Saturday, December 1, 2012

New York City Vacation-November 2012

I travel to New York City three to four times a year, not for business but because I have a son, Blaze that lives in Manhattan. These three to four weeks I can be assured he is eating a home cooked meal and not fast food. I then get to visit my favorite shops and restaurants and to make new discoveries. Follow me while I list some of the highlights from my Thanksgiving week in NYC.

We took the Jet Blue red eye and landed in NYC Thanksgiving morning around 6:30am. Arrived at my son's apartment at 8:00am, threw my bags on the floor, had a tour of the new apartment, put on an apron and started to work on the feast. My friends know this is my absolute favorite day of the year and so the food starts flying. Blaze was responsible for creating the final menu, doing all the shopping and some light cooking in advance. The biggest item on the menu is a turkey that I always brine 24-hours in advance. Unfortunately, as pictured above there was a knife mishap unwrapping the frozen bird and our table this year was represented by "FRANKENturkey".
Dinner was great and our little group of five had a wonderful food and wine filled memorable evening. Turkey soup on Saturday in the house.
Entire leg of Jamon Pata Negra de Bellotta
On Black Friday we took the subway line down to Greenwich Village to 'Minetta Tavern' (click) to order their Black Label Burger reported to be the best burger in town. Brisket, ribeye and chuck beef cuts are used dressed with caramelized onions and yes, it is truly wonderful. My dessert was a tasty assortment of chocolates from famed chocolatier Jacques Torres (click), lovingly known as Mr. Chocolate. Although I am not a Black Friday bargain shopper, I had to duck in and check out UNIQLO in SOHO. Picked up cashmere gloves and their HeatTech knit footless tights (click). Now I don't feel a breeze of cool air. We cannot leave SOHO without visiting the food magic presented by Dean & Deluca. I could not resist taking a picture of the most revered ham in the world: Jamon Pata Negra de Bellotta; cured ham from the black foot pig fed solely on a diet of acorns.


Riced potatoes for home-made Gnocchi
Chef Mario Batali built an Italian food mecca named "Eataly" (click). Seven restaurants and 40,000 sq. feet of retail products to purchase and take home are ready for your eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Manzo Ristorante caught my attention with their home-made Gnocchi. It was as good as my grandmother makes it. The olive oil served with a basket of warm bread is unfiltered and packed with peppery flavor I had to bring home a bottle, I said HAD TOO. Pasta with Italian Sausage at home tonight-

More on food later-
While visiting my son he introduced me to the virtues of a garment steamer. The steam began flowing withing 45 seconds, the winkles melted away and it was easy to use, no more hot medtal placed directly on fabric. A razor sharp pleat is also possible. I was sold. I ordered the Sunbeam 1500TM. My friend Bianca gave me some more insight into its use as follows: 

Bianca Perez "I live for steamers. I send hardly anything to the dry cleaners. The chemicals eat away at your clothing and the environment. I hand wash, lay flat to dry and steam afterwards. Make sure to use only distilled water so you don't clog your steamer with any natural minerals. Also, if you can get your hands on medical grade aromatherapy oils (such as young living or dothera) you can sprinkle a drop or 2 of lavender, rose or eucalyptus oil in the water and your clothes will smell amazing!"
Colin Farrell, Actor
Next on the list was a Broadway show and this NYC visit I had tickets to see Al Pacino in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross (click). Mr. Pacino was in the 1992 film version as the young hot shot real estate salesman. Today he portrays Shelley Levene, a past-it salesman on the brink of the end. Fabulous performances by Pacino and equally fabulous co-stars Bobby Cannavale (Will & Grace), Richard Schiff (West Wing) and John C. McGinley (Scrubs). In the audience I spied actor Colin Farrell. Ladies (and gentlemen), he is hotter in person than on screen. What a thrill for me when standing outside the theater we exchanged hello!
"The Human Experiment", Film
We have numerous friends that reside in New York and we always fill our calendar with lunches and dinners. Wednesday night was another special night. Our Emmy Award winning filmmaker friends Dana and Don shared a preview of their third upcoming film, "The Human Experiment". An expose of dangerous chemicals in our foods and everyday home products, many of which have been banned in European countries. Dana, I already told you, you changed my life. Follow their progress and movie release dates on FaceBook here (click) .

We even had a little snow:
17 second video:--> https://picasaweb.google.com/103222224874742562177/NYCNovember27Snow?authuser=0&feat=directlink

I had my very first Japanese Raman noodle dinner at "Ippudo" (click) in the East Village. Oh my goodness this is good stuff. I am a fan of Vietnamese Pho soup and this is just one level above that. Ippudo is known for their Pork Bun appetizer, not like the Chinese style pork bun you may be familiar. Instead you have strips of tender, moist, aromatic, sweet, sticky pork on a folded steamed bun that is as light and delicate as a marshmallow. A pillow for your gums. Ippudo always has a short wait, maybe sometimes a long wait but not a problem. Walk down the street and around the corner to 'McSorleys Old Ale House' (click) while you wait.


McSorleys Old Ale House has the distinction of being the oldest Irish pub in America opened in 1854. Visited by Abe Lincoln, John Lennon, and beer was drunk from the actual Stanley Cup won by the New York Rangers hockey team in 1994. A ceiling lamp carries old animal wishbones hung by World War 1 soldiers promising to reclaim them when they returned home, sadly they still remain along the original WANTED poster for President Lincoln's assassin. Even the handcuffs from Houdini once hung on the rail. At McSorleys your only order is beer: Dark or Light. You are served two mugs, the equivalent of one pint with sawdust on the floor. Thanks Heidi V. for introducing us to this place.

This is just a New York cheesecake slice of our week-long trip. If you have never been to New York City, a trip must be added to your bucket list but beware, a lot of walking is recommended because it is hard to go back to your hotel room with so much left to see and be seen.

Tell TALL blondes' style your favorite New York City establishment or crazy story?


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