my grilled lamb chops came with a creamy, garlicky gratin dauphinioise, and probably took care of my protein quota for the day.

On Saturday, we'd initially planned to walk the High Line, but then I saw that the Concorde was on display at the Intrepid Museum. I'd always wanted to fly in it, and this was the closest I was now likely to get. So we headed to the waterfront, and ended up seeing not only inside the pointy bird but also exploring a submarine and the aircraft carrier itself.













After lunch at Vynl, where the service was so-so, the food was diner but good and the bathrooms — four separate spaces dedicated to Cher, Dolly Parton, Elvis and Nelly (?) — were fabulous, we took a cab to the halfway point of the High Line and started walking.

It was so cool to get a different view of the city.





There's a nice gallery of old photos showing the High Line in operation.

Our next stop was a couple of chocolate stores in SoHo: Kee's Chocolates and Vosges. Apparently I was too overcome to take photos in either place.

At Kee's we tried four flavors of handmade chocs: smoked salt, fennel, blood orange, and lemon-basil. They were all amazing, though the latter was a definite winner.

At Vosges we picked up some items we hadn't seen locally, and I was also forced (forced!) to get a chili-cinnamon hot chocolate. Oh boy: a warm, spicy embrace. Completely delicious. Apparently I need to pick up their Aztec Elixir blend to keep me going at home.

Dinner that night was at Resto, a Belgian-isch place whose motto is "Bringing fat back." This speaks to me.

Actually, what spoke to me most was that one of the first items on their menu is bitterballen, which we fell in love with on Aruba and actively sought out while stuck at Schiphol airport at Christmas. They're usually deep-fried balls of meat in a roux sauce, but at Resto they're a little drier, which doesn't detract at all and makes them easier to eat.



Then we went for the charcuterie plate:



Again, it was a little too dark for good photos, but this gives a sense of the selection:



Each meat had a side — the lamb with tzatziki, the chorizo (unexpectedly) with honeyed ricotta — and each was full of fresh flavor. We also ordered the tête de cochon sandwich, which was good but not fantastic; the thick brioche and the slaw overwhelmed the meat, which to me is the whole point of eating a pig's head.



Full to bustin' as we were, it was somehow necessary to get the beignets. They were more like donut holes than the rectangular, powdered-sugar-coated treats we expected, but they were warm and accompanied by three dipping sauces: berry compote, melted chocolate, and caramel. So that was nice.



Apologies again that the photos do not do justice to this meal!

All in all, it was a lovely break; so good to get away from all the hospitally stuff, and stress, and overload, and just act like normal people.



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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anne said...

We used to live in NYC and didn't have this much fun! I'm printing out your travels for our next visit. Especially the food choices.
Dee-lish!

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Those Tupperware tumblers bring back tons of memories for me. I don't drink milk so I remember drinking orange juice out of them.

Sounds like a wonderful trip. Glad you had fun.

1:08 PM  
Blogger jess said...

Beautiful photos, beautiful recap. Have you ever been to Rizzoli? My favorite NY bookstore... So happy this was a wonderful anniversary.

1:45 PM  
Blogger -mt said...

Those always-frosty tumblers are till in use around here – although ours are stamped "Made in China." Thanks for this delightful excursions with you. WE hope to get to NYC late March and will keep these notes in mind. SO glad you're active and enjoying life! You're one of the few valued gems from my season at the evil empire.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Cindy said...

Oh yum, what gorgeous food pictures, I am salivating!
Looks like you had the perfect anniversary trip - how wonderful!

5:49 PM  

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