Monday, January 1, 2018

Christmas in New York City

For Christmas this year, I received a most fabulous gift indeed.  A weekend in NYC with a very special someone, where we wandered the meatpacking district, the Chelsea market, SoHo, ducked into the famed Strand bookstore, dined at several mouthwatering eateries, if I do say so myself, and saw a spellbinding Broadway musical.

We walked through hordes of post-Christmas crowds, the air frigid, numbing our faces.  Ducking in and out of clothing shops and charming cafes.  Grabbing teas to-go, clutched in icy fingers, not doing much to lessen the bite of winter chill.

Ignore the goofy guy behind the counter.  The point of this photo- the painting hanging over the bar.  My eye continually coming back to it throughout the night.  Just...strands and strands of sheets, white pieces of laundry, hanging on lines strung between brick buildings in a poorer looking NYC courtyard.  The longer I looked at it, my mind kept returning to Oliver Twist.  I decided I had to get that book, and desperately wanted to do so here in NYC at the Strand.  On my to-read list for ages now, one I am embarrassed to admit not having gotten to yet.  I snagged a used copy at The Strand for just $3!!

The above photos showcase the spot where an especially awesome dinner was had at Vic's, a swanky Italian restaurant.  Dimly lit, cozy, romantic and intimate.  The conversation over this meal, particularly engaging, flirtatious and interesting.  Here's what New York Mag had to say about the place.  The cocktails were tasty, the "Little Gem" salad with hazelnuts, feta and shallots, and the Spanish Mackerel, excellent.  Highly recommend it here for both the food and the atmosphere.

A jam packed but eye catching, fun walk was embarked on through the Chelsea Market.  Plethora's of intriguing shops and people filling the space within.  A few satchels of tea were secured, the best of which, a minty green tea interspersed with pink flowers.  Walking through SoHo, the air blustering against our faces, so cold.  Ducking in and out of clothing shops along the way.

A snapshot inside the Chelsea Market.  Looks like a surreal mishmash of Harry Potter and some magical movie like Hugo.

Breakfast was had at Barney Greengrass, a hole-in-the-wall, humble, nondescript Jewish eatery.  While the place is nothing to look at, the food they serve up is packed with flavor, satisfying, rich and delicious.  Maxx talked me into trying the eggs served with a side of fish.  Skeptical at first, I braved the sampling.  An empty plate later, I was a surprised and happy camper. 

The meal was eggs scrambled with tomato and cheese, a side of smoked salmon served alongside.  Taking a forkful of salmon and eating it simultaneously with the cheesy eggs, I discovered was just whoa.  De-lish.  Rich, filled with flavor, so tasty.  Highly recommend this place.  The inside was absolutely packed with people.  Something I always take as testament to how good it likely is.  In this case, that was accurate.  

A NYC museum was visited, within which was a phenomenal exhibit on Edvard Munch, the man who painted the famous "Scream."  While there were a few other interesting exhibits on display as well, this is the one that was most enticing and fun (at least, in my perspective).

Fancy clothes were donned where a swanky, lavish, superb spread of a meal was had at Butter, a famed NYC restaurant owned by Alex Guarnaschelli, one of the routine judges on Chopped and a well known chef in the world of famous food people.  Our dinner included: oysters, a mouthwatering four cheese gnocchi, a beet, feta and pomegranate salad, a savory cake of stringy potatoes, salmon and bass, with a finale of red velvet cake filled with cream cheese and a side of ice cream.  While all of the food was excellent, we agreed the gnocchi and red velvet were the most stellar of the group. 

Possibly the best part of the trip: Waitress on Broadway, a musical that absolutely knocked my socks off.  I finally get it, all the hype about Broadway plays.  The songs were incredible, their voices strong and fabulous.  The storyline- engaging, gripping, such fun.  The dialogue- witty, interesting, smile inducing.  The sets and stage, so intricate, eye catching, well done.  I was spellbound the entire time.  I don't think the smile left my face, save for a couple of emotional scenes, one of which made me a bit misty eyed.

The story, without spoilers: a young woman working as a waitress in a diner finds out she is pregnant with her husbands child but is devastated and distressed by the news, finally coming to admit to herself that her husband isn't the best guy.  The he doesn't treat her so well and she isn't so happy after all.  Something it seems she has been avoiding admitting and confronting for a long time coming.  However, she decides on keeping the baby.  Meanwhile, she falls in love with her doctor.  And he too, falls hard for her.  As the audience, we find ourselves rooting for them to be together.

The songs sang as their feelings for one another progress are both loads of fun and majorly giggle inducing, as well as poignant and touching.  The end though, as promised- no spoilers, isn't what you expect.  With regards to with whom she ends up with, or what ends up happening to her.

The whole thing was fabulous.  Emotionally moving, engaging, such fun, humorous, inspiring, witty, even slightly raunchy (but not crude, they kept it tasteful), just so well done.  I cannot recommend this enough.  I absolutely loved it.  Hands down, the best live performance/show I have ever seen in my life.

This guy, absolutely one of the best characters.  His songs, his persona, all of it, just outstanding.

The Strand was ducked into, not once but twice, during our two days in the city.  Supposedly home to 18 miles of books, is what they say.  New, used, rare, and hard to find books, its just a really neat store.  One I would surely visit weekly if I lived in NYC.  I snagged a used copy of Oliver Twist here, my chosen souvenir of the whole experience of this trip.

A final breakfast was had at Bread and Butter.  A supermarket of sorts, absolutely packed to the brim with all manner of meal choices.  Fresh salads, made to your liking.  Omelets, breakfast sandwiches, an entire stretch of hot bar lunch items, a huge buffet of sushi.  A bakery (where we snagged a bag of fresh cookies in a fun variety).  Healthy treats, cupcakes, drinks, sandwiches made fresh to go.  You name it, they have it here.

This was such a phenomenal trip.  Now that I am thinking about it, I believe its the most fun I have ever had in New York.  Both, with regard to all the exciting, absolutely awesome, interesting things we did, as well as for the company with whom I was doing it all.

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