Tuesday, October 8, 2013


We have returned from New York! I wish my report could be 100% glowing, but the truth is, New York was a mixed bag. On the plus side, we enjoyed 4 days with no work and no parenting and managed to spend almost the entire time speaking of neither. Jeff and I have always been our best selves when traveling/vacationing together and this trip was a reminder that we still enjoy each other's company, can get dolled up and have a late, leisurely dinner during which we talk about interesting things that aren't our child. We slept in, ate well, and slept in a king sized bed for 3 nights.

On the slightly less positive side, Jeff and I have apparently gotten old since our last trip to New York City 6 years ago. It was hot, loud, humid, and hard to find the things we wanted to see. We kept catching ourselves saying things that sounded like a parody of an old person in the big city. My feet got tired and Jeff's hips would freeze up if we stopped walking for too long. Oh my god we are so old!! Within an hour of our arrival Thursday night, we witnessed a dramatic car accident between two taxis while walking to a bar for a late night drink and snack. We wandered on in a daze only to find the bar we were looking for was no longer in existence. We trudged the half mile back to our hotel, hoping to swing by The Shake Shack, which we'd passed on our way to the (non-existent) bar. Suddenly a frozen custard shake and burger sounded just right for midnight on our first night in the city. But it had closed in the time it took us to circle back. I ended up eating a granola bar and going to bed.

The next morning we parted ways for an hour so Jeff could meet an old friend/colleague. I read my book while drinking a smoothie in Soho and a feeling settled in my stomach - this was the wrong vacation for us to take. I didn't want to say anything to Jeff in case he felt differently. But after trying to meet up in the almost-90 degree day with 100% humidity, eventually discovering that he was on WEST Broadway, while I, was merely on REGULAR Broadway - I could just tell from his face that we were on the same page.

The last year has been hectic, with insane amounts of work and too much time driving from meeting to meeting for both of us. Why we thought going to the busiest city in the country was the answer is beyond me. 'Vacation' 6 years ago used to mean adventure and excitement. Since Edie was born, vacation has been redefined to mean "FAMILY vacation", which for some reason is an easier target to hit. Rediscovering what kind of vacation Jeff and I want to take without Edie isn't something I took the time to reconsider. I went back to our old formula of good food + interesting architecture + excitement + shopping opportunities for me = successful vacation.  As it turns out, apparently vacation in our mid-late 30's should actually look more like this: nice hotel  + everything we need within a 2 block walking radius + no guilt about sleeping until noon AND taking a nap = successful vacation. On the plane ride home from our "vacation" Jeff found an advertisement for Tahiti that looked a little like this:

Perhaps next time, for our upcoming 10 year anniversary. Anyone interested in having Edie for an overnighter this spring :)

All of this is not to say that we didn't enjoy ourselves, because we really did. And here are the photos to prove it. On the plane:

Mount Rainier from our window:
Shopping in Soho the next morning:
Me, peeking through the door to find a secret cemetery in the middle of the city:

Every time I was rude to Jeff, he'd threaten that we'd have to go to this restaurant, which we decided was called "Horse Plus Horse".
Dinner that night was at Prune. A food blogger friend recommended this restaurant and it didn't disappoint. It only holds something like 25 people and we had to make reservations 2 weeks in advance:
Above are some fried chickpeas they brought with our menu and below are the dregs of our appetizer - fried green tomatoes with Tabasco mayo. Oh and my Aperol Spritzer (did I mention it was close to 90 degrees on Friday?) and Jeff's drink, which I don't remember...
Dinner - lettuces and herb salad, crispy chicken with salsa verde, and sea bass with leeks and cauliflower. Oh, and another round of cocktails...

After dinner, we grew overwhelmed with options and ended up back at the hotel bar for round 3:
This is my new "take a picture of me drinking" face:
After a major sleep-in, we ended up at The Dutch for brunch:

The rest of that day ended up less photogenic than expected. We took the L to Brooklyn and tried to do the Williamsburg thing, which we had been assured was going to be awesome. But I guess we did it wrong, because I thought I'd get to do some shopping here. The only shopping I found was a cute baby store with $94 infant pants. And also, it was very humid and hot and crowded. There were lots of great looking restaurants, but we'd just eaten...

We salvaged the day with 4pm BLTs at a random shop with this random courtyard, where I took Jeff's picture while waiting for our sandwiches:

We bought Edie a chocolate mouse:
And then got a major hook-up from our friends who live in upstate New York, but still have many friends in the restaurant world back in NYC. We had a decadent dinner at Grammercy Tavern, where I enjoyed my new favorite drink, the Orange Blossom and Jeff had his usual Old Fashioned:

When the waiter brought out oysters "compliments of the chef", I got nervous. Now, I hate picky eaters. The lists of foods I don't like is approximately ONE thing long - Oysters. I've tried them a few times and they just don't do it for me. So I immediately got nervous when these were set down because to be polite,  I was going to have to eat them all. So imagine my surprise when they were DELICIOUS! They were smoked I think, so they were warm. And so tiny that it was more like eating a mussel (one of my favorite foods) in scale, and the garlic and peppers and sea salt on top made them taste amazing. Seriously, I haven't been this surprised by a food in years:
Round 2 - Jeff drinking a Manhatten IN MANHATTEN:
I was too busy chowing down to take photos the rest of the night, but Jeff had seafood chowder and I had ricotta cavatteli with chorizo and then we decided to be bold and ordered 2 desserts. Except my obvious interest throughout the night in the cheese plates that were being served up right near our table did not go unnoticed so our server brought us this amazing plate on the house:

So then I ate all this cheese AND 2 desserts and Jeff rolled me home. It was such a treat. Walking back to our hotel that night:

On Sunday we wandered Chelsea and walked The Highline (above-ground train tracks converted to a beautiful park), which was a lovely cap to the trip. The start of The Highline:

From there, we caught a taxi back to the hotel, collected our bags and began the long trek home. Oh wait! That's not entirely true. First we visited Central Park. Where I proposed we rest for a minute on a park bench to watch a lovely waterfall. To which Jeff replied, "Oh you mean the one with that rat underneath it?" Because yes, there was a rat the size of our cat Mortimer under the bench I was about to sit on. And then like 4 different men tried to talk me into taking a horse drawn carriage ride through the park, to which Jeff just laughed and laughed. Hopefully by now everyone reading this blog knows that I fear and hate horses in equal measure and therefore understand why Jeff laughed. 

THEN we took a cab back to the hotel and on to the airport...


Darrah said...

Glad you guys got to get away for a while, even though the beach would have been better! You look amazing in that dress!

Tib said...

The Highline makes up for so much wrong. It is such a wonderful thing that they've done. I hope to go back and see the newest parts; but will have to bring better shoes and snacks - because I felt very old the last time I was in NYC as well.

Laura said...

We laughed out loud reading this !!
We love you!!!
Ross and Laura

sandralbruton said...

Vacation preferences evolve and it sounds like yours and Jeff's are in that process now. And you will enjoy that exploration too. I very much enjoyed all the photos of the two of you with your beautiful smiles.