Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New York, New York

So after six months of not taking a single day off (except for paid holidays and the occasional sick day), I headed up to NYC to visit one of my best friends, Laura, for a long weekend! I've been to New York plenty of times, so this trip was more about hanging out and eating a ton of good food.

While I was in the plane looking down into the clouds, I realized the last time I was in a plane, I was jumping out of it. It was kind of one of those "oh, that's right, I did that" moments haha. You wouldn't think you'd forget something like that. Also, SkyMall totally sucked. Normally, I love looking at all the random silly crap you can buy, but there were practical ads, and it was really sparse on hilarity. The best thing was probably the eyelashes you could buy for your car's headlights.

After landing in the city and making my way to Laura's office, we went to dinner at Max Brenner.

This place is amazing and all about the chocolate. We decided to split an entree so we could really indulge in dessert. TOTALLY the best idea ever. We got the pizza with "the works", which is basically a pastry dough crust, with chocolate sauce, bananas, marshmallows, hazelnuts, and peanut butter sauce. Unbelievable. Even though I was full before I was done, I kept wanting to eat it.

Friday, Laura had to work, so I ended up spending the day wandering the city and probably walked a few miles without realizing it, which is incredibly easy to do. I spent a few hours at the Museum of Modern Art, which is one of my favorite museums, and it's been awhile since I'd been there. There was a Cindy Sherman exhibit, which I didn't spend much time in because frankly, as soon as I saw those clown paintings, I bee-lined out of there. I hate clowns. Art or no art.

Anyways, I did see a couple really cool things. Probably one of my favorites was this art instillation, "Untitled" by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
It was two really large sections of silver-wrapped candy that he put together after his partner died of AIDS in 1991. According to the description of the piece, it "reflects broadly on the incurability of the illness." And it asked for visitors to take a piece, because it would be replenished over time, to activate "a continuous process of depletion and regeneration." I thought the concept was really cool, and of course took a piece of candy to help the artist's vision.

I will say though, with some art, I just don't get it. Take this piece by John McCracken called "The Absolutely Naked Fragrance."

Uh. What? And the description doesn't really help either, because I still don't get it. McCracken said, "I see the plank as existing between two worlds, the floor representing the physical world of standing objects, trees, cars, buildings, human bodies, and everything, and the wall representing the world of the imagination, illusionistic painting space, human mental space, and all that."

HOW do you get that from a pink piece of wood? I clearly don't have a super artistic mind (or I don't get it because I don't do drugs...I'm thinking the latter is probably more accurate).

However, on the 6th floor, I found some of my favorite paintings and artists.
"Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh

"Dynamism of a Soccer Player" by Umberto Boccioni (I've always loved this one!)

A couple Kandinskys!!!!

"Water Lilies" by Claude Monet. I want to hang this in my apartment.
I finally got hungry and decided that I wanted to grab some Pret and have lunch in Central Park since it was such a gorgeous day.

Then after more aimless wandering along 5th Avenue (poor person HELL), I headed back over to where Laura works to wait for her to get off. And all that walking made me hungry again, so I decided to get some Mister Softee. Ooooooh Mister Softee.
Can you tell I like taking pictures of food?
With some time to kill before dinner, we ended up going to yoga at the studio Laura goes to, Yoga Vida. The room the class was in was so awesome. Dark hardwood floors, big white columns in the room, tons of windows. It was great. And the class was fairly hardcore, but I was able to keep up which felt good (I've only been doing yoga a few months, so I have zero clue how good or bad I am). I also learned that Bon Iver makes for kickass yoga music. I feel that is very obvious, but I just didn't think about it until then.

We finished up with the right amount of time to go meet my Aunt Mary and Uncle Dennis for dinner at Bar Six. It's like this little French bistro cafe thing, and the food there was sooooo good. I had the wild mushroom risotto, and then Laura and I split some profiteroles for dessert. Oh so heavenly. The conversation was great, and it was so fun to finally meet my uncle! (He and my aunt got married this past November and they are grossly cute together)

We also met up with some of Laura's friends at a bar in Brooklyn which was a good time. Until we were walking home and saw THE BIGGEST RAT EVER. Ew. Not a fan of that at all.

