Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New York, New York...it's a wonderful town!

There's nothing like a girls trip to recharge you. As mothers, and wives it feels so liberating to go off with good friends and let go of day to day responsibilities. I love traveling with my family more than anything but there is a unique joy in traveling with friends in that I don't feel as responsible for their safety or happiness on a moment by moment basis (yes, I am a worrier by nature).

I went on such a trip this weekend to NYC and we had a blast! We didn't see a lot of the usual tourist sites ...did an excellent food tour of Chelsea Market, enjoyed great wine and bar food at Ardesia in Hell's Kitchen, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, wandered and snacked our way through a Saturday farmers market in Brooklyn, explored Prospect Slope, had a perfect pre-theater meal at Pescadeux, saw the off Broadway show Buyers and Cellar, sang our lungs out and enjoyed the people watching at Marie's Crisis piano bar in the West Village and had breakfast at Sarabeth's on Central Park before we left on Sunday! There were so many laughs along the way.

We've traveled together as a group before but it's been many years since our last trip(we all became neighbors over twenty years ago). But this time we injected new blood adding another of our neighborhood group and the daughter, Mad, of one of us who now works in New York and lives in Brooklyn. It was a perfect group and we loved having Mad with us and she seemed to enjoy hanging with us and seeing our "non-Mom" sides.

It was a beautiful weekend, weather-wise, and with the lousy winter we've been having, it was a joy to walk in the temperate sunshine! The bright blue sky was the perfect backdrop for the views from the Brooklyn Bridge, with the new World Trade Tower piercing the skyline at the base and a view of Lady Liberty off one side.

The food tour was from www.foodsofny.com and was the Chelsea Market/Meatpacking District tour. Our guide was Curt Upton. It was a wonderful experience. Curt was funny, engaging and a true foodie, giving out tips, and recipes along the way. He is starting a website shortly and has a bunch of YouTube recipe videos. The tour started in the Chelsea Market, which was originally the Nabisco factory where Oreos were invented. They moved out in the 50's and the site went to the dogs for years. Then in the late 90's it was bought and refurbished as a great market with a ton of food purveyors filling it's ground floor. The upper floors are the headquarters and studios of the Food Network which also uses the market to film from.

Our tour went from 2 to 5pm and we ate our way through the afternoon....great local cheese from Lucy's Whey, plus an inventive and yummy grilled cheese, doughnuts, sea-salt caramels, artichoke crostada from Buon Italia, biscuit with jams from Sarabeth's test kitchen (which was where they filmed the scene of Meryl Streep baking in her "shop" for Steve Martin in "It's Complicated"), oxtail ragu on penne in the Meatpacking area and even more! Fortunately we figured we'd be fairly full and didn't make dinner plans that night, going to Ardesia, a wine bar, for light snacks and delicious food.

This is my second trip to NYC in 2014. Being from Philly, it's easy to hop a train and get there quickly. There is so much to explore and see. I'd love to be able to go up once a month or a quarter and keep exploring different aspects of the city. Time and budget being the limiting factors at the moment!

And as I mentioned in my Paris post, I love exploring the same place with different people. The variations of interest always puts a different spin on the trip, making each one a unique experience.

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