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Posts from — February 2014

NY, NY (again! again!)

New York City has made an appearance on this site before: and why not? Each visit brings its own tales of fun and excitement, with new places to go, new things to do and new things to eat… My last visit was built around a wedding in NJ and an exhibit at the UN. Making it a super-long weekend was a no-brainer.

First half was ladies’ night: all night. And all day from Friday-Monday. Then first-born son arrived Monday in time to hang out with the grandparents, uncle and extendo-clan. Getting there was super-cheap. Porter offered up a load of flights at $220 return. Including tax.

We traipsed through Soho, bee-lining it to my favourite shops Olive & Bette’s and Scoop. Both had badass sales, including $20 tables and The 50%-off-the-lowest-sale-price Sales. I blew my load within two hours.

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But wait! There was more…. Despite warnings of “frigid” temperatures, walking through Nolita kept us warm. (Disclaimer: not only were we moving, we were popping into just about every cute spot with a remotely well-dressed window) Novelty shops were everywhere in the East Village. Cool cards, foldable hipster reading glasses, moustache lip balms and rock star cutout dolls a-plenty. All kinds of dollars spent on novelty gifts – for ourselves and our people. Head shops on Broadway, assorted West Village boutiques and even a quick shlep up to Bloomies and we’d exhausted our retail adventures. My son, however, didn’t exhaust his until a visit to Dylan’s Candy Bar a (where they had NONE of my childhood sweeties. I’m talking those uber-junkie day-glo marshmallow-ish bananas and strawberries) with a final stop at FAO Schwartz where we bought practically all the toys being demo’d…

Big Piano...never gets old...

The Big Piano: it never gets old…

 

Wandering the streetscapes was fun, but it was “Broadway Week” while we were there, complete with 2-for-1 tickets! Who knew? Erm….Not us. We kept seeing ads in cabs, but the only show we caught was Buyer & Cellar, set in the underground mall underneath Barbra Streisand’s house. That’s right. Funny one-man comedy (but funnier concept) . Off-b’way matinee’d, caught a flick, saw some friends. Hit the UN, the New Museum and the New Jersey Turnpike.

And then there was The Tenement Museum. This place was so cool I had to go twice – and I am not a museum person. But, alas, this is no regular museum. Home to thousands until it was boarded up in the 30’s, the building was opened up in the 80’s and essentially a time capsule was discovered. Since then, using years of research and census data, apartments have been restored and homes recreated. Tours through the building share the stories of the families who lived there. Interactive, personal, emotional: amazing.

Best thing about the weekend (company aside)? The food! We did our research so you don’t have to:

SnackSoho: Lovely little lunch spot. Room is tiny but portions are massive. Greek-ish and delish.

Café Gitane: get there by 10:30 because this joint is packed! At least the one on Mott St…. French with Morroccan flavours, fabulous coffee, great vibes, and awesome avocado on toast. Baked eggs are AOK too!

Dominique Ansel Bakery –Once I discovered this place, I didn’t bother going anywhere else. Home of the original Cronut, the lines are out the door. But if you skip the Cronut, you miss the queue too. Go for the pastries, stay for the coffee. And the homemade granola parfait. And do not miss the DKA – some sort of caramelized pastry thing. Addictive.

Photo courtesy of Dominique Ansel Bakery. I ate mine too quickly to snap pics.....

Photo courtesy of Dominique Ansel Bakery. I ate mine too quickly to snap pics…..

 

Empellon Cucina: Modern Mexican that’s still authentic. Their guacamole with 7 salsas (and some snazzy crisps) was incredible. Ditto the ceviche taco. And pineapple margaritas. (And the resto is way hipper than its website)

Red Farm: YUM!! I constantly crave this type of food. Yes, I still love the Pan Asian places. And seeing how packed this place is, I’m not alone. No reservations, but worth the wait. Crispy beef was insane. So was the pastrami egg roll. And the chicken dumplings.

Balaboosta: Hummous & pakoras & swiss chard spaghetti oh my! We wanted everything on this menu. Everything!!!! The “Israeli Street Fair” was just that: a full-on party on a plate. And the mortar ‘n pestle hummous kind of speaks for itself.

Minds out of the gutter! And back to the table.

Minds out of the gutter! And back to the table.

 

Also went to some classic spots with my 10-year old: Katz’s Deli, Smith & Wollensky, and Serendipity. He likes meat and fruit, chocolate and cookies. So these spots were good for a young, non-gourmando palate. They were about the experiences, not the food.

 

Yeah, we finished it. With some help from grandparents...

Yeah, we finished it. With some help from grandparents…

 

Only losers head to NYC mid-winter? Perhaps! But with cheap flights, reservations a-plenty, semi-private tours (and, apparently, 2-for-one shows) maybe it’s time to rethink your winter weekend getaway**.

 

**Or not. But despite the cold/snow/slush it wasn’t as bad as Toronto!

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February 5, 2014   No Comments

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