Saturday was more of that whole walking thing. We decided to hit up the Brooklyn Flea to see if maybe I could find some plates for my plate wall that is still just an idea in my head.

There was some really cool stuff there (and some ridiculously random things (no sir, I do not want to buy your obviously old and used lucky rabbit feet...if they're lucky, why are you selling them), typical flea marketness), but out of my price range. And unfortunately no plates. But if Laura and I didn't already have very important lunch plans, I would have stuffed my face there because they had some incredible smelling food. They even had a guy serving shaved ice, THAT HE WAS SHAVING RIGHT OFF THE BLOCK IN FRONT OF YOU. Incredible. No machine. No nothing. Just a man and his ice pick (ha. ha. that's what she said).

So what was so important about lunch? Well, it was pretty much the only thing I wanted to do while I was in New York this time around. A couple years ago, I saw on the Travel Channel about this restaurant. That served fancy mac 'n cheese. And what's my favorite food? Oh, that's right: Mac 'n Cheese. The place is called S'Mac, and oh. my. gosh.

How heavenly does that look? We decided the sampler platter was the way to go, the only downfall being that we couldn't choose what to put in it, but it was the best way to try the most flavors. The sample platter has the All-American, 4 Cheese, Cheeseburger (that really tastes like a cheeseburger, not Hamburger Helper style), La Mancha, Cajun, Napoletana (it tasted like a pizza!), Alpine (with real slab bacon, not that thin crap we normally eat), and Parisienne. SO SO SO GOOD. Totally worth it. I was not disappointed even after building it up so high in my head.

Since the flea market was kind of a dead end on plates, we decided to hit up this place called Fishs Eddy that my aunt recommended. This place might be my absolute new favorite store. If I had a lot of money, I would have spent it all in that store. So many fun dishes and glasses and home things. They have some plates with floor plans on them and other fun patterns. They also had some random vintage plates. Some were $70 (no thank you, even though they're cool!), but then others were more in my price range.

I had decided I really needed to find that "anchor plate" to build my wall around. I needed to just buy that first plate to get me started and it would be easier to find others to go with it. I just hadn't found that perfect plate that I just had to have on my wall. Until I walked into this store. I saw this plate in the back of a shelf, behind a bunch of other random things. I pulled it out and just got so excited because this was it. I couldn't put it down, so I knew I had to get it. Plus, it's green. And we all know how much I love just about anything green. And then I found a plain white plate, but with a really fun border design. So I went from no plates to two!
Not the best picture, but you get the idea
 And what did we do to top off the great Saturday? Dinner at Mesa Grill. MESA EFFING GRILL. When getting beers on Thursday before dinner, Laura was telling me about going there for her graduation dinner, and of course I told her how jealous I was because I love Bobby Flay. Love. And I've always wanted to go to one of his restaurants. Totally touristy and lame, I know, but I've heard his food is amazing. So half an hour later, we had reservations.

Can I just say, this was phenomenal. We started with a basket full of some of the best bread ever, including corn bread, made with half blue corn half yellow corn. I had the New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with the Sweet Potato Tamale. I just could not get over that tamale. And I'm really bad with spicy food; I love it, but I'm super sensitive to it and it always sets my mouth on fire. But this was that perfect amount of kick that didn't stick around too long. Laura had the soft shell crabs, and then we shared the roasted corn with chipotle aioli, lime and cotija, and the mashed potatoes that had green chile queso sauce in them. And we topped the meal off with the churros. SO WORTH IT. That meal was incredible.

We finished the night with some beers out with some of Laura's friends and then Sunday was a really relaxing day of brunch with her friends and then flying home. Of course at brunch, I couldn't get through a weekend, even vacation, without some little baking, even though it was real simple. I made Berry Danish Minis, which are basically just crescent rolls, cream cheese, and crushed fresh blueberries.

 Overall, the trip was great. It was very relaxing (which I feel can be hard to achieve in NYC where everything is go.go.go), and it was so wonderful to spend some time with Laura.

1 comment:

  1. This just put the biggest smile on my face -- you are ALWAYS welcome here!!! <3 Laura